Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Balanced, Week 1

As mentioned last week, I'm focusing on achieving and maintaining a healthy balance in my life, between diet, working out, and overall wellness like sleep and mental wellness.

So, week 1 is done. How did it go?

Goals for the week were:
  • Wine once during the week--ummm, this didn't happen, I had wine twice. But only one glass each time. So, progress?
  • Two strength workouts--Check! I've found the closest thing to my beloved Dallas bootcamp, and I'm trying to hit it up as much as possible.
  • Read a book--Done! Read The Hopefuls which has nailed DC living so much that it's scary. 

This was a bit hit or miss. I had some meals out with friends and such, but on my own ate healthily for the most part. My favorite thing has been reigniting my favorite scramble--sundried tomatoes, spinach, and scrambled eggs. Sometimes topped with avocado. So. Good. 

Weight Down: -0.6 lbs

Workouts: Hit a workout milestone when I passed 300 "torq" points at Flywheel for the first time. It's basically an arbitrary measurement of how hard you're working (resistance is called "torq", so the higher your resistance and the faster you pedal, the more points you "earn"). I've flirted with 300 a few times, but was shocked when I easily surpassed it on Friday with my favorite instructor (though the large coffee I chugged ahead of time likely had something to do with it).

Don't pay attention to the calories burned, my heart rate monitor says I burned about 300 less, haha.

Wellness: It was hard to take time out to read, but I'm glad I did. I also booked a long weekend to Amsterdam (thanks for the cheap flight tip, Scott's Cheap Flights) so that did wonders for my mental health too, (it's true what they say, the mere act of planning a vacation does wonders). I averaged 8 hours and 15 minutes of sleep a night, a trend I'd like to keep going.  I averages 10,250 steps per day (likely due to a few days being over 15,000 steps), so am feeling good about my step count for the time being. 

Goals for Week 2:
Workouts: Two workouts while in NYC for work
Diet: Drinks only two nights while in NYC (this really F's with my sleep, especially when out of town). Starting a Whole14-20 when I get back to reset some healthy diet habits. 
Wellness: Continue to get 8 hours of sleep a night. Go to yoga once. No mindless TV watching.

Sooooo onward!

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Growing up in a red state, I was never really into politics. I did make campaign signs for Kay Bailey Hutchinson when she was running for Senate in 1992 (I was seven, mind you) and hung them from my desk (yes, I had friends, no, they didn't understand what the signs were). But that was mainly because I heard we had a chance to have a lady Senator from Texas, and I was like "I may want to be a Senator one day, blaze a trail, KBH!"

I voted once I was eligible (at least for President, can't say I made it to any mayoral or off-year gubernatorial elections #sorry), and felt such a swelling pride when I voted for Obama in 2008 (hummed The West Wing theme song as I left the polling place).

Then I moved to DC, and made friend with people who worked for the actual elected officials, people who worked on campaigns, and was just surrounded by conversation by politically-minded folks. I felt more informed, and also more passionate..

This is where I take a sidebar to say I recognize I live in an echo chamber. I'm surrounded by mostly like-minded people and we all think the same things. I'm not saying this is good. It's not. But it is what it is.

Fast forward to this fall, when I start donating to campaigns. I canvas in Pennsylvania for Hillary (a disheartening time, which foreshadowed election day). On November 9, I cried three times before 10 a.m. I booked a ticket out of town for election day.

In the past few months, I've been much more politically minded, and then this week, got a survey from the DNC about priorities for the next few years. I'll let my instagram stories tell the rest:

So, I guess my point is, get active? Regardless of your political views, I guarantee you--you have them. I'm not saying talk about politics all the time or put a sign in your yard, but get to know your elected officials and their views. Tell them what you agree with and what you don't. They work for YOU. And everyone is owed a performance review.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


I'm not one who makes New Year's resolutions around health goals. Last year's did include going to yoga more (which I do now), so I guess I have some success with this, but not really.

But the truth is, I could be healthier. I could lose some weight, eat better, drink less, sleep more, and just generally take better care of myself.

One way to hold myself accountable to this is to actually track it. I've liked seeing the data from my heart rate monitor and seeing how the calories burned and effort put forth, and am thinking weekly blog posts will help me stay on track but also track trends and such.

I recently started reading a new (to me) blog, Franish, and basically want to be her best friend. She's a med student (about to be a resident) in Ohio, but has a really fun and realistic lifestyle blog. She started posting a weekly Healthyish series, and I really enjoy it. So, this is kind of my version of it?

Here's what I'm going to cover:

Diet (goals, meals I loved, treats)
I've done Whole30 and Weight Watchers. I know that dairy and bread are not my friend, both in the way they make me feel and what they do to my cravings. I also know that while I love sugar, I can also function really well without it, and the more time I spend away from it, the better. I've really cut down on my snacking too, by having well-balanced and satisfying meals, so I'm hoping to keep this up. Also, I really ebb and flow with my alcohol intake--it's social-based, so weeks with a lot of happy hours, dates, bocce games, I end up feeling fairly pickled and poor.  So feeling more empowered to not drink as much during the week and on weekends is a priority (this could also fall under wellness, which you'll get to in a second).

Workouts (goals, favorites)
I'm still doing ClassPass, but now that they did away with their unlimited package (the most you can get is 10 classes a month), I'm looking for ways to supplement my workouts each month. I'm planning on buying a Flywheel package since I'd like to up that to two times a week, But I've really fallen down in strength training (it seems like traditional gyms are the ones that have great strength training classes, and I don't have those options on ClassPass), so I'm going to do more of those on my own (via videos and blog recommendations).

Wellness: (Steps, sleep, mind/body/soul things)
This is pretty self-explanatory. Thanks to my Garmin Vivo, I get a lot of data on how I sleep and how much I walk. It also provides insights--telling me which days I often get less sleep, or noting similarities in sleep and bedtime (duh). But I'm also going to try to watch less mindless TV and read more (I have way too many magazine subscriptions).

So here we go with Week 1!!

  • Wine once during the week
  • Two strength workouts
  • Read a book

Also, while I will track lbs lost, there isn't really a goal weight in mind here. When I was at my physical fittest, I had actually put on weight (thanks, muscle), so I've become less enamored with what the scale says.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Old Bookshelf

So the last time I posted only about books was over a year ago. Buckle up and here we go (in no particular order):

Talking As Fast As I Can, Lauren Graham: I got this book after seeing Lauren speak live here in DC. As a big Gilmore Girls and Parenthood fan, there was no way I wasn't going to read this. It's a quasi-memoir and journal, filled with some fun nuggets about her early career, filming her shows, as well as her relationship with Peter Krause. It feels like a conversation with an old friend.

The Assistants, Camille Peri: A throw-away beach read, perhaps. I read it in a day. It's a story of low-level workers at a large corporation who embezzle money to help others. Overall, pretty silly.

Commonwealth, Ann Patchett: I was really excited about this book as it got a lot of buzz. It tells the story of how one action at a kid's christening party in the 70s changes two families drastically. I honestly thought it fell a little flat.

Image result for talking as fast as i canImage result for lady of empire book
Image result for daring greatly bookImage result for between the world and me by ta-nehisi coates

Lucy and Linh, Alice Pung: Do you want to see what middle school is like today? Then read this book. And be happy we aren't back in middle school.

Daring Greatly, Brene Brown: Everyone needs to read this book. That's all I have to say.

Daughter of Empire, Lady Pamela Hicks: If you like the royals and The Crown, this book is for you.

The Nightingale, Kristen Hannah: I've read a LOT of Kristen Hannah books, but this one is a departure for her--historical fiction. It follows two sisters in France in WWII, each fighting in their own way. Honestly, it was pretty slow at times, but the last few chapters had me crying on a plane.

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates: Very relevant to today's climate, it's written as a letter to his son about what it means to be a black man.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

I've had so many ideas for blog posts, but never the time to sit down and write them. So hopefully those will be coming up soon (like books I've read in the last six months, what I'm watching on TV right now). So here's a round-up of thoughts I've had over the last few weeks:

--You know you're an Instant Pot fan when, instead of being in bed at 11 p.m. last night, you're straining chicken bones from the latest pot of bone broth you made.

--I've flown 10 times this year (10 separate flights). Three of those flights have faced some sort of delay (two of them were major, hours-long delays, one which made me postpone my flight until the next day). I feel like this is about my average--a third of the flights I take have an issue. Who wants to fly with me now??

--I've started ordering swimsuit items for this summer. Have finally gotten on the ball and realized I can't wait until June to update things (like when I realized my black bottoms from 2006 no longer had elasticity--as I was getting out of a pool last summer #oops) because every place is picked over. So, though my bod is not beach ready, let's go, Target/Old Navy/Gap!

--I've recently upped my skincare regimen and, while I feel like it takes me SO MUCH LONGER to get ready for bed, I've actually started to enjoy the routine. It's nice to have about ten minutes before bed where I'm not watching TV or looking at my phone, but instead just in my bathroom, exfoliating, moisturizing, etc. I also do various masks a few times a week (WHO AM I?!) and am looking forward to seeing my dermatologist to see what he says at my annual mole patrol appointment (which, sidenote: everyone does this right? goes to the derm once a year to check for anything suspicious? I don't necessarily have a history of skin cancer in my family, and am usually vigilant about sunscreen, but you can never be too careful!)

--I've started wearing a heart rate monitor when I work out (I got it for free with a package at my old gym). I find it fascinating. In the same vein as Fitbits, you learn way too much about your stats and how hard you're working. I also feel like I've always heard that machines and different websites way overestimate the number of calories burned during a workout. While Flywheel is usually off by about 100 calories, I've found that most websites and such are not giving me enough calories burned. Between Flywheel and a few different circuit classes, I'm burning between 600 and 800 calories per session. And it shows me where there are spikes in my heart rate, which I can align to what I was doing in class. Just saying. FASCINATING.

--Kids books these days. I'm lucky in that the kids in my life all love to read and be read to, and I have so much fun picking out books for them. I'm also a tough critic--don't get me started on Llama Llama books (A, you've had to hear my wrath about this too many times). Giraffes are also my favorite animal, and they're having quite a moment in books right now. Here's a few of my favorites: Giraffes Can't Dance (grab the tissues for this one, I rarely read it without getting choked up), There's a Giraffe in My Soup, and A Giraffe and a Half. Shout-out to The Day the Crayons Quit, a book that's fun for kids and adults (true story: I read it to an audience of ONLY ADULTS last week, and we were all laughing).

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those people refusing to wear winter clothes once spring begins.

Monday, February 27, 2017


I don't normally recap the Oscars, but this year's show needs to be acknowledged. I say this running on about six hours of sleep (I know, parents out there, that sounds like a dream, but this gal needs 8 to be a real human) and praise-hands-emoji-ing for the 10 oz option on the office Keurig, but here are some initial thoughts about the Oscars:

1. I printed up my usual Oscar bingo and ballots and took them to my friend's house where I hosted a scaled down version of my usual Oscar party. I voted with my heart on my ballot instead of who I thought would win--and I came in second!

2. I sat on the floor approx. 4 feet from the TV the entire time. Reminded me of movies as a kid. And very fitting for my childlike glee over the Oscars.

3. Slow claps for Jimmy Kimmel. As he pointed out, people rarely host the Oscars multiple times because even the best seem to crash and burn (or the Academy inexplicably asks Anne Hathaway and James Franco to host because . . . . ???). I thought he was pitch-perfect--didn't make it too much about himself, was appropriately self-deprecating but also brought some levity to the room by pointing out that while the night is important to Hollywood, it's still not the most important thing in the world and everyone can have a reality check every now and then.

4. I'm really glad I learned how to say Mahershala Ali's name this weekend because I feel like I repeated it several times last night.

5. My biggest ballot coup? Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for Best Costume. A. Never vote against Colleen Atwood and B. listen to Oscar podcasts.

6. It KILLS me that Suicide Squad now has an Oscar (make-up).

7. A bit on bits. I've been less impressed with some of the bits the Oscars have done in the past, mainly because they go on too long (Ellen ordering pizza for everyone was funny, but 30 mins later making a joke of asking for cash to pay for it made me say "Yeah, the bit was over 30 mins ago"). But, I do love Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon's running feud (if you haven't seen Sarah Silverman's video "I'm F**king Matt Damon", get thee to YouTube now. It helps to know that she and Jimmy Kimmel were dating at the time). I thought it provided a good dose of humor and light-heartedness--it does help that both Matt and Jimmy are so likable. Also, the Hollywood Tour Bus bit was basically my dream come true. I bemoaned the fact that I wasn't on that bus, but also realized I would NEVER schedule a tour to conflict with the Oscars. I thought the tourists were precious, though Gary from Chicago and his fiance might be my favorites (And true to 2017, Twitter accounts are now created for Gary at the Oscars).

This prompted my friends to ask what I would do if this happened to me. Easy. I would burst into tears. So now you know. 

8. The ending. I'm honestly still in disbelief and processing that ending. As soon as LaLa Land was announced, I got up and started packing up leftovers and throwing things away. A few people lingered by the TV and then I heard them say "wait, what's happening? It didn't win?" I raced over and rewound to the beginning (thanks, DVR!) and stood in amazement. I have to say, I was stunned that this could happen, but also thought it was handled as well as it could be in the moment. Jimmy Kimmel kept it light, Warren Beatty explained exactly what happened, and Jordan Hurwitz (LaLa Land producer) was gracious and so adamant about doing the right thing. That's showbiz!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Oscars, I haven't forgotten you

As many of you know, the Oscars are my Super Bowl. From the day the noms are announced until Oscar Sunday, I'm in a frenzy of seeing all the movies and listening to podcasts about the various odds (highly recommend The Awards Show Show from Vulture). I start planning my party and themed menu a month out. I spend the entire weekend before the party setting up decor and cooking (can you tell I don't have children?)

But not this year. A variety of factors have come into play. First, I live in a much smaller apartment, and thus can't host my usual big shindig. Also, man, those parties were a lot of time and money. And people would, as they're wont to do, bail at the last minute because Sunday night plans are hard. So, the party was already off the list.

Secondly, holy shitstorm, Batman. I've been really busy. Between a death in the family in late January that is still taking up a lot of emotional and mental space, travel home for the funeral, a wedding, work trips, and just general busyness, I've had little free time to dedicate to seeing all the films. By Sunday, I will have seen five of the Best Picture nominees (may try to squeeze in a sixth), but really have no clue as to who or what will win (I'm hearing Emma Stone is a lock for Best Actress--ok? Sure?).

So here's a quick look back at some of my favorite and most astounding Oscar memories:

Best Picture 2016: When Spotlight won best picture, after late surges from The Big Short and The Revenant, I screamed with delight. From the minute I saw that movie, I was pushing for it for Best Picture, and never wavered in my support. So I feel like it owes me a little bit?

Best Picture 2015: On the opposite end of the spectrum, when Boyhood lost to Birdman for Best Picture, I lost some major respect for The Academy. I haven't been able to get through Birdman, but Boyhood is a beautiful masterpiece that is so simple it's complex. As Slate said in 2015, Birdman is about an actor who dreams of making a movie like Boyhood.

Best Actor 2010 (or 2011?): Colin Firth winning for The King's Speech was the cherry on top of my (now 15 year) love affair with him. I think I cried when he won.

Best Supporting Actor 2007: This was the first time I truly "got" the Academy and their way of thinking. Alan Arkin won for Best Supporting Actor for Little Miss Sunshine. I was the ONLY person in my ballot pool that picked him to win. I thought "he's had a great career, is rarely recognized, and is such a gem in LMS, I bet he wins."

So, go forth, friends, and watch the Oscars. Even if it's just for the fashion and monologue, you need to be able to talk to your coworkers about something on Monday.