Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Popcorn Snack

What up, peeps? Lots of things have happened over this weekend. And some of those things includes HOMEWORK x 1000. But we will get to that later.

First, I want to flaunt some tasty food I had over the course of the last few days.
Beef tips and rice happened last night. I used just the right amount of wine, and I turned the crock pot on high all day long. It was perfect. Get the recipe here.
Eggplant lasagna, roasted broccoli and cheesy bread happened Monday night. Best ever. Hands down. I'm having that for lunch today. So so good. Get the recipe here

I have a new recipe to share with you. I think you will be pleased with my newest creation.

Popcorn Snack
1/4 C. white popcorn kernels
2 T. canola oil
Black pepper
Parmesan cheese
In a big pot, heat the oil on medium high heat and add three kernels. Cover with a lid. Once the first kernel pops, add the rest of the kernels. Gently shake the pot back and forth on the stove to keep the popcorn from burning. 

Once the last kernels have popped, turn the heat off and dump the popcorn into a bowl. Top with liberal amounts of black pepper and Parmesan cheese. 

Y'all. This popcorn is like crack-cocaine. Totally delicious and addictive. I feel like I'll be making it all the should you. Seriously, pop your corn on the stove. It makes all the difference. And you can decide what toppings to add. The variations are endless. 

In other news...
My mom and her awesome friends ran a half-marathon in Jonesboro this weekend. The boyfriend and I were there for moral support. Yippie! I'm so proud of them. :)

My new shoes came in. So. Freaking. Cute. I be rocking these with style very soon. 

How was your weekend?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Running and Learning

May 18, 2011.

The day I took my brand new, fresh out of the box Brooks Adrenaline 11s out for my very first serious run since high school.

I had no idea running would change my life. I had no idea I would learn so much. No idea I'd run so many races. No idea I'd be setting myself up for a half-marathon. Just no idea.

It's crazy how life works.

So today I'm going to share how much I've learned from running, serious and not-so-serious learning experiences.

  • Shoes are the most import piece in your running gear. They protect your feet. Get. Some. Good. Shoes. I've had three pairs of Brooks Adrenaline...and I don't plan on trying anything new. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. 
My first Brooks...Now retired. That was a sad day.
Took Reds place. 
Pink are in rotation with Blue in my preparation for St. Jude
  • Figuring out what to wear for a winter run is harder than it looks. I want to put on all the clothes in my closet, but don't do that. Always put on less than you think you need, otherwise your body will fell like an inferno. Not kidding. 
  • Don't run when you have bronchitis...basically don't run when you are legitimately ill. Give your body time to heal. You won't lose what you've worked for.
  • Don't make up bogus excuse to let yourself not run. I've done this, and I lost most of my mileage from being a lazy ass. 
  • Set goals. Always be working toward something. I know myself well enough to say this: If I'm not training for something, I'm not running. End of story. 
  • Run with friends. It's always better. Always.
  • Save your race bibs. They make you remember good runs or how you overcame bad runs. Plus they make you feel like a bad ass... (This would also go with race medals...I don't have one yet so I can't really say that.)
  • If you see another runner struggling, acknowledge them. Shout some encouraging words. Remind them of the feeling of having run. When the favor is repaid on a day you have a bad run, there is nothing really quite like it. 
  • Watch out for bikers. They think the own the roads/trails because they have two wheels, use hand signals and get to yell "On your left." Stand your ground. Running is just as important as biking. 
  • Watch out for lollygaggers. And by that I mean people who use the trails in the parks to walk around like they've never been outside a day in their lives. This group also includes: love birds, out-of-towners, nature enthusiasts, creepy bystanders, etc. They have a right to be there, just be aware that they are completely unaware of their surroundings and the fact that you even exist.
  • A new pair of Nike running shorts can make your day. 
  • Sweat can and will accumulate in weird, un-thought of places. Just keep that in mind. I won't go into detail.
  • Treadmill running and outside running are ABSOLUTELY AND COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. People who say it's the same lied to you...and they probably have never ran outside. Don't listen to's complete BS.
  • Running is a major mind game, especially in the beginning. A mile seems so far. It's all in your mind. Don't let it get you down. I use to think I'd never be able to run 3 miles at one time. But I did it. I use to think a 10K was ridiculous. But I did that, too. I use to think people who trained for half-marathons where insane. But I'm doing it. It's all in your mind. Attitude is everything. 
  • Your body will change in a good way. I use to only have skin on my calves. Now I have some pretty defined muscles. (And it makes me feel like a bad ass...I shouldn't say that...but it's true.) The most definite changes I saw were in my leg muscles. I've gained a few pounds, but it's all muscle. And I know that by the way my clothes fit. All the same clothes, different fit. 
  • Couch to 5K is a completely legit way to start running. I used it, and it totally works. The key is to keep running when the program is done. Get the app or print the plan and go do it. 
  • Always remember why you started running. Sometimes you let yourself forget. Don't do that. Remember why you started running, and reflect on it. If your reason has changed, that's ok. Own it. It just means you, as a person, are changing. Run with it...literally. 
Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I'm sure I'll have a lovey-dovey post about running on my Running Anniversary...MAY 18...for those of you who didn't clue in at the beginning of this. 
Hooray for running! Be lovin' you.

Do you have anything you've learned from running or exercising that needs to be added to the list? Let me hear about it in the comments. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Day I Murdered a Grapefruit

An e-mail was sent yesterday morning to the boyfriend.

Just wanted to drop you a line...and I thought e-mail would be appropriate since it would look more like "work." I'm so sneaky and smart. 

I had a grapefruit for breakfast. I had all the best intentions with it. I thought...Oh, I'll take a grapefruit...I mean it's in its own bowl basically...
But then I killed it. As you can see.

Anyway...Just wanted to lighten your day. TTYL.

***NOTE: If you are an extremely close friend of mine, or if you happen to be the boyfriend, you will receive e-mails like this at times throughout our relationship. Now who wouldn't want to be friends with me? (Clearly, this is a rhetorical question...please don't say you don't want to be my friend...I'm blue...and very fragile.)***

But on a serious note, grapefruits are delicious and an underused fruit. They get a bad rep because of their other citrus cousin, the orange.

Now let's discuss grapefruit eating tactics: Don't use a fork. It's doesn't work out like you think it will. Trust me. But a'd think would work wonders, but I didn't have much luck there either...hence the massacre. I'm going to have to rework my tactics this morning...since I brought another grapefruit.

Now...Let's completely switch gears:

Why does Anthropologie send me e-mails dangling pretty dresses in my face and then blatantly snatch them away with their hefty price tags?

 I want this beautiful dress so bad. But I absolutely can't justify $148 on basically one piece of fabric. My new shoes would look fabulous with it, though.

Anyone have an obscene amount of money they don't want to spend on themselves who'd want to purchase me this lovely dress? Any takers? I'd wear it in your presence...No. Ok. Just thought I'd ask. You have not because you ask not.

Fruits you be lovin' right now?

Dresses you be coveting right now?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Weekend in Pictures

Spent a lot of time here.
Doing homework, lamenting over my non-existent social life and eating dark chocolate.
The 60s was an interesting time in Arkansas politics. Ask me anything...I bet I know it. Seriously.

For study breaks, I'd go outside to check the progress of my zinnia sprouts.
Early on Day 1
End of Day 1 after a full day in the sun
Day 2
There was a day 3, but I can't find it right now. Update on that tomorrow.

I ran yesterday.
Here are my stats:
Distance: 3 miles
Time: 34:16
Best Pace: 8:28
Average Pace:11:26
Calories: 357

I'll go into detail about that tomorrow. I've done some research that deserves a separate post. So stay tuned for something new I learned about running and side pains.

I had a lot of really wonderful food this weekend.
Waffles. Classic.

Rigatoni with a mushroom cream sauce

Parmesan and dill scrambled eggs on an English muffin
These beauties are on the way to my doorstep.
HOLLA. I'll be walking on a dream in no time.

How was your weekend?

Tell me something good.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rewarding Yourself

Yesterday my mom, grandma and I attended a banquet for the Mass Comm Department. I was told about a month ago that I won an award for submitting my research paper into a contest with the prize being cash money.

I walked away with 3rd place and $75. Holla.

So in honor of winning money for school work, I'm going to reward myself with a new pair of shoes from Sole Society, an awesome shoe club. Join here.

But I don't know which shoes I want more...I need your help.

Should I get these...
Or these?
They cost the same price so that's not really a factor. Leave your thoughts in the comment section. I'll be sure to let you know what I decide to purchase.

As promised I have a new recipe to share with you today.

I call it Pasta with Spicy Zucchini.
What you need:
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash (whichever looks better)
2 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less...whatever your taste buds like)
1 box of whole wheat pasta
Olive Oil
1/2 Parmesan cheese
1 T. butter

First, grate your squash and put a generous amount of salt on it. I didn't grate my because apparently I can't read that is why mine is not grated. Let the squash sit so the salt can draw out all the water.

In the meantime, boil some water. Toss in the noodles.

After the squash has released all its water, squeeze in some paper towels to get rid of the excess water. Heat some olive oil in a deep pan. Throw in the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes. Let cook for a few minutes. The garlic should smell amazing.

Throw in the zucchini. Let cook 2-3 minutes. It shouldn't take long. Toss the pasta in with the zucchini mixture. Add in 1/2 C. Parmesan cheese. Add some pasta water if the pasta seems dry. Stir in one tablespoon of butter to add some richness. Serve immediately.

While it looks plain and uninteresting, it is so flavorful and delicious. I think I got a little too happy with the red pepper flakes because my nose ran and my lips were numb for a full 20 minutes after I finished eating.

I will definitely make this again, but I will probably add in some thinly sliced onions and maybe some tiny shrimps for some added protein.

What have you been eating?

Which shoes would you pick? Leave a comment below. I love to hear what you think.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Herbs and Other Things

Dudes, I planted a mini-herb garden yesterday. I was inspired by my friend Tori, who got a really cool planter from Home Depot and planted a whole bunch of herbs and flowers.

So while I was at Walmart picking up a few things, I stumbled into the garden section to see what it had to offer. Low and behold, there was a wide selection of herbs, flowers and vegetable seeds. I grabbed a window box planter and called it a day.

I planted my four most favorite herbs: Parsley, dill, basil and rosemary.

Y'all, I want a garden so bad. I want to plant my own veggies and maybe try my hand at tilling up some land. Big sigh. Just another thing to save for when I have more time.

Speaking of time...and not having any, school is stupid. And by that I mean I need some serious motivation. I'm currently reading a book about Arkansas history, and it's just not as inspiring as the other books I've read this semester. I have to make myself sit down and focus to read it. It. Is. Awful.

And on top of the boring book, I have to work on my original research paper due May 10. That's four weeks for those of you who don't realize and/or understand why I will be crazy and talking gibberish. But not to worry, everything will be back to normal May 10.

Now is the time to remember this mantra Paul wrote many years ago:

"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." Philippians 4:6-7 The Message Bible.

Y'all, I've prayed for motivation and understanding so much lately. I constantly worry about how I'm going to get everything done for school, while I do all the other 100,000 things I have to do. I'm so tired of trying to please everyone. So I'm working on doing what I have to do and incorporating a few things I want to do.

So that is where I am right now. Stuck in a tug-a-war with myself over what I should do and what I want to do. Say some prayers please. They are much needed and appreciated right now.

What kind of stress are you under right now?

If you could plant a garden, what kind of herbs/flowers/veggies would you plant?
I'd have a full vegetable garden and all the herbs. I'd also plant some zinnias to help keep the bugs away and make it pretty.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Capital City Classic 10K: Race Recap

First and foremost, I need to say the Redneck coffee mug is no more. Thankful for the Easter Bunny for  bringing me a lid for my cup.
Now on to the race recap.Buckle your seat belt.

Wake-up call: 5:20 A.M.
Got up and around and had breakfast at 5:40 A.M.
The standard pre-race fuel of a thin whole wheat bagel with a good smear of peanut butter.

We ended up getting to the race later than we would have liked. But it all worked out.

Mile 1: Side stitch on my right side under my rib cage. Searing pain. It hurt to breathe in and out. Not sure what that was about. I pushed my hand into my side. Not the way you want to start a race.

Mile 2: Side stitch still there, but the pain had eased enough for me to talk to the roommate and my mom. Lady in a black sparkly skirt pissed us off with her "words of wisdom." As we were coming up on the first water break, the roommate asked how it would work. Sparkle skirt was like "you know if you pinch your cup it makes it easier to drink that way you don't get it all over you and you can keep running." Mind you she said this while he was walking with an un-pinched cup. I thought my mom was going to slap her across the face.

Mile 3: Mediocre. Sparkle skirt was yelling "encouragements," and that was the moment we decided no matter what happened we would all finish in front of her. Her encouragements were digs in disguise.

Mile 3.5: Searing side pain returned worse than before. Couldn't breathe. Wanted to cry. Couldn't talk anymore. Had to focus on the each step and each breath. Told myself I could make it through it 100 million times.

Mile 4: Second water break. Hand permanently jabbed into right side. Ran into the sun with no shade. Lucky for us there was a nice, cool breeze.

Mile 5: Thought I was going to throw up. The sun was beaming down. Right side felt like someone was repeatedly stabbing me with butter knives. Took our last walk break a bit early. Had to cut that short because sparkle skirt was gaining on us. OVER MY DEAD BODY...which could have been a true statement.

Mile 6.2: FINISH LINE! Black sparkle skirt was left in the dust. And let me just say...if my mom had said I need you to pull out a 10-minute-mile to finish ahead of black sparkle skirt, I could have done it. And I was hurting BAD...but I would have done it. Luckily, I didn't have to.
Here are my stats:
Distance: 6.31 miles (a bit over the 6.2)
Time: 1:15:29 (not a PR, but I was just happy I finished and only walked when I was suppose to walk.)
Best Pace: 9:18
Average Pace: 11:58
Calories: 737

This was the most humbling run I've had in a while. My body rebelled the entire time. I hurt for a good 30 minutes after we were done. And I'd jabbed my fingers into my side so hard for so long that I bruised myself. But I did it. I did it.

The roommate had an awesome run...and I'm so happy for her. I wanted her to have a great first 10K like I did back in November.

My love of running, even when I have a bad day with it, can be summed up with this quote.
I love being able to run with people I love and care about. I love having experiences that bring me closer to my closest people. Being able to overcome a bad run with people who are willing to be patient with you while you struggle is a major life moment. 

I'm so deeply blessed. And so thankful. So humble to have such amazing people in my life. To many more runs for many more days. 

Now on to other things:
  • My new shoes came in. I will be alternating these with the ones I got in New Orleans during my training for St. Jude.
  • I woke up yesterday morning and sipped my coffee while reading this amazing book. I feel so inspired.
  • I also found the Hal Higdon half-marathon training plan less intimidating than I thought I would...Does this mean I'm ready for 13.1? We shall see.
  • Grad school sucks right now. End o story. Original research needs to go some place and never come back. Please and thank you.
  • And on a completely unrelated note to anything ever: My crock pot won't cook potatoes. After 6 hours on high, the potatoes were still like rocks. So. Disappointing.
How was your Easter weekend?

Tell me something good.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Life in Segments

I've really been loving cuties know the little Mandarin oranges.
 This morning, as I was peeling and segmenting my cuties, I started to think about how my life is segmented.

Grad school. Work. Job hunting. Friends. Family. Boyfriend. Writing. Running. Yoga. Enjoyable activities. (I'm sure there are more I'm forgetting.)

It's interesting to me how some segments look good, and then others look like not so good. But that's life I guess. It's full of ebbs and flows. Ups and downs. Good and bad. And we as people just take it like it comes.

But I started to wonder how many people are forced to segment their lives. How many people pick their work, which may just be a mediocre job, over something they actually love, like spending time with their families or traveling or whatever.

Let me tell you a secret: I've figured myself out. What I like. What I don't like. Who I want to spend my time with. Where I like to eat. What I stand for. What I'll defend. What I'll let fall by the way side. I don't have everything about everything figured out, but I've got me figured out.

I am who I am. I am someone I like. I am happy in my own skin. I march to my own beat, and I like it best that way.

Lately, I've been defending myself a whole lot. So much in fact, that certain sides of my personality that don't get showcased very often are out in full display all the time. And I don't like being that way...But I feel forced to defend myself and the things that are important to me.

Let me give you some examples of how far I've come in all this:

Three-years-ago-me would have been told by her then-boyfriend what we were doing on the weekends. If it interfered with something I'd already planned, I would bail and do whatever then-boyfriend wanted because I didn't want him to be upset with me.

The-now-version-of-me catches flack from now-boyfriend about running interfering with his idea of our weekend plans. The moment the complaint about running finishes coming out of his mouth, I shut it down. I defend why running is important and why it's important for him to support me, even though it's something he's not interested in or understands. Definitely not something I use to do.

We have to stand for something, or we will fall for anything. And I will not fall back into those weak ways I once knew very well. I will not let myself be walked all over. I am stronger and braver now than I ever was. And I will not let that be compromised.

Like I said, I am who I am. I am proud of who I am. I will always defend who I am and what I stand for.

"I am woman, hear me roar." - Helen Reddy

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Winnie and Things

Yesterday was just an all around sad day. Two of my sorority sisters lost their dads; one on Friday night and the other yesterday afternoon. I'm having a really hard time coping with it because they are my age and burying a parent. I can't imagine what they are going through, and my heart just aches for them during this time.

Hug everyone that is dear to you every single chance you get. Tell them you love them every single time you are leaving each other or hanging up the phone. And cherish the time you get to spend with people who truly care about you.

In hopes of cheering myself up and finding encouraging words to say, I looked up Winnie the Pooh quotes. Winnie is a profound little honey bear.

"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll always be with you."

"If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you."

"If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear."

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

"I'm not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost."

I love Winnie the Pooh and all his profound thoughts. All too good if you ask me.

In other news...
The Redneck coffee cup is back. I did use the Saran wrap to cover the top since I still haven't found a lid. But I'm being good by not showing you. You're welcome.

Breakfast this morning is a little one.
A Cashew Cookie Larabar and two cuties. So good. The perfect accompaniment to my giant cup of coffee.

I'll finish the rest of this post like so...

  • I'm going to hot yoga tonight. And this time I will got at the right time, unlike last time. 
  • No Online Post 5 to do for school this week. But the downfall is I have to go to class. Blah. Grad school is stupid. 
  • Must. Drink. More. Water.
  • 10K is Saturday morning. Crazy how time flies. Pretty soon it will be December, and I'll be recapping St. Jude's half marathon. Expect a race recap for the 10K on Tuesday...or before if you're lucky.
  • Easter weekend is upon us. And one of my favorite cousins is turning 40 on Easter Sunday. I can't wait to see her and celebrate both special occasions. 
What are some of your favorite quotes? (Doesn't have to be a Winnie quote...just any you love.)
A few others of mine are....

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope I would not have a single bit of talent left, so I could say 'I used everything you gave me.'" - Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Been Busy Busy

My weekend was full full. But full of fun.

I made those cookies I was talking about. Remember?

When cookie dough looks like this, you know the cookies will be super delicious.

 And they were oh so good. I swoon over them.

 The most chocolate goodness I've ever created. So very tasty. Extra chocolaty and just sweet enough. Make them. They are super easy to make. And well worth the effort.

In other news, I've been on a big egg kick lately.
I've been loving egg sandwiches. And it's weird because I'm usually not a big fan of eggs. I guess my body's been craving the protein. But I've also been craving little baby oranges, also known as cuties, with all my breakfast picks.
It's the best way to get some Vitamin C.

I ran 5.5 miles Sunday evening with the roommate. First time we've ran together in months. And we both had a pretty good run, considering the distance.
Here are my stats:
Distance: 5.5 miles
Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
Best Pace: 10:43
Average Pace: 12:12
Calories: 625

Running 5.5 miles makes me walk around like a 90-year-old lady and as hungry as a ravenous wolf. Not. Even. Kidding.

Even though my body hates me when I run longer distances, it still feels really good to have finished it. Every time is like a huge accomplishment. And I love it.

Before the roommate and I went for a little jog, we rode around in our friend Zach's new Jeep. His dog Luna loves the new Jeep, but hates the wind.
And it was a beautiful day to be out and about in a Jeep.
So how was your weekend?