WIAW: 2nd week of school

It’s WIAW time again. I skipped it last week, even though I planned to attend the party with a back-to-school edition. So instead, I’m back with a second week of school edition.

My back-to-work routine has gone from non-existant to nearly intact. I hit the gym each morning this week, and I got up the first time my alarm went off each morning! This is unheard of. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think I am actually going to stick to it this time.

Pre-gym was an un-pictured  cliff kids bar. After returning home and showering I pulled out my nearly empty jar of my absolute favorite peanut butter.

Luckily, Trader Joe’s is opening soon, so I’ll be able to purchase as many of these as my heart desires. Inside went hot oats, cinnamon, brown sugar and chia seeds.

This was my first OIAJ (oat in a jar) experience. Mmmm magical.

Lunch was a Hugh Jass salad with spinach, avocado, onion, tomato, bell pepper and black beans.

Work snacks included celery w/smoked tomato basil hummus, grapes, and an apple that tasted more like a pear.

While cooking dinner, I nibbled on some zucchini chips (recipe tomorrow).

Dinner was a diversion from the meal plan,

as fish didn’t sound good, and ground turkey tacos sounded better.

I used to cut up all my veggies, and have them in nice little rows, so I could assemble perfect bite soft tacos.

But arranging the veggies takes longer than necessary, so I’ve started throwing all veggies into a tupperwear container and mixing them up.
After assembling my tacos I throw a handful or two of spinach on top and voila, salad for lunch tomorrow.

What is the best thing you ate today?

I’ve got spirit

yes I do

I’ve got spirit

how ’bout you!?!

Today I relieved my high school cheerleading career* and cheered on the students in the staff vs. student basketball game.

Complete with a real middle school cheerleading uniform, say waaaaaa!?! (note the obnoxiously large sequined bow. also note the pasty skin in desperate need of some sun).

Yes, I really am that awesome. I did, however, come to the painful realization that I am no longer as limber as I was at 17, and kicks and jumps were not as high as they once were. I am also in need of an ice pack.

Yes, you want me cheering for your team. Look at my energy! (don’t worry, all individuals pictured are staff, not students)

*my career lasted one year, but it was tons of fun.

At one point there was even a flash mob. All week the staff tirelessly trained to pull together this fun surprise for the students. It was a blast.

While I did rock the middle school cheerleading uniform. I didn’t wear it all day.

And on that note, here is your Fashion Friday update

Monday (holy blur, sorry about that)

Cardi: Banana Republic, Shirt: Tommy Hillfiger, Pants: The Limited (Drew fit), shoes: Jessica Simpson wedges

Tuesday

Scarf: The Rack, top: Ralph Lauren, tank: Lady Hathaway via Costco (can Costco pleeeeease start carrying these again?), pants: Express, shoes: Naturalizer (and I totally forgot my socks in gym bag, grr!)

Wednesday

Sweater: Mossimo at Target, skirt: Express, tights: HUE (my favorite!), boots: Impo at DSW (and they have stretch in them – perfect for fitting over jeans! Or, ya know, large calf muscles.)

Thursday

Sweater: Mossimo at Target, short sleeve blazer thing: JKLA from Ross, Pants: Express, Shoes: Naturalizer

Friday

Cardi: Halogen, polka dot top: The Rack, belt: ?, from The Rack, jeans: 7 for all Mankind, shoes: Sam & Libby (the pic where I was looking at the camera was even more blurry. Woops!)

After the staff vs. student basketball game I was all hyped up and ready to do something fun, like take a nap. But today was both payday and new coupon day at Costco. After a quick trip for the necessities the hubs and I came home to find dinner ready. I think I will make the Monday Meal Plan to designate Libb to make Friday meals from now on!

On tonight’s menu: Black Bean Polenta Casserole

We subbed a can of diced green chiles for the bell pepper, (all we had), and a mixture of pepperjack and cheddar instead of just cheddar.

Mmmm melty cheese + black beans.

This recipe was chalk full of Leila friendly ingredients: cheese, polenta, onions, cumin…however, when we make it again I would mix everything together instead of layering the dish. Libb, of course, wanted to add bacon into the mix.

Earlier eats included a 2% vanilla bean latte from the Service Station, conveniently located inside my gym. My deal with myself is that if I make it to the gym all 5 workdays then I treat myself to Latte Friday. I’m proud to say I made it all 5 this week!

I paired my latte with dark chocolate oats. Yes, you read that correctly. Better Oats makes a dark chocolate mixture called Lavish. I got a little overzealous at the last Rosauers cereal sale and stocked up on these bad boys, only to discover they weren’t as amazing as I had hoped. Luckily, if you add a dollop of peanut butter the oats are reminiscent of a no-bake cookie (a.k.a. elephant poop), and that makes me very happy. The cookie, not the poop.

For lunch I enjoyed another 50% off Amy’s meal!

This pasta was delicious! I really need to figure out the correct spice to tomato ratio for Amy’s sauce. It was, dare I say, perfect. Amy never lets me down. My side of apple slices just couldn’t compete, and were therefore not photographed.

Or, ya know, I forgot my camera when I went to lunch.

Snacks included your standard nanner and another amazing scone.

Seriously, 6 days later and these scones are still just amazing as day one. Yes, I individually wrapped them and froze them, but a lot of the time when I defrost my baked goods they lose their moisture. Not these babies. So, please, do yourself a favor and make these scones.

I’m currently watching a little BBC Life action (insects & bugs), and trying to rest my poor legs. I wonder if I can book a last minute massage for tomorrow morning…

What exercise goal did you accomplish this week?

Did you try a new recipe this week? How did it turn out?

Goodnight moon

goodnight stars, goodnight air

goodnight noises everywhere

As a child Good Night Moon was my favorite book. And although I no longer have the soothing voice of my mother reading me a bedtime story, I am still a fan of the nightly routine of reading.

Usually turning the pages while in a horizontal position will send the message to my brain that it is time to go to sleep. However, as of late I have been having quite the issue getting my daily zzz’s. My body is exhausted, but my mind doesn’t want to play along.

At first I attributed it to eating dinner too late, which would ultimately result in my stomach not being settled enough for slumber. We started eating dinner earlier, but it didn’t make a lick of difference. Then I tried a variety of herbal teas, but they only resulted in me waking up multiple times to pee. Then I thought maybe increasing the intensity of my work outs might help. It didn’t. (The hubs tried to get me to take a sleeping pill, but those, and all p.m. medicines, affect me too much the following morning).

So every night I laid there, wide awake, tossing and turning, unable to get a good night’s rest. In fact, the two weeks leading up to Spring Break I only made it to the gym on Monday and skipped the rest of the week in favor of my snooze button.

But last night I got a good nights rest. So good, in fact, upon waking at 5:04 a.m. I reset my alarm for 6:30 and fell promptly back to sleep. This time snooze didn’t win out over the gym because of lack of sleep, it won because I was enjoying my sleep so much!

Ahhh it was glorious. And I think it was directly related to the 4 mile run I pounded out yesterday morning. Running just exhausts my entire body, and I don’t know why I don’t do it more often. Oh wait, it is because in the early morning hours I need to utilize the dreadmill, rather than the great outdoors.

But the gym doesn’t have to be completely boring. Here is a smattering of amusing things I’ve seen over the past few weeks:

  • Guy walking on the treadmill wearing very large and full backpacking gear.
  • Guy thinking he is singing in his head, when in reality he is mumbling and moaning the songs on his iPod. At first I thought a cat was in heat.
  • Very old lady in flashdance attire and flashy 80’s makeup
  • Guy crabwalking and doing other quite difficult moves on the treadmill. (I was actually quite impressed with his mad skills, I would have fallen off!)
  • Guy doing kickboxing? Zumba? Billy Blanks Tao Bo? (not positive what work out it was, but he was jumping back and forth and boxing and then jumping to face the opposite wall to do the same thing) in the stretching room to a DVD playing on his laptop. This one perplexed me the most, why didn’t he do the workout DVD at home?
  • And finally, the Czech President stealing a pen (I watch CNN while working out). I literally laughed out loud, and got quite a few looks, when I saw this.

What is the oddest thing you’ve seen at the gym?

Do you have any go-to tricks to help you fall asleep?

Chicks happen

My day started off with some forgotten spinach pancakes,

coffee and a pomegranate chobani.

A few weeks back I mentioned I was going to start strength training again. And I did. I also mentioned I had two free sessions with a personal trainer, and that I would be cashing in on them. Then I never spoke of them again. It wasn’t because I was being a flakey blogster, (although I have promised many a recipe that haven’t appeared yet, patience my blogets, patience.), the Y just didn’t have an opening until today.

Last night I almost canceled, and not just because I was at the happiest hour. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to go through with it. A few years back I had a negative experience with a trainer, (who insisted I eat only 1200 calories a day and scoffed at the idea that I could lose weight at 1800-2200. I guess I showed him, as I’ve lost 11 pounds so far at this calorie range), so I was apprehensive about throwing myself into this potential situation again.

But I didn’t cancel. I drove to the gym at 10:10 am, and arrived with a few minutes to spare, (and nabbed the only real spot in the parking lot). I checked in at the front desk, found out where I needed to meet my trainer, planted myself at the appropriate station and waited. And waited. And waited. The cardio area was packed, and I spotted one trainer on the floor. I tried to read her name tag, but my contacts didn’t provide me the strength necessary.

Finally the trainer, along with two trainees, arrived at the wellness station. She apologized for running (15 minutes) late, and tried to wrap up her previous session. Her trainees didn’t get the hint that they were robbing me of my training time, and continued to ask a plethora of questions. Needless to say, we were not off to a good start.

A few minutes later we set off…to an office. I filled out an information sheet, (which I had already filled out), and answered all of her questions. Then we did a body analysis, (I am in the healthy range for weight/body fat and could drink more water. Nothing I didn’t already know, haha). And that was it. Apparently the first “training” session is a get-to-know-you type thing, like an awkward first date where you feel self conscious about all your short comings, (while wearing no make-up, talking about your body fat and diet no less), and not even the joy of a cocktail to lighten the mood.

Sigh. I wish Laury lived here so she could be my trainer.

Had I been told this would be the first session’s format I would have gotten to the gym earlier to actually work out. Unfortunately I wasn’t informed, and by the time I finished my appointment I couldn’t stay any longer. I had chicks to buy!

After a quick pit stop at my favorite store,

and some car snacks: pom lychee green tea,

dried apricots, mixed nuts, and a think thin lemon bar,

which at first reminded me of the lemon girl scout cookies. But after the first bite it tasted like chalk coated in lemon.

I only ate half, blah.

Then it was on to Big R,

which really does have anything you could possibly need.

From wranglers to garden creatures,

anti monkey butt powder,

and salted nut rolls.

Which I used to buy every time I visited my dad’s office as a child. So gross, why did I like them?!

But we were there for the chicks.

I was really excited to pick out our little ones.

And you know I’ll be entering the chick house peepstakes.

Once home we set our chicks up in their new pad,

and assembled a sunflower butter + honey sammie.

Later on I tried to find a meatless main dish that the boys wouldn’t turn their noses up at. I think the hubs has already OD’d on black beans…and we’re only 3 days into Lent. We had 5 bell peppers, so I tried to find a good vegetarian stuffed pepper recipe. Not interested by anything I found, I decided to whip up a batch to my liking.

And they were quite tasty.

I thought about making a salad, but decided we had plenty of veggies in our stuffed peppers, so I opted for only La Brea multi-grain bread on the side.

Mmmmmm….content.

So, what should I name my chicks?

Rant-tastic Tuesday

Remember how pleased I was with myself yesterday for waking up before my alarm went off? Yeah, didn’t happen this morning. I did, however, only hit snooze once. Actually, I hit it a second time, but immediately dragged myself out of bed because I felt guilty. I also didn’t want a repeat of last week when I hit snooze four times every.single.morning. (that would be 36 minutes of extra no-sleep snoozin’)

I got my head in the game to tackle the dreadmill with half a nanner and cold coffee+almond milk. Unfortunately, last night’s brownie sat like a rock in my stomach and after 17 minutes of walking/jogging I gave up. Enter 15 minutes of leg work and 20 minutes on the recumbent bike. Much easier on the ol body.

Upon reaching the locker room I was pleased to see two showers were open. But by the time I changed out of my gym clothes and grabbed my towel, a matter of 45 seconds, two repeat offenders had entered the empty stalls…fully clothed.

This behavior really needs to be added to the gym do’s and don’ts post. I really don’t mind the fact that some people don’t want to strip down in front of others. No problem. But another person finished her shower, packed up her belongings and dried off in the amount of time it took these gals to change their clothes. Then they take extreamly long showers and I think they break another gym don’t (shaving legs…they must, what could possibly take so long?!). When I say this is a get in/get out situation, I mean it!

I got in, started/finished my shower and was packed up/dried up and out of my stall before they finished bathing (and I entered after their water was on). I found a line outside the stalls 3 people deep. Long showers at the gym = totally unacceptable.

On the no-nudey in front of people thing, fine, like I said, I don’t have a problem with that. But there are changing stalls specifically for this reason. So if they don’t want to strip down in front of others, there is a specific space where they can take their sweet time. But that isn’t the issue. These gals parade around in their birthday suits after they bathe, so really, they are just being sneaky jerks* who think their time is more important than others.

Kinda like Steve Martin.

(source)

Actually, I’ve never seen The Jerk, so I don’t know if his behavior is up to par with theirs, but I assume so.

When I saw the pile of clothes sitting outside the shower stalls I kinda wanted to grab ‘em and run.

But I didn’t.

Because I am nice. Which is a gym DO, in case you were wondering. And I did clear my conscience by lending my conditioner to the repeat offender when she mentioned she forgot hers. Another gym DO. I guess complaining about them in a blog is kind of a DON’T behavior, but I’m not at the gym right now, so it isn’t applicable.

*I could think of a more articulate phrase in which to describe the type of person who exhibits this behavior, but I don’t really feel like it. They royally pissed me off this morning.

K, unintended rant over. Normal foodie ramblings will commence now…

Upon arriving to work I assembled an un-overnight overnight oat concoction for brekkie: raw oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, thawed blueberries and an Archer Farms ff vanilla yogurt.

I’d never had Archer Farms before, but for 49 cents a pop I thought I would give them the ‘ol girl scout try. The verdict? I really liked the vanilla! I wasn’t a fan of the honey almond, however. That one tasted kinda aspartamey, but I am not entirely sure aspartame was on the ingredient list.

Lunch was a blurry* and bland sammie of roast turkey, laughing cow and english muffin, plus a side salad.

*totally left my point n shoot at home. My iPhone’s camera is craptastic.

Around 2 p.m. I had a snack attack, and I really wanted candy. I read an article this morning in my Women’s Health magazine about how we often crave sweets mid afternoon because our blood sugar drops and we should reach for fruit instead of candy and we’ll be more energized. Remembering this, I sliced up a pink lady apple.

Yeah, it might help my blood sugar levels, but it definitely didn’t trick my body out of wanting that candy. I only had a few life savers to suck on, but they totally did the trick.

A while later I was still craving sweets, and still hungry. Enter my friend, Luna.

Mmmmm seasonal flavors. Actually, I think this bad boy is in their regular rotation now.

After arriving home tonight I attempted to do a little photo shoot action with Rilo for Tina’s Blog Dogs series. Rilo did not want to cooperate!

She did give me some high fives though.

After acting as the paparazzi, Libb whipped up a mean tuna noodle casserole a la Gina’s Skinny Taste. We subbed a yellow bell pepper for the shrooms, used regular sharp cheddar instead of the reduced fat (reduced fat cheese…vomit) and didn’t add the sherry (don’t have any).

Serious yum factor.

Look at those crispy noodles!

A side salad made this meal complete.

Then it was DVR time…90210 style.

(source)

Every Monday Libb asks me yo, is there a new 90210 tonight? When the answer is yes he gets really excited. I am so pleased to have hooked my brother on such a ridiculous guilty pleasure. It makes for great sibling bonding Tuesday evenings.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure t.v. show?

Medicine haze Monday.

Random thoughts filled my cloudy head today….

Does 24 Hour Sudafed contain caffeine? If not, why couldn’t I sleep last night.

Why am I so parched? Does Sudafed do that to you? Why does my water taste gross?

I wonder when I’ll get my next 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath & Beyond. I could really use some more storage containers.

Why don’t we have a Container Store?

When will Trader Joe’s really open?

I wonder if I could talk the hubs into running over to World Market to pick up some more dark chocolate with sea salt.

Why have I not made my own nut butter yet?

I wonder if I could make my own Nutzo, there is no way I am spending $11.99 on a jar of nut butter.

There were more, but I’ll spare you. My head is very foggy from a combo of meds and I can’t really function.

I had to drive the hubs to work this morning because his car had to go into the shop. Long story short he left his car in his work parking garage over the weekend because it is making really loud, clanky, scary noises. He made an appointment for this morning at 7:30. He dropped the car off and walked back to work only to receive a phone call from Volvo informing him that they never ordered the part! What the fudge Volvo? So we have to wait around 5 days before the part will come in…one car + morning workouts + working on opposite sides of town = really cranky Leila.

Brekkie was a pretty standard coffee/half&half/raw sugar + oats/blueberry craisins/chia seeds mix.

Lunch consisted of some roasted red pepper & tomato soup, a side salad, some seltzer and a side of laughter.

Snackie of peach chobani + ice water, (I love that my water bottle still had a huge chunk o ice in it at 2:30 pm).

A co-worker dropped off a bunch of free brand new books from his sister, making my afternoon a whole lot brighter. Included in the mix is the 2011 Newbery Award Winner, Moon Over Manifest!

Then it was off to the gym. Uggh, I hate working out with the after work crowd. Not that I have anything against these people, I’m sure they are all very nice in another setting. But the too small parking lot + too many pieces of cardio equipment in a small space  = really cranky gym goers. Plus I am slightly claustrophobic, and after hitting elbows with the girl next to me for a half hour I was totally over it. Luckily she got off her machine before we had an elbow war and I was able to complete a full hour on the adaptive motion trainer.

After picking the hubs up halfway between his work and the Y, (volvo is not to be trusted on the roads), I quickly assembled taco salads from yesterday’s leftovers.

Yum.

And maybe a few chips w/salsa and guac on the side.

Now about that dark chocolate w/sea salt…

Gym do’s and don’ts.

Do be friendly (move out of the way when trying to unlock your locker so others can pass, offer up shampoo/conditioner/whatever if someone forgot theirs, smile).

Don’t take 10 minute showers. Space, water heat and time are all factors. We are all busy, we all need a shower, but this is a get in-get out situation. Shampoo/condition/wash body. That is all you get. If you want to shave your legs, do it at home.

Do wipe down your machine.

Don’t take up the entire bench in the locker room. If the bench is 8 feet long, take 2, if we are friendly we can fit 3-4 people’s belongings.

Do wear deodorant, even if it is 5 a.m. We can still smell you, and it is gross.

Don’t wear purfume/calogne either in place of, or on top of deodorant. What is enjoyable to you may be offensive to others, and combining that smell with sweat is obnoxious (especially Lovespell and Axe body sprays…eww).

I have a lot more but I don’t want to hit snooze in the morning and I do want to get a good work out in. What are your gym do’s and dont’s?