Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone had a sugar-filled, ghoulish good time today! We had desk trick or treating at my job, so I bought some Paydays for the occasion, and have nommed several today.

I haven't really celebrated Halloween in a couple years (I lie. I went to a party last year. I dressed up as Princess Fiona and won Cutest Costume!).

Was going to paint my skin green, but it wasn't working for me.
The other day, I was at Target with my mom, and we were perusing costumes, and it made me think of the costumes I had growing up. When I was a kid, my mom made my costumes, and spoiled me. She put so much detail into them, and I wish I had pics floating around online to show you, but you'll just have to take my word for it. I've been several Disney Characters: Cinderella, Snow White, Tinkerbell, Princess Jasmine, Pocahontas, the Clopin from Hunchback of Notre Dame.

In high school, my costumes started to get a little less Disney, a little more traditional. I was a cat one year, Titania from A Midsummer Night's Dream another year (And was robbed to another Titania for Best Costume! [Theatre Kids]).
Ever After was big that year, so that's what my sister was from, I think.
When I got to college, I went on a limb and was more Ghoulish. Observe.

Hipster Vampire: Before Twilight~2005
Mary, Winifred and Sarah Sanderson of Hocus Pocus~2006
Fairy and Goddess~2008
My favorite, which I can't seem to find a picture of, was when I was working at Horseshoe Casino back in 2010, and I dressed up as a Twilight Fan. I wore a raglan T-Shirt that said "Vampire Baseball League," straightened my hair, put two multi-colored streaks in my hair, wore my contacts, had my sister put bite marks on my neck and my new nickname from the dealers was "Twilight Barbie." I got great tips that night, though.

Thanks for taking this walk down memory lane with me. This was fun! Hope you have a safe, fun Halloween!

What are your favorite costumes from years past?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cooking Fool

I don't know what it is about fall, but I have been cooking like a maniac lately. Saturday night, I made a full on dinner for my parents, mostly from scratch (Crock Pot Roast Chicken, cheddar biscuits, roasted brussels sprouts, green beans, garlic mashed potatoes). The chicken, beans and brussels sprouts were scratch. The rest was pre-packaged. Still homey and delicious, though.

We had tons of leftovers from the chicken because it was a whole fryer chicken and we're only three people, so I made chicken and dumplings tonight. Added benefit was that we found rainbow carrots at the store, and they excited me so much that I bought them. It was all so tasty. I wish I had pictures.

Not gonna lie. Only reason I wanted to make it was because I think I'm getting sick, but I didn't want to have soup. Chicken and dumplings is way more comforting to me than soup. It was wonderful. That Rachael Ray knows what she's doing.

Source
So, getting sick. Yeah. Yesterday was my church's "Trunk or Treat," and being on worship team, I was part of the entertainment. It was also freezing, and singing in cold weather is a recipe for a raw throat. I've been drinking tons of tea all day, and got my veggies in today (two whole cups of kale in my smoothie this morning!). I don't know. Ever feel run down and gross, and you know the problem? Eating junk food makes me break out, so I'm praying my skin clears up in the next day or two, and that the tea/water help, too.

Source
I'm thisclose to taking a home remedy from my friend, Denise to knock out a cold. A whole garlic clove, vitamin C and echinacea. Done it before and it works. It's just highly GROSS. She says she has to follow her garlic with a Dr. Pepper chaser. I had to follow it with Diet Coke when I did it.

What are some other home remedies to ready ourselves for Winter?

Friday, October 26, 2012

LiveFit Phase 1: Almost Done. Basically a recap

So, I'd be totally lying if I said I was happy with my results so far. four weeks and eighteen weight training sessions of about 30 minutes each is nothing to sneeze at, but it hasn't been like I thought it would be.

Pros so far: I am definitely stronger. I was able to do ten girly push ups in a row last week. That is AMAZING! You have no idea (or maybe you do), but I've wanted to be able to do a push up for a long time. Maybe by the time this whole thing is over, I can do legit push ups on my toes, not my knees. I also did my workouts first thing on almost all mornings (all but two, I think). That meant getting up around 5:30. I'm really proud of myself for that one.

Cons so far: I haven't lost an OUNCE of weight. Honestly, it's pretty aggravating. I know why, too, so I have no one to blame but myself. I need to eat better. What you put into your body is so much of how it responds. I know that, but I got tired. I got stressed (Election season stressing anyone else out? Why can't it be done already?!), I got lazy. I got something, all right, but as the saying goes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Also, "Nothing worth having is easy." And my personal favorite,


Taking all of that into consideration, when I went grocery shopping with mom this evening, I bought lots of produce that I know I will eat. We also bought a chicken that I am roasting in the crock pot for dinner tomorrow, along with rainbow carrots (how fun!), and possibly roasted brussels sprouts (Don't hate. Roasted's the way to go!). Tomorrow and Sunday, I'll be working on planning my meals for the rest of the week, including egg muffins for take n' go breakfasts before hitting the gym. Probably start making green monsters the night before as another take n' go option for second breakfast (weight training teaches you to eat like a Hobbit: Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevensies, Lunch, Tea, Supper, Dinner).

Because of the way I've been eating this week, my skin's been breaking out. I have this book, You Are What You Eat Cookbook: More Than 150 Healthy and Delicious Recipes (Google Affiliate Ad), and the corresponding book, Gillian McKeith's Food Encyclopedia, which both have instructions on how to treat acne. First things first is change your diet. That is the plan.

Originally, I was going to just do the workout and be happy with that. But I can't be happy with that if I'm not seeing results. I'm not wired that way. If I don't see results, I won't continue, and that's the real issue. I need to see something in order for me to continue. Having not been an active person for a long time, this is taking work and dedication. I am determined. And thank you, blogosphere, for giving me an outlet (despite my blog being more of the movie/book review type-blog). I needed this.

I'll probably be back tomorrow evening with a dual movie review: Atlas Shrugged: Part I and II. Highly recommend if you're interested in business or personal liberty.

So, to end on a happy note, I can do 10 Girly Push Ups and can get up around 5:30 in the morning. Here is to Phase Two, which starts Monday, incorporates Cardio again, so I'll have to get up earlier, but that's okay. Hopefully with this change in diet, I can be more energetic. They really do go hand in hand. We'll see what happens. Until then, just have to keep my eye on the prize(s).


I think that shoe would go with either of those shirts. Don't ya think?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

People don't understand that everything is connected. Everything we do, everything we say, no matter how insignificant or flippant, it can effect someone to the point that their life is altered.

In Jay Asher's novel "13 Reasons Why," Clay Jensen receives a box of tapes recorded by his crush, Hannah Baker, who had recently killed herself. On the tapes, she recounts exactly what happened leading up to her suicide, and pin pointing certain people and events that caused her to think that her life wasn't worth living anymore.

Her design for the tapes was that they were supposed to go, in order, to the people mentioned on the tapes. Everyone who got them had a hand in her decision. Clay, a decent enough chap, had no idea why he would be included on the list. He could have loved Hannah. He certainly had a crush, and they shared a nice kiss. Why would he be included on the list? That's for the reader to find out, because I'm not going to tell what happens.

That being said, I read this book extremely quickly. I was dying to find out what happened. How was Clay involved? Was it all a ruse? Was Hannah really dead? She seemed like such a lively, lovely person that you'd never imagine what kind of inner turmoil was happening. She wasn't a sharer. She was more of a "this is my life, and it's as good as it's gonna get"-type girl, I felt.

The people that she mentioned on the tapes probably had no idea the impact that their actions could have. She'd been labeled a tramp, among other things, because she'd accidentally, or inadvertently insulted someone. Rumors hurt. Maybe if she hadn't been bombarded with the rumors by so many people, she would have moved past it. Maybe there was something bigger at work. Whatever the case, Clay had some answered questions, but I had too many unanswered questions for my liking.

Example, I would have loved to have found out how the few people who received the tapes after Clay reacted. Would it have changed them? Would they have realized what they'd done? Sadly, it's difficult to say, but this was definitely a good read.

Written by Rebekah Martin, author of Sugar and Spies

View all my reviews

Friday, October 19, 2012

Week Three~C'est Finis, and a movie.

So, I did five workouts this week. Two were the same leg work out, but it still added up to five. Let's see that refresher, shall we?


Aside from forgetting to look up today's exercises (Whoops!), I was able to do everything, and figure out the rest. The two exercises that I hadn't done before were definitely the hardest. Not sure if it would've been harder or easier had I looked them up.

Now I get two days rest. Woot!

So, after a longlonglonglong LOOOOOOOOONG day today (I've been up since 5. And I'm getting used to it. Yikes!!!!!), I didn't get off work until 6:15. At least I got time and a half.

This evening, I watched Atlas Shrugged: Part I and it was really good. Politically, I think you need to work for what you want in this world, and if you're in a position to help others, you should. I don't think you should be forced. Be genuine, be kind. Take care of yourself, take care of your friends and family. Work hard. Change your fate. That's what I believe.

Anyway, Atlas Shrugged: Part I is the story of A powerful railroad executive, Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling, The Lucky One), struggles to keep her business alive while society is crumbling around her. Based on the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand is someone I agree with, politically, but she was bat-stuff crazy. 

The plan is to see part two next week. The book had three parts, and hopefully they'll do part three next year.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oh, how wrong I was...

So, I think I mentioned last week that I didn't think the leg workouts were anything to write home about the last two weeks.

This morning, I think I almost hurt myself...

Let's have a looksee, shall we?


For the Calf Raises, we don't have the machines at my gym, so I use barbells, and for the standing, I actually did two sets. One with my toes facing forward, and one with my toes facing outward (like Mary Poppins).

Those weren't the hardest, though. Those were easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy (What do that even mean?).

Lunges KILL me. Add to that, I have a 20 lb barbell across my shoulders. I was trying really hard not to put too much strain on my knees, as bad knees run in my family.

I know I'm going to be feeling it all tomorrow, because I feel it now. Slowly, though out the day. Mostly in my glutes and hamstrings. Ibuprofen is definitely in my future tomorrow. This excites me, though. People told me (well, everyone in their blog posts) have said this workout is totally killer. The whole shebang. The first two weeks, I didn't think so, but after today, I'm a believer. And I feel if I actually do keep this up, my body will change.

Good To Know.


I'm pretty psyched for tomorrow. :-)

Think about it. And remember, lifting weights builds strong bones.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

LiveFit Phase 1: Weeks 1 and 2

C'est finis!

I have finished the first two weeks of Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer. Had to switch up some days, but I did it!

Both weeks had the same workouts, which I liked. I liked knowing what I was getting into, but in the coming weeks, things are gonna get crazy. Ah well. One phase at a time. One day at a time.

There's no cardio in this first phase, and each workout took me between 20-30 minutes. One the first week, I felt I didn't get a good weight workout, and I figured I probably wasn't pushing myself enough. Week two, I went from 50 lbs to 90 lbs, and I'm definitely feeling it now. But in a good way. Anytime I felt I wasn't challenging myself (Challenging=Struggling to finish last two reps), I upped my weight.
I did let my diet go a little by the wayside this week. Got super tired for some reason, and my mom was in the hospital for a few days (no worries! She's feeling much better, and has been home since Tuesday!), so things were a bit hectic.

I'm really optimistic about the coming week, though. This week, my church was having a garage sale, and my parents got me a food steamer/rice cooker. I've used it twice today, and will probably prep more food tomorrow, too! I'm kind of digging it.

The first thing I tried was Steaming Eggs. I'd heard about steamed eggs via the Fitnessista as an alternative to  hardboiled, and having tried it, I love it. Eggs seem to be what I crave after working out, and since my gym is right next to a grocery store, I've popped in a couple times for pre-made eggs. This is definitely more cost-effective.

The second thing I'm working on is rice. We're doing Chinese for dinner. Yummy! Hopefully it turns out as well as the eggs did.

So, really not a lot to report on the first two weeks. I've decided that after I've completed the whole 12 weeks, I'm going to go back and do it again, but be more strict about my diet. I think doing both at the same time is too much change too soon. Will probably update again for the next two weeks.

Have a great Saturday!

Another shirt I need to get, eventually

Saturday, October 6, 2012

One Night at the Opera

So, anyone who knows me knows that I love music. I have since I was a kid, having grown up with a mother who sang to me all the time (and not necessarily silly "kiddy" songs, either. When I'm 64 was a very prominent song, as was You're Sixteen by Ringo Starr, though she changed the words)., and a father who played piano and sang. We have a player piano, and TONS of piano rolls.

When you're three years old and the piano plays itself, you can easily imagine that the world will always be magic.
When I got to high school, I actually started singing opera music with choir, and for two years, my choir got to sing with several other area schools, the Omaha Symphony, and Opera Omaha. Those two performances were the highlight of my high school music experience.

In college, when I started voice lessons, I was told that  I might have a future in opera by my voice teacher, the late Harry Morrison (Happy Birthday, Harry!), and I honestly believed that after five years of college, studying to be a writer, I could continue to go back to school at Mizzou to be a singer. I was one math class shy of being admitted (lame!).



My voice is a bit more musical theater now, but that's okay. I still really enjoy opera. I've been seeing at least one show a season at Opera Omaha since I came back from Columbia. After I'd been home about two months, my best friend, Sam, got us tickets to a Broadway review (two rows from the front), the following fall, I went to Opera for the Cure with my mom (a four year breast cancer survivor!) and my aunt, the next year, my aunt and I went to Madama Butterfly, which also featured my former voice teacher, Shelby VanNordstrand (she was also in the Broadway Review, but I didn't know her yet). Last night, my aunt and I went to see La Traviata

Pretty decent seats, if I do say so, myself.
This production starred Inna Dukach as doomed heroine, Violetta Valery. Her voice reminded me of Anna Netrebko's Violetta in her performance of La Traviata. Very beautiful.

Joshua Kohl played her lover, Alfredo, and he honestly reminded me of Rupert Friend in The Young Victoria. He has a beautiful voice, but his performance was almost spot on with the meekness that Friend had when he first met Victoria.

The rest of the performance was wonderful. It was a fun party in Act 1, what looked like a nice life end for the ill Violetta in Act 2.1, another party, not as much fun in Act 2.2, and a freaky, trippy death in Act 3 (What do you expect from an opera? A happy ending? ~Bugs Bunny).

It was a lovely evening, and I'm glad I have someone to go to shows with. My aunt and I have a tentative date to see The Magic Flute in February! It will be my third time seeing it, and I don't think any performance can top the Santa Fe Opera performance back in 2010 (There was heat lightning in the distance and they have a quasi-outdoor theater while the Queen of the Night sang her Aria. Pretty epic).

The Lobby of the Santa Fe Opera House
It was nice to get away and spend an evening in the theater. And it was really packed. It always surprises me how many people go to the opera, since there are so many cliches about it. And I always feel I have to drag people with me. The first time I saw The Magic Flute at Mizzou, I went by myself.

I don't think people understand how taxing opera music is on the performers. It's exhausting, even when done right.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Attempting to be adventurous...

Whenever I start a new project, I go all in. It's probably not the wisest thing in the entire world, since sometimes my passion tends to fizzle before I can finish what I want to do.

What I typically do in situations like this are at least teach myself new things. I learn new recipes, I research new workouts, etc. Health and wellness fascinates me to no end, but I think I get disenchanted after awhile. Not with working out, but just the whole getting burnt out. It's what always happens, but I've also started reading up on a lot of people who I find motivating.

One such person is named Erin, the blogger behind Live Life Active. This past weekend, she participated in her first bikini competition (the last few weeks of prep looked harsh!), but came in third place! That's extremely motivating. I'm not saying I want to enter a bikini competition anytime in the near future (or ever!), but she's just a testament to hard work and determination.

On the main page of her website, she has a recipe for protein peanut butter cups that looked easy peasy.

In the mix: 6 egg whites, 1 scoop vanilla whey, 2 T carob, 2 T natural PB
Her original recipe called for chocolate whey, and cocoa powder, but I've got vanilla protein powder and carob powder up the wazoo (almost done with the bag from the store. Soon I'll move to the bag from Jamesport, Missouri, that my mommy brought me). I doubled up on chocolate flavor, as well as peanut butter, as I needed to finish the jar (why not?).

Hanging in the deep freeze.
It actually made twelve. The other six were on the opposite side of the freezer. Apparently, the serving size is  four of the cups. YIKES! We'll see how I feel after having one, but if I can have a more natural/healthy version of one of my favorite treats.

Last night, I made Cinnamon Rice pudding from You Are What You Eat Cookbook By McKeith, Gillian (Google Affiliate Ad). Brown Rice (used instant from Aldi), HyVee Rice Milk, and about two teaspoons of Cinnamon. It also called for lemon juice/zest, but we didn't have any, so I went without and with was lightly sweet and tasty.

Trying new recipes seems to be what keeps me motivated. I guess I'll just have to keep working at those.

Made it to the gym tonight, though I was feeling a bit rushed, and hardly anyone was there *knock on wood* which is always awesome.

Anyway, let me know if you try out the recipe. I'm looking forward to it!