A life where arts & crafts meets food & fitness


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Full length mirror

I started this post originally more so of a semi rant about fashion and ill fitting clothes. Half way through something just didn't sit right and so that got erased.

I take public transportation quite often and seem probably hundreds if not thousands of people each week. You can tell they are from all backgrounds, walks of life, and whatever other label you want to use. One thing that keeps me pausing more and more is whether or not people own a full length mirror.

I know it is a trivial thing and would probably result in an eyeroll or two if I told someone this in public but it is an honest question. I know I do wear some things at times that aren't quite right be it color matching, size or fit. The thing is I see people do this all the time and wonder why. Do they not care? Are they denying the fact that they have gained weight/lost weight? Can they not afford to buy something else? As mentioned, do they not have a good lighting or a good mirror? Do they think they look good and therefore wear it just because they can? Is there something going on inside their head that no one knows but them?

I've been the person not caring and thrown on something to run to the grocery store. I've lived in pjs for a weekend because I was sick or incredibly emotionally exhausted about something.

I've denied the fact that I've put on weight (even if it was a whopping 8lbs) and my clothes don't fit as well. If it didn't fit right it got shoved back into the closet for "later" and later got put on hold until after I bought a new pair of jeans.

I've denied the fact that I've lost weight (even if it was a whopping 3lbs) yet increased my muscle mass and so I now own some droopy butt pants. I just hiked them up and put on a belt as long as I didn't look Urkle-ish.

I've been in situations before when extras need to get cut to save money. Then I wear what I already own and make purchases for what I only specifically need in terms of extras.

I've dealt with bad lighting and bad mirrors and walked around with crazy and/or uneven eyebrows or not-quite right color combos.

I've worn some things that I thought looked GREAT as well as some hairstyles. Some were fashion (gotta love late 80s and 90s) some were my "own" fashion ideas.

I've had some struggles about myself in terms of body image. Growing up I was naturally thin and had to deal with the onslaught things like bird leg references, comments of not being fed enough/don't you eat, and even having eating disorder terms thrown at me in terms of taunting and jokes. (The latter most even to this day infuriates me the most esp since there are so many people struggling with that and it is NO joke.) While thin-based teasing is often brushed away since teasing someone about being fat is much worse in people's opinions, to a kid growing up it is still mean.

I don't think I will ever fully understand why people will deliberately choose to wear something stretched to capacity or so over sized that they will need to hold up their clothes. I can't tell people to buy something in a bigger size or hand out belts because then I'd be the inconsiderate one.

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Goodbye silly man

Tonight was pretty surreal and not in a good way. I found out one of the first friends I made in college died recently. We had since grown apart but not due to negative reasons. Just life moving along and after undergrad plans guiding us in different reactions.

The last time I had seen him was totally by chance maybe 5 or so years ago. I was on a L train. He saw me, literally jumped into the train and rode with me to a different stop so we could catch up. Then he got off my train and back to his actual line which was the opposite direction.

One of my closest friends had seen him over the summer. She was the one I called immediately after hearing the news. My shocked tone was mimicked by hers. She had wake info but I'm not going since for the most part I hate wakes.

I'd rather remember him as I did years ago with a silly grin on his face.

Just all do me a favor: Hug your loved ones tonight.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bwwwwreeeetchchchchchchchch and the leaves go flying!

My original plan for this morning was either take a walk, go for a run, or try some sort of video based workout. Then when I woke up that all flew out the window. I got up, watched the birds in the backyard fountain (yes, a ity bity little waterfall fountain) with Frankie for a bit, and then had this magic burst of energy. It screamed YARDWORRRRK! in that TV commercial mom having a revelation about some sort of house/school/misc life task. True, there was no echo resonating from my voice and it was way too early for a close up! EEK!

Breakfast took a bit more time than planned since the red onions and mushrooms decided that they wanted to try out for the circus and the place flipped off the counter. Maybe it thought it was buttered toast too since it landed face down. Rechopp, fried up the last of the egg substitute mix and it was time to eat. I wasn't as hungry by then so I ate half, downed most of the coffee w the caramel macchiatto creamer (YUM!), and changed for yard work.

I am not the best at yardwork, gardening and whatnot but I have grand plans and hopes that someday I will have a decently green thumb. When the mood strikes to get out there, I do but at other times I just stare at it as it mocks me. Cutting the bushes, while technically isn't a big deal, visually makes a difference. We have one of those HedgeHog trimmers which I love. It isn't too too heavy for me to move around yet I can always feel it in my arms later that day and the next day. I think it is from getting too into the moment and terrorizing the branches. I didn't do any maniacal laughing but it would have been fitting. The neighbor who was also working outside though probably would think I am kookier than he may already.

I had a lazy lunch of Scoops and salsa and ended up with a stomach ache was my fault since a more substantial meal would have been a better option. The plan was to no go to the grocery store hungry but due to the tummy troubles, I have yet to go. This particular store doesn't close 'til 8 so that works and we don't need a ton of things right now. The definite things on the list are beans, cajun rice mix and some frozen fruit since I haven't had a smoothie in ages.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

waahhhh choo!

I've managed to catch one of the inbetween season headcolds which I am not thrilled about since it is zapping me of extra energy. I've decided it is best to rest more and try to not worry about misc things that vary from the length of time I can wait to plant my mums to the incoming dread of when the gas bill kicks up. (We don't keep it turned waaaaay up but it's enough to throw our budget for a loop. Perhaps this will be the year to go on the budget plan that the company offers.)

I haven't run since I was worn out and am a bit behind. Not really discouraged but not thrilled. Power walking can only do so much. I'm going to wait it out and take care of this cold and head back out. Even if it's a face paced walk for a half hour I know it will help.

One thing recently that did get my heart rate up was a present left by one of the cats. It may have been both of them but luckily I will never know. I was greeted one morning but a dead mouse on the stairs. EWWWW GROOSSSSSS YUCK! Now I guess this is a cat thing and my MIL and the BFF seemed less grossed out. Safe to say I have at least one mouser between the two. I really hope they never catch one again especially since this was the first time ever.

On a more pleasant note, tonight is a knockoff of the cajun shrimp and chicken pasta from TGI Fridays. I still enjoy getting it out but it is really fun to make. We are just having it with the shrimp this time but in the past it worked out exceptionally well with both. Alfredo sauce mixed with cajun seasonings, red pepper flakes, and at times red bell peppers makes it pretty close.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You know what I mean....

I first watched Six Feet Under from a rented DVD. The music intrigued me so much that I picked up both soundtracks without hearing that much of them. I ended up buying the entire series - the boxed set w the astroturf and the tiny little tombstone up top - not too long afterwards. I still need to finish the series. There's an idea for when we cancel cable. One thing I truly enjoy about the soundtracks is the majority of the songs resonate extremely well, sometimes more than others but overall more times than not.

I used to keep my hoop in one of the guest room until I realized keeping it tucked away behind the small-ish sofa in our "office" downstairs was a better idea. Now if a specific song moves me to grab it or if there is a commercial break while I'm watching something on tv that is not recorded, it is RIGHT there.

I had numerous hoola hoops as a kid. I've always been good at it and enjoyed hooping. As a kid I still remember hooping on my front lawn during my town's neighborhood festival. People walked down to the park, realized it was too highly priced for their liking and walked back. They asked if I had stopped and I hadn't. Once I got in the groove it was easy.

Not that long ago I took a hoop dance class. It was more dance than workout which I think may have bothered some people. I like it since it was my third class for the week. There is a beautiful fluidity when you watch someone who seriously knows what they are doing. My instructor was very talented yet willing to explain that it is still easy to mess up even the basic moves. I did learn a bunch but I also whapped myself in the head quite a few times or launched my hoop across the room.

I'm done taking classes for awhile now. The money spent on that is being used elsewhere for awhile but the skills I learned I can keep up with and grow from there. Plus even just basic hooping is a good workout when that is the aspect I am looking for at the moment.

At the moment though it was time to step away from the hoop and try to wind down. I got in a fast past reorganizing mode earlier. It was a cross between needing an estimate of what yarn colors I still have as well as watching Hoarders, which in general makes me want to straighten up. I ended up throwing out a bag of stuff we didn't need, repacked a good amount of my yarn more so by type, and found about 5 cat "toys." They aren't all store bought ones since they both go bonkers over the rings below the cap on a gallon of milk. It works better than them being underfoot, hiding in the closet, or terrorizing my yarn.

Picked a non-pickled pepper...

I've gotten spoiled having a garden again this year. Maybe spoiled isn't the best word but being able to open the patio door, take a few barefooted steps on my patio and pick a fresh green bell pepper makes me feel like it.

I made a red onion, pepper, and egg scramble. We tried the Fit & Active egg substitute this week. It seems pretty similar to Egg Beaters yet significantly cheaper. There is only one flavor which is fine because I'll add spices to my eggs from time to time. I've never baked with anything but an actual egg so this will be interesting.

If we hadn't bought cookies this week, I probably would be baking now. It's raining and semi-gloomy. I found some variations of the Small Batch Baking recipes that I want to try. While we both love home baked goodies, we don't end up eating a full batch of whatever I make. This way if I want to make a full batch and give some away I can but also make just enough for the two of us.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Momma said knock you out

Tonight's agenda:

Design work and dance like a goofball to 90s dance music.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I watched Julie & Julia today after recently seeing it as part of the new release section on (in?) Netflix. I needed some me time to seriously zone out and since football was on Hubs was in the man-cave (aka part of the garage) so I could watch a girl movie without him "mocking" me. He seriously thinks most romantic comedies and general chick flicks are basically the same storyline. I can't totally disagree with that but the aspect of how they get to the end point is always fun as well as the fashion aspect of it. I can't help it. If I had a good amount of "mad money" to spend on whatever, I'd have a new wardrobe every season. The practical side of me probably would smush that idea anyway, but it's fun to think about it every now and then.

I digress, so the movie is one that I had wanted to go see in the theater. I never did. The reason why I don't remember but it was more than likely that since we have Netflix I'd just wait. I knew of the story but back then it was a story based on a book based on a blog based on a book. Even though I technically set up this account in August of 2009, I wasn't a food blogger. I was a craft blogger thinking that perhaps I'd do a food or a fitness related blog. I started, deleted, started, deleted, and let sit empty. Now that I've had this new version, 2.0 though technically not, the movie hit home a bit differently.

I understand the fascination of finding a recipe and the breakdown of things not turning out well. I've gotten giddy over magazine arriving in the mail with some sort of amazing dish on the cover (Woman's Day, I'm talking to you!) or when someone posts something that I NEED to try. I've cried over destroying not one but two grilled cheese sandwiches in a row since seriously grilled cheese isn't supposed to be that hard. I've gotten ecstatic over trying a new recipe for the first time, bringing it to a party and having people love it. The movie connected. It worked. With a current knitting project in my lap and a glass of water at my side, it just worked. True, I had to stop and start it due to misc stuff going on and the giant white monster known as the washing machine.

One thing I felt that was in the movie, maybe not on purpose, was the aspect of not being afraid. The aspect of something not working out was there, of course. That's just life. I've had times throughout the years when I have scared myself into not doing things. Be it being afraid of failure, opinions of others, or just generally being to hard on myself. I will freely admit it because I know it's true. I'm not perfect. Never want to be really as well because then there is no room for improvement, no room for learning and for growth. The me from even five years ago, if asked would play on a team volleyball league, would say no. Me now, even though terrified of making a fool out of myself, is signed up for one. Will I launch the ball at someone? Probably. Will I totally miss it more than twice? Of course. Will I end up pretty decent? Only time will tell.

They say when life gives you lemons, they say to make lemonade. I say screw the lemonade and make lemon meringue.

Is it chili in here or is it just me?

The last few days have been busy to the point where I get home do very little on the computer and then zone out to the television. While it may not be as productive as I'd like, it was needed.

I've decided today what I am putting myself in a food budget challenge. I have seen others do that before with a set amount. The actual amount I am unsure of at the moment and so I figure to try to do as much as possible with as little as possible and go from there. The plan to move to more bulk good, esp rice and beans has already started. Now it's figuring out what works in larger scale.

Today I made chili using a large can of pinto beans and a regular sized can of kidney beans. Usually I'd use at least 2-3 cans of beans. Technically it could be counted as three but in terms of actual can waste it was one two. (We have a giant rolling recycling bin like our garbage can and so we do what we can to recycle as much as possible.) This also saves me room in the pantry since I have one main shelf set for canned goods, jarred sauces and pasta.

I am lucky to have a deep pantry. One of the people who lived here prior to us altered a bedroom into a dining room/front room (living room if you prefer) and cut the bedroom closet in half. The other half is our appliances we don't use constantly or are really bulky like the food processor and misc serving dishes overflow. It really helps so that we're not stuck with tons of stuff on the counter or overloading our kitchen cabinets. I can't keep too much out as well with the cats. Bond likes to sleep on the top of the fridge and in turn would sleep on whatever is up there (now basically the phone book and the Transformers Bumblebee folder - yes we are THAT cool - that holds the takeout menus and misc food coupons) and Frankie likes to knock stuff over. He once pushed my Foreman grill off the top of the fridge when he was a older kitten. Luckily it still works but the front handle falls out. Oh well. It still cooks.

I have recently started boxing. It's not officially boxing but rather Hubs got one of those heavyweight punching bags. He had wanted one for awhile and got a good deal on one online. I used his gloves and we have handwraps coming in the mail. I have smallish hands so the gloves won't be used all the time since I don't want to do something wrong. I am hoping the wraps work best. I'll end up getting my own gloves but I need to save up money right now.

The saving is due to my wanting to run the Hot Chocolate 5k here in Chicago this year. It's November 6th, which is a Saturday. I am excited and terrified and slightly embarrassed at myself for being terrified. Overall, I hope that I can get together the money in time. It's not a huge amount of money but I hadn't anticipated the actual costs of races. It makes sense esp with this being for a charity - The Ronald McDonald house which has one in the suburb next to mine so I know secondhand about how great it is for families.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why hello Brinner how are you?

We had breakfast for dinner tonight which was one of those amazingly great things when I was a kid. My mom always made great pancakes. I always manage to burn half so Hubs made them tonight. We had the regular egg beaters and ham as sides so it was almost like Denny's without the sticky menus and the pop music piped through the sound system. (The last one wasn't horrible music wise just heavy on the jr high-ish stuff.)

I threw caution to the wind tonight and threw together a veggie & cheese sandwich for tomorrow: wheat sandwich thin (YAY to HLS swag coupons!), sharp cheddar cheese, roasted red pepper hummus, green pepper, tomato, and avocado. It may deconstruct itself en route but that should still work. I haven't had too much experience with predominately veggie sandwiches. I do enjoy the Mediterranean one at Panera to the extent that if/when I buy feta cheese I hope to duplicate it. I've had vegetarian sandwiches elsewhere and as long as it isn't too heavy on sprouts, they work.

I am technically not going vegetarian but we do eat quite an amount of vegetables in this house, be it fresh, frozen, or canned. With the tomato plants in the yard, I get spoiled and then have to wait another half a year til we get to plant more. (The wait is definitely worth it though.) I'm trying to find more veggie based recipes or ideas that I can add something like shrimp or chicken breast to as well. I've found that we really don't eat a ton of red meat anymore. I don't know if it was cost or that we have tried and liked alternatives. (Currently we have four 1 lb packages of ground chicken divided between the two freezers.) I've read Veganomicon which I think has some great recipes as well.

This is also when I first decided to try edamame. While I didn't actually make the recipe, I did buy a bag. It has been totally worth it since that is my new go-to when cooking. I have a bad habit that if I am hungry as I cook, I munch on whatever. It may not necessarily be something bad, but by the time the actual meal is done I am not as hungry as when I started.

Do you have any quirks or tricks for when you are cooking while hungry?

Monday, September 6, 2010

As the weekend blurs to an end

Yesterday was seriously a blur. Sunday dinner (as in 1:00pm for full sit down dinner as it has always been for family gatherings) then off to an early evening BBQ then off to a late late evening fire pit. Even with a full schedule it was good to see my family, my friends who are like family since we all grew up together (they are sisters.) and friends that I haven't seen in months. The only bad part of not being able to stay at all/get to all at start times was that I missed seeing my niece before she went to bed. Since she's under two, it totally makes sense.

Today was a bit crazy and I ended up taking it out on the upstairs bathroom. It got a good scrub including an old toothbrush scrub for the tiny crevices around the shower stall, shelves dragged out and wiped down, and even the walls. True we clean it but not super deep clean like this every week. Hubs has shower scrub duty this time - we alternate - so I didn't have to do that.

I ended up buying a jar of Ragu today while out at the crazy packed grocery store. The place was almost sitcom-like. There was a huge line of people with carts awaiting the deli. The location of the deli is in the back of the store but there isn't a large aisle near it like at other places. I passed on getting lunch meat this time esp since we have a great local corner store near us with a deli counter. In my attempt to get away from the line o' carts, I found agave nectar. I didn't get it this time since I was trying to stick to my list only but know I know a local place that carries it.

Dinner ended up spaghetti - regular white pasta aka wow I haven't had this in ages/mmm chewy! - with fresh Italian sausage and chopped green peppers, red onion, and mushrooms. I cooked the sausage on the Foreman, chopped it up and put it in the sauce with everything else. I was impressed with the Ragu and as long as I don't end up with an angry stomach I'd get it again.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why hello Fall

This morning when I went outside for the first time my feet were cold. True it was a little before 8am but still. I've been so used to it being horribly warm that it was a bit surprising. True, it will warm up again but it felt nice. Then it was too cold and I went back in!

Not worrying about overheating the house lead to a berry muffin instant mix. Good but only makes six small-ish muffins. I've already eaten my half and to be fair the others are waiting in the microwave (aka the safe place from the cats without putting them in a tupperware in the pantry) for Hubs.

I reorganized most of the pantry today which is something that was needed. The goal is to stop buying canned/boxed goods that we already have in multiple (like canned fruit... oh look! more pineapple!) and eat what we have now. We did good at this for awhile then a few fast "get the stuff off the counters" and a "where did that go - shuffle shuffle" here and there happened. It wasn't horrid but it wasn't good. Now I can look in and for the most part, have a general sense of what to get.

We did really good with meal planning last week and ended up with very few leftovers. Most can get eaten before garbage time monday morning. I did a leftover mash up for lunch: canned cream of chicken soup w red onion, green pepper, and bulgar added. It tasted great but my stomach wasn't happy. I don't know if it was too rich, too much salt, or just a cranky stomach. I liked the flavor of the mix though and am planning to make a more broth based version of chicken soup with that.

The plot for tonight is a shrimp though mostly veggies stir fry with brown rice. We need to go grocery shopping but I really hadn't wanted to go today. I might later but most likely tomorrow morning pretty early.

If I hadn't had the last egg as part of my breakfast, I would have made Savoury Pumpkin Scones from Oh She Glows. Angela tweeted about the recipe earlier today. Finding a can of pumpkin in the pantry that was still good was a sign. I'll modify it slightly since I don't have/use some of the ingredients. Hopefully it will turn out well.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sometimes I need to remind myself to just SLOW DOWN

I managed to run myself into the ground this week. Not literally though I did trip, yet catch myself on the banister, before I rolled myself down my stairs... though only a few of them... like 10 of the 13 total. EEK!

I thought I was running off adrenaline but really I was running off the extra kick my body was using to try to fight a head cold. The head cold won. While I'm not happy it makes me realize that I can't just take it as it comes - energy wise - and really need to make sure I stick with my sleep/rest plan. I was doing well then got carried away too late plus the sneezy people on public trans doesn't really help.

I had a weird and somewhat disturbing moment on the L tonight. I was sitting there reading my book and overheard a young (maybe early 20s) couple talking. Not a big deal right? Then I hear the girl talking about wanting to go visit her friend. The other girl lived out of state. The guy said she couldn't. (RED FLAG) She couldn't because he didn't want her to go. There was no because after that. No reason other than basically she wasn't allowed by his tone and body language.

I caught myself glaring at them at least once before I remembered I was wearing my reading glasses and not sunglasses. I wanted to SCREAM at the top of my lungs at both of them. GROW UP! BE A MAN NOT THE MANCHILD YOU THINK YOU ARE! WHY DO YOU NEED HIS PERMISSION TO GO VISIT YOUR FRIEND! IS HE IN CHARGE OF EVERY DECISION YOU MAKE! The conversation puttered along w some comments of an ex gf and then they got off the train. Watching her body language she was obviously upset and he didn't seem to understand why. It was a situation that may seem normal to some but it really bugged me. It was one of those moments where I wish I had remembered the post-its in my bag and stuck one right near her that said something like...

"You are important. Don't let others tell you otherwise."