Sunday, July 31, 2011

Let's Give This A Shot

Well folks, I'm back in my own abode. My own barely-air conditioned abode. Fortunately for me, my couch is pretty comfortable, so last night I slept out in the living room so I could get what little AC there is. And surprisingly, I actually woke up twice in the middle of the night--once to get a blanket because I was freezing(?!) and again to adjust said blanket. It may be slightly ghetto-fab, but I have this AC/fan set up so the box fan blows the cool air directly on me. Result: Happy Liz!

Around the House

Now, there's nothing like being in someone else's house for a week that makes you want to clean your own place. On my list of things to do around my apartment is: clean bathroom (don't get me started with the shower head coming out of the wall!), clean kitchen (I'd tried this a few weeks ago, but I think I need to get some new stove burner pan things), steam clean my carpets (there are stains left from the previous girl who lived in my room), and paint the walls in my room (she left them a deep burgundy and since I get so little sunlight, it makes my room seem that much darker).

Lucky for me, my assistant manager at work (love her!) has a steam cleaner that she let me borrow. So this morning, I got to work going over my carpets trying to get the stains out. I've never used a steam cleaner before, but I think it needs another go-round. I'm going to let the carpets dry for a few hours and get back at it this evening. There's really not much I can do in the kitchen right now, because I'm too lazy to drive all the way out to Lowe's and get the burner pans (I figure if I go to Lowe's, I can knock out that and the paint swatches in one trip). As for the walls, I really am at a standstill here too. It's way too deathly hot & humid out lately to paint, although now that I think about it, it would have worked well to do it this past week when I wasn't staying here. So unfortunately, the walls will have to wait until the end of August or September, and I'll have to do them alone instead of having my mommy help me, wahhhh.
I'll call you..."Mr. (Carpet) Clean"!!
I did manage to get a bit done in the bathroom this morning, scrubbing down the shelves that are built into the shower (did I mention my apartment is O-L-D?!). But it does need a bit more TLC in there. Why this sudden desire to spruce up my place? I have no idea! I think it is partially because I was at Stacy's house this week and partially because, to me, having my apartment together is one step toward having my life together. It may take some time, but slowly but surely the pieces will fall into place. Besides that, I have a cute set of 4 pictures that I want to put on my bedroom wall, but I need to paint before I put them up. I don't know how long I'll be living in this apartment (at least until next May, but after then I may look for somewhere with better AC), but I want it to feel like home. I think that's partially because this is my first apartment since graduation, so it's also like my first "real" apartment.

Inspiration

I also really wish I could plant my own garden. I've never really been one for flowers. In fact, my mom and my sister always used to drag me along with them on errands that included stopping off at nurseries to look at flowers. Yes, I'm a girl, so I enjoy receiving flowers, but in terms of planting them, I'm one of those people that looks for the pretty ones, grabs them and goes. I'm not a fan of the flower "window shopping" where you take your sweet time looking at each and every one. Which is sort of ironic, since I can spend like 2 hours in a grocery store looking at each and every nutritional fact panel. Yes, I'm that girl. Anyway, flowers, no, but vegetables, yes. I should have noticed this sooner, because when I would go on these flower shopping excursions with my mom and sis, I would always try to get them to buy some vegetable seed packets. But I always got the whole "there's not enough/too much light" answer. Being at Stacy's this week, I was actually drawn to her husband's pride & glory--his vegetable garden. Tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, basil. It was magnificent! And everything was coming in when I was there, with a lot more tomatoes on their way.
Not too shabby!
I was told to use these, but I didn't cook much there :(
Practically grew overnight!
Bunches & bunches about to ripen!
Mmm, BASIL!
If those don't make you want to start your own veggie patch, I don't know what will!!

Exercise Experiment


Lately I've been been having some discomfort in my calves and feet. This could be because of numerous things--I've still been going heavy during my calve raises (90lbs on the leg press machine), I ran into my fan in the dark a little over a week ago and cut/bruised my foot, or perhaps because I've been living in my FiveFingers for about 4 weeks now. Back in the day (aka 2 months ago), I used to alternate between my FiveFingers and my trainers. More recently, I've stuck to my FiveFingers because, honestly, socks in 100-degree weather just does not sound comfortable. I do everything from running to the stairmill to squats, deadlifts, EVERYTHING in my FiveFingers. And I really haven't had a problem until now. My calves have, on occasion, felt tight, but there's nothing really wrong with that, and I figured that was because I was increasing weight on the calve raises.

In an effort to alleviate this problem, I'll be doing 2 things differently this week--1. taking my calve raises to the seated calf machine, and 2. switching to my cross trainers for at least a couple of weeks. We will see how this goes, and I'll keep you posted as to how I progress with this. I've not heard of anyone having any calf soreness past the first few weeks of wearing the FiveFingers, but then again, I haven't looked. Note to self: Google!

In Other News...

I'm expecting an EXCITING package this week! A "pre-lated" birthday gift, as my dad calls it. A VITAMIX!!! I'm already plotting planning what I should make with it in it's first few days alive :) I half jokingly asked for one for my birthday at the end of the month (let's be real, they cost MORE than an arm and a leg!), and my dad decided to order it sooner rather than later so I can start using it! Woohoo! My poor little knock-off Magic Bullet wasn't doing so well. It didn't really like to actually blend the ice and would leave chunks in my morning protein shakes. That, and after going to Smoothie King like it's my job, I was jealous of the fluffy, thick texture of their shakes, compared to my icy-poo shakes. That's right, icy-poo. I don't think I have a good enough vocabulary to describe it better. It's just poo ;)

You may not know this about me, but I <3 kitchen appliances! This just adds to my collection (belgium waffle iron, crock pot, juicer, Magic Bullet-esque blender, KitchenAid stand mixer)...

I hope you're not bored out of your mind still reading now, because I have one last surprise!
Is this not the most adorable thing you've seen lately!? Can you say "NEW PET"?!?! Kidding, I'd never replace Archie!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Inspired By Dogs

Today's post is brought to you by Maggie! Or more like me, in the company of Maggie! Let me introduce you:
Maggie says "Hi, bloggy friends!"
I'm slowly but surely getting used to house/dog-sitting. It's nice to have both AC and a canine companion again! Maggie's a silly one--she's a pretty mellow dog, but she LOVES her walks. Last night I took her out around 8:30 and she was one hyper little thing! It's nice that she's a calm dog but she can be playful when she wants. And she's so curious too--she's currently sitting on her dog bed sticking her nose through the curtains because she hears people outside. Can you say "Awwww!"??

Before I get to the most important part of this blog (WILW, anyone?!), here's what Maggie's WILW would look like:

WILW According to Maggles:

  • Walks--"Nothing relieves my (non-existent) stress like a nice long walk through the trails behind my house. I love sniffing things and meeting new people. Don't even get me started about squirrels! Liz thinks I'm gonna run off, but I really just want to befriend the little guys! Last night I even saw a bunny rabbit!"
  • Beggin' Strips--"After I take walks, I love getting a treat for when I sit on command!"
  • Long naps--"Especially on mommy & daddy's bed, or on my bed in front of the window. And when Liz comes home, I love hearing the door open, so I can bound down the stairs and greet her!"
  • Sleeping under the bed--"Sleeping with humans is overrated. They hog the bed! When I sleep on the floor, it's like I have a huge bed AND you know what they say--'Hot air rises & cool air lowers!' WINNING!!"
  • Liz house-sitting with me--"We all know I can totally watch this place by myself. After all, I AM a dog, duh! But it's nice to have someone give me treats and bones, refill my water, open the door so I can go on walks (I don't have thumbs, ya know!)--you know, this really makes it sound like I'm the one in charge here!"
Not that I have anything wrong with Maggie's Love List, but mine would look just a bit different...
WILW--Liz Edition:
  • Housesitting Maggie--I can't help it, she's just so cute. Of course, it makes me miss Archie, who is back at my mom's place, basking in all the overabundance of attention she's giving him. I'm surprised he hasn't gained 10 pounds! Lucky dog... But Maggie is a nice change to the kind of puppy dog I'm used to. She's older, trained, and very quiet. All I get from her is an occasional whine to go for a walk. What can I say, she loves her walks!
Because no post is complete without a pic of my little man.
If you can even find him! Joan(ie) spoils him!
  • Leg day--This morning was a leg day, and surprisingly, I kicked butt on 5 hours of sleep! It's been a while (2 weeks?!) since my last leg day, so I felt a bit out of it, but I have been trying to do leg extensions and curls every other day, and leg presses every few days. Not to mention the calves I do every single day. But since I'm out of prep, I feel like my legs are going--cue sad face--which is why I'm working even harder to keep their shape. And I always feel so accomplished after leg day. It's probably the only day where I don't (jokingly) whine to Kevin about going heavy or something hurting, etc.
  • August--Okay, so I know it isn't August yet, but it can still make my love list, right? August is when everything falls into place for me. I have my phone interview with my district manager at Loft tomorrow, which means that I'll be officially promoted to sales lead next week! Then the following week, I have 39 hours of training at the restaurant downtown (Hello, nice paycheck!!) plus a bit of sales lead training in the evenings. And cardio in the mornings. If I don't manage to lose a bit of weight in that week, I may have to hurt someone (or more likely monitor my eating more closely). So August marks the end of my financial woes--YAY!
  • The Restaurant Downtown--I don't want to disclose the name of the restaurant downtown (I probably already have, oops) in the instance that I say something stupid on this blog and the owners/managers read it before we've really gotten to know each other. But I'm incredibly excited AND lucky to be given this opportunity. The other week when I got to my mom's house at the beach, I got an email from one of the managers addressed to all the bartenders/cocktail servers saying we have to take a online bartending course, BarSmarts. This consists of 4 "modules" and I'm already done with 2 (although they suggest one per week, I did 2 in like 3 days)! It's really interesting stuff and I feel like I'm actually learning while having fun. Then today I got an email from a partial owner asking all the girls for input into the dresses we will be wearing as uniforms. Which reminds me, I have a question for you at the end of this post... But I'm just so lucky and so glad that I have this wonderful opportunity that I can only hope will open up more opportunities for me in the future. This is the second restaurant I've had the privilege of helping get going (okay, the first was a Golden Corral in high school, but I was awesome at my job, and it was across the street from me practically, in a nice area of Va Beach).
  • Self-control--If you recall from my post the other week, I was getting nervous about going out drinking etc. While I'm glad I have the opportunity to enjoy summer with friends and have a drink if I so desire, this doesn't mean I jump at every opportunity that I have to drink. In fact, when I went home, my mom bought me some Blueberry Wheat Ale and a bottle of moscato from Trader Joe's. I've maybe  had 2 glasses of wine from the bottle since I got it and I haven't touched the beer. I'm glad that I have the self-control to know what's best for me and to say no if I don't feel like drinking. Sometimes we take advantage of self-control--it's a trait that not everyone possesses and it's one you should be proud to have. (Please note, this is NOT in reference to the Amy Winehouse addiction/death. I am not a fan of hers, but that being said, RIP).
Well there you have it, folks! The last WILW of the month of July. I'm hoping in the next few weeks, the list can include "cooler temperatures"--Lord knows we need them!

Now for the question I promised: the restaurant is going for a 30s-40s blue collar vibe, and the managing partners are a bit stuck on the uniform for the girls (men...ha! Kidding!). Any suggestions for 30s-40s esque dresses that can be bought in multiples?? They sent some pics of shirt dresses and asked for ideas/suggestions. I sent one pic of a Loft dress, but I'm not a big history person...
Their leading candidate. Material = no good
My very similar replacement suggestion via Loft
Another of their suggestions--one of the cuter ones
It doesn't have to be blue/grey. But they're looking for that whole era's vibe (which should be AWESOME!!). Please help so I can send some more suggestions! Google and I don't see eye to eye.

P.S. I tried Smoothie King's newest Lean1 smoothie for $1 today! For your help (and your viewership), here's a link to the coupon. It's only $1 today. But if you go back tomorrow, there should be a coupon to try it for $1.99. They've been advertising it for a few days. It was good, but my fave is still the Gladiator blended with mango and black cherries or strawberries!

Monday, July 25, 2011

This Isn't My Home

Greetings from someone else's house! My good friend Stacy and her husband are on vacation this week and asked me to house/puppy dog-sit for them. Of course I obliged--their house has AC. Mine--well you know the story by now.

So far I've realized that staying in someone else's house is a little odd, especially for me. When Stacy & Jesse left, I got the whole "Help yourself to anything! Our house is your house for this week!" But what they don't know is that I'm so rigid in my ways. That being said, I brought my own food. I'm not entirely sure how long it will last, but protein powder, PB2, oats, almond milk, shaker bottle, chicken... No, no, I'm not crazy. Nor am I in prep right now. But I'm trying really hard not to go crazy with food.

Last week was a rough week because I went home (thank God because the temps were in the 90s but heat index in the 110s!), but of course home to my mom's is the only place where I stray from my nutrition plan. Sushi, P.F. Chang's, Menchie's (frozen yogurt, yet they were out of my fave topping, mochi--grrr!), more Menchies. Yeah, my stomach was F-U-L-L, full! Not to worry, that wasn't all in one day. Spread out over 3 days. Which meant 3 times more guilt. Although I can't say that I feel guilty over no-sugar-added, low carb, non-fat froyo. I'm not that ridiculous.

Anyway, I'm off to bed because I'm sticking to habit my 5am rise and shine gym schedule. But I just wanted to check in to let you know I'm alive! I'll post more about home, house/dog-sitting, and my progress with maintaing weight in the next couple of days. I need someone (or more than one) to keep me accountable! I find that if I post on Facebook my cardio plans for the next morning, I'm more likely to do it unless I accidentally turn off my alarm the night before and wake up when it's already too hot out.

Good night & sweet dreams in BlogLand!

Monday, July 18, 2011

By the Light of the Moon

Hey there blogger besties! Have a good weekend? I definitely did--which is part of the reason that I didn't post all weekend also because I was lazy. Fortunately (or unfortunately--whichever way you want to look at it), I have PLENTY of pictures to compensate for my lack of weekend posts. Now if I had thought this through a little more, I should have split this into a few posts throughout the weekend.

Let's start with Friday... Of course no day is complete without a little bit of protein ice cream, so if you were wondering how I make it, here it is!

Protein Ice Cream

  • Equal parts almond milk & greek yogurt (I eyeball this)
  • 1 scoop protein powder (right now I'm using ON double rich chocolate and/or caramel toffee fudge)
  • 1 packet Stevia (to counteract the tartness of the yogurt)
Blend! Then pour into an ice cream maker. This is the basic recipe, but sometimes I add in other ingredients before I blend. In this case, I added 5 pitted fresh cherries and a splash of coffee. When there's about 5 minutes left of churning, I add in my mix-ins (this gets omitted during prep).
Churn, baby, churn!
Final product (well, before the Walden Farm's chocolate syrup):
Tada! The cherries gave it an interesting (good) consistency!
By the end of the day Friday, I was invited to go downtown with a few friend that night. One girl is heading out overseas for 4 months for work, so they decided a bar crawl was in order. I figured why not--I've been good up to this point, and in 7 more weeks, I won't be able to again. 

The only thing about downtown is you kind of have to dress decent-ish. And my supply of "going out" clothes is pretty non-existent. I don't have much, and what I did have, I consigned because it was all too big! I opted for an LBD after Megan told me that her and the girl leaving were wearing dresses. Note: Please do not judge me for my overly-enthusiastic behavior in the next few photos. It was a fun night, but I kept myself in line :)
Heading downtown! 
The proposal
She said yes!
Laine & Me 
Megan (partner-in-crime) & Me
Don't you worry, we went through all the bases of a bar crawl, including Laine's "Sweet 16" sash, tiara, and a fake proposal. To top it all off, Megan brought Mardi Gras beads, so everyone could join in our fun. I not-so-slowly, but surely got rid of my beads--they were hot around my neck, and I already have a LOT of hair!

Confession: It sort of freaks me out when I go out with friends drinking, even if I'm not drinking that much. And I do feel a bit uneasy posting these on here, because I am afraid that people, whether they mean to or not, DO judge others. Yes, I used to be a big party girl, but I'm not that girl now, and I do not want to revert back to her. That being said, I don't think I will, but I do get nervous about it. I kept myself in check that night, and skipped some rounds of drinks, so I was in good shape. And of course, a night out does NOT mean I can skip the gym the next day, so I was up bright and early and at the gym at opening for a workout :)

All that being said, my body still does not like me indulging in a drink here and there, and my stomach would not rest the next day! So the solution that Megan and I came up with was a trip to Bluegrass Bakery & Grill for some brunch. Megan was feeling the breakfast food, I was feeling lunch. Compromise!

I rolled with the gyro pita
And megan got the Black Bean Bfast Burrito
These pics were actually taken by Megan--I found out she's secretly a foodie! Shhhh ;)

Saturday was a bit less eventful--I relaxed until work later that evening, but Sunday was fantastic! I got my baking skills (and apron!) on and went to town in the kitchen! My mission: peanut butter cookies! I had been planning these out for a while--one regular batch with regular peanut butter and dark chocolate kisses, and one batch with Peanut Butter & Co's Dark Chocolate Dreams. I was going to put dark chocolate Reese's cups on top of these, but the bag I got from the store had obviously been sitting in heat and reshelved, so I returned them and just went with the dark chocolate kisses. Unfortunately my hands and tiny kitchen were a mess while I was baking these, so I only have pictures of the contained final product:
I added oats to the 2nd batch of dark chocolate ones
Death by (PB) chocolate!
Now, I MUST get these out of my apartment ASAP! I indulged in a couple, and I'm satisfied. I've already brought some to work, and may have a list of people who want some. PS, these pics were after I already brought about half of them to Loft. So. Many. Cookies. What was I thinking?!

And finally getting to the title of my blog post, last night I decided I would run to the gym this morning. No excuses. I mean, the gym only takes me less than 5 minutes to drive to, so it can't be that far away... I was right. Headed out the door around 5:15 and got there around 5:30. The only potential downfall I saw was that I would then have to run back after my workout. But all I do in the mornings is C/A/C (calves, abs, cardio) so it couldn't be too bad of a return run. It wasn't--my calves were a bit tight, and it was uphill rather than downhill, but it was definitely worth it! I would totally do this again! In fact, I want to tomorrow, but I have to drive because I have to be at work at 7am, yikes!

This is shaping up to be a good week though! I thought my mom was coming up here with the pups, but the heat index is through the roof! After tomorrow morning, I'm off work til Saturday midday, so it looks like I'll be heading down there instead of her coming up here. Unfortunately that means no peach picking down here, but there's plenty of farms in Virginia Beach and she offered to pay for the maintenance on my car. Can't argue with that!

Did you do anything fun this weekend? Do you get nervous about going out on the town or am I the only one?? Anyone want to come to Virginia and take these cookies off my hands please?! There was about 5 dozen...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Perspective Thursday

I feel like I'm looking out into the future and I can actually visualize myself coming along further than I have! For some reason, I woke up feeling better than ever! Might have been that Tylenol PM I took before bed. Not just better energy-wise, but so much better mentally and emotionally! I think since posting yesterday and verbalizing my desire to do the November 19th show, it seems that much more tangible. And it will be this time around!

I think my problem in the past was that I wasn't expecting life. I'm serious! I was probably a bit too ambitious looking to do a show in the months following graduation, but I learned that the hard way. And nonetheless, I still have a rockin' bod to show for all my hard work! I hit on it lightly yesterday, but I know I went into this training for all some of the wrong reasons. I wanted to look good--I wanted to be that girl that made heads turn and I figured the only way to do it would be to have my ass handed to me at the gym every day. I did it for very vain reasons. And I'm not ashamed to admit that, because I've found clarity and uncovered the REAL reasons for me wanting to compete.

It's not just about looking good anymore--and by looking good I mean being that thin girl. When I think of thin, I think back to high school when I was at the top of my game running all. the. time. Was I healthy then? No. My meals consisted of a protein bar or yogurt or cereal for breakfast, a salad from the school cafeteria for lunch (with fat free dressing of course), and another salad and/or a bag of Smart Pop popcorn for dinner. On occasion, I would occasionally eat whatever my mom made for dinner, but more than half the time I convinced her to make a salad. Sometimes I would even help :) But as you can see, I was not eating much protein AT ALL. There may have been a few grams in the yogurt and my salads were generally topped with one portion of some sort of meat--usually chicken or turkey. But not enough to make me feel any better than "skinny fat," and trust me, I only saw the fat part of that when I looked in a mirror. And yet, when I started this training journey, skinny fat was alright with me because it was still a far way off from my starting point.
No muscle tone! And yes, I did a summer
running camp...in San Antonio. And survived!

Skinny Fat--yuck!

My original goal was to achieve the body (and weight) I had back in high school. But back then, I was not lifting weights. I did an ab workout before bed (the same every night) and I ran. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying running is bad for you, and the workouts constantly varied, but I wasn't gaining any muscle. I was looking to be thinner, to run faster.

Training for a figure competition, I'm not necessarily looking to be thin; I'm looking to be strong. To feel strong. To show others that I am strong. It's all about strength now, and sorry to sound cliche, but I mean inner and outer strength. Sure, it's impressive to be able to deadlift more than your body weight, but inner strength is what takes me up that extra step to "Throw on another 5 or 10 pounds! Even if I can just get one, I will do it!"

I no longer want to turn head for being "that skinny girl." I want to turn heads for being "that FIT girl." This always cracks me up because in AP Bio, back in the day, we learned that fit refers to the ability to reproduce--trust me, THAT is not what I'm going for. Here, I'm referring to being in shape, of course! I want this competition almost more than anything right now (though a full-time job would be lovely...preferably one where I can stare at the sky all day)!

I look out, and I see the thing I want to accomplish:

  • Increase weights in everything, especially squats, deadlifts, and bicep curls
  • Get my abs to come out of hiding--I know they are there, they just have to show through!
  • Work on my leg definition
I'm really not that worried with my upper body, because that comes together pretty well for me. But I just want to push that extra step and be the best, strongest that I can be. In order to get there, I have a few changes I'm incorporating into my morning C/A/C as I refer to it (calves/abs/cardio):
  • Incorporate legs--alternate my sets of calve raises with sets of leg presses
  • Switch up ab routine--incorporate more weighted exercises
  • Throw in a few sets of leg extensions & leg curls every other day
In addition, I'll be doing another round of abs in the evening--I've done this the past 2 days, and it's actually helping alleviate what I was coming to refer to as "my evening bloat."

So there you have it--I have new motivation, new goals, and a NEW DATE! And to make it all that much more real, I'm greeted by this every time I walk into my bedroom:
MUCH more realistic!
I'm so happy right now, I can't really put it into words!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Are You Feeling it??

It's WILW and you better believe I'm feeling the LOVE!! Have been since my super depressing posts last week and having to deciding to postpone my competition. But there is good news! You'll have to wait & read though, because it's in the love (list)!

Although I could list all the things I'm not loving this week (hello, awful, awful hot-as-hell weather!)...oh wait, that's about the only thing I'm not loving.

Here goes another round of my favorite weekday--I knew there was a reason I was glad I don't work today!

Love List (13 July 2011)

  • You guys!!-- Seriously, thank you so much for all your support and kindness over the past week. I can't say it was easy to be so positive-minded, especially on Thursday and Friday, but I've managed to pull through. In fact, I'm starting to think of the postponement as a new opportunity and a blessing in disguise. After coming back from my grandma's house, I felt like I was battling myself to lose the weight that I had just lost and regained. That setback was not only physical, but mental and no matter how much I lied to myself, my motivation had taken a large hit. But thanks to everyone's encouragement, I see the light at the end of the tunnel--there ARE always other competitions, and I can only come along further than I already am. This brings me to #2...
  • Regrouping-- I have had the time to think over the past few days about what I want out of competing and when I want to do it. At first, competing for me was the motivator I needed to go that extra mile to get in shape. But starting this blog has helped me understand that it's not just about looking good, but feeling good too. Having come off my prep a few days ago, I've wandered into what seems like No Man's Land. I feel like I'm standing in the desert with a blank nutrition plan in hand and I can't see anything for miles. It's just me. As I mentioned the other day, I'm trying to maintain a certain number on the scale. And so far so good. But what I'm really loving is that I have the self-control to limit what I eat and how much. I've added some things back in (just check out my Whole Foods pic), but my ongoing competition with the mirror is keeping me in check. Also, having set a NEW competition date, albeit only in my head, has kept my motivation high. I've hinted toward thinking about a November show, but I'm for sure going to do it! It's in my iCal, so I have to, right?!
My 22nd bday is the 25th, so this gives
me one last hurrah before prep starts!
  • Tuna Steaks/SEAFOOD-- Give me tuna or give me...tuna! Not that prep didn't allow me to switch up my protein sources, but I sort of found that out a bit late in the game. I'm from the beach, so I'm definitely a seafood kinda gal! Make me live without it and it won't be much of a life. Unfortunately when I was cooking yesterday, I ran out of my fave Mrs. Dash seasoning (Caribbean Citrus)and had to sub it for Fiesta Lime, but the end result was still to die for. Add in some cut up green pepper strips and some roasted squash and I was in food heaven. Did I mention this was my lunch? Uh, yeah. I don't do the whole fancy dinner thing ;)
I had eaten most of the squash at this point...
  • Crazy Awesome Weather-- A thunderstorm's a' rollin' in! And of course the weather weenie in my had to geek out, jump on my bed to look out the window, AND take pic. But seriously, one half of the sky--normal hot-as-hell sunny 95-degree day; other half of the sky--grey/black with ominous clouds. And thunder--yay (I'm being serious right now)! I really need to do something with my envi sci degree & my internship experience. Otherwise, I'll just keep posting boring fun pics when I can!
Normal, cloudy, HOT...
...grey/black, ominous!

  •  3 1/2 Days Off in a Row--Next week I work early Tuesday morning then I don't have to return to work til Saturday! Although this means no money those days, it also means I have the opportunity to do something, anything! I already made a phone call to my momma--I've been trying to get her to come visit with the pups so we can go do fun Cville activities, but she "doesn't like to make plans ahead of time." Her words, not mine! Anywho, I think I've finally convinced her, and although she's unsure what day, she's going to come up! Oh the possibilities--peach picking, hiking (more like walking with the pups), strolling along the downtown pedestrian mall. Sigh--Mom & Liz time is nice!
  • Gold's Gym's Cardio Cinema--This came to my rescue today as my reprieve from my smoldering hot apartment. Not only was a movie playing--Miracle (circa 2004), but I got to leisurely walk on the treadmill AND it was probably 10 degrees cooler in there than anywhere else in the entire gym. Oh, did I mention I brought a tumbler of limeade with me? You would have thought I was going to lounge out by a pool or something. I resisted bringing a magazine since the movie was on... which was SO GOOD that I had to stay until the end (extra hour and 45 min of low, low intensity cardio? Yes please!)!!
I can haz as Mac wallpaper?!?!
Alrighty, well I'm going to get going--I have a meal to eat then back to the gym for a real workout at 6. I'm seriously contemplating that last image as my background... 

Why are all the sports movies so inspirational?? They always make it to my list of top movies!
What do you love this Wednesday??

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tests After College??

I've determined this is all a test--a test of my will power, determination, motivation. And a test for my body. Right now, I've introduced some foods back into my diet that are not necessarily "prep" foods. When I say some, I actually mean very few. I went to Whole Foods TWICE yesterday. Granted, the first time I went, I had to cut my trip short, but during each trip I spent about an hour in there. So two hours total. Stores like that suck me in, but I still find myself comparing EVERY nutritional fact label imaginable. I'm a nightmare to go shopping with (which Megan now knows because she joined me the second time). I'm one of those people that compares 10 of the same product, as well as puts things in her cart, second guesses her choices (or feels guilty) and puts it back, and the cycle goes on. When I walk out, I only end up with a handful of things.

It was especially hard yesterday because lately I've been a little wary of how to eat now. Obviously I still need/want my protein, but I do want to add some good carbs back into my diet, as well as a little good fat. I'm trying to keep my weight between two numbers (a 5lb range), but I am striving to find the right balance. And given that many of the blogs I follow show delicious, yet healthy, meals (especially breakfast), it's really testing me! I'm still staying active in terms of exercise, but I have to get my food plan down soon! That being said, I haven't gone overboard AT ALL--it's that grocery shopping guilty that's saving me--phew!

Here's a pic of my picks from WF:
Soy tempeh, Seitan, Kaia foods sprouted sunflower seeds, 2 Larabars, 4 thinkThin bars, NSA Apple Butter, and whole flaxseed.

I'm not vegetarian whatsoever, but I really enjoy the texture of tempeh, and I've had it deliciously seasoned before, so I'm hoping I can recreate something similar. And I've never cooked seitan before, but I assume it is similar, and the nutritional content was shockingly amazing. The Larabars and thinkThin bars are for adding some substance to my greek yogurt in the morning (I plan on using 1/3-1/2 a bar in a parfait-esque style); apple butter is a mix-in for my oats. And the sprouted sunflower seeds and flaxseed are also yogurt add-ins. I like options :) The squash and cucumber in the background are from a co-worker--as I was leaving work yesterday, I saw a bag filled with them that said "Help yourself!" Don't mind if I do!
Yum!
The squash has already been sliced and roasted. At 9 am. That's because my second test is this darn Central Virginia heat--today there's a heat advisory because it's supposed to reach 98 degrees (add at least 5 degrees more, as usual, for an accurate high)! In fact, apparently it's supposed to reach a record high today--and keep in mind I don't have AC!! That being said, I'm pounding out this blog then retreating from my apartment. Anyway, in addition to the squash, I cooked these suckers up:
Gonna be delish!
I have my momma to thank for these babies! I put the salmon fillets in aluminum foil pouches with some Mrs. Dash Herbs & Garlic and a generous amount of lemon juice and threw them in the oven with my squash. The tuna I cooked on the stove top with a bit of olive oil, Mrs. Dash citrus, and cooked them hopefully no more than a rare to medium-rare temperature. That's the only good way to eat tuna steaks, in my opinion!

Oh before I forget, I have to backtrack a bit to my weekend! I promised I would add some pics from my hiking adventure with my friend Kelsey and her friend Elizabeth. We hiked Humpback Rocks, which is part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, early on Sunday morning. It's not too long of a hike, but it is elevated. Not terrible, but not easy. Let me tell you something--it was SO worth it! The views were breathtaking and at the top, you really feel like a daredevil standing on the cliff-like rocks! Of course, I left my camera in the car (WHAT WAS I THINKING?!) so the two pictures I have are from Kelsey's camera:
Kels & Me

The 3 of us--we made it!
Kelsey is really outdoorsy, so she's hiked this numerous times. Since Elizabeth was just visiting, it was her first time on the trail, as well as mine. Even though I own hiking boots (I got them for a weekend camping trip a couple of years ago, and have to get my use out of them). That being said, I really want to start trailblazing  hiking more!! Obviously not with weather as HOT as today...

And a view from the scenic outlook on Afton Mountain on the way back:
I love the mountains in this one!
And of course I can't go anywhere without taking a sky/weather pic!
Well, I think I'm gonna head up to Target and wander around for a while in their nice AC. I'll leave you with a pic from one of my last trips up there:
Not a fan of this water--too "sweet"!
There! I think that makes up for my lack of pictures at the end of last week! Now please help me out a bit: How should I balance my diet since I'm not in prep?? I'm having a hard time justifying eating some things, but I don't want to stick to chicken & broccoli (or eggs & oats) all the time!

Have a fabulous Tuesday!!


P.S. I'm thinking of doing a show November 19th--but not setting anything in stone quite yet! I need to see how the new job & new job title treat me :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Stress-free Saturday!!

Wow, just wow! I feel SO undeniably privileged to have (virtually) met all of you readers/commenters! I don't know what I would do without you. I'd probably still feel like a mopey failure. You're comments have been so encouraging and understanding and I just love you all to death!

You all will be glad to know that I'm feeling So much better! Almost 100%! It really is unfortunate when you expect to be in one place in your life at a certain time and you don't quite make it there. But you know what they say: "If at first you don't succeed, try. Try again!" That's exactly what I'm doing. And notice that the quote doesn't say anything about failure. It's because not succeeding is not the same as failing. And I have come to understand that. And accept that.

I'm not a failure, I just need more time. I need more time financially and, let's be honest, mentally too. It was a very ambitious thing for me to choose this figure competition path during my last semester of college. Maybe a little too ambitious. That's not to say that I regret it, because I don't. If you remember, I chose training over my (former) sorority, and it was a good decision for me! I feel the healthiest I have since my senior year of high school, and honestly, I think I saved money making this decision. If I hadn't chosen this lifestyle, I would have blown spent copious amounts of money boozing it up at the local bars every night. And no, I'm not joking. Okay, well maybe every other night.

I've taken this as a learning experience--what I know is that I want to compete before the year ends. 2011 will be the year I choose to compete! What I don't know is when. I'm looking into shows, but I am not setting a date as of yet. I'm taking a couple weeks to mentally rest (and financially recuperate!). I still plan on hitting the gym twice a day most days. By now, it is habit, and I kind of really enjoy my 5:30am crowd (though maybe I'll push it back a half hour some days). I am not following a prep diet, but I am eating clean...with the exception of the Ben & Jerry's Late Night pint I have sitting in my freezer (but I promise I've only eaten 3 bites! That thing better last me a week of nibbling, it's so caloric!). I'm making smart choices. I'm going to take this time to build more muscle (or pseudo-perfect what I already have).

Also, my mom is no longer mad at me!! I think she was just worried that I did not have my priorities in order and I was making the figure competition my first priority when finding a job/making an income should be my first priority. She also thinks I've been blaming my problems on her, which I want to make sure that it's known that I don't. My mom is very supportive--she always has my back, even when I think the rest of my family thinks this lifestyle is crazy/I'm crazy. And of course she loves me (and not just because she has to)! I got to talk to her today, and it helped that I got the job offer from the new downtown restaurant! You're reading the blog of a future cocktail server! Okay, it sounds lame...but I promise it's better than it sounds. But of course that doesn't start for a couple weeks (same time that my LOFT promotion will start taking effect). So my life IS coming along...in 2 weeks!

And: about my fear of losing credibility--I'm not. I talked to Kevin and I told him I was worried he thought I was wasting his time. He assured me that's not the case. Phew! He was very understanding of the fact that sometimes life gets in the way. And he said exactly what you all said--there are going to be plenty more competitions. I need to make sure I'm in a good place to do one.

Anyway, it's getting a bit late and I'm going hiking bright & early in the morning at Humpback Rock--which I've never done before! But I just wanted to keep you all up-to-date with everything since my last post and let you know I'm in chipper spirits!! I'll return to my normal picture-laden blogging tomorrow or Monday. Until then, enjoy your weekend!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Terrible Thursday

Forewarning: Very Heavy Post. This is not a pity post, but an honest post.

Before I even start to explain, I should probably mention that I've been up to my eyeballs in stress these past several couple weeks. When I left for Syracuse, it was a rushed decision, and one that I do not regret because it was an opportunity to spend time with family. However, in order to do so, I had to forfeit my work shifts for a week, which meant no income last week. For someone that just graduated less than 2 months ago, that's a big deal and a big sacrifice of money. I can honestly say I've spent less in the past 2 weeks than I have during any other ONE week period I can think of recently. The money I did spend went to groceries and gas. Nothing else (aside from a much-needed replacement shower curtain).

Well I've already been stressing the costs of the competition at the end of the month, which just seem to keep adding up and adding up and adding up and.... However, if you had asked me in May if I though I would financially be where I am now, I would have said no. To be honest, I didn't know where I would be, but I do know I thought it would be doable. It would be my one last hurrah for a while. I don't go out and spend a lot of money. In fact, if I was living my old blitzed lifestyle, I would be more in debt. I rarely go out to eat, and when I do, it's when someone else is paying (mom). I do suppose I've spent more on gas this summer than I have in the past because I actually have time to go home more while I've been job searching.

But long story short, I am, unfortunately, financially not ready for this competition on July 30. I knew getting into this sport that it would be costly--I was 100% aware of this, and because of that I have made sacrifices. I no longer spend copious amounts of money on clothing from LOFT. I no longer go out drinking every (other) night. I haven't gotten a hair cut since...I don't remember, it's been that long! My graduation gifts were directly related to me competing. I've put all this energy into this only to have to once again postpone it. Hopefully just until August. Early September at latest. I have 2 shows that I'm pondering.

I just feel like I'm letting everyone down. It's not even that I feel like I'm letting myself down, but I feel like I've made this HUGE mess out of everything. Between the date changes made by the federation promoting the show(s) and the necessary competition changes made by me, I feel like The [Girl] Who Cried Wolf. I want this more than anything, but I keep (in my mind) seeing my credibility dwindle more and more. Just yesterday, The Bestie's mom said her and her husband would love to be in the audience for my show. It was that extra bit of motivation I needed to work that much harder these next three weeks. And I was prepared for it. I even told Kevin to kick my butt that much more.

Just like that rock that hit my windshield on Tuesday, something came at me this morning that I didn't see coming. This is a little personal to share on here, because I already feel like a failure (hopefully temporarily) as is, but I had to call my mom to dig me out of a financially sticky situation this morning. She's not happy, I'm upset, and my bank account is practically useless. I've been postponing this post all day today because I don't know what's coming next and I want to know. I don't like the unknown. The only surprises I like are of the gift variety.

I keep doubting all my recent decisions--like staying in Charlottesville versus moving home--although I know I am much happier here than I would be at home. I feel guilty for staying. And I never thought I would feel this way. My mom doesn't like my tentative plans for the next year, and worse than that--she thinks I've been spending too much time and energy working toward my figure competition goal and not enough time job hunting. I haven't put nearly as much money into the competition as she thinks (hence me being financially unprepared for it), and the energy/time I put into it is well before business hours. Pretty much, she thinks I've been BSing up here and I'm just going to continue to not know what I want to do. She keeps pushing me to do find a full-time job, take classes, find a graduate program. She wants me to do it all, but I don't think she understands that it takes time. Meanwhile, I'm caving under pressure, waiting for things to fall into place and instead they are falling to pieces. I'm drowning in life.

I know everyone says it will all come together. And that I shouldn't stress, shouldn't worry, and it will be okay. But I have yet to see that. This is the most self-doubt I have experienced in recent memory (perhaps in life). So bottom line: the July 30th show is a no-go and I'm so so so sorry that I just seem to be dragging this competition out. I honestly thought, if you had asked me back in March, that I would have already stepped foot on stage by now.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Like A Rock Hitting A Windshield

It's appalling. I can't believe the court system in Florida. I really hate to get all political and put my opinions about this matter out for all to read on my blog, but I'm just in shock! All the evidence points to guilty--SHE lied, her mom lied, they found post-mortem DNA evidence in her trunk, the list goes on--and yet she's going to walk free! The only thing Casey Anthony is found guilty of? Lying to police officers. Is she going to serve time? No. And yet every day that she walks free is another day that her little girl should be alive. But isn't. It's just so sad, and hearing/watching the verdict (while out to lunch with my mom) was hard. All this news coverage has me close to tears. 2 years old--Caylee had so much life ahead of her, and yet she doesn't get to live it. It's not fair. Life isn't fair. And yet, it seems neither is death.

As for my blog title, this also refers to this:

A rock ACTUALLY hitting my windshield on my drive to my mom's house in Virginia Beach today! This has happened to me before on the main road in Charlottesville--29N, so as soon as I heard two swift  cracks about 5-10 seconds apart, I quickly scanned my windshield. I was NOT happy with what I saw. And of course, a hauling truck was to blame. Ty's Hauling with a VA license plate of 23-226--I'll be watching for YOU!!!! I wasn't really sure what to do, and it was literally right before I was supposed to change interstates, so I slowed down to catch the license plate number and the company name. Sometimes I amaze myself at how smart I can be...or practical. I actually held it together whereas I would normally burst into tears, but I was on a mission. The only problem--this truck driver was an Ass with a capital "A." First, he slowed down when I slowed down (and no, there was no speed limit change). Then, he got in the FAR left lane, as I was in the far right line (once again about to switch interstates), so as to avoid me! I know he knew what I was doing. I also think he knew that some of his "haul" got loose. Luckily (and I say this relatively), I was able to get the info I needed, switch interstates on my correct route to Mom's, and give her a call. This is word-for-word what I said when she answered:
"Mom, I need you to write this down NOW. Virginia license plate 23-226. Ty's Hauling."
I went on to explain what happened and she hung up with me and called the company. Did you know that apparently these sorts of companies are not responsible for damage done by their haul? How annoying is that?! Apparently they are considered "road hazards." To which I respond: if they are hazards, WHYYYY are they allowed on the road?? Come on now people! Fortunately, the crack did not spread, and my insurance will cover it. And fortunately, they will be making a house call while I'm dress shopping with The Bestie, so I won't have to wait around all day. Sorry Mom--but thanks for waiting around for me! Sigh.

A trip to Trader Joe's was just what I needed to get my mind off the unfortunate, aforementioned events of the day. I stocked up on TJs unsweetened vanilla almond milk, TJs greek yogurt, seaweed snacks, TJs green salsa, almonds (to restock the "community" stash at LOFT), TWO POUNDS of oatmeal (nom nom nom), and broccoli slaw for my green veggie tonight. You know--all the essentials :) Perfect timing, because I just ran out of oats this morning, after making this concoction:
Soak oats in stale coffee overnight...
Shed a tear over the last 1/4c oats...
Play paparazzi to The Oats (yup, they're celebs in my house)
...Add Walden Farms no cal (etc) chocolate syrup, a packet of stevia, and bake in the oven at 375 for 35 minutes. Bonus point if you multi-task by taking your post-gym shower while they are cooking. When they're done, get ready for some lovin' from the oven! I imagine that it's like an oatmeal form of a mocha frappucino (never a big fan of the chocolate Starbucks drinks). Delish!


For the rest of the night, I get to spend some time with these adorable guys:
Murdoch being... Murdoch!
Archie begging my momma for some popcorn,
I mean... puppy treats!
I don't mention much of Murdoch, but he is my mom's dog. When I first got Archie, I sent my mom the CUTEST pic of him curled up on my bed tired from the "long" hour drive home and lonely from being separated from his siblings. After the initial "Liz, please don't tell me you got one of those puppies," she called me back about 10 minutes later saying:
"Are there still any puppies available? Can you please call them and say your mom wants one too?? He's SOOO adorable! Are they all colored like that? How much was he? He's sooooo cute!!"
So yes, we are now a complete family! A week later, I picked up the other little guy, Murdoch (then unnamed), for my mom. While Archie has a bit more personality/is a bit more energetic, Murdoch enjoys long walks along the road, napping in front of the front door, and snaking his way in the grass along his belly trying to find a cool spot. He's the teddy bear. Archie is the bunny. And they are so hilarious together!

Well there you have it! Now, I'm off on a run, and for the rest of the evening I get to sit through my mom jokingly mention my ex, trying to get a reaction out of me and try to convince me to join match.com. Apparently, since she's buying me groceries tomorrow (Hello, CHICKEN!!), this is the price I have to pay. She literally said that: "Since I'm buying you groceries..." Small price--it's not like I have to do anything besides bear with the crazy talk ;)

LOVE YOU MOM!

Monday, July 4, 2011

(Not As) Productive Weekend!

Hey friends! Happy 4th of July! Today is also my grandma's birthday, so I need to call her soon here. But anyway, here's a recap of the weekend for you. P.S. This is what happens when I don't outline my video blogs. But I think I hit on all the major things...

video


Also, how cute is Google today?? LOVE!

Here's my take on a patriotic outfit--rocking the red pumps, white iphone, and blue chambray dress (& nails now)!
Note to self: Windex mirror!
I fully realize (now) that this dress makes me
look like I have a huge belly... I don't, promise!
How did you spend your long weekend?? Did you wear patriotic colors or were you lame (kidding!)? Dish please!