Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Work Out Wednesdays: The Bad Days

There will be no numbers today. Why, you ask? Because it's been a couple of bad days.

When I started this series, I thought it would be good motivation. If it's out on the internet, someone might read it and someone might care, so I should try reaaaaaally hard. And that's still true, but it's a lot of pressure, too.

The good days are that much better. Yay! I'm proud of myself and now everyone else will be too!

But the bad days. The bad days are that much worse. And it's been some bad days.

I was doing so well before Thanksgiving. I was at my lowest weight in a long time, without extreme measures (cleanses suck). But then, a couple of bad days after Thanksgiving (I actually did pretty good at Thanksgiving dinner!) and PMS and I feel like I'm back at the beginning.

I've been working hard for four weeks and I feel like I'm back at the beginning. After four weeks of increased workouts and watching what I eat, my pants don't fit any better. I can run a little farther, but I feel the same.

I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place. I can up my workouts and watch what I eat even more closely or I can accept the body I have now and throw in the towel. It's lose-lose. I don't want to have to think about food and working out all the time. I found this blog, Undressed Skeleton, and it's full of helpful tips, but I don't want the life of the writer. I want to go to the beach and eat ice cream. I don't want to know the caloric intake off every item on the Olive Garden menu. I don't want to eat my soup with a fork since broth contains sodium.

The only way I think I can move forward is to focus on what I want rather than the numbers. The numbers are important quantifiers but it's really not the reason I'm doing all of this, right? So, here are my goals (most of which I will probably need to quantify at some later date):
  • Eat less fast-food
  • Make more home cooked meals, less prepackaged food
  • Run 5k straight on the treadmill
  • Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet
  • Be able to do a pull-up
  • Do 20 straight leg push-ups
I'm going to keep trying, at least until the new year. I need to keep trying and hoping that these last couple of days are purely a fluke. The next few weeks will be incredibly hard, but I am committed to trying. Maybe I'll even have completed a goal or two.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turtle's Last Hurrah

Since Turtle hibernates for a good portion of the year, I've been constantly checking on him lately to see if it's finally that time of year. Although I think it finally is, here are some pictures from the last time I saw him a couple of weeks ago.

He was trying to hide from me. You can't sit there, eying the petunias you can't reach, trying to avoid me. I will find your cute, tiny face.

So I picked him some flowers. Usually, he eats them up! Just inhales them! Ignored them. Went straight for my feet.


For some reason, he loves to walk over feet. I like to think it's his version of cuddling. But this is the first time he decided to use me as a tunnel. He just hung out between my feet for like 15 minutes. He's just so cute!

I'll be waiting, checking my plants for nibbles and fresh tortoise poops in the spring to signal his awakening.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Perfect Manicure!

After years of trying, I have finally achieved it! The perfect manicure! 24 hours later and not one chip!

Don't mind me as my hand attacks my face.

I'm crazy proud of myself!

Ok, here's how I did it.
  1. Cut and file nails to the perfect shape.
  2. Go pee. Eat dinner. Do anything that will require your hands in the immediate future.
  3. Pick out the perfect color.
  4. Paint on two coats.
  5. Let it dry completely. Like three hours to dry. Avoid zippers, buttons, bottles, etc. Don't poke at the little bits that end up on the surrounding skin. Just do whatever you need to to not screw them up.
  6. About an hour before heading to bed, paint on a coat of no-chip top coat. 
  7. Dip each nail in water. Then, blow dry with a hairdryer until the water beaded on the surface is gone.
BAM! Pretty, shiny nails! I'll probably top coat them every other day just to see how long I can make them last.

It's the little things people! Geez...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Well, my vacation is winding to an end. It's just so sad! Granted I don't have a full week remaining this year, but I don't want to go back to staring at a computer screen, trying to pay attention/understand what's going on in meetings, and getting up early.

I'm a sad panda...

He doesn't want to go back to work either.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

10 Tips to Get Over a Breakup

This list was posted by a guest columnist on one of my favorite sites and, let's be honest, it wasn't that innovative. It's cliched and vague and I think I can do better. So here's my list for healing, whether you were the one who chose to end things, you were blindsided, or it was fairly mutual.
  1. Don't do anything drastic. Any big changes right now are a bad idea. You may be lonely, but you may regret that new puppy really quickly. And why the sudden need to build schools in Guatemala? I'm not saying you shouldn't do these things, but wait. Wait at least a couple of weeks. Really think about why you want to do these things. Make sure your motives are true. The last you probably want is to think about your ex everytime you look at your new puppy because its fuzzy butt was a substitute for his.
  2. Get a haircut. It's a cliche for a reason; it works.
  3. Set up a reliable lifeline. Have that go-to friend who you know will be there for you when you need them. When I broke up with my ex, I had a friend who was supposed to be there for me. She was great at cheering me up and knew what a hard time I was going through. But she was also a flake. A huge flake who wasn't there for me. She cancelled our plans without rescheduling and constantly blew me off. It hurt almost as bad as the breakup. I'm not saying you should call her at all hours of the night sobbing, but you should have someone lined up for nights on the town and to rent chick flicks and do manicures. Take my word on it, someone reliable. 
  4. Take some sort of exercise class. Whether it be dance, spin, yoga, or a running or training group that meet at a local park, exercise with other people. There are a couple of reasons for a class. First, it forces you to be on good behavior. You can't break down in the middle like you might when working out by yourself. It also forces you to look a little cuter. You really shouldn't wear your crappy workout clothes out, right? And lastly, it kind of holds you accountable to working out. Say you go to the class and like it. Afterward, introduce yourself to the instructor. Introduce yourself to several people in the class. Do it each time for a couple of classes and people will start to expect you to come. Can't disappoint them, right?
  5. Get out of the house every day. EVERY DAY! Make an effort to change out of your pajamas, clean yourself up, and get off the couch. Even if it's just to get more chips from the local gas station, don't become a hermit. 
  6. Box up everything that reminds you of him. Absolutely everything. All the presents he ever gave you. The movie you used to watch together all the time. The sweater that still smells like him. Even write down his email address and cellphone number, put them in the box, and then delete the electronic copies. Now, take that box and put it somewhere you will forget about it. In the closet that you barely use. At your parent's house. In the trunk of your car. I don't care, just get it out of sight, but don't throw anything away. After two of three months, go through it. Anything that doesn't make you nausea anymore, feel free to keep, but trash what you need to. There will always be some stuff that makes you sick, but weigh its importance to you versus the negative associations. 
  7. Avoid people who ask the wrong questions. We all have those friends who, although they mean well, will probably inadvertantly make you feel crappy. "Why couldn't you make it work?" "What are you going to do to try to win him back?" "You can't just forgive him for that one, little mistake?" Why put yourself in a situation where you just want to scream, "Mind your own business, you dumb bitch!"? It's ok to avoid people. Just tell them you are a mess right now and don't want to burden them and when they are annoying and persist, avoid their phone calls. 
  8. Don't be afraid to do things by yourself. After my last break-up, I kept trying to get out of the house by inviting people to dinner and movies. When the plans would fall through, I was just left at home, feeling sad and lonely. Eventually, anytime it happened, I went by myself. It's so liberating doing things by yourself. No need to worry about laughing at the correct time or sharing the bread basket. You can see whatever movie you want. You can flirt with the cute waiter or ticket seller. Don't let your life stop because you're a single rather than a double. 
  9. Make a list of everything you want to get done. It can be long-term like 'get married and have kids' to things like 'organize my dresser', but think about what you really want. Write down at least five things and make it your goal to get one of them done within the next two months (so make sure one of them is more short-term). Focus on who you are and what you want rather than your former relationship identity and the chaos that's probably your personal life.
  10. Write down how you feel every day. For a couple of weeks, at the end of each day, write down how you feel. It doesn't necessarily need to be about the break-up, but write about whatever is on your mind. And keep it private, don't blog it or put it on facebook. Just reflect on how you feel and write it down. It's ok if you're angry or hurt or sad or relieved, but it'll help to process your emotions by actually thinking about them.
Did I miss any good ones?

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Fan of Friday: Week of 11/25/11

    Best Black Friday deal? How about Australian non-alcoholic ginger beer?

    This ginger is excited!

    And yes, my fridge is that awesome. Yours doesn't have Hello Kitty coloring book pictures and Elvis magnets?

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    The First Thanksgiving

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    We survived hosting it for the first time and it appears, so far, that we've given nobody food poisoning. It was fun, but yeah, can't say I want to do this again. Sorry Mom, you can't make me!

    But I am thankful for a lot this year. I'm thankful we have this awesome "vintage" house to host in. I'm  thankful my grandparents were able to attend (my grandpa will be 96 in a couple of weeks and my grandma will be 83). I'm thankful Dan and I both have jobs that we love in this crappy economy. I'm thankful my parents and sister live just up the street and I get to see them more often. And I'm thankful I have the world's most awesome pet, Turtle. There will be another post about Turtle soon because, well, let's be honest, I think a lot of people like reading about him more than me.

    And I'm ok with that.

    PS: Helpful Thanksgiving advice - make sure the roasting pan you borrowed from your mom fits in your tiny "vintage" oven BEFORE the morning you need to roast it...

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Work Out Wednesdays: The Credit Card System

    In honor of Black Friday, here's my new dieting strategy: the credit card system.

    Let me first say that I am much better at money than I am at dieting. Actually, I'm awesome at money. I realized that if I treat dieting like my credit card bill, I'm much better at that too.

    Ok, so let's break it down. Any extra weight I'm carrying I count as debt. At the beginning of this, I was 17.6 pounds in debt. It's earning interest and dragging me down, just like regular debt.

    I give each piece of food I eat some value. Things like salad, oatmeal, fruit, vegetables, and yogurt are all free. Anything associated with my planned breakfast, lunch, and dinner are free. That brownie that I broke down and ate? That's worth 20 minutes on the treadmill. That handful of Cheetos? An ab workout. All of this debt then goes onto my body "credit card".

    From there, I consider each day as it's own credit card cycle. It must be paid off by the end of the day to not earn interest. If I owe 30 minutes on the treadmill, I must pay up by the end of the day. I know it's weird, but for some reason, it works pretty well for me. And it's nice because it prevents me from eating really crappy at the end of the day. If I don't have the time to pay it off before bed, I can't eat it. It also takes some of the guilt away. It's ok to eat the cookie if I'm having a bad day and just need it, as long as I step up later and burn it off. Any time I manage to workout more than what I owe for the day, it reduces the long-term weight debt I'm trying to overcome.

    It's been working pretty well for me this week. This week I went from 146.4 to 145.4, a loss of one pound.

    It's not much, but it's a loss. Total, I'm down 2.2 pounds. Would I like to be down more? Absolutely, but I can't let this take over my life right now. With the time I have off right now, I should probably be doubling up on my workouts, but I wouldn't change what I'm eating. I need the energy that is not associated with extreme calorie counting.

    Anyway, I've kind of got a goal in mind now. At the end of December, I've got an informal high school reunion and I would love to be under 140. It's not an extreme goal. I just need to lose 5.4 pounds in five weeks.

    Easy peasy lemon squeezy, ignoring all the crazy holiday eating.

    Ok, nevermind. I may be screwed.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    I Get Sucked in by the Worst Things

    She used to be annoying, but you know you look forward to the commercials now.

    It's the Target Christmas Lady! I wish I had ever been half as excited about anything as she is about Black Friday sales.

    Admit it! You like her, too!

    UPDATE: We found this one last night and I have never seen Dan laugh at something as much as he laughed at this. "Her face is just hilarious." I really thought he was going to start crying. 

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Project House Update: Laundry Room

    I know I posted a couple of weeks ago how lame it is to get excited over a washer and a dryer, but apparently I'm a big old nerd.

    We finally got a washer and a dryer!

    Isn't that the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? Ignore the reflection of me in the doors...

    Anyway, we were originally looking only at white ones, that way if one of them broke, we would most likely be able to get one that matched. Then Dan found an amazing deal on these brushed steel ones and we couldn't pass it up. The rest of our appliances are brushed steel so at least they match each other.

    I can't say I do laundry more often now, but I'm so happy I don't have to trying to make two laundry baskets in my small Volkswagen and cart them over to my parent's house. I can through a load in the wash when I take my nighttime shower, then run the dryer when I get ready in the morning, and fold slightly wrinkled clothes when I get home from work. Probably not the best system, but it works none the less.

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Pet Peeve #1

    Best watch yourselves, Yankees fans.
    A lot of things annoy me, I admit it. However, whenever someone asks me what bugs me, I can never think of anything on the spot. Well, I figured I'd just write them down when I come up with one.

    Pet Peeve #1: People who think they are part of their favorite sports team. Just because they are your favorite, it does NOT mean you are on the team. Don't pretend to be the coach and talk strategy before, during, or after the game. It is NOT some sort of personal accomplishment if they win, especially if they have a fairly strong winning streak. People just think you are an ass. There. I said it. I think you are an ass.

    These may or may not be a couple of facebook statuses from one of my friends: 

         So stoked for this game! Fight on! Beat the Ducks! (And there's no way in hell we're letting
         Ucla go to the championship in our stead.)

    And I can't forget this gem:

         Loved my Trojans last night! It may have been a boring game, but we needed a boring
         game. I did manage to be awake for every touchdown, including Matty's record-breaking
         sixth! Congrats, Barkley! Now let's get ready for an exciting Homecoming game. Fight on!
         Beat the Huskies!

    Unless all your friends are fans of the exact same teams, trust me, you are bugging the crap out of someone if you act like this.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    A Fabulous Saturday

    I don't know about you, but today was a pretty good day. An especially good Saturday.

    With the craziness that's been going on with both my job and Dan's (he's finally back in town!), we rarely get a restful weekend. And this weekend definitely will be.

    As Dan slept off his late night flight, my mom and I met up to cheer on the El Tour de Tucson riders as they rode past our neighbor. It's a 100+ mile bike race around the entire city, totally screwing up traffic for hours. I was resigned to the fact that I probably wouldn't be able to drive anywhere today because the race ran right up my street. So, my mom packed up some fold up chairs and we walked to a good corner and clapped for each bicyclist.

    We were doing a really good job cheering for about half an hour when the cops started packing up their traffic directing stuff and told us that was the last of them. No more cyclists. Slight fail on our part, but at least we got to see some of them.

    The rest of my day involved watching PBS cooking shows, doing some gardening in both the front and back yards, following Dan around annoying him because I had all this pent-up annoyance to unleash, "Sweet Home Alabama" on TV, and an accidental nap.

    And most importantly, in 15 minutes, I will be eating the vegetarian version of this:

    Paula Dean's lasagna soup. Note: if making the vegetarian version by subbing in fake meat for the ground beef, it will become meat particles floating around in the soup. But it still tastes good!

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Fan of Friday: Week of 11/18/2011

    Vacation time. Plan and simple. I am a huge fan of vacation time. As of 5:00 PM today, I will officially be on my first vacation break since starting this job. Nine days of unadulterated freedom. 

    Is it just me or does this seem uncomfortable? Pokey bark and a sunburn? Pass.

    We won't be up to much except for prepping for Thanksgiving, which my husband begged to have at our house this year (train-wreck ahoy!) and working on the house. But I don't care. It'll be full of sleeping in, working out in the mornings, cooking, wearing stretchy pants.

    Just a warning, even though I promised to post everyday in November, out of shear vacation laziness, there may be a lot posts that are just a picture of an animal with some sort of "Awww..." comment. So sue me.

    Here's hoping that you have a full week off for Thanksgiving and if you don't, let's be honest, I bet your motivation is lacking at this point and you won't get much done anyway. No judgment, just speaking from experience...

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    You Have Been Warned NBC!

    NBC just announced their mid-season schedule and do you know what they did? They misplaced "Community"! It's nowhere to be found! How dare they! It's one of the most creative shows on TV right now and you just choose not to air it? What is wrong with you!?!

    Anyway, apparently there's a movement going on right now to get it back on the air by goatee-ing yourself. There was an episode recently where some of the characters created the evil version of themselves with a felt goatee (you can catch it here and, trust me, it's awesome).

    Here's Evil Carolyn, who is apparently going to a 3D movie at Disneyland.

    You know you're jealous. You can find the goatee template here. Try it out and see if you look as awesome as I do.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Work Out Wednesdays: Zumba

    I hate to admit it, but it's been a loooooong time since I've been to a good dance class and I was jonesing for one. For some reason, dance is in my blood (awww, look how cute I was?!)

    I took dance classes from about the age of 3 to 6, hence this awesome picture of me and my little sister.  From ages 14 to 19, I basically just danced in my room. The door would lock, I would blast the stereo, and just pretend I was some pop star for hours on end. It probably drove everyone else in my house insane. 

    My senior year of high school, I started to really get into Bollywood. The movies were colorful, beautiful, and musical and the food is almost exclusively vegetarian. It's like it was made just for me. Anyway, after dwelling on Indian culture for a couple of years, I decided to take an Indian dance class. However, I was dumb and thought that Indian dancing and bellydancing were the same thing. 

    After my first bellydance class, I was hooked. Every Friday night I would tie on my coin skirt and shake my hips. And I was actually pretty good at it. About a year after I started taking the class, the teacher approached me with an opportunity. She was pregnant and apparently there are moves you aren't supposed to do when pregnant, so would I be interested in being her demonstration? I would stand at the front of the class, help her teach, and show the moves her doctor wouldn't let her do. It was so much fun until she had her baby and the class just dissolved. 

    A couple of years later, I was having the dance itch again. My friend jokingly forwarded me an email for a pole dance class. She had tried it at a bachelorette party and thought I might find it entertaining. After an introductory class, I signed up for a six week course. It has to be the best arm workout I've ever had. But besides that, the bruises were horrendous and the pace of the class was just too fast for me. Even with supplemental sessions, it was just too hard for me. 

    Since then, I've been trying to fill the void. After a couple of Google searches I found a contemporary dance studio on my side of town. And wouldn't you know it, it was run by a girl I went to high school with.

    I finally got around to trying it out Monday night. I'd heard a lot about Zumba (and by heard, I mean watched infomercials) so I wanted to give it a try. I don't think I've ever felt as good or looked as worse as I did at the end of that workout. It was brutal, but so much fun. After a couple more weeks of it, I can only assume that I will be in as good of shape as the instructor. 

    If you live in Tucson, check out Steps Studio.

    So, onto the ugly stuff, my progress:

    As you can see, this week didn't go so great. I went from 145.6 to 146.4, a gain of 0.8 pounds.  I should probably be harder on myself, but I'm not going to be. I'm still down 1.2 pounds since the beginning. And there was going to be no way in hell that I had lost weight this week. Over the weekend, it was Dan's birthday and I may not be great when it comes to buying presents, but I am great when it comes to feeding him. Mmm, pizza, buffalo wings, spinach dip, cheetos, gorilla bread, IBC root beer, Texas Roadhouse, Taco Bell. Yeah, it adds up. Actually, I'm amazed I only gained the weight I did. 

    Just have to keep telling myself that it was slow to put on, so it will be slow to come off. And the holidays sure as hell won't help.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Random Fact of the Day: 11/15/11

    Did you know that when "Beauty and the Beast" was released in China, the Beast's speaking and singing voices were dubbed by Jackie Chan?

    That's just plain weird. And awesome. Jackie Chan is amazing.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    I Am Terribly Ashamed of Myself

    I don't know how it happened. I really don't know how I let myself fall for it. I thought I was smarter than this.

    Somehow, against ALL my better judgement, I am actually looking forward to the release of the next Twilight movie.

    Ugh! Don't judge me! I don't know how it happened.

    I saw the first one when I had the flu a couple of years ago. Dan rented it for me because he knew with my flu headache, I shouldn't be watching movies with loud noises and explosions. And the first Twilight is just soft music in cloudy meadows of lilac.

    And let's make this clear, I did not like the first one. Snooze fest. None of the characters were enjoyable (Pretty sure I hate Edward), except maybe the dad. And it just willy-nilly made up rules about vampires. Fine, I will accept the sparkly thing, but what happened to a wooden stake through the heart? That's just classic! The only thing good to come out of that one was the jacket Bella wore (I have it in green).

    I recorded "New Moon" on my parent's DVR just to bug Dan with it. He was miserable through the first one and I thought it would be funny to make him watch the second one with me. And, again, not good. I can't even recall what the storyline really was. Wasn't it just vampires and werewolves don't get along? Period. Only good thing from that one was a now buff Taylor Lautner.

    We finally caught up on the third one a couple of weeks ago. Again, I recorded it on my parent's DVR to torture Dan, but he just slept through it as my sister and I watched. Most of our time was spent mocking it.

    Somehow, after all these bad experiences with the franchise, the advertising for the latest one is dragging me in. I need to know what the wedding dress looks like! And the honeymoon! I need to know how the sex finally goes down. And the horrible birth! Must know!

    Don't tell anyone, but I'm secretly hoping my sister invites me to see it Friday.

    Ugh, I am so disappointed in myself.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    I Will Outsmart You, AdSense!

    Out of boredom last night, I played around with the idea of creating an AdSense account for this blog. I wouldn't place some huge, obnoxious ads all over everything, but it would be nice to slowly generate a ridiculously small amount of money if anyone accidentally clicked on them.

    Anyway, even though I did a presentation in one of graduate school classes on AdSense, it completely baffles me. It won't tell me how much it pays or what the conditions are. It's like, "Sign up and then we'll tell you." Really? You can't have a nice little table that says 2 cents for every click on a sidebar ad and 3 cents for every post ad?

    Does anyone have a clue and can help me? Is it worth it for me? What amount of traffic do you need for it to be worth it? Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse and should hold off until, I don't know, I have at least a dozen followers or some other arbitrary gauge.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Clint Eastwood is my Grandpa

    Or more accurately, my Grandpa is like Clint Eastwood. Have you seen "Gran Turino"? We watched it last night for Dan's birthday (I checked it out from the library, so it was free baby!) and Clint Eastwood is bad-ass. Just like my Grandpa.

    My Grandpa is 95 years old and always wears his rattlesnake skin cowboy boots. He golfed every other day until his doctor finally ordered him to stop a couple months ago. He's killed more snakes with golf club s than I care to admit.

    But he's also incredibly sweet and understanding. He was the first one in the family to embrace my vegetarianism, even though he raised cattle for dozens of years. He once told me how proud he  was of all his granddaughters because we had college educations so we would never have to depend on a man. He's awesome.

    Anyway, after watching "Gran Turino" last night, I came across this quote from Clint Eastwood and it's definitely something I could imagine my Grandpa surprising me by saying.

         These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don't give a fuck about
         who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We're making a big deal out of
         things we shouldn't be making a deal out of. They go on and on with all this bullshit about
         "sanctity" — don't give me that sanctity crap! Just give everybody the chance to have the
         life they want.

    Bad-ass and sweet. Just like my Grandpa.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Fan of Friday: Week of 11/11/11

    Do you remember a couple of years ago when NBC brought back American Gladiators? I loved it and I'm sad they only brought it back for two seasons (seriously, it's better than 90% of the programming they currently air). Anyway, one of the Gladiators was named Crush and she was undefeated in her tenure. She was awesome.

    Her real name is Gina Carano she's an undefeated MMA fighter. And, as of Januart 20th, 2012, she'll be a movie star. Director Steven Soderbergh handpicked her for the lead in his movie "Haywire". Basically, she plays the female Jason Bourne, only without the amnesia. It has an amazing cast, too. Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Fassbender (300, X-Men, just plain yummy).

    Anyway, Entertainment Weekly released a new trailer for it this week and I can officially say this is the first movie in a long time I'm actually looking forward to seeing.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    My Favorite Purses

    I've mentioned it before, but I love purses and over the years, I've amassed a pretty quirky collection. So without further ado, here are my seven favorite! (It was going to only be five, but I can't cut it down anymore. It's like Sophie's Choice)

    The car purse. I always take it to car shows because it has yet to start a conversation. People love this purse and they love to tell me that they love it. And it's deceptively large. I can usually fit an entire outfit in it.

    My stripper purse! I love this purse, it's probably my favorite. I've never seen any other purse like it. I always end up taking it to the most inopportune places, such as my Mormon friends' parent's house. But I did name each of the strippers! From left to right, they are Slater, Screech, Zack, and Mr. Belding. It's really hard to see in this picture, but one of the women in the audience threw her key to her hotel room onstage.

    The syphilis purse. You're either part of the problem or part of the solution. Ahh, the things you find at second-hand stores.

    The Freitag bag. Freitag is a Swiss company that recycles semi-truck tarps and seat belts into handbags. They. are. awesome! My dad brought this one back for me from Switzerland on one of his business trips. And it's waterproof!

    My French tote bag. I bought this one from my favorite toy store, which sadly recently closed its doors, Miss Tiggywinkles. Loosely translated, it says, "Candy party under the starry sky and they taste delicious". It's so cute and random and I love it. 

    My Japanese clutches. More souvenirs from my dad's business trips. These ones are small and oh so fancy. They could be from some knock off vendor on the street in front of the hotel where my dad stayed but I don't care. They're awesome and I only use them for special occasions.

    Hopefully with the holidays and my birthday coming up, I'll have some new ones to post in the New Year! (Hint, hint, nudge, nudge...)

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Work Out Wednesdays: The Pantry

    On my mission to live healthier, the first step of the journey was organizing my diet. I swear I've read somewhere that weight loss is 85% diet and 15% exercise, so it made logical sense to start with diet.

    When it comes to food decisions, I can behave for breakfast and my packed lunch for work, but I instantly derail when I get home everyday. I'm always starving and, even in the amount of time it takes to microwave a Lean Cuisine, I start grazing on the snacks in the pantry.

    In order to combat my cow-like tendencies, I organized the pantry. My logic was that once it was organized, I would be able to easily find the healthy snacks and hide the destructive ones from my line of sight without having to sadden my husband by throwing them out. I have no will-power and if I see something good, I'll eat it. I was gambling on the fact that if I couldn't see it, I would forget it was there.

    This was our pantry before. It was a mess. I tried to develop a system when we moved in but that instantly dissolved. Because of the odd shape of the pantry (who builds a triangular pantry?) and not knowing our routine and eating habits at the new house, everything became perched on the very edge of the shelves and you could never find anything easily.

    The Pantry: Before

    To battle this, first I went to Target and bought some large cereal tupperware. The cardboard boxes don't fit properly on the shelf so they end up in odd places and block off the healthy snacks. Then, I pulled absolutely everything out of the pantry. In the laundry room, I divided things into piles based on similarities. I didn't create categories until they emerged from grouping similar items, but it quickly became baking, cooking, snacks, breakfast, and random staples (mainly things that needed to be refrigerated once opened). Next, I chose shelves for them based on health and use. The cooking stuff was put at eye level so I would be motivated to make dinner rather than to eat four handfuls of Goldfish. Staples went on the bottom shelf and baking on the top since they don't get used that often. Also, once snacks went on its shelf, the cookies and brownies were hidden in the back corner.

    The Pantry: After

    This system has worked pretty well so far. I had to sit Dan down and explain to him where everything was and threaten the safety of his kneecaps if he dared screw it up. It'll probably need maintenance every couple of months, but it is lightyears past where it was originally. I know it's not that impressive, but it's a start, people!

    So, onto the more important part of this post: my weight loss progress thus far.

    My graph shows my weight for every day over the past week as well as the trend. I've gone from 147.6 to 145.6, so a loss of two pounds! It's not much, but it's a start. I keep telling myself that it took a long time to put it on so it's going to take a long time to get it off.

    One observation from this graph: I eat a lot of salty foods over the weekend. I ate relatively the same amount of calories, but I ate so much more salt that my body acted like a sponge. Fortunately, most of the bloat disappeared quickly, but I've got to start being more careful about my salt intake.

    And hopefully, over time, the graph will look less frantic as the hills and valleys smooth out. This time, I'm refusing to let one or two bad days kill my spirit. And I know I'm going to really have to stick to that philosophy this weekend as it's someone's birthday and I plan on feeding him very well.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    My Very Worst Date

    Lately, I've been obsessed with the website My Very Worst Date. It's incredibly entertaining reading about these situations people got themselves into and what some people think is acceptable behavior. Most of the stories have a couple of things in common: they are first dates, they haven't met before the date (internet or a blind date), and after the date someone becomes too clingy and all communication has to be cut off. My very worst date was none of those things.

    My very worst date happened with my ex. We had been dating over four and a half years and things were quickly unraveling. Summer was approaching and since we were both working out of state (on different sides of the country), I just tried to suck it up and naively thought things would be better after the summer was over. We were fighting every single day but we put that aside to have one more date before we went separate ways for the summer.

    Some of the details really stick with me, like the fact that I drove and that we went to Macaroni Grill for dinner. We had been seated at a table in the middle of the restaurant, surrounded by other diners. We had ordered and were picking at the rosemary bread when everything shifted.

    A little bit of back story is necessary here. A couple days before this day, I had been inducted into an Honors fraternity for engineers. Inductees were chosen based on their grades and we all went through an initiation process, culminating in an initiation ceremony. I was very proud to be a member, even though it wasn't much beyond resume filler, but I was one of the youngest members and I was excited to be part of it.

    Anyway, sitting in the middle of this kind-of Italian restaurant, he asked me about the initiation ceremony. And like any good initiation ceremony, it had been a sworn-to-secrecy sort of event. So, naturally, I made some sort of joke about how it was a secret and I had sworn not to tell (which was true). And suddenly, it was like some sort of switch flipped in his brain.

    He starts talking about how, in relationships, you shouldn't have any secrets from one another. Thinking this was still some sort of light-hearted discussion, I responded with how absurd I thought that was. I don't think you should actively try to hide things from one another, but some stuff you just shouldn't HAVE TO tell each other.

    Things start to get more tense as he begins to lose control of the volume of his voice. While he's not yelling, it's quickly heading that direction and I become very aware of the people around us glancing over. He starts going on and on about how we have different views about relationships and how he can't believe that I would WANT to have secrets from him and how it isn't healthy.

    Now maybe this was my mistake in thinking there was any room for debate in this conversation, and that it was a conversation rather than an excuse to yell at me for something yet again, but I kept trying to argue my point because there was no way in hell I was going to tell him everything. Although I didn't say it, but if he thought I was going to, he was crazy.

    This initiation ceremony has now become a huge symbol in our relationship and neither of us were going to back down. He was insecure because he had never been invited to join the fraternity. His grades weren't good enough and it was just another slap in the face as to how his younger, female girlfriend was better than he was. To me, I was protecting everything I had never told him. To this day, I can think of dozens of things I haven't told my husband, not because I'm hiding it, but because he just doesn't need to know. And if he ever did, I would tell him. And there's no way anyone could expect to make me feel bad for this belief.

    Anyway, people are starting to stare and I finally realize this isn't a debate or an argument. No matter what I say, no matter how correct or how rational, he refuses to listen. After yelling his point home a few more times, he quiets himself and tells me that either I tell him what happened at the initiation ceremony or we're done.

    It felt like the air was being knocked out of me when I realized he was giving me an ultimatum.

    I excused myself, with my purse, to the restroom. Once inside, I just started sobbing, panic stricken, because I had no clue what to do. Once I calmed down, I called my mom because I was so lost. She told me she couldn't tell me what to do. To this day, I'm still a little bitter that she just didn't tell me to hide in the ladies room until she came to the restaurant and took me home. I just wasn't strong enough to walk out on my own. I was only 20 years old and we'd been together so long that he was all I knew.

    This is the thing that bugs me most, thinking back on this story, is that I should have just left him. I should have just snuck out of the restaurant to my car (because I drove!) and left him in the restaurant. When he would have finally gotten ahold of me, I would have told him that I choose the option where we're done and ended things.

    But I wasn't that strong, so I went back to the table once my eyes went back to normal. It wasn't brought up again and we ate our food in awkward silence.

    Once dinner was over, I drove him back to his parent's house to drop him off. But before getting out of my car, he wanted an answer. In a great twist of irony, I had one of my greatest ideas to date. I knew what his grades were. I knew he was never going to be asked to join this fraternity. I could tell him about the initiation ceremony, but he'd never have any way of knowing if it were the truth. No one else in the fraternity would tell him.

    So I lied. I created an elaborate, fake ceremony and he bought it, hook, line, and sinker. He wanted to know one of my secrets and all he did was create one more.

    After that, I did my best to avoid him until I left for the summer. We managed to have one more gigantic fight before I escaped, preventing me from saying good bye to my mom, and I finally realized that I couldn't handle all his drama anymore. Fortunately, the summer work experience introduced me to a wonderful group of people and they helped me realize how strong I could really be.

    And for all the crap he'd given me, I dumped his ass over the phone two days before he came back to town. People ask me sometimes if I feel bad for dumping him the way I did, but I think back to times like the one in the Macaroni Grill and I really don't feel bad at all. At least I understood that I should probably feel bad, he never showed any remorse for all the bullshit he put me through. And once I was free, you cannot imagine how good it felt to twist the knife whenever he tried to weasel his way back into my life.

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    My Poor Car!

    Wednesday night I was in a car accident. Luckily no one was injured, it was not my fault at all, and the other person completely accepted blame. All that aside, it was an incredibly weird experience.

    I had stopped at the Verizon store on my way home from work because I finally got a new phone the day before and needed to switch my contacts over. After the transfer process took over half an hour, I was itching to get home.

    About a mile from my house, I made a right hand turn after this red 2010 Camaro. The Camaro pulled into the middle lane to make a left hand turn into the Walgreens and I thought to myself, There's a sign there saying left hand turns are illegal because it's so close to the intersection but who cares because she's not hurting me?

    She missed the turn into the Walgreens and was kind of just slowly driving in the middle lane now. She must be slowly creeping along until a gap comes along and she can get back into traffic. I'll just continue past her, legally, in the correct lane.

    Nope. Didn't wait for a gap. Decided to run into the rear left portion of my car instead. Geez, I don't know how I reacted so quickly, but the damage was pretty minimal. We both pulled into the nearest parking lot (which ironically was the parking lot for the grocery store I had planned on getting groceries at later that night) and assessed the damage. Her car actually took most of the damage. Who would have bet that in a battle of Chevy SS Camaro versus Volkswagen Beetle the Beetle would walk away the victor?

    I decided to call the cops because that's just what I've always been trained to do. I didn't realize how badly my hands were shaking until I tried to use my new phone. Try adding another layer of stress when your worried your hands are shaking so badly that you'll drop your brand new uninsured phone onto the pavement. Ugh.

    Well apparently, the cops don't come out to accidents in Tucson anymore unless someone is injured or you're blocking traffic. While it was kind of a relief, it also complicates things. With a police report, I can go to the insurance company and clearly demonstrate that the accident wasn't my fault.

    So without a police report, I knew getting photos of the damage and the scene would be that much more important. And have I mentioned that I have a brand new cell phone that I don't know how to use at all, especially the camera? I called my mom and asked her to come down and to bring her camera. The other woman called her son and we just attempted to exchange information without really knowing what we were supposed to do (it's so much easier when the cops just come!)

    My parents finally show up and assess the damage. All of a sudden, the woman starts asking my mom where they know each other from. At this point, it was pretty funny because my mom was pretty pissed off but still trying to be polite, but she had no idea who this lady was. After a couple of failed attempts, we all realized that I went to elementary school with her son. The son that was now working his way to the scene. And we were more than friends. He was my kindergarten boyfriend and we used to kiss everyday at recess by the watering fountain. Everyone says that Tucson is a small town because somehow everyone knows everyone else, they just don't realize it most of the time. Kind of a cruel time to rub that one in my face, Tucson.

    Actually, it probably made things easier because the tension between everyone melted at this point. I calmed down and let it sink in that this actually was an accident and that being angry really wasn't going to help anything. She accepted full blame to insurance company over the phone in front of me so at least I'm not as worried now that she'll suddenly flip a switch and try to pretend it was my fault. And, since I'm friends with her son on Facebook, I know I've at least got a back up method of getting in contact with her if things start to go downhill.

    And the damage to my car is pretty superficial. It's still drivable and the tire she hit appears to be fine, but we need to have it looked at just to be sure. A couple of the panels will need to be replaced and I'm going to need a new hubcap, but it could have been much worse. I just don't want to drive around a scarred Tick (I named my car Tick because he's a little red bug. And yes, he's a boy car). I want to clean him up as soon as possible so hopefully the insurance adjuster can evaluate everything pretty quickly. My poor baby!

    Please ignore the ridiculous look on my face. This stupid candid photo is the only digital one I have of Tick.

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    This Makes Me So Sad and So Happy at the Same Time

    Meet Winky the Spur Thigh Tortoise. She was donated to an English safari park in 2002 because she was depressed. She was depressed because she only had three legs! So her keepers developed an artificial limb for her: a plastic wheel mounted to her shell. After quickly wearing through the first design and the more robust second design, a third design involving an air-filled tire and a suspension system. She now has no problem navigating the ever-changing muddy British terrain of her habitat.

    This is the kind of thing I wanted to do when I told my advisor I was interesting in zoology applications of mechanical engineering. And to think he just looked at me like I was crazy.

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    Apparently I Am Love Bilingual

    I'd been meaning to take the "Love Languages" quiz for quite a while. When communication breaks down between Dan and I, it's always something I think about. Maybe we just aren't on the same wavelength and we're really just saying the same thing.

    So I found this quiz online and it really wasn't that revealing: I like being told I'm pretty and presents. Here's the break down of my scores:
    • Words of Affirmation: 7
    • Quality Time: 6
    • Receiving Gifts: 7
    • Acts of Service: 6
    • Physical Touch: 4
    It's such a convoluted test. Trying to choose between which makes me feel better faster, hugs or praise, is totally subjective and after answering 30 questions like that, you just want to get it over with.

    Anyway, so here's what this quiz thinks about me.

         Words of Affirmation: Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love
         language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,”
         are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can
         leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

    I'd believe that, especially the insults part. I remember everything and things like that I wish I could forget but just don't know how.

         Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, 
         thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or 
         gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever 
         was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty,
         thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures. 

    And given the number of pieces I've written on how to give gifts and romance, this seems very fitting.

    Now to just trick Dan into finding my results and creating his own...

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Fan of Friday: Week of 11/4/2011

    Yesterday, I just felt icky. That was really the only way to describe it. Icky. I was exhausted and crampy and had failed to bring any ibuprofen to work so I was miserable. Since Thursdays are my long days due to the lack of meetings, by 1 o'clock I was going insane. Head on my desk, trying not to breathe too loudly as to scare my coworkers, miserable.

    Then brilliance struck: I would work from home. Since I had no more meetings and wasn't needed in the lab, why not work from home. And let me tell you, working from home is like the greatest thing ever! I've only worked from home once before and that was basically ordered by my manager when I returned from England (ahhh, jet lag). Anyway, once I changed into stretchy pants and was sitting on a sofa, the misery just melted away. And I'm not going to lie, I turned the volume up loud on my laptop so that if I *happened* to fall asleep on the couch, someone messaging me would wake me up.

    It was just a little cat nap. Hahahahahahaaaha (Psst. I'm hilarous!)

    And I wasn't a complete slacker, I managed to get every done that I needed to. But it's just so much better getting things done while "Ellen" is on in the background, sprawling on a sofa, with a snack in hand. I can't describe how upset I was this morning because I knew I needed to come into the lab. I've already adjusted to this fabulous new lifestyle...

    I highly recommend it. It's the little things in life people!

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Let's Just Call This An "Outline"

    Just a couple of random things on my mind recently.

    First, on a blog I frequent, one of the fellow commentors, JK, gave me a shout out and hits have gone through the roof.

         I clicked through to your blog, I loved it!! The Minnie Driver entry was funny. And I´ve
         bookmarked the recipe for peanut butter nutella cookies, they look amazing.

    Woot! I ab-so-lute-ly love when people compliment this weird little thing I write. Totally made my day. Thanks!

    Second, apparently November is National Blog Posting Month, aka NoBloPoMo. Meaning  that for this ENTIRE month, I will post something every day. Thankfully November only has 30 days so only 27 more posts to go. And hopefully, a couple of them will be more interesting than this babble.

    Third, with the holidays quickly approaching, I'm stepping up my health routine and I'm declaring it to the internet so I might actually stick to it for once. My life has changed so much in the past year (from being a college student to a primarily desk job, from living alone to being married to a man with the metabolism of a hummingbird) and I've gained the jiggle around the middle to prove it. I plan on posting my progress every Wednesday in a series called "Work Out Wednesdays".

    Currently, I've puffed up to 147.6 lbs. It's still a normal BMI for my 5'6" frame, but it's slowly creeping toward the unhealthy range. My goal is to get down to 130.0 lbs. I've been there before and while it's a couple pounds lower than my former default weight but, really, what else do I have going on right now? I even took a 'Before' picture in my bikini so that when I'm in awesome shape, you'll be able to tell how hard I really worked. I thought about posting it now, but if for some reason I fail to get in awesome shape, then there's just a picture of the pudgy version of me floating around on the internet.

    (I did a Google search for images of being healthy and an amazing amount of pictures of women eating apples popped up. I like this one better.)

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Kermit is my Spirit Animal

    This is how I feel inside (and sometimes outside) when I'm happy.

    Hopefully it made you smile, too.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    What I Learned From Spying on Minnie Driver

    On my grand business trip to England, one of my coworkers upgraded us to business class and it was one of the greatest things ever! We were in the admiral's club before our 12 hour flight boarded and I tried to sneak some pictures of the swankiness. Only then did I realize that although I had remembered to charge the battery in my camera, I had forgotten my memory card. D'oh!

    Luckily for me, airports now have these crazy kiosk/vending machines that sell electronics and accessories and I had found access to a new memory card. I stood there, waiting for the repairman to finish working on the only one in the concourse and I turned around to see how many people were also waiting and BAM!

    Minnie Driver is standing right behind me.

    Although she hasn't been in many movies lately, she was in my favorite cult-classic romantic comedy "Return To Me" with David Duchovny centered around a heart transplant (If you haven't seen it, you should. It's not terrible and it's got a great cast.)

    Anyway, she was playing with her son at the terminal and I figured it made sense for them to be on a red-eye flight from LA to London since she's British. Assuming this would be the last I would see of her, because she would probably be in first class, imagine my surprise to see them sitting across the aisle and two rows up in business. I was able to sneak this picture of the back of her head.

    I SWEAR that's her!
    Maybe it's because I'm from Tucson and I consider seeing one of the local news anchors at my hair salon a celebrity sighting, but I feel like I learned somethings from stealing glances at Minnie Driver for 12 hours:
    • You couldn't tell how expensive her clothes were. So many magazines publish articles on how to get the designer look for less, but this kind of proved how mute the designer ones are in the first place. She had an amazing pair of mid-calf brown suede boots on, but from afar, they didn't look like anything that would cost more that $75 at DSW. Unless you want something covered in logos or brandnames, can you really tell if it's designer?
    • Her hair wasn't done. She didn't have these perfectly styled ringlets that effortlessly bounced every time she moved her hair. It looked like normal, curly hair that would probably inflate if she tried to brush it out. I don't know if she usually has a stylist do it or didn't feel the need to do it for a flight, but I'm kind of reassured that my own messy mane is acceptable celebrity standard for a airplane ride. As hard as I try, I just can't stay looking put together when I'm traveling.
    • She has to entertain her kid when she's flying with him. Her son must have been about 3, had the cutest blond ringlets, and was remarkably well-behaved. I think we were all a little nervous when we saw him running around the terminal that we would be in for a long and loud flight, but aside from pretending the airplane was a rocket ship at take-off, I don't think I heard much from him until morning. And it's nice to know that all celebrities don't rely on nannies to watch their kids. She pretended to blast-off with him, she snuggled up with him when they went to sleep (I did some more spying when I got up to go to the bathroom), and she made sure he said "please" and "thank you" to the flight attendants. Apparently not all celebrity's are bad parents and not all celebrity children are brats.
    I know these revelations aren't anything grand, but it helped me realize that these celebrities I see so often on gossip blogs are just human. They aren't any better than I am because they can actually afford business class and have people who do their hair.

    And they aren't any worse either.