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Preview: Uncovering Me

Uncovering Me: Who I am uncovering...



Examining who I am: my relationships with food, exercise and the everyday stress of life. Breaking the dieter mold and moving towards a healthier lifestyle one day at a time.



Updated: 2010-10-02T20:47:37.068-07:00

 



Chug Chug Chug Chug

2010-09-29T08:13:37.236-07:00

Like a train, I am still chugging along! Chugging water, chugging work, chugging the vegan diet. Okay maybe chugging wasn't the best verb, but you get the idea!

Life has been consuming this week, I apologize for the lack of updates. I have been competing in Project Food Blog and between work, tournaments, and the contest, I have barely gotten sleep. Speaking of the contest, voting for round two closes today at 5pm PST. If you have a second, could you vote for Uncovering Food please?

Despite having very little time to menu plan and journal (I am still paper journaling my food but not really detailed), the vegan diet must be doing something right because every time I step on the scale, I weigh a little less than before!

On the injury front, I am calling to doctor today because the meds he put me on kept making me really sick. I also found out that I apparently may not get a shirt from the marathon if I register and that I have to finish. While I think that is cool for finishers and would love to be able to say I earned it, I am frustrated at the amount of money I shelled out that I can't get refunded and can't defer despite it being out of my control on being able to participate. I am going to Portland as a cheerleader and need to keep reframing the trip. It's hard, so if anyone has suggestions, I would love to hear them!(image)



So about that marathon...

2010-09-23T20:23:15.827-07:00

I am not doing it.

Long story short, the physiatrist said my back needed rest and to stop doing anything that impacted it. No yoga, no cardio (possibly a no-resistance recumbent bike or elliptical legs-only starting Tuesday). I sort of expected it with all of the pain and have accepted it. So instead I will be a race groupie next weekend in Portland. I got a doctor's note but they said no refunds and no postponing my entry to next year, so I will also get a tshirt and swag bag out of the trip I guess.

The last couple days of vegan eating have gone well. Instead of posting the meal plans (unless you are still interested in reading them?) online, I am still journaling them in the food journal my nutritionist gave me.

On another note, I may be moving this coming summer! Okay not leaving the area but I think the boyfriend is coming around on renting a house with a decent kitchen and a yard. I am excited but also dreading the idea of packing. Plus now as I reflect, I have come to love the apartment I have lived in for five years. I am also worried about renting a house and the owner deciding to sell. One of my friends rented a house for a number of years and with one month left on the lease was told the owners were moving back to town and wanted their house back. Apartment complexes are more stable in that regard. Do I want to risk having to move again after only a year or two? And I won't be buying a house in this area any time soon so it has to be a rental. Gah so stressful but exciting too! I will keep you updated but for now we are staying put for the school year.(image)



Meal Planning is Important

2010-09-21T09:29:38.831-07:00

It doesn't matter what type of diet you are on, one thing I often forget about is how important meal planning is. This is especially true when you are on a diet that limits a number of food options, like a vegan diet. Today's entry is rambly and mostly for me. To remember what mistakes I have made and how I can fix them.

Looking at the last two days of food journals, I am recognizing just how vital this meal planning is in order to ensure I feel healthy and that I am getting enough nutrients in. It is easy to fall into a rut, where I grab whatever is available or is easiest to prepare, but this may mean I don't get in enough vegetables or proteins.

For example, on Sunday, I wasn't feeling good. I was tired and cranky and just wanted to sleep. But I had research to do for a project I was hired for, so I was doing a lot of sitting and reading. This meant I also didn't feel like cooking. So I ended up with the mother of all carb days. I started out with peanut butter and half a pear sandwiched between two rice thins, not at all the hearty breakfast I enjoy normally, which led to snacking all day. The day ended with eating a pint of hibiscus sorbet... hey it was vegan? I ended up being short 2 vegetable servings, 2 fruits, 1 calcium, 3 healthy fats, and 4 servings of protein. But I was over my starches by 5!!! The day did not leave me feeling energized or healthy.

Monday I was on a field trip with students but I started out by waking up at 5am to finish the project before the deadline. I grabbed a bbq tofu and smoked "cheese" calzone for a quick breakfast on the run which was hearty and kept me full for most of the morning. I should have probably included a fruit or vegetable serving to round out the breakfast but I was running late and hadn't planned. Lunch was originally the school lunch but it was a white bread roll with chopped veggies and a slice of avocado. I tossed half the roll and at the veggies on the remaining half. After consuming that and the small bag of plain potato chips, I was still hungry and remembered I had packed a tiny apple and a almond butter and white peach calzone in case they forgot to pack a vegan lunch on the bus. So I ate those too. So minimal veggies and fruit as well as protein at this point. I got home and felt snacky and rather than reach for a vegetable or fruit, I grabbed a cracker and a rice crisp bar. That notonly didn't stave off the snackies, it also didn't do much for me nutritionally! Dinner was an attempt to salvage the day with an eggplant and mushroom casserole with tomato sauce and nutritional yeast and a side of baked zuke spears. Unfortunately the eggplant didn't cook all the way through so I picked out the eggplant slices. A couple hours later I ended the day with rice cake thins with peanut butter and all fruit jam. Short on protein by 7 servings because all those nut butters count for healthy fats (which I was still short 1.5 servings. Over on starches again!

So I like starches. I discovered this before I started the vegan challenge. But now it is even more important that I look at my diet to ensure it is balanced. Today I am reevaluating what I have accessible and seeing if I can plan more "easy to grab" foods that are higher in veg and protein servings. Do you have suggestions?(image)



S is for Sleepy Saturdays

2010-09-19T15:01:20.107-07:00

Either I was really tired last night or a day of wine and carbs caused my evening "nap" to lead to over 12 hours of sleep?

Needless to say I am enjoying my weekend free from work. Minus this pesky topic analysis paper I need to have to the publisher by tomorrow morning. Oops!

Yesterday's menu was a reflection of what happens when a new vegan tries to pack some quick food in her purse as she heads out with some coworkers for wine tasting. A carb heavy day indeed!

An early morning wandering the farmers market mean a quick bean and vegan cheese burrito in a rice tortilla as I rushed off to brunch. I knew brunch wouldn't be vegan friendly so I figured I would have a bowl of fruit when I got there and just enjoy the company. I had a massive bowl of fresh strawberries and a glass of champagne. Yum!

We then hit several wineries and I enjoyed a sandwich of two rice cake thins spread with peanut butter. We tasted 11 different wines and after all of that alcohol, I enjoyed a zucchini and walnut muffin.

After returning home, I was super hungry, so I ate two of those vegan calzones I had made plus a white peach that was chilling in my purse from the trip.

One thing I have read about veganism is that people don't recommend new vegans try to eat portions in sizes similar to what they were eating as omnivores. This is starting to make sense because I was starving for a better part of yesterday. Today's at-home plan involves lots of mini-meals. Still trying to get in more non-soy protein though so I would love some ideas!(image)



Vegan Day Three: Predicting the Predictable

2010-09-18T10:16:53.934-07:00

I am a social diner. I love to eat with people. The problem is that this sometimes leads me to pay more attention to the people than my food choices and healthy eating gets derailed. So when I took on the 21-day vegan challenge, I figured that it would mean more planning upfront but I could still eat out with friends except my choices would have to be more selective since most things have meat, dairy, and/or eggs in them. For example, did you know the Burger King veggie burger is vegan in Canada and the UK but not in the US?

After an hour of jumping around in a giant trampoline warehouse, I ended up at Sweet Tomatoes last night which is a lot like Souplantation or Fresh Choice. Sweet Tomatoes has a menu book at the front of the restaurant listing what is vegan or vegetarian on the menu. That is super awesome! What was not super awesome is how despite having a number of vegan soup options in that book, none of the 8 soups being offered that day were vegan (and only one was even vegetarian!). All of the pre-made gourmet salad options had meat and cheese in them as well. So after getting super excited about the bounty of options, I ended up making my own giant salad (that was still delicious) and having a baked potato with salsa.


Day Three Menu (Friday was more of a grazing day with no set meal times):

* homemade vegan calzone
* "chicken" and peppers sandwich with nutritional yeast
* tangerine
* rice cake thins with peanut butter
* bean and "cheese" burrito on rice tortilla
* smoothie with hemp protein, soymilk, raspberries, and spinach
* dippin' dots rainbow ice
* gianormous salad with various veggies and raisins
* baked potato with salsa
* carob-rice square(image)



If I ran a 5k today...

2010-09-17T08:50:30.161-07:00

So I have been walking a fair amount, but nothing super strenuous because I am probably still babying my injuries for fear I will get hurt again. Plus the 30lbs I put on this past winter after the big injury is not helping me feel super fit. Which means I have found every excuse in the book to keep from running.

Last night I started my real intervals, with the watch beeping at me so I don't half-ass it like I had been doing. I forced myself to actually run during the run intervals and not slog it. I may have been able to claim I had been training before but that training was weak sauce and last night was my proof. My lungs, which used to hold me back from running longer and harder were fine during the intervals but my leg that had been through so much this year was the wall that I hit. The tendons in the foot and lower leg screamed at me... not when I was running but when I switched back to a walk interval. Several times during the evening I had to stop and stretch it out, just as I had to do when I increased distances past 10 miles last year. Only this was about a mile in.

Last year my 5ks were all about getting my lungs to cooperate but my legs were fine. Now it seems like my lungs are ready to push on, but my leg is holding back. I am in search of more stretches I can do to get that leg ready for more speedwork and less walking. Because based on my pacing last night, my 5k finish today would be only one minute faster than my very first 5k.

Three of my coworkers have agreed to run a 5k with me in December. It will be their first 5k and the first one I will have done since my injuries. Funny how I am signed up for a marathon but not a 5k? But the 26.2 will be almost all walking and I intend to run most of the 5k. My goal is two-fold: 1. Don't get injured and 2. Have fun. I originally had a pace in mind, but after last night, I know speed is going to take a lot longer than I thought it would.

--------
Vegan Menu, Day Two (Thursday, September 16) -- Get more information by reading my blog post or checking out the 21-day vegan kickstart program.
 
Breakfast:
  • grande iced soy latte w/extra shot of espresso
  • rice cake thins with peanut butter

Snack:
  • zuke muffin
  • tangerine

Lunch:
  • "chicken" and peppers calzone with nutritional yeast
  • carrots
  • peach

Interval Workout:
  • coconut water

Dinner:
  • "cheese" soup with leftover quinoa and black bean chili mixed in
  • orange scented cornbread
  • baby zukes baked in olive oil, chili powder and nutritional yeast
(image)



Cheese Cravings aka Going Vegan

2010-09-16T20:27:15.688-07:00

I am a cheese addict. I can't get enough of this creamy goodness and could quite possibly live on it and anything it graces with it's presence. I am a relatively healthy eater. I have some portion control problems (really one ounce of cheese is NOT enough) and also have problems giving into food cravings. Which is why when I saw this book featured at the Whole Foods in Winston-Salem this weekend, I had to buy it: But first I had to giggle a little bit. Seriously, food seduction? I imagines a giant wedge of cheese throwing on a black lace nightgown and trying to seduce me. Yeah I probably would have fallen for it. That cheese is just so dang seductive! So I picked up the book. I read the book. It was full of useful information that talked about how sugar and dairy and meat and chocolate have chemical reactions with the brain, etc etc etc. I have already spoiled the ending for you with the title of this post but let me just say that the book doesn't give away the ending until about half way through. It was predictable to me but I think it would have caught some people off-guard. It spends the first half of the book getting you  to buy in that some foods have addictive properties and then explains what you can do. It also talks about sleep and stress and support and exercise which are also important components of changing food cravings / losing weight / getting healthy. The book doesn't explain why eggs are bad so I sent an email and got a generic response with a link to FAQs. I checked out their FAQ Web site and still don't know why eggs are bad with regards to food addiction. I know they address cholesterol in the book as an aside which is also important but I have really low cholesterol and just want to kick the cravings. Hoping to get an email soon! So "Breaking the Food Seduction" by Dr. Neal Barnard seduced me and I bought in. I spoke with my nutritionist and I am going to try this vegan diet out for the next three weeks in conjunction with my nutritionist's food exchanges to ensure I am still getting balanced nutrients. My nutritionist cautioned me away from eating too much soy, so I am on the hunt for all of the non-soy vegan protein sources I can find. I would also prefer to eat as much of my food as unprocessed as possible because in October I am taking the "October: Unprocessed" pledge for the challenge that Eating Rules is hosting. Yesterday was Day One of Vegan eating. I should preempt any more of this post by saying that I am trying this out to cleanse my cravings. I respect those who are true vegans and do not buy any animal products and know all of the foods that are true vegan foods. I am planning my menus based on what I have read both in this book and online but I am not an expert on veganism. Wednesday, September 15 Breakfast: smoothie with tofu, frozen berries, spinach, chia seeds, fresh orange juice zuchinni muffin from a recipe in the book (with some modifications, post coming soon to Uncovering Food) Snack: pistachios Lunch: black bean and quinoa chili (from a can) orange scented corn muffin (recipe from the book again with some modifications for flavor) carrots & celery Snack: small plum Dinner: homemade pizza with vegan "chicken", bell peppers, tomato sauce, and nutritional yeast on whole wheat french bread dough (another recipe soon to be posted) kale chips with olive oil and nutritional yeast Dessert: carob-rice crisp bar (recipe coming soon)[...]



The Race of Realizations

2010-09-09T07:54:56.347-07:00

We all run for different reasons. Some people run for adrenaline, some stress-relief, some health, some because they feel they have something to prove, some to try something new and some because it is an old habit.

This morning, I ran for a plane.

To make a long story short, our flight out of SFO was delayed so we had five minutes before the gate closed on our connecting flight. As the first person from the team off the plane, I started running for our next gate. And as I reached visibility of our connecting gate, I had to walk. The realization that my inhaler was in my checked bag (because who anticipates exercise induced asthma on a plane trip?) and I wasn't going to be able to run the rest of the way.

I walked as fast as I could, mostly focused on holding our flight but part of me was stuck on the fact that my running felt like fast waddling and I couldn't run as fast or far as I needed.

I managed to make it to the gate and they held the flight for the team. Which is the good news. But even as I write this at 10,000 feet in the air, this short run made me realize that as much as I want to become more fit, I am not working near as hard as I need to in order to reach my goal. When faced with dinner options last night at SFO I had the option to make healthier choices and talked myself out of them. But a good debater can argue both sides of the resolution and today's race down the ATL terminal was the evidence I needed to argue for a win for Team Healthy Choices.

185 days until I turn 30. I had so many things I wanted to do before I hit that random number that seems so significant. That is 185 I need to be working my butt off to reach some of those goals.

I don't promise to blog it all. I realize I don't rock the daily blog entries like I want to. But the countdown to 30 is official and I need to be ready.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
(image)



Did you know?

2010-09-06T14:56:50.042-07:00

So let's try this again. Somehow I have a bajillion blog ideas and zero energy or time to share them. This last month has been one of the busiest in history, so as I cool down after a 5 mile walk, let me share some random tidbits in the form of "Did you know?"s.

Did you know the Portland Marathon is in 34 days? Did you know it has an 8 hour cut-off which means a pace of 18:20 needs to be maintained to stay under that time? Did you know that means you are walking for EIGHT hours?

When I signed up for Portland, I could run a half in a pace that meant I would finish in a lot less. But with injuries and recuperating, I resigned myself to walking. Okay let's make things clear... I walk fast for someone with short legs, but on my timed 5 miler today I broke 19 only after subtracting my bathroom break, of which I am sure there will be a few on marathon day. So while I have resigned to walking, I may be adding in some intervals if only to stay ahead of the clean-up crew. I am torn now on the rest of my training plan. Should I continue to work on distance which has been slow, or should I switch to working on speed like today?

Did you know that food exchanges are a pain in my side? I started meeting with a nutritionist last week who essentially has me on a low-calorie diet but it is hidden in food exchanges. I am realizing after a week how many starches I eat on a daily basis and how little fat I eat. Weird, right? So after a week of going over my exchanges, this week's goal is to eat the right exchanges which will be fun given the week ahead.

Did you know the debate season starts this week? That's right, school just started a couple weeks ago and I am already hopping on a red-eye flight on Wednesday to North Carolina. Which means short fast walks this weekend with a longer walk on Friday morning, pending I can get my butt out of bed!

Did you know my apartment has a floor? I built two bookshelves this weekend in an attempt to reorganized our apartment and clean/expand the kitchen into the rarely used dining area. So now my kitchen that was the size of a closet has some additional prep and storage space. Somehow I have to convince myself that the bedroom needs attention as well before the night is over since my summer excursions can be figured out by the little piles all over the room. Speaking of summer excursions, you can read and see pictures from the International Food Blogger Conference in my entries from Friday Night, Saturday, as well as Saturday Night and Sunday. I am hoping to get my explorations around Seattle up soon!

Did you know that light vanilla soymilk, blueberries, chia seeds and spinach make a fabulous smoothie? If you are a regular blog reader then I am sure someone else has shared the news. But they are one of my newest addictions and I am off to have one now! :o)(image)



Oh the INSANITY

2010-08-10T10:23:23.828-07:00

Every time I feel like I have things under my belt, something else hits! Summer school is still in swing and I definitely got to take my solo road trip last weekend. But when I sit down to share my life and musings, I get called off to put out another fire. So here's hoping tonight I can get my blog on :o)(image)



Shameful Telly Shows and Tomato Salad Art

2010-08-16T23:42:34.617-07:00

Tuesday morning was a bit easier to get out of bed for. Knowing I had a locker all ready stocked with my clean gym clothes (yay for signing-up for laundry service at the gym!) meant I could go straight to the gym and nopt forget something like I do most mornings. I wish my locker was big enough to store a couple of work outfits too, then I would be really golden :o) After a treadmill warm-up, 30 minutes on the elliptical (wow it has been awhile) and a roller/stretch cool down, I hit up the 'bucks for my Venti Soy Latte. I found out the hard way that my reusable cold drink cup from the 'bucks doesn't fit in my Beetle's cup holder when I had to slam on my brakes (thank you Bay Area rush hour traffic) and the drink went flying. LUCKILY it has a screw on lid so only a bit spilled. When I got to campus, I grabbed the brekkie I had made yesterday that I didn't get to eat. Soymilk, Chia Goodness, and fresh blueberries. YUM: After a morning of classes, it was time for lunch. They are doing construction on campus and had turned off water in the cafeteria so we got to eat outside. I wish I had my camera with me because it was gorgeous :o) Lunch was a salad with flax tempeh, lentil curry, with fresh carrots and bell peppers: Fresh cherries! A tomato and mozzarella salad made with two small heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil ribbons  on the bottom. I had a fig-date balsamic to drizzle over it. It is so pretty!!!! And a couple of olives for healthy fats! Midday snack? I was a bad bad girl and had a sugar craving. Should have ignored them since I am withdrawing from all of the junky foods I enjoyed this summer. But I gave in. I enjoyed a couple of Sour Straws during a class discussion. Oops! With no plans for dinner, I was debating what to eat when a coworker texted and asked if I wanted sushi. We went to Blowfish Sushi which is a funky fusion sushi bar/nightclub to grab a bite. I had a seasonal beer with an orange slice. I didn't catch the name but it reminded me of the Sam Adam's Summer Ale which I had become addicted to in Boston. I also enjoyed a spider roll and a Pyramid of Tartar (salmon, tuna and avocado with honey, a sweet ginger sauce and house made chips). I almost forgot to take a picture and then the server asked if we wanted to take pictures before she smooshed it and mixed it together. Look at how awesome it is! After dinner, I was craving a sweet finish. So we walked a block and stood in line at Pinkberry. There was a guy behind us in line playing guitar while we played Scrabble on our iPhones. I used to play Scrabble online when I worked the graveyard shift at the dorm front desk during summer school so it has been a fun summer re-addicting myself to the word game. I was so busy playing Scrabble that I forgot to take a picture of my mini tart original with fresh strawberries and mangoes and a praline hazelnut crunch sauce. It was good but the sauce didn't meld with the rest of the flavors like I thought it would so I am going to have to try a different combination next time. The evening wrapped up with me curling up in bed and watching Pretty Little Liars. I won't post any spoilers but I am definitely going to admit this has become one of my secret shows that I love to watch and am embarrassed to admit to people. Do you watch PLL? What are your "secret shame shows"?[...]



Back in the classroom and back to the gym!

2010-08-03T14:36:59.772-07:00

Monday morning started out with a really loud alarm at 5:10am. An alarm that could wake the dead. Which was totally needed because I had decided to go to the gym before heading off to the first day of my school's summer debate class. This class goes two weeks and then I transition straight into teacher training and fall classes starting, so I figured now would be a good time to get out of that summer vacation sleep pattern. 5:10am is REALLY early. So early I hit snooze a couple times and missed the start of my trekking class. Which is probably a good thing considering how hard I would have pushed my newly healed body after a summer of resting it. So I did some time on the elliptical to warm up and then did my physical therapy exercises to get my body moving. Then it was off to the Starbucks next door for a Venti Soy Latte. They are only 170 calories and since the soymilk is relatively sweet, you don't need additional sugar. The first day was so hectic, I never got to eat the breakfast I had packed to go with the soy latte, so by lunchtime I was ready to eat. Check out the salad I packed! There are diced carrots and sliced bell pepper (pre-diced and -sliced from Whole Foods to save time), as well as some yummy hummus I got to sample (I love samples) while shopping and HAD to buy: Finished off with some BBQ Tofu: With a side of mixed olives from the olive bar: And a dessert of mangoes! My afternoon snack was a grande iced soy latte that one of my colleagues brought me. Totally hit the spot and helped me get over the "back to the grind" hump! After work I went back to the gym to get in a 90-minute Flow Yoga class. After 8 months with only a couple of yoga classes interspersed because of my injuries. it felt amazing (and also hard) to be back. I am disappointed that there aren't more of this style during the week but I might stop in another day to try a different style. I love my gym because it has a dedicated yoga studio and even in a packed class last night, there is only room for about 15 people which means lots of personalized attention. I decided that I wanted to eat out but I was worried about making bad choices. Luckily, there is a Pluto's next to the gym so I got a personalized salad with tri-tip and a side of foccaccia. You get to choose your salad toppings so I had fresh strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, green beans and sauteed mushrooms. It was so good and filling. I enjoyed a refreshing glass of water with it. While packing my lunch for today, I enjoyed two bites off my new favorite cheese, Cheddar Barely Buzzed Behive. It has lavender in the rind which adds sweetness and complexity to the richness of the cheese. Yum! [...]



Unsolicited Advice

2010-07-29T11:28:44.453-07:00


I know I am not the only one who has been here, and give a shout out if you are familiar with the situation. You and your girl are besties. You make tons of plans during the summer and everything is grand. Then she meets a boy. No biggie, you may have one too. But this is the friend who is in love with love. She doesn't realize it but slowly she starts blowing you off for him. You may do group things at first, but two weeks in and you are out!

As much as I would like to deny it, early in my adulthood I was that friend. In love with love. Ditching plans to be with a boy. But boys aren't forever. Even if you end up marrying the boy (which thankfully I didn't, at least not that one), you still need your girlfriends. And blowing them off to be with the boy means they are less inclined to be around when you need them.

Friendships are like plants. Which is a terrible metaphor since I kill plants. But I understand they need attention and that if you ditch out on them for weeks, the plants die. Which is inevitably why my plants die and my closest friendships don't. Because when I have to decide what needs attention, I divide it according to priorities that will last. And true friendships last when you give them attention.

So the unsolicited advice? Figure out what's most important to you. Don't impulse buy the first guy that comes along and ditch out on the staples in your shopping cart. You will need that flour later but the glossy mag will be tossed aside before you go to bed that evening. Spend your time and energy carefully on the people who will give back to you. A friend of mine said it best when we were dishing about being ditched: "Sistas before mistas." But whether you are a guy or a girl, this story rings true on both sides of the gender line. Male friends say "Bros before Hos" and most of the guys I know can call out a friend or two who disappears whenever new tail comes around.

Love is awesome. Being in love with love? A recipe for lost friendship.(image)



Six Weeks of Summer!

2010-07-28T19:32:14.355-07:00

I suck at blogging when I am working. Or playing. I love blogging but honestly when I am on the road I definitely put it on a back burner. I feel like unless I can put out an amazing product, I don't want to put out a product. But I will try to get over that and just put myself out there (that almost came out wrong!).

So I am going to recap five of my last six weeks in one post. It will be easy...

First, I spent a week playing. I played at the beach and in wine country and in cities all in California. I discovered an awesome drive just a short hop away from home where I saw this:


And this:


Then I did four weeks of debate camp. Two weeks in California and two weeks in Boston. I took lots of pictures but they were of the kids and my coworkers and I wouldn't feel right throwing those up on my blog. So just imagine lots of work and lots of play. I should have taken pictures of my dorm rooms. You would have enjoyed those. Do you remember your dorm rooms? I definitely do not remember my room being so institutional but indeed these dorm rooms took me back. Oh the memories!

My final week was in NYC and was full of playtime and pictures. I checked out of reality and just relaxed. Hip hop concerts, spoken word events, movies, dancing, and the food and beverages. It was amazing. And enough to fill a post or two by itself :o)(image)



How much can you cram in your brain before it explodes?

2010-06-28T15:01:07.604-07:00

(image)
Image Source
24 kids ages 13-17.

2 junior lab assistants.

1 teacher.

What can we accomplish in two weeks of academic argumentation that runs for 12 hours every day?

In the last week we have managed to engaged students in discussing U.S. foreign policy commitments. This week we embark on whether the U.S. should ban offshore oil drilling. The students do lots of research, work on vetting sources, and constructing persuasive arguments. We lecture multiple times during the day, edit cases, answer questions, and hope our brains don't explode.

The dynamics of a high school class are always an interesting concept. But a summer argumentation residential program takes that dynamic one step further. Lock a group of kids together to learn and engage in debates about deep academic materials that they may never heard about. Living together in the dorms. Eat together in the cafeteria. And aside from sleeping dreams, are together every waking moment.

There is a unique bond that forms with the camp. You have your moments of drama but for the most part, you become a unique family for a few weeks. Love or hate each other, you are stuck together. And now that we are slightly more than halfway through the program, I finally have a moment to reflect on everything. But my brain is so tired, this is about all I can write right now :o)

I leave from this program on Friday night and on Saturday I will fly to Boston. The cats will be well-cared for but that doesn't mean I won't miss home. During the school year, I still get to spend most weeknights at home. So this is an exhausting experience. The last time I remember doing something like this was when I worked for the National 4-H Youth Development Program as a program assistant for their summer youth in governance conferences. That residential program lasted the summer. But I was living in the dorms during the school year, so the transition didn't seem as great. And while I have worked for a couple of residential summer programs since, they haven't had the same academic mental drain that this one does.

This has become a rather long collection of thoughts but I felt like I had ignored my blog long enough and needed to visit one of my places. A place where I don't have to process heavy academic materials.

But now it's time to move onto the next activity. So I guess that's the end of the blog entry!(image)



Put a cork in it

2010-06-10T16:31:46.592-07:00


Okay not really. But I feel like I have been especially quiet lately! I haven't been hiding... just finishing end of year school business and enjoying life! Played some poker, got some spa treatments, and did some healthy living. It's been a good week in spite of not being able to workout. Yup, I went from being cleared to start training to not being allowed to do ANY activities in a matter of a couple hours. All it took was walking from my classroom to my car for my calf to seize up.

I was angry, frustrated, sad, crying, angsty (yes angsty) and overall just a mess when I realized Portland might not happen for me. But I reassessed, refocused, and set new goals for my summer.

Goal #1: Find things that make me happy that aren't food or exercise or shopping or work. I need new outlets for my energy that I can do without hurting myself, my budget, my waistline and my stress levels.

Goal #2: Keep my life clean. This means clean house, clean eating and clean thoughts...


... okay by clean thoughts, I think I meant positive thoughts. Reframing the negative and turning it into the positive.

Goal #3: Have fun! Make every day an adventure. Whether the adventure is trying something new (hello herbal bodywrap?) to taking a day by myself without technology to just decompress. I should find something each day that is exciting.

I would love to lose weight. I would love to run again. I would love to have my team rock the competition year. But I also recognize that sometimes you need to stray away from the things you want so that when you come back to them, you are capable of fully accomplishing them.

So I will share my randomness this summer. It won't be about running or weight loss. It might include some adventures and maybe just some random thoughts. This is the last summer of my twenties, so it's time to make it special.(image)



Down by the Boardwalk...

2010-06-05T21:24:29.752-07:00


It's official, summer is here!

One of my coworkers is moving away to Taiwan, and can you believe that in his three years in San Jose, he had never been to Santa Cruz!?! And he claims to be a fan of roller-coasters!

For those of you who aren't nearby or haven't had the opportunity to explore the greatness that is the California coastline, you must understand that Santa Cruz is a mere 30 minutes away (on a good day) and boasts a funtastical boardwalk with all of your typical boardwalk rides.

But there is something special about the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. In addition to the beach, the concerts, and your average rides... there is also...


The Santa Cruz Giant Dipper is the fifth oldest operating roller coaster and was built in 1924. You can read all about it's history on the Boardwalk Web site

All I need to know about the Giant Dipper is that once I have ridden it for the first time in a calendar year, summer has begun! Call me superstitious, but as soon as I ride that baby, the weather heats right up! If I ride it in early April, the last couple months of the school year are hot!

Well this year we opted to ride the wooden sunshine maker after school had pretty much ended. This was probably the longest I have waited... and the wait was totally worth it!

Now to turn on that air conditioner :o)
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Summmmmmmmmmmer

2010-06-02T06:59:06.301-07:00

I GRADUATED!


Oh wait....

But seriously folks, summer is almost here! I am proctoring a couple more finals and then life slows down for a few weeks and I just get to relax. On my list of fun stuff? Up my blog reading and writing! Drink sparkling wine on the beach while eating oysters! Declutter my apartment!

Okay that last one doesn't sound super exciting but I can't explain how excited I am to have uninterrupted cleaning time.

If you were given a free week off (but you had limited funds)... what would you do?(image)



School Lunches

2010-05-20T20:14:06.637-07:00

So I was planning on sharing my meals with you each day this week. I got a brand new camera and was really excited about it. In fact, I have annoyed everyone I have eaten with by taking tons of pictures. And a lot of explaining to do in the faculty dining room.But with less than three weeks of school, the life of a teacher is a crazy one. I am lucky to have time to sit down and eat. But one of the blogs I love to read when I have time is Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project. When I worked in public schools as a substitute teacher during graduate school, I always brought my lunch. Partially to save money and partially because the food, on the rare occassion I forgot my lunch, was scary to eat!I am very fortunate to work at a school that cares about nutrition and I am lucky enough to have school lunches included as part of my benefits package. While sometimes I still bring my lunch to work, I often take advantage of the cafeteria. And today I thought I would take pictures of some of my lunches this week:Mango Pineapple Mojito SaladTurkey and Avocado SlidersBerry and Goat Cheese SaladSalad Bar with a dollop of Baba GanoushBBQ Chicken and Roasted Potatoes with a Strawberry-Fennel Salad[...]



Coming up for air.

2010-05-11T20:14:32.214-07:00


I'm alive. I'm okay. Work is insane. After a week in Kentucky, I came home sick. Then before I could recover, the boyfriend and I ran off for a 5 year anniversary mini-break. Now I am back at work and aside from a one day road trip with my coworkers this coming Sunday, I realize I don't have a day off for another two weeks. Then it is one day off. Then another tournament. Then I can breathe!

So I plan on resuming normal blogging tomorrow. I even meal planned for the day despite the fact I will be away from home from 7am until 10pm working. But these are just plans. And the best laid plans...

Hello! I'm breathing. And I will resume reading blogs just as soon as I have time. I will be returning comments I missed over my hiatus. I am working right now just to keep my life sane. I realize it sounds like I wrote two introductions to this blog entry... it's because I just had another fun thing that needed my attention. I am strong. I will not break. But I may not be all here right now.(image)



Fly By!

2010-05-07T18:06:15.954-07:00

I was in Kentucky. I am not in Kentucky any more. I am in Vegas now. And when I return to California for more than 48 hours, I will resume posting. But I wanted to let you all know that I am alive and miss you.

They have apps for blogging... but I can't seem to find one that makes blog READING easy. Suggestions?(image)



Special Delivery and Missing Food Groups

2010-04-27T21:39:11.854-07:00

With less than 24 hours until I have to be at another airport (we leave for the Tournament of Champions tomorrow night... eeek!), I realized tonight that my healthy eating all but fell by the wayside the last couple days. Funny enough it pretty much started when I started photographing everything. Hmmmm I don't *think* there is a connection? Haha!Tonight I got home from a work event to find a mysterious package... I love mail! Guess what was inside?GARLIC GOLD!!!The lovely folks over at Garlic Gold have been reading all of the raving I have been doing about their products and wanted to send me some thank you goodies. They must have known I was heading to the same tournament that my students got their first taste of gold last year. Now last year we won the tournament... I won't say Garlic Gold is our secret weapon... but it is definitely going in my carry-on!Check these babies out! Perfect to sprinkle on just about everything!Today was teacher appreciation day and it started with a full hot breakfast served to all of the teachers by the students! LOVE IT!I had a lengthy meeting at lunch and didn't realize I would be running for lunch so I didn't have my camera. I had a slice of buffalo chicken pizza, fries, a couple bites of tri-tip, a half a soy butter sandwich AND a small cup of flan. I realize that when I am rushed, I cram food down my throat without really appreciating it. Did I need all of that food? Nope.After physical therapy (which I will totally update you on at some point) and then personal training, I rushed home for a quick mini-meal before rushing back to work.I didn't realize I had grabbed the Apple Cinnamon Alive! until it was too late... so this was an "interesting" blend-up.When I got home I didn't have to cook! Doug had saved me some of his leftovers :o)So I recognize I was missing a pretty important food group today. VEGGIES!!! I meant to cook some up but my mind is in thirty thousand places this week. I WILL get them in tomorrow!!![...]



Sweet Tooth!

2010-04-26T21:37:26.695-07:00

This will be short and sweet because debate practice ran late and this girl needs some sleep! I definitely need to work better on planning and tracking. My sweet tooth ran away today and I wasn't able to stop it like I should have! I think it is a combination of stress, exhaustion, and a desire to treat myself to something special. I need to recognize that I can spoil myself with things other than food.

How do you treat yourself during high stress periods that isn't food? I'd love your ideas!

src="http://www.flickr.com/slideShow/index.gne?group_id=&user_id=49310572@N05&set_id=72157623816439341&text=" align="center" frameborder="0" height="450" scrolling="no" width="450">
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
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A Weekend Off!!!

2010-04-25T21:57:03.596-07:00

Never let debate coaches run wild. We should be kept penned up at high schools and universities on the weekend running tournaments. When you let us run wild... who KNOWS what kind of mischief can arise?It was such a crazy weekend that started with wine and ended with lava rocks. Seriously who could ask for anything more?Thursday night I got the VIP opportunity to attend Wine Enthusiast's Toast of the Town in San Francisco when I won a contest hosted by FoodGal. With 69 wineries and distributors represented and 26 different restaurants, there was wine and food galore!We got to taste the 100-point Cardinale in a small group tasting. This was one of the highlights of the evening as the winemaker explained the wine and his winemaking philosophy.In addition to all of the wines were the fabulous foods to go with them!Butterscotch Pots de Creme from the Cliff House Duck Confit with Port Infused Goat Cheese on Fig Cake from A Girl and A Fig Chez Papa Kobe Beef Tartare Smoked Salmon sliced tableside by the Fairmont Grilled cheese with bacon jam and a creamy garlic soup The whole event took place at the War Memorial Opera House across the street from San Francisco City Hall. I love how City Hall looks in the evening!Friday was spent playing catch-up and cleaning house. That evening I hit up a local wine bar to meet with some of my wine girls. Check out this brie with figgy sauce! We definitely asked for extra sauce...Saturday was spent at J Winery for a Bellwether Farms event. I will be doing a detailed write-up over at Uncovering Food pretty soon but know it was DELICIOUS. There was cheese. There was wine. There were good friends.Today I cleaned, did laundry, relaxed, and went out to dinner with the boyfriend on a relaxing date at Rok Bistro. I also began my photo food journal. Rather than stretch out this blog with lots of pictures, I have compressed it into a slide show. Let me know what you think! src="http://www.flickr.com/slideShow/index.gne?group_id=&user_id=49310572@N05&set_id=72157623933298978&tags=FoodJournal" align="center" frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" width="400">Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.[...]



Confirmed!

2010-04-20T14:17:37.435-07:00

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One of my goals of 2010 was to take more time for myself and to do things that I enjoy. Blogging has been one of those things and so I was incredibly excited to learn that my registration had been confirmed for the International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle in August!

With Keynote Speaker, James Oseland of Saveur, and lots of fabulous workshops... this is going to be an incredible event! I heard nothing but amazing reviews of the 2009 event which got me even more pumped for this year.

Who else is attending? This is going to rock!!!(image)