Saturday, June 27, 2009

Y'all are the best.

Dear Bloggie friends,
Thanks so much for all of your kind words of support yesterday and today.  I have been thinking of nothing else besides my dear friend losing her mother at such a young age.  Well, a young age for both of them, considering the fact that I believe her mom was only 55 years old.  I just cannot imagine losing my mom right now...and just thinking about it scares me.

So, Matt and I are taking off sometime tomorrow, probably late morning/early afternoon.  We had a busy day today - yet another wedding (it was terrible) and then we went to a little country fair-type-thing to see our friend Brandon's Tom Petty cover band (which was lots of fun!).  We then pulled over on the side of the road to watch some fireworks on the way home.  Now, we're home, and I am completely and utterly exhausted, both physically and mentally.  

I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend, and...I'll be back soon!  

Friday, June 26, 2009

More grieving

No, this post is not about Michael Jackson.  
This evening, I lost somebody very close to me.  My oldest and dearest friend and her younger sister lost their mother.  My violin teacher lost his wife.  My parents lost one of their closest friends.  

I've been trying to write this post for a few hours, but to be honest, I'm not even sure what to say.  Lately, it seems as though there has been so much death.  *sigh*

Matt and I will be heading to Michigan on Sunday so that we can be there for the funeral and then sit shiva on Monday.  I am hoping that, after this, we can all get a reprieve from grieving for's just too hard.


An important shout out

Here's the thing:  Bed Bath and Beyond rocks.  I am sad to admit that out of my three registries (BBB, Crate and Barrel, and Williams-Sonoma), I was least excited about BBB.  Initially.  When we started receiving wedding gifts by the truckload, and then started into the repeated return phase, I realized how amazing BBB is.  You can return anything, at any time, with or without any proof of purchase/receipt/shipping invoice/what have you.  Without any questions.

As of late, I have been increasingly pissed off at our towels.  We received our towels at my first bridal shower, waaaaay back in September.  And I LOVED them.  Obviously.  I registered for them, and they looked so pretty and lovely and so much better than our random collection of hand-me-downs and nasty Army-issue tan sandpaper towels.

Now, almost ten months later, I HATE THEM.  Ten months of washing  towels, and they still come out of the dryer covered in lint.  And therefore, I get covered in lint post-shower.  Oh, and have I mentioned the layer of lint stuck to the bathroom wall?  And have I mentioned the fact that our towels are navy blue?  

Yeah.  Not cool.  So, today, I washed them all up, packed them in a bag, and went to BBB.  I explained that I have had the towels for ten months, and they are still linting everywhere.  I also said that they were purchased off of my registry, and oh, have I mentioned how much I love BBB?  I asked if there was any way I could exchange them for some non-linty towels.  The nice college girl working there said, no problem!  Why don't you go pick out some new towels!

I was both thrilled and stunned.  Returning something I have used for 10 months?  Something tells me that not all stores are quite that generous.  I went and picked out new towels and returned to the customer care area.  Or whatever it's called.  She rang them up and then went through the process of going through my old towels to find them on my registry.  After scanning them all in, she told me that my old linty towels are currently on sale, so she had to go back and individually change the price of each towel back to the original, higher price that they were purchased at.  

In the end, I got my lovely new towels - which were cheaper.  SO I now have a $20 store credit!

Moral of the story:  BBB's customer service is second to none, I'm convinced.  If you are a bride-to-be, I strongly urge you to register there!  You won't regret it.  

Oh, and my new towels?  They're about to come out of the dryer, and I'm 99% positive they'll be linty-free.  After spending all morning deep-cleaning the bathroom to get the lint out of each and every crevice, I cannot wait to use the new ones!


So, after unsuccessfully sleeping in (I woke up at 6:30) and successfully Shredding (I am covered in sweat), I started reading your comments and it looks like I need to explain this apple cider vinegar phenomenon that appears to be sweeping the blogland. 
Whew, that was a long sentance.

I first started reading about the benefits of ACV on Gigi's Gone Shopping.  I had never heard of the health benefits of ACV, so I started doing a fair amount of internet research.  And, wow!  The more I read, the better it sounded.  According to Home Remedies Web, drinking a small amount of ACV twice a day has been known to:

  • Reduce sinus infections and sore throats
  • Balance high cholesterol
  • Cure skin conditions such as acne
  • Protect against food poisoning
  • Fight allergies in both humans and animals
  • Protect muscle fatigue after exercising
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Increase stamina
  • Increase metabolism which promotes weight loss
  • Improve digestion and cure constipation
  • Alleviate symptoms of arthritis and gout
  • Prevents bladder stones and urinary tract infections

So basically, a little bit of everything.  I was intrigued, to be sure.  The more I read, the better it sounded.  The benefits of ACV exist only in organic, unfiltered, raw vinegar.  If you get the clear stuff at the supermarket, it will do absolutely nothing for you.  I picked up a bottle of Bragg's (this seems to be the most highly rated brand) at my local hippie grocery store.  

Fact:  drinking ACV is not fun.  I drink two teaspoons in a large glass of icy cold water, with just a touch of honey.  It tastes like water with just a hint of, you know, vinegar.  I have had three glasses so far since I started, and I must admit that I like it a little less every time!  But I'm hoping that, with time, it becomes more natural.  I am not under the naive impression that all of those lovely health benefits will ring true for my body, but since there are seemingly no side effects, it can't hurt, right?

So.  That's the deal with ACV.

A sidenote:  I am currently watching Good Morning America, and one of the hosts (reporters?) just described Michael Jackson as being a "pre-Obama Obama-esque figure."  I am guessing they were trying to say that he was a big deal, but it just seemed to come out all weird and awkward.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'm just not feeling it.

I don't know what it is, but I just haven't felt like blogging the last couple of days.  Blah.  I also haven't really felt like scrolling through the hundreds of unread posts on my Reader.  So, I've been slacking.  Please bear with me.  Don't be surprised when I comment on posts you wrote last week.  I'm sorry.  I'm just in a temporary blogging slump.

That being said...I feel like I have a ton to tell you.  Okay, maybe I don't.  Whatever.  I know you have probably been sitting at the edge of your seat with suspense, wondering whether or not I've been working out.  Oh, you haven't?  Hmmm.  

Well, for those of you who are burning to know, the answer is YES!  I got back from Charlotte Monday evening, and on Tuesday I woke up and...didn't do the Shred.  I know, I know.  Bad girl.  But I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep in.  That turned out to be okay, though, because I went to my running group session that evening and it was killer!  Between the 90+ degree heat and the hills, I was exhausted.  And sweaty.

Yesterday morning, I woke up and started Level Two of the Shred!  And yeah, it totally sucked.  But I am so happy to be doing something DIFFERENT!  I Shredded again this morning and could do more of the crazy pushups/jumping things.  You know what I'm talking about.  

I have been at a conference all week for "Youth Serving Professionals."  I find this title cumbersome.  Usually we are referred to as "youth service workers."  Somehow, that sounds better...?  I don't know.  Overall, the conference was boring.  It was disorganized, repetitive, and just plain blah.  The highlight was today's afternoon session, when I learned a ton about psychotropic medications for children and adolescents.  That stuff really interests me.  

So, now it's the weekend!  I plan on sleeping in tomorrow, cleaning...everything, hitting up the library, and...well, that's about it probably.  Oh, and Shredding, naturally.  

Oh, and I think this would be a good time to share that I, too, have jumped on the Apple Cider Vinegar bandwagon.  I started last night, drinking 2 teaspoons of ACV in a large glass of icy cold water.  I do not like it at all, but I gulp it down kinda fast and try to not imagine I'm drinking salad dressing.  Whew.  I'll keep you updated!

Anyone have any good weekend plans?  

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm in love.

Hello again, friends!  My weekend was fabulous, and clearly a high point was spending Friday with my amazing friend Cassie and her new baby, Charlie.  Cassie looks amazing and is so clearly a natural mother!  It was so wonderful spending some quality time with both her and Charlie.  I am completely in love with him.  What is it about spending time with a perfect little baby that makes my uterus scream out for a child?  Oh dear.  It may be official now:  I have the baby bug.  Cassie wouldn't let us take any photos of her (which is ridiculous - she looked beautiful!), so here are some photos of Anna with Charlie, me with Charlie, and Charlie all by himself.  Oh, and one of Sam, Cassie and her husband's first child - I think you'll be able to guess which one Sam is.

For my DC/VA peeps

Hello, strangers!  Remember me?  I am back from an absolutely amazing weekend in Charlotte.  I had such a great time!  Great friends, great food, great fun.  Seriously.  I will write about that later, though.  I have two urgent messages for my DC/VA peeps today.  

The first is...I am so shocked, saddened, and horrified about the Metro collision.  As someone who previously rode the Metro an average of 2 hours a day, I know how scary that situation is.  I cannot imagine being a part of that collision and I hope that none of you were, either.

The second is a bit lighter.  Has anyone seen this Arlington Rap?  It is possibly the funniest things I've seen in awhile.  Anyone will think it's funny, but it really hits home if you're familiar with the  area!  So please, watch this.  IMMEDIATELY.  Right freaking now.  

I'm not joking.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Happy Wednesday! Today is my last work day of the week. Have I mentioned how much I love working part time?

Tomorrow morning, I'll be on the road, driving 9ish miles to Charlotte, NC. I am so excited! I can't wait to see my friends Anna, Tim, Cassie, Dave, and the newest addition to Cassie and Dave's Charlie. Yippee! Things I'm not excited about: the 18 hour roundtrip car ride. But whatever, I'm not going to think about it. :)

Yesterday was a total wash as far as working out. I skipped the Shred in the morning because I had my running group in the evening. Since I had really, really pushed in on Monday, I thought I should rest up so that I wouldn't hurt myself.

Well, then...our running group got rained out. So I missed both workouts. And at that point in the evening, I had absolutely no motivation to do anything active. Oh well. This morning, I got up and Shredded. It sucked. My calves are soooo super tight from my Monday run...I literally felt like I could barely move. And you can forget about all those damn jumping jacks. Blech.

This evening, my "exercise" will be running around and packing for my mini-vacation weekend! I HATE packing, but not as much as I hate unpacking. I actually started packing last night, which is very out of character for me. I'm the type of person who likes to wait until the very last minute to pack. In fact, I rarely have any motivation to do it ahead of time. But last night, I did a bunch of laundry and then just threw all my clean stuff in the suitcase. Score! Now, all I really need to do is decide what to wear in the car tomorrow, and pack up my toiletries. Totally doable, right?

Okay. Well, I'm off. I'm not sure if I'll be blogging this weekend or not. If you don't hear from me...well then, have a great weekend! I'll be back Monday night and will attempt to start going through my Reader on Tuesday morning. xoxo!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Totally, Completely Exhausted...

I have decided that I have a definite fear of the unknown.  Case in point:  tonight I had my first "group run" with my training group.  Every Monday and Thursday, the running store in town has these group runs - so it's not exclusive to my training group.  I missed both group runs last week, so I didn't know what to expect.  All day, I dreaded going.  Even 5 minutes before I got in the car to drive to the store, I just stood around my apartment morosely wishing I didn't have to go.  I was worried about the format - I didn't know what we were doing.  I didn't know who would be there.  I started worrying I would be the only slow runner.  Yadda, yadda, yadda.  You know the drill.  All those mind games we play with ourselves.

But, I went anyway.  And I ran my little heart out.  Seriously.  We left from the store and ran two miles to the IU soccer fields.  I ran most of the time but stopped to walk up a couple of serious inclines.  At the soccer fields, we did one mile of strides.  Whew.  Then, two miles back to the store.  That's 5 miles, people.  Obviously, I took several walk breaks on the way back...and my calves are KILLING ME.  But - I sure am proud of myself!  And I am totally, completely exhausted.  

The morning started out with Day 6 of the Shred.  I cannot WAIT to get to Level 2...I am getting seriously bored.  Thanks for all of your suggestions, but...I already do all of them.  I have had Jillian muted since day one...because I cannot stand her yelling at me.  I listen to my ipod.  My dog even joins in the fun sometimes - he especially likes when I'm on the floor doing abs.  I'm still bored, though.

After the Shred and after a nice cool shower, I went to my friend Patty's house to ride horses!  My friend Becky brought her two little kids, aged 2 and 3.  None of them had ever been on a horse before - including Becky!  I never imagined that someone born and raised in Indiana could go their entire life without riding a horse!  Anyway - Patty has a beautiful house, 12 acres, 4 horses, 2 goats, and 3 dogs.  We had so much fun!  The kids LOVED the horses.  Even the big kids (i.e. Becky and me) had a fantastic time.  

I have two favorite moments from our time with the horses.  Both involve Becky's daughter, Jenae (3 y/o).  The first:

Shaina:  Jenae, I love your pink sparkly sandals!
Jenae:  These aren't called sandals.  These are called flip-flops.
Shaina:  Oooh!  Oops.  My mistake.

Seriously.  Aren't kids the cutest?  But this one takes the cake - a great discussion between Jenae and I while she was up on the horse with me.

Jenae:  How old are all of you?
Shaina:  You want to know how old we are?  How old I am?
Jenae:  Yeah.
Shaina:  Well, I'm 27.
Jenae:  What about the other one?  Patty?
Shaina:  Patty, Jenae wants to know how old you are!
Patty:  Well sweetheart, I'm 44.
Jenae, excited:  Wow!  44!  That's how old Mommy is!!!!
Becky/Mommy:  NO, Jenae, I'm not 44!  I'm only 34!!!
Jenae, to me:  Well, they're both old.

Hahahahaha!  I nearly died laughing.  It's so true, though - when you're a kid, anyone over 18 seems ancient, right?

Anyway.  After horseback riding, I attempted to go to work.  But the offices were locked, and I don't have a key.  Also, the school was completely deserted.  Work day aborted.

So I sat around for a few hours, and then picked up S for an afternoon of fun!  I still haven't written an S post, I promise to do that soon.  After S, I went to the running group.  And there you have it, my extremely detailed day of activities!

I'm thinking there's a good chance I skip the Shred tomorrow morning.  I'm going to wait and see how I feel in the morning.  Tomorrow night, my running group is back at the IU cross country course...and that course is no joke.  I want to make sure I don't hurt myself.  I may wake up and just do some weights or pushups or something, and save my legs for the evening.  

Okay.  So now it's 10:15 and I am ready for bed.  Have a great night, everyone, and we'll chat tomorrow!  

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pure Deliciousness

Well, it's Sunday night.  Aren't Sunday nights rough?  When you realize that your lovely weekend has come to a close, and you have to go back to work tomorrow?  Blah.

Today was pretty low-key.  Sunday is my day off, so I skipped the Shred.  But, I felt...lazy.  Perhaps I am getting set in a routine?  This is a good thing!  Instead of feeling lazy all day, Matt and I took Oscar out to a nearby lake for some hiking.  We hiked vigorously and I sweat like crazy!  It wasn't super hot, but the humidity was out of control.  We were only out about 45 minutes to an hour, but I was out of breath and my heart rate was definitely up!  So, that's good.

Then - DELICIOUSNESS!  I made a really amazing dinner.  Which I feel obligated to share with you, clearly. 

Without further ado:  Weight Watchers Crock Pot Beef Brisket!  Yummmmmmy!  6 points for a 3 oz piece of brisket with 6 tbsp of sauce.

1 4lb beef brisket (I used a 2 pound and it was plenty for the two of us)
1 large onion sliced and separated into rings (I omitted the onion because Matt doesn't like it)
3/4 tsp pepper
3 tbsp all purpose flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup beer
1/2 cup chili sauce

Trim fat from brisket (this was the hardest part!); cut in half.  Place onion rings in slow cooker.  Sprinkle with pepper evenly over brisket.  Place brisket halves over onions.  Put flour, brown sugar and garlic in a small bowl.  Gradually add beer and chili sauce, stirring until blended.  Pour over brisket.  Cover with lid and cook on high for 1 hour, then reduce to low and cook 6-8 hours or until tender.

Ta da!

This was seriously one of the tastier things I've ever made.  The brisket was so tender that it just fell apart.  YUM!  Try this - ASAP - and let me know what you think!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lovely Weekend

Happy Saturday, my lovelies!  Sorry I missed posting  yesterday.  I was busy entertaining my little sister...and reading Eclipse, naturally.  I finished it this morning, about 24 hours later than I expected.  Aaaaand now it's on to the next book:  Scarlett, the sequel to Gone With The Wind.  Obviously not written by Margaret Mitchell, as GWTW was her only book.  We'll see how good this is...I'm only about 50 pages into it, and it's not super fantastic.  I'll let you know in a few days.

So, as far as being fit goes, so far so good!
For yesterday:

Morning:  Day 4 of the Shred!
Breakfast:  One cup of Quaker Oat Squares with skim milk and strawberries

Lunch-ish:  1 Kashi dark chocolate and coconut bar (yummmmmmy!)

Snack-ish:  1 WW chocolate chip cookie and a small amount of Kraft mac and cheese that I made for S when she came over

Dinner:  Leftovers from Thursday night - the ham and potato au gratin dealy.


Morning:  Day 5 of the Shred!  Yesss!  Does anyone else get kinda...bored with the Shred?  I mean, I like it and I like knowing what I'm doing.  But now that I'm on Day 5 of the-same-exact-thing, I find myself really looking forward to Level 2.  Thoughts?
Breakfast:  Two Eggo Nutrigrain waffles with strawberries and maple syrup 

Lunch:  a few saltines to ward of an approaching migraine
Afternoon:  5 mile brisk hike/walk with my boys, Matt and Oscar

Afternoon naughty snack:  One scoop of grasshopper ice cream (mint chocolate chip with oreos!) in a sugar cone.  Hey, it was hot, and we had a nice long hike!

Dinner:  Sliced steak over polenta - recipe from WW Momentum Cookbook.  This was soooo tasty!  Recipe at the bottom.  Sorry, no photos...I just didn't think about it.  But this is definitely a winner!

Does anyone have any fun Sunday plans?  I plan on sleeping in, doing Day 6 of the Shred (blaaaaaah!), and reading.  I may throw in some laundry, guessed it!  I'm going on ANOTHER TRIP NEXT WEEKEND!  On Thursday, I'm leaving to drive to Charlotte, NC, to visit my wonderful friends Anna and her husband Tim, and Cassie, her husband Dave, and their new little baby Charlie.  I'm so excited!  I'm not super excited about the 9 hour drive, but I'm going to head to the library to pick up a book-on-cd from my summer reading list.  Any suggestions?  I need it to be around 16-17 hours.  

Okay - House just came on, so I'm out of here!  Here is the fab recipe - I almost never make steak, but this one was truly yummy!

Sliced Steak with Crispy Polenta:  6 points

1 one pound flank steak, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon ancho or regular chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 16-ounce tube of fat-free polenta, cut into 12 slices
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Spray a nonstick ridged grill pan with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the steak with the chili powder and salt.  Place the steak on the pan and cook until and instant-read thermometer inserted into the side of the steak registered 145F for medium-rare, about 5 minutes on each side.  Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes.  Cut on a diagonal into 16 slices.

Meanwhile, spray the broiler rack with nonstick spray and preheat the broiler.  Arrange the slices of polenta on the rack and broil 5 inches from the heat until crispy and heated through, about 2 minutes on each side.

Spray a medium nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat.  Add the corn, bell pepper, onion, and jalapeno pepper;  cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Place 3 slices of polenta on each of 4 plates and top evenly with the steak.  Spoon the corn mixture on top.

*Chef's note:  I didn't have any jalapeno or cilantro, so I omitted these and it was still darn tasty.  I also have a bit of an aversion to chili powder, so I sprinkled the steak with salt, pepper and garlic instead.  I also broiled the steak as well as the polenta - I get nervous cooking steak on the stove.  :)  But that's just me!*

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 3 = Not So Great

Day 3 of my super duper fitness project started out great.  After the crazy storm that kept me up for awhile in the middle of the night, I slept in until around 8, then finally rolled out of bed to Shred.  Which went well!  It's crazy how quickly I notice myself getting stronger, you know?  I have read so many ladies' blogs who say the same thing.  This morning, I could do way more than I could just two days ago.  

For breakfast, I measured out a cup of Fiber One Honey Clusters (yum!) with 1/2 cup skim milk and around 1/2 cup of strawberries.  

Then, I went to work...and had the most fabulous lunch ever, a Kashi frozen meal called the Mayan Harvest Bake.  And then, I wrote a huge blog post about how fabulous that meal is and how all of you should run out and buy it...but, my computer went a little crazy, and the whole post got deleted.  And now I don't feel like rewriting it.  So, go pick up this meal, seriously.  You will LOVE IT.

I headed home with every intention of doing nothing but reading Eclipse until it was time for my group run at the running store.  But...disaster struck in the form of a migraine.  Blech.  I haven't brought this up before, but...when I get a migraine, I get a major salt craving.  I started noticing this a few months ago.  When I have an especially bad migraine that makes me throw up, I have a really strong salt craving afterwards.  If we don't have saltines in the apartment, I go crazy!  After some Google research, I read that migraines can be caused by a sodium deficiency.  I don't eat a lot of salt, so I thought this was interesting.  Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to eat salt when I feel a migraine coming on.  I'll start popping saltines and drinking water, and frequently, this seems to do the trick.

So, when the migraine came on this afternoon, I started popping saltines and drinking water.  Saltines = not WW friendly!  I rested for awhile, but got up to go to my group run.  Halfway there, my migraine kicked in at full force.  I turned around, went back home, and crawled into bed.  And I drank a vanilla Coke.  Vanilla Coke = not WW friendly!  But a caffeine kick is a last resort.  

After a nice little rest...the migraine is almost gone!  And I made a nice WW-friendly crockpot meal (ham and potato au gratin - let me know if you want the recipe!  It was pretty tasty!).  So, the day is not completely lost.  But I didn't get my second workout in, so I kind of feel like a bum.  Tomorrow morning, I need to Shred AND run!  Whew!

Happy almost-Friday, everyone!  I'm off for the weekend, thanks to my summer part-time schedule.  Tomorrow afternoon, I'm hanging out with my Little Sis, S - we're watching a movie and I'm making her mac and cheese, her fave meal.  I know I haven't talked much about her in awhile...I think I'll do an S post sometime this weekend.  


Well, I'm awake at 3am thanks to what is officially the scariest thunder/lightning storm of my life.  I am amazed that we still have power.  Matt, of course, is sound asleep (I have no idea how!) and Oscar is glued to the window, mere inches from the action.  Aren't dogs supposed to be scared of loud, bright, crazy thunderstorms?  I rushed into the living room and turned on the TV (why did we watch that Storm Stories about tornadoes the other day???!), convinced I would see some urgent news about how a tornado is barreling through Bloomington, and that we should be cowering in our bathroom.

Instead, the first channel I turned on had a completely naked woman on there.  Please note that I have basic cable.  Apparently at 3am on basic cable they show naked people??  News to me.  After channel surfing on mute, I have decided that I am currently in no danger of being swept away in a big funnel a la the poor lady with her baby on Storm Stories.  Instead, a small "tornado watch" logo in the top right or bottom left hand corner of every local station has convinced me that I will probably be a-okay.  And, as I have been sitting here nervously channel flipping/blogging, the lightening has subsided as well.

Further proof that blogging saves lives.  Back to bed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fitness: Day Two!

Just a quick note to make sure I'm logging my food and activities for you.  And for me.  :)

Morning:  Shred, Level 1, Day 2!
Breakfast:  Food for Life english muffin half with peanut butter and preserves

Lunch:  Bagel and cream cheese.  I know, a bad choice.  It was a weakness.
Midday:  30 minute walk around the school with Becky

Evening:  20 minute pilates workout
Dinner:  One WW turkey burger, no bun, with some bbq sauce;  sweet potato fries; tomato slices; and some strawberries with a dollop of fat free Cool Whip

Okay!  So far, so good.  Tomorrow morning - Shredding!  And tomorrow evening is a regular group run at the running store, with my training group.  I'll report back on how the run goes tomorrow night!  And to bed.  I'm exhausted!

*An exciting note - the library just emailed me to say that Eclipse is finally on hold for me!  Whoo hoo!  I know, I know, I am the only person on earth who hasn't yet finished the Twilight series.  But...I have been waiting for Eclipse at the library for THREE MONTHS.  Seriously.  I'm picking it up tomorrow, and am 100% positive that I'll finish it by Friday morning.  Yay!

Sushi Giveaway!

So, I forgot to mention that I WON A GIVEAWAY!  Yesterday in the mail, I received a fabulous sushi cookbook along with gorgeous place settings for four (bamboo placemats, chopsticks, the whole nine yards!) from Alice over at A Balancing Act in Heels.  I LOVE sushi, and so many of my happy memories with Matt involve a huge sushi dinner.  Without further ado, here are some photos of my big prize!

Here's Oscar, checking out his new sushi stuff!  THANKS ALICE!!!!

An Open Letter to Neutrogena

Dear Neutrogena,

Thank you so much for making a fabulous active-wear sunscreen for those in need of SPF 1000+.  I was at first hesitant to pay over $10 for your Ultimate Sport spray-on sunscreen SPF 70+.  However, going on one too many runs with sticky streams of sunscreen running down my body convinced me that it was time to pull out the big guns.  

I applied it generously last night before heading out with my running group, and I must say that it performed spectacularly.  However, one tiny little pesky question remains:  how in the hell do I get it off of my skin?

Imagine my surprise when, after not one but TWO scrubs in the shower, my skin was still saturated in Ultimate Sport.  Even this morning, after yet another shower and another scrub, I can still feel it on my skin.  

The good thing is that I know it does its job.  I have absolutely no worries about my sunscreen sweating off my body during a workout.  But - if you could kindly push me in the right direction as to strategies for washing this crazy stuff off (baby oil?  a brillo pad?), I would appreciate it.

Shaina Still-Covered-In-Sunscreen Smith

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Running Group = HARDCORE!!!

Well ladies, I am exhausted!  And energized.  All at the same time.  My running group is pretty serious!  I think if I can keep this up for the next two months, I'll be able to take this weight off - and more!

I was a little nervous for the first run, mostly because I was concerned I would be slowest runner.  A valid concern, I think, when the trainer just broke 4 minutes to run a mile in 3:57.  Yeah.  I know.   That's superhuman, if you ask me.  

So, we met out at the IU Cross Country Course.  I immediately made friends with a nice girl who also described herself as a slow runner.  Whew!  She was super nice.  And, just my luck, she is moving away cross-country in August.  Fabulous.  

Oh well.  We did about a 1000 meter warm-up while running down to the main course.  After a little break and some stretching, the plan was to run 5 x 1000 meters.  Whoa.  I was a little nervous, especially considering I haven't run in a few weeks!  I stuck with my buddy and ran the majority of the time, with walk breaks when my cough-from-hell lungs needed a break.  We managed 3 x 1000 before I was exhausted.  And then, we ran up a big hill - three times!  I ran up and walked down the first time, ran up and ran down the second, and then the third, I ran up and then continued walking back to my car.  Whew!  All in all, I was there for an hour.  

So, let's review my day's activities!

Morning:  Jillian Michaels Shred, Level 1
Breakfast:  Half a Food For Life english muffin with peanut butter and jelly

Snack:  Clif Kids twisted fruit in strawberry (have you tried these???!!  yes, they're for kids, but it's a whole serving of fruit and it tastes like candy!  and it's good for you!!!)

Lunch:  1 cup of steamed broccoli with some Smart Balance spread, salt and pepper, Horizon organic strawberry yogurt with some Bear Naked chocolate granola (also known as the best granola on earth)
After lunch:  30 minute walk with my coworker Becky

Evening:  1 hour run/workout with my new running group
Dinner:  Chicken and tofu pad thai I got for free earlier today

So!  Day one - so far, so good.  I feel great!  Although I know I will feel that hilly run tomorrow butt and thighs are already a little sore!


Fantabulously Frugal Giveaway

I mentioned this in my sidebar, but I realized that this is way too good a giveaway NOT to post about!

Lisa from Fantabulously Frugal is giving away a HUGE AMAZING PACKAGE of over $300 worth in goodies!  They include:  

  • Decorative envelopes from etsy seller Adnagam
  • Frango Dark Chocolate Mints
  • Sunshine Yellow Hair Pins from etsy seller creamrose
  • Purple Rain Amethyst Earrings from etsy seller Sew*Cool Design
  • Paperchase 8 Folded Cards with Envelopes
  • Small change purse from etsy seller Made by Hank
  • Cucumber Melon Salty Soap Scrub from etsy seller Sissy Soap
  • Soap Nuts from Laundry Tree
  • Spring Flower Garden Cupcake Liners from etsy seller Layer Cake Shop
  • 2 Vera Bradley cloth napkins
  • Musings Recycled Notebook in Blue from etsy seller subu
  • Fleur de Lis Necklace from etsy seller Bumble Beadz
  • Marc Jacobs key fob
  • Stationery and small letter-pressed notebook from etsy seller Sarah Drake
  • Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Protective Recovery Complex
  • Coriander Ivory Small Cosmetic Bag from etsy seller The Sweet Sugar Beet
  • Smashbox Lip Gloss
  • Reusable Sandwich & Snack Bags from etsy seller Green Street
  • Reversible Coffee Sleeve from etsy seller LilE
  • Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  • OPI Nail Polish
  • Stick With Me, Kid Shopping Tote from etsy seller Earth Cadets
  • As well as MANY MORE surprises!

  • Holy moly!!!  What an amazing giveaway!  Get yourself over there STAT to enter.  Make sure you tell her I sent you!  

    I heart my summer schedule!

    Hmm, that initially posted with nothing in the body of the post.  Sorry.  Boring.

    Of course, the message is true - I LOVE my summer part-time schedule!  Today is my first day back to work this week, and...I'm still at home.  Unshowered.  At 8am!  I actually got up at 7:15 and Shredded this morning!  I just finished, and now I'm absolutely drenched with sweat.  It feels...good.  

    Have you noticed the lack of Weight Watchers Wednesdays lately?  Like...over the past few months?  Well, that's because I stopped WW in March-ish.  Shortly thereafter, I went on a new daily med for my headaches.  The main side effect was weight gain.  Excellent.  I wasn't really sure if I was gaining weight or not, because I was running pretty regularly and feeling good.  

    Notsomuch.  I went to the neurologist last week for a checkup, and when they weighed me, I discovered - to my absolute horror - that I have gained roughly ten pounds.  Since March.  Ugh.  We discussed my weight gain and the medication and she changed my daily med to one in the same family of drugs, but doesn't have the same ick side effects.  

    Right now, I weigh more than I ever have in my life.  I think that I look terrible.  So, time to kick all this back into gear.  Before, when I started WW, I thought I had about 10-15 pounds to lose.  Now, I have 20-25.  No easy feat.  But...I'm going to do it.  Hopefully with your help and support!  Because I have always had issues with motivation and working out.  

    So, here is the plan.  I am Shredding.  EVERY DAY.  I kind of fell off the Shred wagon a few months ago, too...but at that time, I could do Level Two pretty well.  This morning, I really struggled to finish Level One.  Whew.  That was certainly a slap in the face!  So - Shredding daily, in the morning.  I joined the running group, and I have group runs Monday and Thursday evenings with more individualized training on Tuesday evenings.  I also plan on throwing in another run on Saturdays.  The rest of the days - Wednesdays and Fridays - I'm going to do pilates in the evening at home.  And Sundays will be my off-day, although I will be walking.  My coworker Becky and I plan on walking during our lunchtime this summer, Tuesdays through Thursdays.  Whew.  I just got a little tired AND a little fired up, all at the same time, looking at my plan all written out.

    In addition to all the action, I am going back on WW.  Starting today.  I'm not doing the meetings because I really can't afford it on my summer part-time schedule.  I signed up for the three month online package deal, and after that runs out, I can do it on my own.  

    SO.  That's the plan.  My loving request of y'all is:  make sure I don't stop!  I need all the motivation I can get.  I know I have it at home with Matt, which is wonderful.  I will try to blog almost daily about how everything is going.  If I don't...ask why!  I want to be completely open on here for complete accountability.

    Help me help myself.  :)  

    Monday, June 8, 2009

    Home Again

    We're back in Bloomington from our fabulous weekend in Nashville/Clarksville!  We had such a great time with Jenn and to follow, sometime.  We forgot our camera, so I took lots of photos with Jenn's camera...of course, I don't have that, so I have to remember to get those photos from Jenn!

    We arrived Friday afternoon and spent some time relaxing, which was wonderful.  Ryan and Jenn made us an amazing dinner - teriyaki pork tenderloin and yummy zucchini mashed potatoes, with a spinach salad.  Delicious!  We were so spoiled there.  On Saturday morning, we drove into Nashville and ate at the Pancake Pantry.  Matt has been talking the Pantry up since we met, and I was so happy to finally eat the best chocolate chip pancakes ever!  I was certainly not disappointed!  After breakfast/lunch, we walked around Matt's alma mater, Belmont University.  It is a tiny little college and so, so beautiful.  Saturday evening, we packed a picnic and went to Clarksville's "Jazz on the Lawn" at the local vineyard.  We had a great time eating, drinking, and making fun of everyone surrounding us.  It was seriously the best place for people watching!  Plus, we saw the fattest baby ever.  EVER.  The baby LITERALLY looked like it was wearing a fat suit.  It was terrible.

    Sunday was relaxation day...lots of hours of TV and a little tour around Clarksville.  And then we left this morning!

    I am sad to report that I have only gotten sicker than last week.  Boo.  All weekend, my cough just got worse and I can barely talk without erupting in yucky coughs.  Matt and I got back home at around 3:00, and he dropped me right off at the walk-in clinic across the street from our apartment.  An hour later, I walked out with a prescription.  Whew.  I am hoping that the antibiotic takes care of this nasty cough, because it is NO FUN WHATSOEVER.

    Did everyone have a great weekend?  I am back to 900-some unread posts on my Reader, and I'm trying to get through them - slowly but surely.  I'm finally back to normal this week - no traveling! - so you'll start hearing from me again soon!  

    Thursday, June 4, 2009

    Well, okay...

    I suppose I will upload the wedding photos today, after all!  The wedding we went to on Friday was just lovely.  My friend Jenny is extremely artistic - I wish I could properly explain all the touching, handmade details in her wedding, but I'm sure I would forget something important.  So, a few notes:  she handmade all the flowers for the entire wedding - bouquets, centerpieces, everything.  They are paper!  She mostly used recycled paper from leftover wedding invitations, etc.  They were absolutely gorgeous in person.  She also wove shawls for all of the bridesmaids (unfortunately I didn't get a good photo of those), which were truly lovely.  Without further ado, here are some wedding photos!

    Holy Excitement!

    I have an exciting late-afternoon announcement!!!

    I am blogging home!  From my computer!!!  From my bed!!!!!!!!

    You may or may not know that Matt and I just got cable and internet for the first time...about two weeks ago.  I know, I know, we've been living in the dark ages, blah blah blah.  Matt had been able to pick up someone's wireless signal on his laptop for the last few months as long as he didn't move his computer from a certain corner of our bed...and my computer wouldn't pick up anything, at all.  And then, it broke.

    I didn't rush to get it repaired, seeing as how we didn't even have internet at home.  But then - a miracle!  A great Comcast deal (I know, that has to be an oxymoron, right??!) came along and we decided to do the impossible - GET TECHNOLOGY AT HOME.  Last week, I finally got around to taking my computer in for the necessary repair.

    This morning, I called to check in on my little Mac, only to be told couldn't be fixed without spending the approximate cost of a whole new computer.  But, thankfully, it works as long as it's plugged into the wall.  It just doesn't work on battery power.

    So, I went and picked up my laptop today, resigned to keep it plugged in until I can save enough $$ to buy a new, fancy Macbook Pro.  

    And can I just say feels so fabulous to blog from the bedroom!  And to look at my Reader!  AT HOME!!!  I know this sounds crazy, girls, but I really feel so happy and comfortable.  Yippee!  AND now I'll finally be able to upload the photos from the wedding we went to on Friday!  But, you know, I probably won't, because I'm trying to "pack" (once again!) for our weekend in Nashville.  Constant traveling is so hard on a girl.  I'm exhausted!  But I am so excited to see Jenn and Ryan this weekend.  Matt went to college in Nashville, and he is really looking forward to showing me around his old stomping grounds.  I am really looking forward to some chocolate chip pancakes at the Pancake Pantry, too!  Yay!

    So - stay tuned!  For some photos...eventually!  Happy weekend!

    Uh oh

    My reader is over 1000 unread posts again.  Oh dear.  I'm not sure I'll recover from this one...especially considering that Matt and I are leaving AGAIN tomorrow morning to go out of town, this time to Nashville to visit Jenn and Ryan!  Very exciting.  Of course, I feel as though we've barely been home.  This week has been a whirlwind, especially considering the fact that we didn't get back from Michigan until late Monday evening.  

    Yesterday was hellish...I had to work a golf scramble for the Chamber.  Blech.  I arrived at 6:30am only to sit around and do NOTHING until around 11:30.  At 11:30, my coworkers and I checked the golfers' wristbands for lunch until around 12:15.  Then, we sat around and DID NOTHING ALL DAY until we were FINALLY told we could leave at 6:30pm.  That's right, my friends...I was there for twelve hours but only did about 45 minutes worth of work.

    I certainly don't mind working for twelve hours if there's actually something to do.  But yesterday seemed ridiculous.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that we won't have to work this next year.  Please.  Please please please.

    In other answer your question, NO, the Indiana boys driving around town shirtless on their mopeds ARE NOT ATTRACTIVE IN THE LEAST.  Well, unless you're into that whole toothless, hillbilly, crazily tattooed, mullet look.  If you're into that sort of thing, I highly recommend moving to South Central Indiana STAT.

    I also got the most fabulous pedicure over the weekend!  My toes are now hot Barbie pink, courtesy of the Essie polish color "Flirty Fuschia."  I highly recommend!  Every time I look at my toes, I'm happy!

    Well, time to get some work done today.  I have a monthly spreadsheet I need to finish for May, and some office tidying to do.  You probably won't hear from me again until next, everyone have a fabulous weekend!  I'll be back to normal next week, I promise!

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    How you can tell it's summer in Indiana...

    ...everywhere I look, there are shirtless men riding everywhere on mopeds with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths.

    Classic Indiana.  

    I'm back! And...sick.

    Hello my darling friends!  Whew, what a busy, busy weekend.  Matt and I returned last night and I am exhausted and sick.  Sometime over the course of yesterday, I developed a killer sore throat which appears to have turned into a full-fledge sickness.  Blech.  I am sucking down the hot tea at a record rate, and hope to be feeling all better asap.

    The weekend was good!  We went to my friend Jenny's wedding on Friday, which was lovely.  Photos to follow, possibly tomorrow.  Jenny is one of the most unique people I have ever met, and her wedding completely reflected her personality and talents as an artist.  I can't wait to share the photos with you!  

    On Saturday morning, we headed to my parents' house where we spent time with both the parents AND my granddad and his girlfriend.  We had a great time, and celebrated my mom's birthday (which was Saturday) and re-celebrated Matt's birthday from last week.  Lots of fabulous birthday fun!  On Sunday we headed to the visitation and spent some time with Anna and her husband Tim - and yesterday, the funeral.  I was so happy to have been there to support Anna.  

    And now...ta da!  Back to work.  Now that school is out (whoo hoo!), I am catching up on some paperwork.  Blech.  I also have a staff meeting today.  Double blech.  I have 1000+ unread posts on my reader (!!!!!!!!!!) but I will try to (eventually) get to all of them...hopefully...!

    I hope you had a great weekend, too!  Did anything fun happen?  Anything exciting?  Did you win any giveaways?  Tell me about it!