Wednesday, June 30, 2010

well, wouldn't ya know, i made something.

too bad i don't have photos to show you yet. but i leave on Friday for Deutschland, and i'm hoping to gather enough pictures of my creations while we're there to provide you with a pretty peek into my very rare moment of productivity. new items may or may not include:

- brand new tote bag
- brand new cross-body bag
- brand new totally easy knit skirt
- brand new elastic waist skirt (yes, that kind everyone is crazy about. let me tell you: i now TOTALLY GET IT.)
- refashioned skirt made from and old pair of dress pants
- thrifted tank that needed mending after the stupid thrift store tag ripped a hole in it (staples? really. get with the times.)

but for now, i have a question or two to pose for our live audience.

first of all, has anyone ever traveled with sewing supplies? the last time i took a quick trip next door to Michigan, i left my emergency sewing kit and embroidery at home. but now that i'm likely to spend 16 hours on an airplane trying to distract myself from the complete and total terror of speeding over the ocean in a metal tube, i'd like to bring my happy toys along in my carry on. i've read on the TSA site that knitting needles, needlepoint items and some scissors are now allowed. has anyone tried to travel with items like this recently? how about the return flight from Germany? are they as strict with travel regulations as we are here? i welcome all informed thoughts and advice on the topic.

i want to be entertained, but i don't think i could live with myself if My Baby was ever confiscated at security:
photo courtesy of

my next question is for the craftiest of you. you see, a few weeks ago i was cleaning our bright white new kitchen sink with that handy spray cleaner, and about a half hour after admiring its gleaming wonderfulness, my husband casually asked "Hey, is that supposed to be there?" He pointed cavalierly at my favorite skirt, no, MY FAVORITE SKIRT, THE MOST FAVORITE, ALL-TIME FAVORITE, THE ONE THAT I HAD TO LOSE WEIGHT TO FIT INTO THAT FIT SO PERFECTLY FOR ONE WEEK BEFORE THIS DREADED DAY. and yes, i couldn't deny it: THERE WERE BLEACH STAINS. i cried. i'm not kidding. it might've been a slightly unstable day in general, but i wept like an overtired child who had just had his Huffy stolen from the bike rack at the local pool. no joke. of all the clothing i've ripped, altered or ruined over the years, this was BY FAR the most devastating. i don't think i'm still quite over it. anyhow, i've documented the carnage: 

being a spry, developing refashionista, i've done a lot of thinking on this. my first thought was to merely shorten the skirt, make it a little sassier, and remove the problem altogether. but you'll notice that the cargo pockets sort of impede a process like that. (and who wants to walk around with amputated cargo pockets? i know i sure don't.) every online forum advises the use of some kind of wacky markers to color in the bleach spot. this sounds too much like puffy paint for my comfort. my thought now is to try to dye the skirt entirely, hoping to cover the bleach spot. i wouldn't even mind trying out a deep indigo-navy color, in fact. has anyone tried dying stained clothing before? how did it go? did the bleached out portion take the dye the same as the rest of the garment? i'm wondering if i'll need to strip the color of the entire skirt before beginning the dying process. my fear is weakening the fibers, but maybe there's a safe way to remove the current color before re-dying. 

so with that, i'll leave you, Internet, to flood the comments section with your infinite wisdom.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

my first race!

yesterday, at roughly 3 pm, i got an invitation to run a 5k along the lakefront. my first race! in 4 hours.


"but i am so unprepared! i probably don't even have clean clothes!" i sure didn't, and i sure didn't have weather-appropriate clothes for the sweltering heat we've been suffering lately. i don't even own a pair of shorts. (or a cute running skirt. i gotta get one of those! so cute!) but i figured if i was going to do it, i might as well get tricked into it at the last minute, or i might never get around to it.

i had run about 2.75 miles the day before with my good friend Katie, in about 85-90 degree weather, mostly in the hot sun and wicked humidity. i figured i had run a 5k accidentally by myself one lovely Saturday, and this icky run only supported the idea that i could probably pull it off. The Hubs was SUPER supportive. he even came home, drove me to my friend Meagan's house to meet her on time to register for the race, crashed his computer and lost lots of important documents in the hurry to get out the door, stood around surrounded by bugs while we ran, awkwardly managed not to be the center of attention, and even remembered the camera when i had forgotten it! srsly guys, he is such a keeper. ♥

anyway! it was awesome! i ran really, really slowly. more slowly than usual even for me, more slowly than about half the participants over the age of 75, but i did it! and i felt pretty good about running the whole thing. even The Hill. even as i watched lots of people my age stop and walk along the way. even as side stitch kicked in at mile one, and i almost saw the whole thing slip away from me.

there was one woman along the route who was volunteering and cheering for us as we ran. she kept saying as people passed, "you're runners. that's what you are now." and as much as i am usually the one rolling my eyes at syrupy comments like that, this one really hit me. maybe it was the lack of oxygen getting to my brain, but that was so encouraging to hear. i was doing it! officially!

my friend Meagan, who spurred me on to race, even with so little notice, ran with me all the way. she, who has run marathons and triathlons and skis the top part of the mountain where the real lifts don't even go, stuck by my side the whole way. sharing stories about bad dates and awkward folks, keeping my mind occupied and my feet plodding along. and eventually the side stitch faded, The Hill was behind us, and it was all over! and i felt amazing! and i may have placed 600th out of 700-something, but now i have a time to beat! 34:02, to be exact.

"this is how it all starts," our friend Travis said to me as we got ready for the race. turns out he's right, i'm totally hooked! and i've already recruited a small army of first-timers and fellow runners to join me next time. i might even give them a whole day's notice first. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

guess who sucks at blogging?

hey now, let's not go pointing fingers.

but the truth is, i totally slacked on that previously promised Popeye recipe. i'll get to it, jeez. probably next week. maybe the following. ... we'll see where i can fit it in, between the work deadlines, self-made sewing deadlines, Father's Day, Jury Duty and packing for Germany. :)

in the meantime, i stumbled across this today. i haven't tried it yet, but i fully intend to (maybe sooner than i post that recipe for Popeye Salad, even! ha!) looks super yummy and refreshing.

Big thanks to the folks at 30 Bucks a Week, you always have the most intriguing recipes! Can't wait to try this one.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

celebrate good times, come on.

so often i find so much inspiration in others' daily struggles and triumphs.

here, a recent bloggyfriend (with a snazzy name, i might add) is taking a second to celebrate a year of healthier living. i couldn't NOT take time out to give her props for all her hard work and obvious accomplishments. i mean, what kind of fellow striver would i be? GIANT congrats!!! to Erin of Luck & Bliss for a year well lived. keep kicking ass, sister!

and while we're at it, her enthusiasm and much-deserved self-props has reminded me that i hit a bit of a milestone this week as well. (and i didn't even share with you all--shame!) now, see how those green and orange lines cross below? yeah, that's my muscle mass kicking the flabby ass of my body fat percentage. it's true, i'm now officially more muscle than fat. things can only look up from here, right?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Operation Salvage Lunch: SUCCESS!

we had a bit of a Diet Meltdown last night, folks. since starting this journey in November, i've developed a real Been There, Done That, Regretted It Later, Moved On mentality. some days are really good and people leave lots of happy comments ... and other days you try to make turkey burgers.

let me explain: i've had this plan of making turkey burgers for some time now. i've accumulated a small collection of recipes, ranging from Seemingly Bland to French Onion Soup Mix, Yum! but had yet to try any of them. while trying to consider the particular tastes of my current housemates (Husband and Sister. always teaming up against me. srsly all day long with the teaming up. against me.) i found a recipe that sounded pretty good: Skinny BBQ Turkey Burgers*! and to think, it was delivered directly to my inbox. by Jillian Michaels herself! i had decided it was fate. we were having Skinny BBQ Turkey Burgers that night.

folks, i've tried a lot of recipes in my time, some good, some mediocre, but not since The Great Botched Waffle Breakfast of 2006 have i experienced such total catastrophic kitchen failure. i'll spare you some of the gory details, but the night went something like this:

1. double the recipe, in order to use the whole 2.5-pound container of ground turkey purchased from Sam's Club. (i've gone over it and over it, and so far i'm pretty sure this is my only mistake. why we needed to use that whole container i have no idea. i blame it on post-workout brain.)
2. follow the recipe, completely and precisely.
3. comment that the burgers seem a little soft, maybe they need to be chilled.
4. 20 minutes or so pass, burgers are still more like ... lumps of pancake batter.
5. decide to try to grill pancake batter. FAIL.
6. move grilling surface indoors, to trusty electric pancake griddle.
fast forward through the next couple hours, wherein much crying, shouting, carmelizing, vague threats, comparisons to meatloaf and gagging ensues. 2.5 pounds of Skinny BBQ Turkey Burger Pieces (minus a small amount that was choked down) is thrown away, never to be spoken of again. ... okay, so i had to come clean first. then we'll never speak of this again.)
10. drive to mall, purchase Rocky Rococo's for Husband, Berry-Cabernet and Chocolate-Raspberry gelato for Sister, and Grapefruit-Sage and Pineapple gelato for me.
"but i thought you were on a sweets ban until you leave for Germany!"

ahhh... much better. so there you have it. win some, lose some, eh?

anyway, so considering i had planned on eating leftover Skinny BBQ Turkey Burgers for lunch the next day, and had no alternative lunch plan, i wisely boiled up a few eggs to tide me over for lunch and breakfast for the next few days. "i'll have a yummy Popeye Salad**," i told myself. (Note: This is a much toned-down representation of this event. Details such as crying, whining, gagging, self-pity and panic have been left out because the writer is in extreme denial about her ability to emotionally cope with The Diet.)

so when i got to lunchtime and realized the ingredients for said Popeye Salad were lacking, i did not panic, no. i IMPROVISED. (see! progress!) considering i only had a little bit of spinach left in the fridge, i figured we'd have to sway from the original salad concept and get creative. i was lucky to find one last remaining pita left. (they're these yummy whole grain Kangaroo pouchy things my dear friend Meagan told me about that you can get in the deli aisle. so yummy and only include a few very healthy ingredients. would highly recommend!) enter: the best lunch rescue idea to date. here's what i did:
1. chopped up 1 hard-boiled egg, tossed out half the yoke. mixed together with a little bit of cottage cheese and seasoned with pepper. voila--instant egg salad! (or at least close enough!)
2. stuffed pita with spinach, tomato slices and egg salad-like mixture.
3. served with baby carrots, cucumber slices and one big hot serving of HELL YEAH.

sometimes it's the little victories in life that keep us going, no?


* clearly, i would not recommend you use this recipe. i should have known, after reading the part where the recipe writer suggests sauteeing onions in the microwave. feel free to leave lots of nasty comments, though! (what? i'm not bitter. i swears...)
** recipe for Popeye Salad coming soon in this week's Salad of the Week feature! get pumped, it's a keeper! :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

happy birthday, Beage of My Life!

yes, folks. today is the day my most favorite person in the world wiggled his way into existence, later to become the force he is to be reckoned with today. is there any greater cause for celebration? i submit that there is not!

if any of you know me at all, you must know, at least to a small degree, how ridiculously crazy i am for this man, what with this big, sturdy self, his yummy smell (while clean, of course) and duh, The Hair. but not only is he scrumptious and has the unanimous vote of my favorite hair salon as being The Guy Who Will Still Be Hot When He's Old and Gray (i prefer Regal), but he's also bright, witty, discerning and endlessly supportive of me and all my antics. like last night when he faithfully tried his best to grill what was, in short, the most disastrous attempt at turkey burgers in recorded history. AND THEN HE EVEN ATE A BITE. if any of you knew how persnickety he is about the foods he will allow into his body, you would realize what a remarkable sacrifice this was for him.

he's even taken to running with me lately, in my ridiculous quest to someday run a 5k. outdoors. i know, i know, it seems impossible. but with his encouragement and companionship, this has so far proved to be a pretty fun journey. and if his track record so far is any indication, have very high hopes for the future.

i'm so glad he was born, and perhaps even more glad he's chosen me as his partner and teammate. (how unworthy i feel sometimes!) i've never had a better friend.

happy birthday, my Sweet Beage! long may you run. ♥

plants, hiking, etc. 004

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

even my sewing has become more athletic.

i realized this last night as i was cutting fabric while standing. you see, the best area i have to cut fabric in my sewing area is on the floor, on one of those hard plastic mats people buy for their home offices for their rolly office chairs to roll around on, unencumbered by some pesky carpet. (ours was inherited from my inlaws, naturally, along with most other awesome items we own.) so last night i was trimming about 8 inches off the hem of a giant House on the Prairie skirt i was altering down to a cute, summery skirt. and as i cut and cut along my little chalk line, i realized i was not sitting or kneeling on the floor as usual, but standing, in Row or Wall Sit position, carefully slicing through my fabric as if this was of course the way most people cut their fabric. add this to the list of strange habits i've accumulated since starting to work out with Ryan and Meagan.

anyway! last night i finally let go of the safety, security and TV screen of my beloved treadmill and convinced my husband to go running with me. OUTSIDE. we did 2 miles plus a touch of warm-up and cool-down walking, and a couple minutes walking in between miles. it went pretty well, considering all the blisters and trickery. yeah, BLISTERS! i've never had blisters from running before, not ever, not even once. from hiking, maybe. or wearing shoes inappropriate for the occasion. but never from running. not even in my Not Running Shoes. but yesterday there were blisters. but nothing was quite as embarrassing as my sweet husband's challenge to improve my already quite impressive 12-minute mile (har har.) he was so encouraging! and ran with me all the way! pushing my pace, cheering me on. "we're at 7 minutes so far! i think you can finish this mile in under 10! let's do it!" and as i huffed and puffed and plodded up the final small hill and rounded the corner, i gasped "what's my time? what's my time?" "... *sigh*." "what? what is it?" he hung his head a little. "12 minutes."

for all you planning on signing up for a 5k race with me anytime in the future, keep this story in mind.

so in celebration of my very brave Running Outside, here's a peek at my food journal from yesterday. i had  a pretty good day, considering it was the first day after a long weekend, which usually means i'm disorganized and not quite ready for the week ahead. i think it might have been because i felt so guilty for eating ALL THAT JALAPENO POPPER DIP on Memorial Day. i wasn't going to tell the internet about that, but my shame over eating something (SO MUCH of something) containing mayonnaise (horror of horrors!) took over and now it's too late.

Supplements: pro-biotics, post-workout recovery
Activity: ran 2 miles outside w/ Adam! walked for 2-3 mins between each mile

Meal 1:    oatmeal topped w/ cinnamon & 1 white peach, sliced
Meal 2:    banana
Meal 3:    OMG SO HUNGRY MUST HAVE MORE PROTEIN EARLY IN THE DAY. 1/2 leftover grilled, marinated chicken breast w/ avocado, romaine salad w/ tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers & balsamic vinaigrette
Meal 4:    almonds, carrots
Meal 5:    burger w/ feta, black bean salsa & avocado, huge romaine salad w/ tomatoes, cucumber, red onion & homemade healthy ranch dressing
Meal 6:    1/2 glass unsweetened chocolate almond milk