Tag Archives: musings

25 Days of Good Deeds for Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy December, guys! It is, hands down, my absolute favorite month of the year. You know, just in case you hadn’t caught that.

It has:

  • my birthday
  • my mom’s birthday
  • Christmas Eve
  • CHRISTMAS! (my favorite holiday ever!)

(source)

  • Christmas songs
  • Christmas gifts
  • Christmas movies
  • Christmas cookies (can you tell I like Christmas?)

(source)

  • holiday parties
  • holiday decorations

(source)

  • family and friends that I barely see because I live across the country
  • vacation (!)
  • New York City (woo!)
  • New Year’s Eve (although… eh)
  • people saying “Happy Holidays”
  • Peppermint Mochas
  • peppermint flavored everything
  • snow (well, when I go home… hopefully!)

(source)

….and SO MUCH MORE!

One of my very favorite things about this time of the year is the HOLIDAY SPIRIT. Today, I read an article that came out on Yahoo! listing 10 inspiring acts of 2010 (including our very own healthy living blogger Caitlin and her hugely successful Operation Beautiful!). One of the inspiring acts listed was about another blogger, Secret Agent L, who has a blog about doing good deeds. She has inspired so many other people to do good deeds for others.

So, I decided I wanted to jump on the bandwagon. In light of my favorite holiday, I’d like to do 25 days of good deeds for Christmas.

Not only will I post a good deed per day, but I also want you all to join in! You don’t have to do one every day (though, I mean, I’d love if you did!), but I want to hear about all of them. Leave a comment to let me know what you did, and if you’re a blogger, I’d love if you posted about it and then linked to your post! At the end, if there are enough other posts about this, I’ll put together a post linking to all of your good deeds. 🙂

Today, my good deed was pretty small. Someone at my company is having a stressful day, so I left him a tower of his favorite snack and put a smiley face post-it on top.

So, did you do a good deed today?

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Thankful

I am thankful for a beautiful, strong, supportive and healthy family.


I am thankful for my amazing friends.


I am thankful for my body, which allows me to push myself in new ways every day.

I am thankful for the little things, like Peppermint Mocha lattes and lazy Sundays.

I am thankful for my freedom and my right to speak my mind.

I am thankful for my mind, for my drive, for my energy… for my capacity to love, laugh, appreciate and to find beauty in everything.

I am thankful for this blog, all it allows and inspires me to create, and for all of you and your incredible support.


I am thankful, really, for the incredible life I have.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! See you after the tryptophan subsides. 🙂

What are you thankful for today?

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My Take

At this point in the healthy living blogosphere, there’s not much left to be said in response to this horribly offensive and frankly slanted article in Marie Claire, a magazine littered with photo-shopped pictures of emaciated models.

If you haven’t yet read it, you’ll want to, in order to understand the context of this post.

Yes, there’s a focus on food and fitness in our blogging community that some people might find “obsessive.” I can see that. After all, most of us blog daily – some of us multiple times a day – about our healthy living experiences. But – really – isn’t the point of a blog to be immediate? That’s the world we live in: one of instant access and constant updates, of smart phones, of facebook and twitter. I photograph my (almost) each and every meal and write about my each and every workout because the point of my blog is to write about a lifestyle. If I’m only posting about half of my week’s workouts, I’m only telling half the story. To call that obsessive, in my opinion, is to not fully understand the immediacy of today’s society, which is precisely the context within which blogging became relevant.

However, I’m actually getting away from my point. The implication that the overall healthy living community, supposedly led by “the big six” (which, by the way, is a term I certainly had never heard or used before, despite my loyal readership of all six blogs), is a proponent of disordered eating is extremely and ignorantly offensive.

Really, though, it’s not going to take a genius of a Marie Claire reader to see how slanted the article is and how completely wrong it is. All any interested reader has to do is to go visit the blogs listed, and they’ll see what most of us see: that these bloggers are strong, inspiring women who are, in fact, proponents of extremely healthy and balanced lifestyles.

I think it’s pretty obvious that the “journalist” who wrote this article is someone who desperately wanted a controversial article; someone who was willing to throw others under the bus, no matter how falsely represented, in order to advance her own career.

I’d like to go ahead spin this situation into a positive one by using this article as an opportunity to thank some of the bloggers who have enhanced and inspired my own healthy lifestyle.

Meghann (one of the “big six”) and Monica are two bloggers that I can honestly say are the reason I run. This activity, which has taught me so much about my own capabilities, which has become my new favorite thing, and which has given me new goals to pursue, is one that I can trace directly back to the inspiration I found in their personal running journeys.

Jenna (another of the so-called “big six”) has inspired me with her gorgeous writing and photography and her dedication to good food. She shares beautiful stories about her culinary school experience, snippets of her exciting life, recaps of her foodie experiences, and even her literary prowess. She makes me want to savor every bite that passes my lips and every moment in my day-to-day life. She makes me want to try new things.

Sarah, as I have mentioned before, has given me so much inspiration for how I want to raise the children I hope to someday have. I so admire the way in which she is raising her girls to have positive self-images and positive relationships with food. She is also, by the way, hilarious.

Allie and Julie have, even though it’s silly, reminded me that it’s okay to dip my finger in the peanut butter jar. In other words, they remind us to simply have fun with and enjoy the food we eat! I don’t hear any self-loathing or calorie counting here.

Caitlin (yet another of the “big six”) started an entire movement about loving and appreciating ourselves. It’s swept the country and has made countless women feel empowered. Enough. Said.

Gina has taught me about a variety of different eating  and lifestyles – including raw and vegan – while never once making me feel bad about making choices other than the ones that work for her. She encourages balance and true comfort with personal life choices and I find that incredibly motivating. She is also one of the most absolutely positive forces out there in the blog world and I love reading her posts because of her happy outlook.

Heather has taught me, amongst so many other things, not to fear fats. This is now a part of my lifestyle that I encourage to other people. Good fats are good for us. They help us absorb nutrients. I’m sure I’ll write more on this at another time.

The other Heather (another “big six”-er) reminds me most of myself, and it’s really nice to see a girl out there who’s just living her journey, one day at a time. Plus, reading about her path to marriage is pretty fun, too! I think it’s almost funny how deeply her words were taken out of context. Funny… if it weren’t so offensive and frustrating.

Rachel reminds me that we all have to be ourselves, whether people like it or not. Her life lessons are words to live by – and they’re fun to read, at that.

Tina, Kath (the last two of the “big six”) and Emily motivate me, on a daily basis, to explore new and exciting ways to prepare my food. Their uses of whole and healthy foods in an incredible and thoughtful variety of delicious recipes has actually sculpted the way I eat today.

… and I’d say I lead a pretty healthy, balanced, and truly happy lifestyle. There is literally nothing about how I live that I would consider to be “disordered.”

So thanks, Marie Claire, but no thanks. No thanks especially to your “related articles,” as linked to on the article in question. No thanks to your “Girl’s Guide to Detoxing,” (my liver does that for me, thanksverymuch), no thanks to your “Your Body Makeover: Virtual Weight Loss Tool” (“What would you look like if you lost ten pounds?”), and no thanks to your “From Fat To Fitness Blog(oh, THE IRONY).

I think I’ll just stick with my blog roll.

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Blackbird, Fly

All day yesterday, I could not stop listening to “Blackbird.”

I moved onto other Beatles songs for a while, thinking variety would be good for me, but I keep coming back to “Blackbird.” It says home to me, and home is the only place in the world I want to be lately.

My dad plays guitar. He’s really very good, especially when he actually sits down and warms up into it. One of my favorite things about being home is that, at any given time during the day, it’s fair game that you might hear guitar strums coming from the family room. All too often, almost without fail, the first chords of “Blackbird” will be heard. It’s my dad’s go-to song.

I would give anything to be home, curled up on the sofa in the family room, listening to my dad play guitar, chiming in by singing along once he moves in on “Penny Lane.”

It’s really hard, sometimes, to be 3000 miles away from my family.

And so, what did I do with an evening to myself, when I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts and wanted to feel like I’m at home?

I baked.

I missed my sister last night so much that it hurt and, as a result, I wanted to bake her specialty. So, blogworld, I bring you… my sister’s famous blondies. I don’t know where the recipe came from. I don’t know when it started to be a regular recipe in our house, or when it started to become “Sam’s.” All I know is that it’s the blondie recipe we’ve been making for years and that nobody makes them better than Sam does.

No doubt, my batch wouldn’t even compare to one she could make. And, if my brother were out here in California to taste them, he’d make sure I knew that. It’s a running joke in our family. 😉

No KWH-ifying this time. I wanted them to taste just like home.

Sam’s Famous Blondies


makes 9 bars

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 extra large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch chips
  • 2 tbs unsifted all-purpose flour (to be used separately from the flour above)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9×9 baking pan.

Thoroughly mix the 3/4 cup of flour and all of the baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Toss the chocolate and butterscotch chips with the separate 2 tbs of flour. Set aside.

Whisk together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg yolk and vanilla in a bowl.  Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture. Add chips. Stir to form a batter.

Pour and scrape the batter into the pan. Spread evenly.

Bake for 25 minutes or until just set.

Cool and cut.

Butter and sugar make things better. In moderation, of course.

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Balance

In boot camp this morning, we worked a bit on our balance. Somehow, I managed to do a V-sit with a band around my feet, using said band to do rows.

Yea, I don’t know how I did it, either. I didn’t, however, last as long as I would have liked to. New goal!

The concept of balance has stayed with me all day.

I started the day knowing that lunch was going to be decadent. In celebration of the three-day weekend, my office kindly hosted another food truck lunch (and I actually got to eat it this time, unlike at the 4th of July event!). We had both a BBQ truck and an ice cream truck, and because they are both highly buzzed-about trucks in LA, I knew I was going to want to sample both.

To me, living a healthy lifestyle and leading a healthy living blog does not mean I have to be perfect all the time (and trust me, I’m far from it); instead, it means I strive to strike a balance in my life.

I certainly have my fair share of drinks. I skip workouts when I know don’t feel up to them (this goes both ways, too; sometimes I don’t listen to my body and end up injuring myself). I indulge in french fries or cupcakes when I decide that’s what I really want.

If I ate and acted this way all the time, I couldn’t claim to have a healthy lifestyle.

But I don’t. I pick and choose my moments.

I’d say that 95% of the time, I make the healthy choice. I do this because it makes me feel good and it makes me happy. There are definitely times when the choice is tough, but that I ultimately choose the healthy choice because I know it will be worth it later. For instance, I skipped out on a dinner I really wanted to attend this week because I knew that staying out late would conflict with a long run I really needed to do in order to feel prepared for next week’s 10K. Had I missed the run and ended up feeling under-prepared next week as a result, I would have been kicking myself for having attended this dinner. There are also times, though, that I feel as though making the “healthy” choice would be a deprivation. In those instances, I end up feeling kind of frustrated, and I don’t ever want to resent my own choices. So, sometimes when I go to a party, or when I’m at a nice restaurant, or when my office hosts a food truck lunch, I decide to indulge.

Sometimes I overindulge, and I end up regretting that. Like I said, I’m not perfect.

Today, however, is a perfect example of balance (if I do say so myself), and I’m pretty proud of myself for it.

At the gym this morning, knowing I wasn’t going to have the cleanest day of eating, I worked hard in class and on the elliptical and added an extra ten minutes to my time on the elliptical Now, those ten minutes aren’t going to do much, but they’re a good way to add a little extra to the healthy side of the scale without stressing my body out too much before the long run I have scheduled for tomorrow.

I then came home to a perfectly healthy and light start to my day of eating.

Pluot Smoothie

Into the mix went:

  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbs nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 frozen banana
  • handful fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 pluot, peeled and sliced

On top:

  • 2/3 tbs coconut butter (it would not drizzle! hmmph)
  • handful Go Lean Crunch! Honey Almond Flax

This was really light and surprisingly voluminous! I think the water-based aspect of the pluot really made a difference.

When the food truck lunch came around, I indulged, but I did not overindulge. I know that some people in the office ended up spending the afternoon feeling bloated and full. I, however, felt… pretty good! In fact, I felt really happy about what I’d eaten and the fact that I’d gotten to enjoy yummy and out-of-the-ordinary food without feeling consequences (like I did on Wednesday after those Vietnamese tofu tacos…).

The choices on the BBQ food truck were as follows:

I had originally planned on just getting three tofu tacos, but the “spicy” description scared me off. I ended up getting two chicken tacos and one tofu taco. People were raving about the short rib sliders, but I heard they were pretty heavy and I just knew those would make me feel sick.

The one on the left is the tofu taco and those two on the right are the chicken tacos. Thank goodness I ended up ordering two chicken and one tofu, because I was entirely unimpressed by the tofu taco. I ended up eating the two chicken tacos and tossing the tofu. After all, I had to save room for ice cream! 🙂

From co-worker reviews, I heard the cookie and ice cream combo was pretty awesome, so I wanted to get a taste of what everyone else was so enjoying. However, I knew I didn’t need the two cookies on an ice cream sandwich in order to grasp this concept, so I ordered a scoop of the ice cream in a cup with one cookie on top (another trick I picked up from co-workers).

The combination was of coffee-toffee ice cream (a flavor combination I love) and a snickerdoodle cookie.

It. Was. Awesome.

Overall, this was an entirely enjoyable food truck lunch. Plus, I got a sweet t-shirt (thanks, Sue!).

And, by the time 4:30 rolled around, I was totally ready for my Coffee Bean Friday picking: a regular, iced, no sugar added Vanilla Soy Latte.

Happy Friday, everyone!

10K Training Day 33

5 minutes elliptical warmup

45 minutes boot camp

45 minutes elliptical (40 min high intensity + 5 min cool down)

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September Means…

September means a lot of things.

As I’ve mentioned, it’s almost fall. And that means pumpkin is in season… starting today.

Obviously, I had to partake.

I made an extra-cinnamonny bowl of overnight oats last night and topped it this morning with nut granola, blueberries, and pumpkin butter.

Perfection. I ate this all the time last fall and having it this morning was an immediate sensory experience. Fall really is coming!

Not that I needed the reminder. September also means, as I’ve mentioned, colder weather. And darker mornings. I woke up freezing this morning! It is also much harder to wake up in the dark than it is with sunlight streaming into the room. Oh, well. I’d better get used to it.

Though I woke up in the dark, I still managed to make it to the gym for boot camp, which was happily back up to high intensity, and for which I was happily back to my own high intensity self. Our lovely fitness instructor kept shouting for us to “make it bigger!” This made me giggle all throughout the class. Silently, don’t worry. To myself.

Speaking of childish things, September means school has started (nice transition, right? I could be a talk show host). This means that there’s traffic in the mornings again (I live very near a school), but, more importantly, it means I get to listen to kids playing in the mornings as I get ready for work (I totally just wrote “school” – wishful thinking?). I like this. A lot.

A very exciting thing September means: my 10K is coming up! I am already proud of myself for being so close.

September is a new month, which means new goals. This month, I’m venturing to relax and to take charge of the things that have been bugging me. I’ve been a little tense lately. A lot of things in my life (behind the scenes of the blog) have been and are changing and, rather than taking a second to breathe and really try to handle them, I’ve just tried some combination of taking them in stride (hasn’t worked) and ignoring them (makes me tenser). Starting now, I’m going to make a sincere effort to reverse this trend.

10K Training Day 31

5 minutes elliptical

45 minutes boot camp

35 minutes elliptical

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Owning It

There is a reason for this post title, but you’ll have to wait ’til the end for me to get to it.

Both lunch and dinner yesterday were simply unimpressive, and I’ve been thinking that I’m going to start moving away from the meals that aren’t really worth blogging about. So, no need to post those.

I will say this about lunch, though: it was light… which left me craving something a little bit decadent at snack time. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to give this new (to me) bar a shot:

My general reaction is basically… ehh. Sure ,it’s full of good ingredients, and yea, it’s chocolatey… but the truth is, this bar is simply not worth the 210 calories or $2.95 per bar.

For reasons I don’t yet want to reveal (but which are pretty exciiiiting!), last night called for a last minute baking experiment.

I ended up making these guys:

They’re granola bars, if you can’t tell. I let a little too much sunlight into this picture.

However, because they aren’t yet perfect, I’m not going to post the recipe – for now! Suffice it to say that the taste is awesome (at least, I think so) but the texture and composition aren’t quite there yet. I have some more experimenting and tweaking to do before I share this recipe with you guys, but I have a feeling that you are going to love it once I perfect it.

Anyway, I want to get to the main point of this post. A very cool trend is going around the blogosphere, thanks to Rachel Wilkerson:

Bloggers all around the healthy living blog world have been “owning” things that they might otherwise feel guilty about, due to the perceptions of others. I’ve been trying to think of exactly what I wanted to add to this conversation, but it only became clear to me today. A situation brought about an understanding of exactly what I have been feeling guilty about that I now realize I just need to own.

I’d like to own the fact that I lead a healthy lifestyle, which sometimes requires that I sacrifice parts of my social life. Yes, there are times that I miss events or leave early from them because I want to stick to my training schedule. I do this because the goals I set for myself – and my efforts to meet them – fulfill me. They make me happy.

Sorry I’m not sorry.

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