Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sparkly Ginger Snaps {recipe!}


As I mentioned a ways back, I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. From that, I have gained approximately 47 pounds as I received {dangerously} delicious dark chocolate cookies from Meg over at My Chocolate Covered Life, cookies made with coconut oil rather than butter {like tropical Christmas cookies!} from Peggy over at Get Fit with JuJu and sour cream sugar cookies that just about melted in my mouth from Brittany over at A Healthy Slice of Life. I heard that as a result of this exchange, over 22,000 cookies were flying across the country! I got to share my cookies with Jaima in Florida, Christie in nearby Illinois, and Jenn from North Pole, Alaska!!! I'm sure she gets that all the time, but I just thought it was too cool to send Christmas cookies to the real North Pole, and I pretty much want to hop on a plane and visit her. I'm sure I'll see Santa.

blogger love notes with a side of old German computer

So what did I send these little ladies?

what's in here??

I tried out a few cookie recipes {my freezer is stuffed to the brim with tupperwares of cookies, #christmasseasonproblems} and ultimately decided to send out a vegan-ized version of my go-to cookies-as-pressies: Sparkly Gingersnaps. They last forever so no fears that they'll show up at your loved ones' homes stale beyond edibility, taste like Christmas, and, when rolled in raw sugar, look so pretty, they should be on a Christmas card!

raw sparkly gingie snaps!

Sparkly Gingersnaps (vegan)
adapted from Williams Sonoma Christmas Cookie book


Ingredients
3/4 cup vegan butter {I used Earth Balance}
1/2 granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 flax egg*
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream together vegan butter + both sugars until light and smooth.
Add flax egg and molasses and mix until smooth.

In a medium bowl, stir together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon)

Add flour mixture to butter mixture, gradually, and mix until smooth. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes - I usually chill it for several hours until I'm confident it's firm.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease baking sheets.

Pour raw sugar into a shallow bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in raw sugar to coat lightly. Place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies for 10 - 12 minutes {honestly, I always bake them for 12 - 14 minutes, every oven varies!} or until just brown on edges and still a little soft in the middle.

Serve warm, serve cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, freeze 'em, mail 'em, they're the best.

le final version

One thing I noted about the vegan version of these cookies is that even a week after making them, they were less snappy and more soft and chewy. Not a bad thing in my book, as I prefer a softer cookie, but if you're hoping for a snappier snap you might consider using less vegan butter.

*note on making flax eggs: stir together 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons of water until it forms a gel-like substance. That equals one egg!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving: You Just Can't Escape It

This week, Wednesday is the new Friday. It's hard to miss the fact that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I hope you are all looking forward to one of my favorite days of the year, with plans to eat too much food and hopefully balance it out with some healthy activity! I'll be running a local 10K before divebombing into stuffing and pie with abandon and while I won't be sporting a costume myself, I hope to spot other, more festive folk in the crowd!

Some fun links to get you into weekend-mode:

source

YogaDork's suggestions for post-feast and mid-party season recovery poses, including a lovely meditation tactic: focus on sending love, gratitude and forgiveness for someone close to you.

source
There are just no words for how cute this poster is, from the lovely Cup of Jo. How can you possibly choose?

source
This may look like a sweet picture, but just wait until what you hear what these animals are actually saying to each other...IN ALL CAPS. Animals Talking In All Caps: It's Just What It Sounds Like.

This workout taught me how to do "side-by-side burpees," and how to cry.

Am I the last person to discover "drunk kitchen"? And in case you were wondering, yes this is exactly what I look like when I'm baking.


Enjoy your holiday and I'll see you Monday, bloated and fighting a pie hangover.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Living together: romantic, or frugal?

While I was living in NYC, I knew quite a few young couples who lived together. Some of these couples were engaged, some became engaged while I knew them, some were and are far off from engagement, and some are even seeking ways to end these long-term relationships.  Whatever the case may be, there was always a part of me that was jealous of the girls who lived with their boyfriends. Not because I was in any sort of rush to live with a boy - I've spent most of my life living with boys in the form of my brothers or friends in co-ed college dorms and learned a few things which can basically be summarized by saying: boys are smelly. I'm also a bit old fashioned and want to save what I feel is a very important stage in a relationship for marriage.

So why, then, was I jealous? HELLO. I lived in Manhattan and spent two thirds of my itty bitty salary on rent. Girls who live with their boyfriends get to live comfortably in one bedroom apartments for half the price. Cha-ching!

Reflecting on the frugality of such an arrangement definitely led me to wonder if a few of the co-habitating couples I knew made the decision to move in together based on financial over romantic reasons and therefore ran the risk of rushing the sharing-lives-process -- I mean, it would have to be tempting, right?

source

Turns out, I'm not the only person who has wondered about frugality trumping romance, the U.S. Census agrees, according to this interesting article, which also states that 7.5 million unmarried couples lived together in 2010. That's 15 million moms shaking their heads. Kidding!

The other element to be aware of if co-habitating is the possible legal implications should you choose to end the arrangement - breaking the lease early, divvying up larger joint purchases, handling your partner's possible debt or credit issues...although it's not marriage, moving in with a romantic partner is a lot different than just having a roommate that likes to cuddle more than the sorority sister you've been rooming with since college! Therefore, an appropriate amount of attention and care should be taken in considering when your relationship is ready for such a tremendous step.

source


What do you think? Is moving in together a wise financial choice? Would you move in with a significant other to cut costs? Would you rather wait until you had to marriage?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mocha Pumpkin Spice Smoothie of LUV {recipe}

I ordered some Click protein powder in the hopes that it would make me as speedy {and skinny, obviously} as this girl and finally made something out of it this afternoon as I was sitting on my couch after a long run, not showering, and enjoying the amazing Rams/Seahawks NFC West "showdown" {announcer's words, not mine}.



Diana Sternberg
on the smelly scale how bad is it that I'm waiting to shower after a 10-mile run until Rams/Seahawks halftime?

Full disclosure...I didn't shower until after the game. Eh, whatever.
However, I still considered my post-run activities a win because I recovered like someone who actually attempts to recover, for once in my life. I stretched voluntarily (!!!) and drank a protein shake. Totally makes up for the lack of showering.
I throw together scary combinations of ingredients in the blender on a fairly regular basis, so I thought I'd share what that might consist of. This time, the mix included:



  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 serving of Click Mocha protein powder
  • 1/2 medium banana, frozen
  • large spoonful pureed pumpkin
  • large handful of raw kale, stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
I attempted to come up with a name for this bad boy, but since it didn't taste totally like pumpkin pie, nor did it totally taste like mocha, I couldn't really decide how to title itappropriately. Let's just say that you could taste both of those wonderful flavors, and none of the kale.
I also considered photographing my smoothie, but it looked like vomit {thanks, kale} so I didn't. You're welcome for that mental image, though.
Fun fact about Click: their tagline is, "The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink." Um...yes.
What's your favorite method of recovery?  Would you rather: watch football, or shower after working out?

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's the Freakin' Weekend again!

We made it to Friday again! If your office to-do list or attention span is waning, I'm with you. Here are some fun mood pick-me-ups from the interwebs to you!


Lululemon gives me one more reason to be obsessed...free love notes to share on their website! They also have an entire shopping section labelled "sweat date" - I feel like they are crawling around in my head, giving me exactly what I want to spend my entire paycheck on!

The New York Times recently featured a thought-provoking article on young college graduates who are moving back home - some have jobs, some don't, but all are seeking to save money and plan for their future. The article claims that these young adults are hurting the economy by not spending (money that they don't have...) - what do you think? {in case you can't tell, I disagree - if you don't have disposable income to spend, don't spend it!}

On a brighter note, someone replaced the famous artists on iconic album covers with kittens and made a tumblr.

fewocious!

For pretty-in-the-face overload, check out the new Mrs. Lauren Lauren...

my wedding will also be featured in Vogue

I blogged about the greatest dining experience of my life at Pure Food & Wine here; enjoy 15% off of to-go snackies from the owner's takeaway operation One Lucky Duck from the savvy divas over at Recessionista here!

raw vegan cookies...get in mah mouf!

Enjoy your weekend loves!

Any exciting plans?
Any more funny pictures of kittens I should be aware of?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Party like it's 1999 - in cargos?

Do you remember the 90s? I was two and a half when they began so much of that decade is a blur {from all of my wild partying, obviously} but the late 90s were, for better or worse, a seminal point in my life.

In 1999, I graduated from elementary school, began junior high, finally got to choose my own hair cut, and bought my first pair of adult-Gap jeans {they still didn't fit, it was more of a principle thing}

I also idolized the clothing and the models in the monthly Delia*s catalogue - I wanted to look just like them, platform sandals, butterfly spaghetti strap tanks, baggy cargo pants (cargo pants, really?!?) and all.

In an awesome moment combining nostalgia and shame over past fashion mistakes, Refinery29 put together a slideshow of the 1999 Delia*s catalogue. If you were there, you will appreciate this.

head to toe 90s perfection

Happy Hump Day!

What were your favorite 90s fashions? Embarrassing junior high fashion moments?
Why were butterflies so popular?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Great Blogger Cookie Swap

After reading Courtney's news that she was joining the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I knew I wanted in immediately, if only to cross my fingers that I am the lucky recipient of one of her decadent desserts!

But truly, it is better to give than receive and that statement is no more true than in the tradition of baking holiday cookies for friends and family to enjoy. I love eating cookies {believe me.} but I love even more knowing that a baked good I've made brings a smile to someone else.

Come Christmas time, I always think I am going to bake 30 batches of different cookies but in reality I bake about 5-6 different types of cookies each year. I used to try to attempt to make gingerbread houses entirely from scratch but my brother would somehow always eat one of the pieces of the house before I could assemble it...Robert I did not make "side of a house shaped cookies"....

This year, though, I am upping my game! 

I will be sharing a mescla of some sugar-free cookies (developed for an old boyfriend's grandpa with diabetes), vegan cookies, gluten free cookies, and cookies so unhealthy you won't know whether to laugh or cry.

Join in on the fun here, let's swap cookies!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lilly!

Lilly Pulitzer is one of my favorite brands for the following reasons:

1. I love her bright, colorful, playful patterns - they suit my style perfectly!

hiding my face, but not my lilly!

2. The company has built its brand around the idea that girls just want to have fun, that everyone can be youthful, that ladylike dress is always chic, and that life is too short to be boring. All of these statements could also be my personal mantra.

life is apparently long enough to pose awkwardly by fountains

3. The company was started by a young lady with a lot of gumption who wanted to create dresses that would hide fruit juice spills. I spill all the time so I can definitely relate.

but for the grace of God that birthday cocktail stayed off my Lilly

Lilly Pulitzer turns 80 years young today and I can think of only one way to celebrate...grab some more Lilly gear, grab a fruity cocktail and dance around with it with abandon...after all, if you spill it, no one will be able to tell!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The anthropological foodie

I may have graduated from college two - okay fine, almost three - years ago, however, as the saying goes, "You can take the girl out of the Anthropology seminar but you can't take the discourses on Foucault, human tendencies of classification and attempting to control the body out of the girl." What, that's not a saying? I'm pretty sure it is.

At any rate, I am always observing our world through the frame of my own knowledge and perspective, as we all do, and in my case this knowledge and perspective has its roots in anthropological theories and practices.

Therefore, when I hear or read of women {and yes, occasionally men} discussing their food choices, dietary preferences and past food struggles, I cannot help but make a small ethnographic study of these opinions and experiences.

My brief interaction with biological anthropology taught me that anthropologists can ascertain an alarming amount of detail about a past culture by observing its population's eating habits: the tools they used for hunting or farming, food preparation and eating, the role of food in religious customs, the specific types of foods native to their land and the role that food played on determining their culture. YES, food, it appears, can play a role in determining culture. Archaic peoples with a plethora of spices and exotic fruits available to them have a different cultural history than those who lived in sparser, colder, less fertile lands.

british food for royal wedding party...this is why they had to conquer so many countries

Consider our current climate. In the United States and in most of western civilization, we have an obsession with food. We love it. We can't stop thinking about it. We've built up entire industries around food - agriculture, factories for processed food production and packaging, shipping of food across countries and the world, distributors, restaurants, grocery stores, farmer's markets, charitable food drives and soup kitchens, food festivals...and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

For women {and again, I recognize that many men also fit in this camp}, food is something we love, yes, but it is so much more. Food is associated with: reward, guilt, celebration, good health, poor health, generosity, self-deprivation, gluttony, joy, fear, doubt, pleasure, pain...again, just the tip of the iceberg.

so many adjectives describe what's happening here...most of them gross


Food has become so much more than just food. Food, in its simplest form, is sustenance. Nourishment. Necessary for life just as water and oxygen. How often do you think to yourself, "have I breathed enough today? Too much? How much should I breathe tomorrow? What about on Thanksgiving?" That would most likely be never, unless you have some form of rare breathing disorder I have never heard of, and if that's the case, I'm sorry because that must be rough.

My point is not to dole out advice, such as, "eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full and don't worry about it," or "just use common sense about your diet," although those are two of the greatest pieces of diet advice on Earth. My point is to give you some food for thought (heh, sorry, couldn't help myself) ~ we take so much of our daily existence and thoughts and culture for granted. Try to take a moment to think, "why do I think about food so much?" and "why do I have absolutely no problem with the fact that I basically have to publicly disrobe to fly to my parents' house for Christmas?" Okay fine, totally unrelated, but totally intrinsic parts of our daily cultural experience that we accept without question.

well, why not?!?

Our cultural conceptions have not existed since the dawn of time, as we may believe, and I find it fascinating to take the time to unpack our tightly held beliefs and practices and consider how and why we've come to where we are. I find that doing so helps me find balance in my life, helps me approach situations with a greater degree of reason, and helps me bore people when I won't stop rambling about it.

Any boring, daily occurrences you think too much about?
How do you think about our eating habits?


If you haven't had enough of re-considering our so-called inherent cultural beliefs, check this interesting post on gender from Colleen, a psychology grad student who also probably thinks about humans too much.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Too soon...or never soon enough?

I firmly believe in the law...it's a federal law, not just a state thing...that you must not listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Celebrating the greatest holiday in the history of holidays from October onwards is a both a sham and a shame.

Preparing oneself for said holiday, however, is not a crime in any size of community. This day of glory brings with it parties, gift giving occasions, decorating opportunities and fashion opportunities galore. And I am not going to allow them to catch me by surprise this year...as I have every single other year since birth.

Here is a break down of my aggressive takedown of Christmas {that sounds terrible}

1. I am baking a batch of cookies each weekend leading up to Christmas and freezing them so that they can be brought out at a moment's notice. Cookie swap? Nailed. Party I feel obligated to bring something to? Got it. Spontaneous gift? Done, and hand made. Made with my very hands!

week one's batch! partying in my freezer right now. recipe here

2. Create outline for Christmas gifts, listing who I need to purchase a gift for, what my gift-giving budget is, and a few ideas that fit within that budget. Hopefully some forethought will prevent me from panicking and spending too much money on a mediocre gift on December 24th. Not that that has ever happened before!

a couple of benjamins for a model ship? weider gifts have happened.

3. Put into writing a few healthy holiday rules. Although I know that a little holiday indulging isn't going to kill me, preventing myself from having a total free-fall into pie-land prepares me to greet food-oriented get togethers and seasonal desserts happily because I know which treats are worth splurging on and which are not. In my opinion, pumpkin pie is practically mandatory whereas pre-dinner cheese and cracker hour is not, I will stuff stuffing in my face but mashed potatoes can be left out of the party, and anything that is either prepackaged or that I have easy access to year-round can be skipped.

let's just say I wouldn't throw this away

4. Reviewing my closet and mentally prepping a few holiday event outfits, again so I'm not left in a panic purchasing something expensive, mediocre, and entirely unnecessary.


I mean with an outfit like this...who needs shopping?

5. On that note, and tying #4 into #2, budgeting how much expendable income I can use on myself during this season. The conclusion....not any a lot. So larger purchases - a new down coat, shopping carts full of new home decor, planning another out-of-town trip, all those new jeans I so desperately need...those will have to wait.

Hope these little ideas inspire you to greet the holidays - whichever you celebrate - prepared rather than scrambling!

How do you get ready for this bonanza season?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

{Recipe} Vegetarian Cincinnati Chili!

My dad is from Cincinnati and will shout its many apparent glories from the mountain tops, making ridiculous claims that this medium-sized midwestern city is the greatest metropolis on earth. Among them: the weather is substantially better than in St. Louis: cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This belief is blatantly untrue, check weather.com if you have time on your hands. Since I know you don't, I did it for you...I will do anything to prove a point.

can you even tell which is which?

Proof positive: Cincinnati may be one degree cooler in the summer, but it is five degrees cooler in the winter and set a record low. I'm pretty sure way more people die of cold than of heat and winter brings out more grumpiness and overall seasonal depression, so St. Louis wins this battle.

What St. Louis does not win, however, is the chili battle. Mostly because St. Louis doesn't really have a contender in the battle. If we did, we would definitely win. We're just too busy creating toasted ravioli, BBQ and gooey butter cake to turn our attention to chili. Oh, and winning World Series {how do you make that plural? when you've won 11 that becomes important}.

That being said, Cincinnati chili is pretty amazing. It contains dark chocolate and cinnamon. If you can't get on board with that, leave. I recently whipped up a batch of vegetarian chili (could be vegan if you didn't smother it with cheddar cheese....as I did....) that was so delicious I just had to share. No choice, really.

Vegetarian Cincinnati Chili {adapted from here}

Ingredients
1 medium sized white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoon Mexican chili powder
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 bag of veggie crumbles (I used Morningstar brand because they were the most readily available)
2 ounces dark chocolate
12 ounces pureed tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock

Directions
Get out the big pot that you intend to cook the whole chili in and sautee the onion and garlic in one tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add in all of your spices. Add in veggie crumbles, vegetable stock, pureed tomatoes and don't forget the chocolate!


Let this simmer with a low boil for about 10 minutes, that put it on low and let it stew for as long as you'd like - 40 minutes to an hour is most desirable - occasionally popping in to stir it up. {as a child I thought that song was about hot chocolate. still not totally sure what its meaning is}

Serve your chili with spaghetti squash and optional cheese if you aren't vegan, and of course, a Cincinnati-brewed Little Kings beer, and it's a chili 3-way dinner!



You can also feel free to top it with kidney beans and uncooked onions to make it a chili 5-way...that was too many 'ways' for me so I kept it simple.

What's a regional favorite of yours?


Monday, October 31, 2011

Meet the new health drink: Beer!

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." ~ Benjamin Franklin


Not only that, but apparently, it has now been discovered to have real life health benefits! Can I get a woo-hoo for that? I'll come right out and admit that I have not always been a beer advocate. I was, in fact, so against beer that my friends were alarmed that I begin imbibing. Upon discovering that I 'didn't hate beer as much as I used to,' my college boyfriend remarked, "congratulations on becoming an American" or was it "congratulations on becoming a human"? I can't remember, and I'm not going to ask. But I digress. Back to my main point, which is actually twofold:

1. There are other beers besides Natty Light. This revelation shocked me also, and was a strong influencing factor in my decision to truly give beer 'the ol' college try.'

2. It's not bad for you! More than that, it can do you some good! Some of my personal favorite reasons to crack open a cold one:

 - decrease risk for heart disease by increasing your good cholesterol (HDL)

 - decrease you risk for cancer via the familiar and easy to pronounce compound xanthohumol

big-cat themed beer = 2 loves combined

 - preserve bone density. See ya, osteoporosis!

 - reduce risk for dementia

 - make yourself happy. Happy people are healthier people, right?

this beer dressed up as a bunny for halloween



Don't believe me? Want more? Check out these articles:




Hope you had a wonderful halloweekend and are enjoying a sugar-high-fueled start to your week!

Friday, October 28, 2011

"I want to do creepy things allll weekend"

My former roommate in NYC said that in reference to our Halloween plans last year...one of the most unintentionally hilarious comments I've heard.

Well, Halloween is upon us again and I hope you are all busy this weekend being as creepy as possible. Some spooky cheer from around the interwebs:



Fall's not just about pumpkins you know...apple tasting with Pedro from one of my favorite e-stores, Emerson Made





Dressing like a pumpkin....without looking like a pumpkin {in a bad way, at least}

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hey, whatever it takes, Europe.

This video is a hilarious depiction of workout motivation....only in France.


Sacre bleu.

What would you have the lights form as workout motivation?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Deep in the heart of Texas

Although as a former student of Anthropology I understand the arbitrariness of national and regional boundaries and the use of these boundaries to control and classify our bodies and establish hegemonic relationships...I am still a very big St. Louis Cardinals fan and will defend my team against any other regional team. The Milwaukee Brewers, the Arizona Diamondbacks, it don't matter, I want to see the Cards win.

beer and baseball...my excitement knows no bounds

The Cardinals are currently facing the Texas Rangers in the World Series. Tonight is game five of a closely fought, 2-2 series. Speaking of regionalism, I also happen to love Texas. It's a feisty, proud state with beaches, deserts, big cities, great shopping, great music, and armadillos.

Something I have been struggling with over the past week - and particularly last night during game 4 - is that I really like the Rangers. Of course I want the Cardinals to win the entire series. But am I mad that the Rangers sneak in an occasional win? Shockingly, no.

My brother had the opportunity to attend several NLCS games, which is ironic because he, in fact, does not prescribe to the theory that one should be a fervent and loyal fan to any particular team. He holds that a spectator should value a well-played game and individual talents over holding to a team consisting of an ever-changing roster that just happens to be based out of the town you live in. Ordinarily I would chalk this view up to his overall salty demeanor, however, last night, I found myself thinking the very same things.

Watching Derek Holland dominate on the mound following an adorable pep talk from Rangers manager Ron Washington, I wanted him to win. I didn't want him to fall apart and allow 5 Cardinal runs in the bottom of the 9th. It was his night and there was no other way around it. I certainly didn't want to intercede. As much as I want to spray champagne {Andre, obviously} around the room after the Cardinals collect an 11th trophy, I enjoyed watching this talented young pitcher take down batters with ease.

Other Alarming Reasons I Don't Hate the Rangers As Much As I Want To:

1. Nolan Ryan is pretty much The Man

2. I'm bringing the Ron Washington dance out to all da clubs


3. For some inexplicable reason, I follow C.J. Wilson on twitter and he is actually a very talented photographer!

4. During regular season games, the sing "Deep in the Heart of Texas" at Rangers Ballpark

5. They are pretty good at baseball

I still hate Elvis Andrus though. Don't ask me why, there's no reason, I just do. I hope the Rangers lose the World Series firstly because that would mean the Cards would win, and secondly because that would mean Andrus would lose. Sports really bring out the rational side in me.

Any other sports fans out there?!
And of course...have you done your #plankaday?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

#tweetme

I was perusing twitter on my phone the other night during an angst-ridden commercial watching session during the World Series (are you from the Dallas, Texas area? Just go away, please), desperately seeking insights from the various sports 'authorities' I follow and needing something to do with my twitchy little fingers.

FitFluential, not a sports authority but someone else I follow, asked who had done their "#plankaday." I coincidentally had done a plank that day so I raised my hand in the twitter world. I realized this must be some sort of "thing" I was unaware was going on in which people out there in the fit blogging interwebs were doing planks every day and I thought to myself, much like with the #fitabs challenge, oh, I can totally do that! I'm social media savvy and plank savvy all in one, watch me.

So I quietly did a plank here, a plank there, a few planks each day, no big. Yesterday after work I went for a long run and returned home contemplating stretching (ha! yea right) but reminded myself of the #plankaday challenge that may or may not be going on and got right to it. Then I saw a tweet from social media and FitFluential grand dame @KellyOlexa who had done not one but ten #plankadays. The gauntlet had been thrown. I was doing 60 second planks so completing 10 meant that I did 10 minutes of planking (hello, new verb) yesterday - that seems like a lot of minutes and only a little bit of minutes all at once.

My only real concern is, since I do not in fact know the rules of this #plankaday challenge or if, in fact, a 'challenge' in the classic sense of the word truly exists...how will I know when it ends? Will it ever end? Will I be doing ten minutes of planking a day for the rest of my life for fear of failing the #plankaday challenge? What will my grandchildren think?

Anyway, moral of the story here is: social media has kept me from obesity yet again. Thanks!

In other twitting (hello, new adjective) news, the evening I noticed the #plankaday trend, was that a top trending item? No. But #YouCanCheatIf was. Who are these people?! That is a conversation you have with your girlfriends on your 4th round of margaritas, not broadcast on the internet to complete strangers!

who knows what I'll be tweeting about after these!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Be careful what you wish for...

For all of September and the majority of October, I was shaking my fist at the lingering 80+ degree weather in St. Louis and anxiously checking weather.com in the hopes that the 5-day forecast would show updates on stomping in boots, layering in cashmere, and snuggling in scarves.

Well I definitely got what I wished for. The first weekend of October, I headed out west to Manitou Springs, CO for the wedding of a dear friend. And it snowed. Really, Colorado?!

the north pole: where I felt like I was

oh hello, scarves!

the pool I couldn't go swimming in


The following weekend, I headed to Chicago, a favorite city of mine that I hadn't visited since 2007. I had forgotten how accurate the moniker "The Windy City" is but was quickly reminded about two minutes following my arrival. Sweet succotash, it's like living inside of a tornado. I mustered up all of my strength and courage to go on a run along Lake Michigan and I am not exaggerating when I say that once or twice, I almost got swept up right into it!

on the other hand, I can't do this in STL

not the ugliest view I've had on a run!

While I am enamored with Chicago and all that it has to offer, I was actually looking forward to returning to sunny St. Louis. However, if any of you have been watching the World Series (and if you haven't, don't even bother telling me because we are done), you will have noticed that it is actually 40 degrees and raining here. 

So now I get to wear my scarves...but am I really happy about it?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Who is that?!

I went to meet a friend for coffee {first pumpkin spice latte of the season!} this morning who, upon seeing me, said, "Wait...I came here to meet Diana...?"

Yes that's right, I dyed my hair.

Diana? Or impostor?!?

Now I'm off to go run off my feelings of no longer being a blonde...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's mine and I own it

I love those songs that are so impassioned and yet so vague that anyone can relate to them. It's a great ploy on behalf of songwriters and producers to sell records, and while I can recognize it as such, I nonetheless fall right into the trap just like the rest of the suckers.

It's kind of like horoscopes - you can read between the lines of equivocal predictions to find the details of your life. I mean, if you wanted to. I never read horoscopes. Just like I never read gossip magazines.

Today, I am taking ownership of this particular song, which, if you're going to think too hard about it {don't} is probably about Chicago as that is where Lupe Fiasco is from. Fun fact: Mr. Fiasco came to my college my sophomore year, was unbelievably late in taking the stage in what I can really only describe as a cameo appearance, and a belligerent football player put my boyfriend in a headlock. Weird night.

This song has absolutely no musical merit. It may burn your ears. You will certainly be dumber afterwards. But I love it. I love Saint Louis. I was born and raiiiseddd here!


The Cards meet the Phillies tonight at 5:07 pm for the first game of the playoffs. GAME FACE.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Welcome to my pretend studio!

Yesterday I completed my first confirmed double digit run since my spontaneous Summer Streets 13 miler with Luna Chix Sara and Jacqui. The weather was perfect, the time constraints non-existent, and I enjoyed every moment of it in spite of my ravenous hunger (hey, it happens).

So today when my alarm went off I thought, time to run! Oh wait. You probably shouldn't go for another substantial run the day following a 2.5 hour run. See, I'm trying to be a wee bit friendlier to my poor, long suffering bank account after my stint in Manhattan and am holding off on joining a gym. Therefore, I run. I run a lot. I run all the time. These joints need a break.

yes even that one...I have a very tense upper body.

In order to continue saving my precious pennies and not completely abuse my body, I've been incorporating simple yoga and pilates moves into my routine, which is conducted in my bedroom. Hey, my closet doors are mirrors so it's similar to being in a studio....?

not a picture of my room - a picture of my room through the MIRROR

I get inspiration from my favorite Steve Carrell look-a-like, from Cassey and from the Fitnessista. All of these provide great ideas for working out sans equipment. Full disclosure: I don't even have a yoga mat anymore. I practice on carpet. I hope we're in the trust tree right now.

Some moves that are currently saving my bank account and joints right now:

Chaturanga - I have learned to appreciate this pose on its own, and not just as a transitional pose to move from high plank to upward facing dog.

Urdhva Dhanurasana - or for you plebeians, "wheel pose." Do you ever look around the room when your instructor calls out poses by their sanskrit name to see what everyone else is doing before transitioning into the pose? Even if you regularly attend that class and the instructor introduces that pose by its sanskrit name every time? Oh, yea, no, me neither.

The Hundred - so easy, and so hard.

Burpees - ew. Now riddle me this, how does she talk like a normal person while doing this move?

Squats and lunges and pretend-push-ups. All sorts. Jumping, pulsing, on my knees, not on my knees (why is this starting to sound wildly inappropriate...)

At any rate. I bought a Groupon for a 3-month gym membership in midtown St. Louis for $59, which I'm pretty psyched out of my mind about, but until then (and possibly after that time period elapses) I'm fairly confident that I have enough body resistance moves to preserve my knee ligaments through long runs.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Long run and a Christmas preview!

So as we all know, runners are a strange folk. Timely example: we are currently trying to sell our home and  today held a two hour open house. When I heard we were having an open house and I should probably be out of the house for the duration, my first thought was: oh, wonderful! Now I can get in the long run I have been meaning to do! Since coming home, I have not gone on a run longer than 8 - 10 miles and had been itching for a good excuse to get out and stay out. I was also tiring of running laps of my regular neighborhood loop but nervous to cross some of the larger suburban St. Louis streets that are less than pedestrian friendly. In fact, I would say that they are pedestrian-mean.

But knowing that I needed to get out of the house for about a two and a half hour time period, I put on my big girl shorts (which look like my little girl shorts - Nike running shorts, all of them) and ventured over to some sidewalk-less car-full streets to run laps around Tilles Park. While not as well landscaped as good ol' Central Park, what it lacks in iconic statuettes, variety of vegetation, and amusing tourist spotting, it makes up for in its number of neon playgrounds and mysterious workout equipment. This park is also the setting of Winter Wonderland, a holiday themed lights display that I say I will go to every holiday season and never do. This year, though! I will totally make it.

In that vein, in my first lap of the park, I saw this little fellow waiting anxiously for Thanksgiving when he will be displayed in all his full glory:

nobody puts Santa in the corner.

Santa Claus is coming to town! And I cannot wait.

My legs felt wonderful but about an hour into the run my stomach started eating itself. You know those people who don't get hungry after working out? I am not one of those people. I told my stomach to hold its dang horses, finished my run (waiting to return home until 15 minutes after the open house officially ended - I hear sweaty, smelly current residents turn off potential buyers...weird, I know), got home and just shoved a massive smoothie in the face. IN THE FACE.


Yup, just like that.

What's your favorite post-run snack?
What's your favorite scene from The Hangover? Surprise! Mine's the one right above. Close second: Tiger song. I LOVE TIGERS.
When do you start listening to Christmas music? We have a strict rule in our household - no Christmas tunes before Thanksgiving. Sometimes it is so very hard to wait.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Random Facts, She Wrote.

You know the section in Us Weekly - "25 things you didn't know about me," written by some random celebrity you didn't want to know 21 facts about? Yea, me neither....I've never touched that magazines, promise.

I've always thought it would be fun to think of my own 25 facts, but if you really put your brain to it, that is a lot of facts so I will compromise (with your patience) and present you with:

7 things you didn't know about me.

1. Whenever I put fruit in my oatmeal or cereal, I eat all of the fruit and then the oats/cereal because I don't actually like fruit in with my breakfast grains {it's a texture thing} but do it because I know it's good for me.

not all elements of this bowl will be eaten simultaneously

2. I have four fake teeth. Count 'em.

if you can't tell...well then, why did I?!

3. Incidentally, though, I love going to the dentist! Nothing beats that clean-teeth-feeling.

4. I tried to teach my childhood dog to read. Oddly enough, it was an unsuccessful endeavor.

5. I spent the summer of 2007 conducting an anthropological research project on a Cree Indian (technically, First Nation, as we were in Canada) reservation. Many of the children had never seen a blonde person in real life before and referred to me as "the barbie." I was not embarrassed at all. SIKE!

6. I am scared of birds. Seriously.

7. I am pretty sure I have seen every episode of "Murder, She Wrote"...twice. I am also pretty sure that the real reason I went to Colby College was to become a Mainer like my hero, Jessica Fletcher. Don't tell anyone that, though.

for some reason I felt this photo encapsulated me, in Maine


What is your favorite embarrassing television show?
Do you force yourself to eat certain 'healthy' dishes?
Do you think my current dog could learn to read?