Category Archives: Health

It’s Been Awhile!

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Hola!  It has definitely been awhile!  Life is crazy/busy/awesome, and you can catch up on some of my recent travel adventures over at La Aventura Project.

I’m still here, living in San Diego, making films, serving beers, and trying to be a better person every day!

Last night I finally had some time to sit down and look through all my old personal video footage and make something fun!  So here is a video of my team from 2014 (yes, it’s that old) SoCal Ragnar Relay!  Because running is a thing that I sometimes do, woohoo!

Losing It

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Okay, okay, I’m not talking about the big “IT.”  I’m talking about losing some poundage!  If you’re a longtime follower of my blog, I’m sure you remember me mentioning multiple times over the last few years wanting to lose a few pounds.  I know I was far from alone in wanting this in the months leading up to my wedding.  I totally believe that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and I don’t agree with the immense amount of pressure put on brides to be a stick figure.  But on the other hand, I had been just a little over my ideal weight for years and I figured the wedding was the best excuse I would ever have to drop it!

So in January (along with millions of other New Years Resolution-makers) I commenced my very own Operation Flab to Fab!  The happy news I can now report is that I have lost 24 pounds!!!!!!

After a rainy hike almost a year ago…carrying a little extra weight!
On a recent hiking trip…trimmed it up a bit!

I don’t think the difference is too obvious in photos but people have been noticing in real life, which is nice!  Now you may be waiting with bated breath to hear my big, miraculous, easy weight loss secret…

Welp, I’m sorry to disappoint but I made this happen with the two classics: DIET and EXERCISE.  Since January, I’ve been using www.myfitnesspal.com to count calories.  This method works well for me because I can really eat anything I want, I just have to budget for it!  I also experimented with counting calories by the week, instead of by the day, so that I could have some extra treats (or beers) on certain days of the week.

Fitness wise, I’ve been pretty active!  On June 2 I will be running my first half marathon and training for that has definitely kept me moving.  I’ve also been going to yoga class once a week, biking, and hiking on days off.  I’m all for putting the effort into exercise in order to earn those extra calories!

I don’t want to make it sound easy, because it definitely hasn’t been.  I LOVE cooking, baking, eating out, going out to bars, and pretty much every other unhealthy hobby out there.  Thinking of the wedding, support from Zach, mental toughness, and encouragement from a couple other dieting friends has helped me get this far.  The thing is, I’m not done yet!  I have a mere two and a half months until my wedding and three weeks until my final dress fitting and I still would like to lose six more pounds.  Despite my success so far, I feel like I’ve hit a wall.  I’ve been making too many excuses and cheating on my eating far too much!  Getting close is not enough; I want to meet my final goal!  (Which is still in the middle of my healthy BMI range, FYI.)

So I guess part of my reason for writing this is to ask for some support and accountability!  The clock is ticking and I really need to recommit in order to get my body to truly FAB status by wedding time!

Does anyone have any tips for getting through the last few pounds?  Any other encouraging pre-wedding weight loss stories out there?

#WEverb12: CREATE

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22: recharge [CREATE] What did you do to recharge your batteries in 2012?

As I’ve gotten older (argh….) I’ve gotten more and more dependent on two vital recharging mechanisms: exercise and sleep.

Running recharges me mentally those endorphins feel great!

Sleep…well, I am a sucker for a full 8 hours of sleep.  I miss the days of college when I could get only five hours a night for a week and feel fine.  Nowadays if I get less than six in one night I feel lethargic all day.  So, call me a grandma, but I love my sleep.

#WEverb12: Catching up again!

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18. soak [LISTEN]: What have you soaked in this year? (Baths, sun, ideas?) How did it affect your mentality?

This year I soaked in uncertainty.  Traveling, living in Ohio for a few months, and then moving out here.  It was constant motion, lots of changes of plans, and not knowing what to expect.  It was hard for me, as I’m very type-A.  But it was good for me.  Uncertainty and second-guessing and plans changing are all part of life.  You could also call it FREEDOM!

19. exercise [LIVE]: How did you live actively in 2012? What will you change in 2013?

While we were backpacking, I didn’t make any effort to work out or anything.  But most of our days involved lots and lots of walking, sometimes with all of our crap loading us down.  We also went on a lot of epic hikes, went surfing, swimming and ziplining!  Travel is the best because exercise feels like an adventure!

Since getting back, I’ve done something I never, ever expected I would do.  I started running.  Not just lame-o occasional 30 minute jogs either.  Over the summer, I actually followed Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan all the way through, although I never did run a half marathon.  Working my way up to running 10 miles without any breaks and without dying made me really proud.  It was weird how easy it was, too.  Unfortunately towards the end I got a weird muscle strain in my thigh and when we moved I had to stop running for awhile.  As soon as my leg healed, I started the plan all over again, making sure I really stretch and cross train a lot to try to avoid injury.  So far so good!  I’ve gotten faster (which means a 9:35 mile, still really slow!) than I was in Ohio and I love running along the Sunset Cliffs!  I’m about halfway through the plan this time and I’m hoping to run my first half marathon in January!

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The view helps me run fast!

20: reminisce [GROW] What distant memory/time did you find yourself longing for in 2012?

I’ve found myself reminiscing about college a lot this year.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been OUT of college for longer than I was IN it.  I graduated almost exactly four years ago.  College was just so much fun and so easy compared to real life.  It’s funny because when you’re in it you think life is so hard!  It’s pretty awesome that you get to live with your friends, learn about things that interest you, do whatever crazy clubs and activities you want, and you somehow still have enough energy to party it up!  More than anything, I miss my old roomie Erica.  She truly “gets me” and is one of the best friends I will ever have!  It sucks because we’re on opposite coasts and rarely get to see each other, but sometimes we’ll still text each other random, “Remember when…” texts.

Roomies for life!

Roomies for life!

(Hey Erica, remember when we met Mr. Belding?)

#WEverb12: CREATE

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16. replicate [CREATE]: What were you inspired to create/make this year based on something else? (i.e. a pin from pinterest, recipe from a friend, etc.)

Well, I am a hardcore Pinterest ADDICT!  I try to actually make a lot of the things I pin.  The one craft idea I tried so far didn’t work out so well (a DIY cut-away workout shirt) but a lot of the recipes I’ve made have been great.  I made this whole board called “It’s Good!  Make it Again!” based on my Pinterest successes.

#WEverb12: LIVE

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6. cook [LIVE]: What was your best recipe/dish of the year? Share it!

Man, this is HARD!  I love cooking and baking and I try new recipes all the time.  I don’t know if I can pick only one…

pesto summer squash

Ok, maybe I can.  This Pesto-Topped Grilled Summer Squash was THE BOMB DOT COM and made several appearances in our menu this summer.  It was my first time making homemade pesto and OH MY GOODNESS it was amazing.  Like, I wanted to eat the whole bowl with a spoon.  I think the smell of basil is my favorite smell in the world; I could just inhale it all day!  The delicious, fresh, homemade pesto on top of some simple summer squash or zucchini sauteed in olive oil is TO. DIE. FOR.  (Click the picture for the recipe.)

#WEverb12: LISTEN

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3. stay [LISTEN]: How did you stay in the moment this year?

 

In general, I am AWFUL about staying in the moment.  I’m such a type-A planner aheader that my brain is almost ALWAYS a few steps, or a few years, ahead of my body.  I have tried harder to stay in the moment this year though.

Traveling through Latin America we experienced so many amazing moments and saw so many stunning sights.  It’s always easier to feel calm and present in gorgeous nature.  Not having a cell phone to be constantly tweeting and instagraming on helped also.

This year I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a book that talks a lot about presence.  In one scene the characters are hiking and the narrator philosophizes about how on a hike, oftentimes you miss what’s there by fixating on what’s next.  If you’re always anticipating getting to the next bend, the next summit, you’re missing the beauty of where you are!  This resonated with me and after reading it, I tried extra hard to enjoy the moment while running and hiking, rather than anticipating the next mile, or the end.

#WEverb12: WATCH

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2. watch [LIVE]: What movie did you see this year that you would recommend to a friend?

I didn’t see a lot of movies this year, sadly. You know, traveling and being broke and all that. So my picks are two great documentaries available on Netflix instant.forks

Forks Over Knives is a shocking/inspiring food doc about “The China Study”, all the things that are wrong with the way we eat in this country, and the benefits of a plant-based whole-foods diet. REVERSE diabetes by changing the way you eat? Apparently, it’s possible!

happy

Happy is a crazy awesome doc about “positive psychology” and the factors that affect the human race’s happiness around the world. Hint: it has a lot LESS to do with money than we think.

Ugly Duckling Syndrome

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Confession: Wedding planning has turned me into a way more superficial brat than I used to be.

There’s nothing like imagining walking down the aisle with all those eyes on me, plus getting professional photographs taken of myself, to make me worry like crazy about how I will look.

Yes, I know everyone says brides ALWAYS look beautiful.  I know I have dreadlocks so I won’t seem like a traditionally-styled bride no matter what, not that I want to.  But I still feel tons of pressure to look my best!  This pressure is mostly self-inflicted, and lately I’m just feeling like an ugly duckling!

Pardon the bitchfest for a moment, but my two main complaints are my weight and my skin.  In a way, the weight is the easy one.  Too many desserts and cervezas have taken their toll on my midsection, but if I really commit to healthier choices I know I can shed a few pounds by June.  I don’t want to be unrealistic and go on a torturous diet, just lose the beer belly and get more fit!  I know if I can pull it off I’ll feel much more confident on my wedding day!

My skin has always confused me.  First of all, my skin tone is very uneven, freckly, and red.  I blame the Irish in me.  I’ve tried several different makeup regimens over the years but I always end up looking shiny by the end of the day.  With an outdoor summer wedding, I’m really worried about looking like a sweaty beast in all the pictures!  Secondly, I have really dark under-eye circles.  No matter how much sleep I get or how little caffeine/alcohol I drink, they remain.  I’ve even tried this:

The concealers I’ve tried never really hide my circles as much as I’d like, and they too end up melting down my face after several hours.  I’m really worried about how I’m going to DIY my wedding makeup when I’m not even satisfied with my day-to-day look!  I’m terrified I won’t feel confident and I won’t like how I look in the photos.  I know these concerns are totally stupid and conceited, but I can’t help feeling stressed about the beauty aspects of the big day!

Has anyone else been infected with Ugly Duckling Syndrome while planning “the most important day of your life”?  Anyone have advice on longer-lasting makeup brands?

Old Standby Asian Veggies

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Sorry I’ve been super MIA lately!  We got an apartment for the summer (pictures forthcoming), but we still don’t have Internet!  So I’ve got lots of blog ideas in my brain but haven’t had the ability to post them!

Today I’m sharing a recipe I can’t believe I’ve never blogged!  It’s Zach and my all-time favorite easy-to-make, for-when-we-can’t-think-of-anything-else dinner!  I first made this with a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, and I believe he got the recipe from an Alton Brown show.  The great thing about this dish is that it’s so easy to customize and modify based on what you like and what’s in your fridge that there are endless possibilities!  I apologize in advance for the iPhone pictures.  My camera is in the shop.  It looks better than this in real life.

The basic concept is: COLESLAW+RICE OR NOODLES+SAUCE=PARTY IN YOUR MOUTH.

First, cook rice, pasta, rice noodles, whatever grain you want.  This time I used brown rice.

Then, chop up some cabbage and whatever other veggies you want to include.

Veggies, pre-cooking

Cook them in a pot with some oil and salt.  This time I was just cleaning out the fridge so I used cabbage, kale, red pepper, broccoli, and jalapeno.  Cook them down as much or as little as you want!  I also added an egg toward the end of the cooking time and stirred it up so it scrambled in pieces mixed throughout the veggies.

Veggies, post-cooking

Then, make the sauce.  You only really need four essential ingredients: PEANUT BUTTER, SOY SAUCE, VINEGAR, AND OIL.

The 4 essential ingredients for your sauce

Mix equal parts of each item in a bowl.  I use about 1/2 cup of each when I’m making this for two people.  Easy, right!  Actually, it takes a few minutes to get the peanut butter to mix in, but it gets there. Then you can taste it and adjust to your liking.  Some extra (but unnecessary) things I like to add to make it more flavorful include: brown sugar, mustard, red pepper flakes, and ginger.

Next, mix it all together!  You can eat it hot or cold and it’s delicious!  Adding peanuts can also give the dish an extra crunch and protein kick!  I just didn’t have any on hand this time.

Mmmmm mmmm amazing

There you have it!  Tell me that’s not a delectable and easy way to use up extra produce!  Let me know what you think in the comments!