Tag Archives: desserts

Don’t Worry, Be Maui

In case you haven’t yet heard, last week BF and I jetted off to beautiful Maui. It was all kinds of perfection—relaxing, fun, rejuvenating, essentially all the things you want out of a vacation. While there were a few select activities we did, most of our days consisted of lounging in the sand, swimming in the ocean, drinking lots of fancy drinks, repeat. So, there isn’t a whole ton to report…which is why I figured pictures would paint a better picture (and be more enjoyable):

We were both up at 7 am no problem the first day, and I think we were unrolling our beach towels by 9. Don’t waste that sunshine!

BF proving his inflexibility. Also, he's owned that swimsuit since EIGHTH GRADE. Isn't that impressive?

BF proving his inflexibility. Also, he’s owned that swimsuit since EIGHTH GRADE. Isn’t that impressive?

This is where I tell you there's no filter on this photo. But for real there isn't. Also, I've owned this swimsuit for one whole week. We balance each other out?

This is where I tell you there’s no filter on this photo. But for real there isn’t. Also, I’ve owned this swimsuit for one whole week. We balance each other out?

Our first day, we rented snorkel gear and managed to hit two different beaches, one of which was full of sea turtles!!! It was so exciting.

Fun fact: You can in fact get horribly sunburned before 10 am even if you’re skin is under the water. It took until that first night to discover that the bottom of my back was not only red, but verging on purple-ish. Such a rookie move. But if my biggest complaint is, “Ohhh noo I got sunburned in Hawaii,” then I really have no complaints. And yes, mom, I wore sunscreen the whole trip.

Mango and passion fruit and strawberry sugary syrup, oh my!

Mango and passion fruit and strawberry sugary syrup, oh my!

Obviously, food was a big theme of our trip. We were on a quest to try as many fish tacos as possible, and we somehow managed to have ice cream/gelato/shave ice every. single. night. It was the best. I’ve also decided that gelato > ice cream > froyo. Yea, I SAID IT blog world. Give me my full fat, real cream goodness.

The second day, we hiked down to the “blowhole” which is a naturally occuring geiser in which the waves push through a small opening in the rocks and shoot up super high—just like a whale blowhole. It was super cool, as was the hike down/around the area. Unfortunately, those pictures are on Mr. “I’ll totally upload these photos right away” ‘s camera…so they remain a mystery.

The rest of our days were littered with various activities, including a trip to the farmer’s market, running, walking on the beach, trips to Lahaina, and finding as much fresh pineapple as possible. Otherwise, this was pretty much our lives…

I spy mai tai.

I spy mai tai.

Wearing shorts over my sunburned bum. At least they're Rogas.

Wearing shorts over my sunburned bum. At least they’re Rogas.

 

We (I) probably ate the total of 3 whole pineapples while in Maui. MORE PLEASE.

We (I) probably ate the total of 3 whole pineapples while in Maui. MORE PLEASE.

Our hotel was in great proximity to good beaches and the main part of Lahaina, which is the real hub of Maui. We went there almost every day and it was so easy to find new things to see, eat, and explore.

Banyan Tree! Have you seen this tree? It's the coolest. I also swear I wasn't trying to flash everybody.

Banyan Tree! Have you seen this tree? It’s the coolest. I also swear I wasn’t trying to flash everybody.

image6

Okay I think we've had enough Banyan tree pictures.

Okay I think we’ve had enough Banyan tree pictures.

Second night I believe. Pre-Cheeseburger in Paradise meal. I think my skin was emanating a lot of heat at this point,

Second night, pre-Cheeseburger in Paradise meal. I think my skin was emanating a lot of heat at this point,

I managed also to work my way through two books while we were there, helping in the my book-a-month resolution. I finished the Night Circus and Gone Girl, both of which I loved and recommend. Gone Girl, especially, is an excellent beach read.

On our last night, we went to a luau—just to solidify our Hawaiian tourist status. Unfortunately, the luau wasn’t exceptionally fun. It was rainy and windy (the only rain we had the whole time—of course) and it wasn’t very well organized. (Tip: Go for the Old Lahaina Luau, not the Drums of the Pacific—if you’re ever there.) Oh well, we still ate our body weight in food in order to get our money’s worth. And there was an open bar…wait, why was I complaining again?

pho7to

Such good food. I'll give you one guess as to if there was another plate.

Such good food. I’ll give you one guess as to if there was another plate.

 

Cheesin' hard. Can't help it...it's the Maui effect.

Cheesin’ hard. Can’t help it…it’s the Maui effect.

And some more randoms, just so I can reminisce a bit longer…imag7eima5geimage (1)To recap: We layed on the beach a lot. We ate a lot of frozen desserts. We got a lot of sun. We drank a lot of tropical beverages at any and all hours of the day. We swam with huge turtles.

This was a near-perfect trip. BF and I had such a great time…and I think it’s safe to say that Maui hasn’t seen the last of us. There’s something so relaxing about the Hawaiian atmosphere and culture…no rushing, no stressing, just let it be. The mai tais help too. I can definitely say that I haven’t been this relaxed during a vacation in a very long time.

But now…it’s back to business. I’m in week one of two peak training weeks, and I’ve got some of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done coming up shortly. Never a dull moment.

Happy Wednesday!

Have you ever been to Hawaii? Maui? Do you prefer to spend vacations doing lots of things, or doing lots of nothing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running(!), Bridesmaids, and Doughnuts

Greetings friends, strangers, and family members who lovingly check in on my life.

How’s it going?

It’s JUNE. How did that happen?! I seriously feel like I was just bundling up every day and cranking my heater on a regular basis. Spring flew by, and while I know each year everyone seems to talk about how fast the time goes, for real this year seems even speedier. I’m just hoping this isn’t a sign of getting older…24 is ripe, I’ll tell you.

But let’s celebrate the time instead of commiserate its passing, shall we?

Plus, I have THINGS TO TELL YOU.

Friday Faves (obvs), AND I have some encouraging news. It’s not exclamation point encouraging, but exciting nonetheless.

;

I RAN. Well, ran-walked. And unlike Sunday’s fail of a walk-run attempt, I can confidently say that this excursion went well! Let’s back track a bit though and do a little lack-of-running recap.

Since doomsday the Tacoma Marathon, I haven’t been running at all. I tried a few times, realized very quickly that my IT band is shot, and since then I’ve been desperately trying to massage and ice and exorcise the stubborn demons out of my leg. It has been a month, which is pretty hard to believe—since it seems like only a little bit ago I felt fully recovered. Pathetic.

And no, I haven’t really been performing exorcisms on body parts. Yet.

Anyway, I have been sad, you have heard a lot about it, I have become a grumpy injured runner, etc. Whine whine whine.

Despite being peeved at anyone and everyone with fully-functioning legs, I actually have been more okay with this running leave-of-absence than I thought. After getting myself back together after that race, I realized that taking a step back was probably just what I needed. Although I’m sad it took an injury to fully solidify my “rest period,” the timing is without question the universe telling me to slow down. And slowing I have been.

Cue, Wednesday afternoon. I wanted to try walk/running again. I was/am tired of being inside on a spin bike while everyone in the entire world is out running.

(By the way, when you all of a sudden can’t run, every single person and their puppy seems to start running.)

It only took about 2 minutes in for my knee to seize in that all-too-familiar way, and so I started to walk, per run/walk standard procedure. After a minute, I started to run again, and after another two minutes…I realized my knee felt better. Not great, but not bad. While I am always hoping that one day I’ll wake up and the running gods will have waved their wands (the Stick) and made my ailments completely go away, at this point…I’ll take what I can get.

And guess what? I was out on my favorite route for 45 minutes!! 32 of which were running, and the others were spent stretching/walking. I didn’t even really care that I was having to walk at some points when I otherwise would have been flying by other people. It felt so good to be outside, by the water, and actually sweating from running. I know I had a big smile on my face the whole time, and I felt better after each spurt of running.

;

;

It would be a lie to say that my knee didn’t hurt afterwards, because it did. However, although the running is bringing on the IT band flare, it doesn’t seem to be making it worse, does that make sense? As in, the pain is there…but it’s not getting any more significant through movement.

The next day, I was sore but still pleased that for the first time in a month, I can say that I covered over 4.5 miles.

You cannot see my sweat, but it’s there!! And it’s from running!!

YAY

I’m going to try again perhaps Sunday, and with any luck this next attempt will be even better. Wednesday’s run was the first time I’ve actually felt hopeful about my running endeavors in a while, and that’s a good feeling.

ALSO. In other news regarding feeling like a runner…remember back when how I told you about my two dead toenails holding on for dear life? Yes, well, they have been hanging around, black and beautiful. I figured since I haven’t been running, they would calm themselves down and return to a semi-normal look.

So I go to cut my toenails last night, and I realize that one of my black nails is COMING OFF. Like, I could easily pick it up.

I’ll spare you details, you get it, but I am officially toenail-less. Which is nasty, no doubt, but it’s also a friendly little reminder that I am, in fact, a runner…injury or not.

Also, writing about cutting my toenails feels really TMI, so… sorry. Strange, because apparantly I have no qualms with talking about peeing my pants while running.

Moving on…let’s get onto some Friday favorites eh? I’ve been slacking recently, sorry, but I’m back and ready to deliver the goods. And by “goods,” I mean “random shit that I like that I’m going to tell you about because this is my blog and you are reading it.”

It’s fine.

Christian The Lion

If you have not seen this video, STOP what you are doing, no I don’t care if your boss can see, and watch this video. It is almost certain that everyone has seen it, but if not…you will not be disappointed.

This never fails to bring a smile to my face and actual tears to my eyes. I don’t cry from movies people, ever. But this is perfect. Animals really have the whole unconditional love thing figured out…if only we could catch on.

How much do you want to hug a lion after watching this? Also, Whitney is crucial to building the anticipation.

(Side note: When I say I don’t cry in movies, I’m really not kidding. However I need to inform you that no matter how immune to tv/movie crying you may be, if you watch the Glee season finale from this year while on a foam roller you WILL burst into heavy uncontrollable tears. Seriously, SOBS.)

Dixie Cup Ice Massages

Every runner should know about this contraption. Oh wait, I was the only runner who wasn’t doing it? Dang.

BUT I have made a few discoveries regarding the usefulness of freezing a Dixie cup full of water.

1) The functionality of icing your leg is highly improved by using this method as opposed to holding individual ice cubes and pointlessly running them along your leg.

2) This shit hurts. Due to increased grippage (thanks Dixie people), you can really dig into your muscles with this baby. Ice AND massage= two for one special! The concentration of a huge hunk of ice on a knotty IT band yields a good deal of pain, and with enough effort, this can be as brutal as the foam roller.

*Question for anyone who has done this…is it normal for me to be sore the next day from doing this last night?? I think I might be bruising.

Pink Lady Apples

I cannot believe I haven’t done this one before, but I actually don’t think this favorite has been on my list.

I can safely say that I eat an apple every single day. I love them, they are easily transportable, and they accent other things so well. With that said, I have made the rounds in terms of trying all different kinds of apples.

My key components are: crispiness, tartness, and size.

I love me a huge apple, which often times dictates which ones I pick up. Also lucky I live in WA, where the big apples are ample.

Through all my experimentation, Pink Lady apples are the winners in terms of consistency and appeasing all my apple must-haves. The are always hard, tart with a subtle sweetness, and they are generally big.

Galas and honeycrisps suffice when my favorite PLs are absent, but otherwise I will be a Pink Lady lover for life.

Bridesmaids

I know, I know. Old news, everyone has already ranted and quoted on and on about this movie.

Don’t care, it’s on the favorites.

This movie gets funnier every time I watch it, and so far I haven’t gotten sick of quoting or rewatching it. There are SO many funny things that aren’t even that obvious at first, and I credit it to the brilliance of Kristin Wiig and the probable ad-libbing that went on. Megan is obviously the best character, with Annie’s (K. Wiig) female roommate as a close second.

This is not going to be interesting whatsoever, but in case you are as obsessed as me and can identify these nuances, I’ll share some of my favorite lines which frequently make their way into my daily vocabulary. If you’re over this movie, just go ahead and skip ahead:

“Oh that’s prickly.”

“I’m glad he’s single cause I’m gonna climb that like a tree.”

“No it’s not… me.”

“Yea oh shit. Yea oh shit.”

“I’m just gonna snowball off of that and say Fight Club. Female Fight Club.”

“Well only because I’ve never had a drink!”

OK. Done.

National Food Holidays

I love food. I love when everyone else loves food, too. I don’t always participate, admittedly, but I think it’s a hoot when everyone’s all of a sudden buying grilled cheeses or cupcakes or eating peanut butter by the spoonful—which is super fun, any day of the year.

With that said…

Today is National Doughnut Day.

Celebrate accordingly.

I don’t really need an excuse for most things, but doughnuts are something I rarely have…so why not today, right?

PLAY WITH ME! What are your favorite things? What kind of apples do you like? Favorite Bridesmaids lines? Is my post-ice massage soreness kosher? Are you kosher? Is anyone really kosher? I’m done I’m done.

Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde: Injured Runner Brain Dichotomy

If you were sitting around on Saturday wondering why you all of a sudden you felt void of any stress or unhappiness, it’s because I had taken EVERY NEGATIVE FEELING IN THE WORLD and conglomerated it all into my own personal pity party. Yep, all my Friday positivity decided to completely dissipate come Saturday morning, and it took essentially all day to work myself out of my I-hate-everything-and-everyone funk.

Also, if I really could take away all your sadness, that would be very neat and I’m sorry I have not yet figured out how to steal away bad feelings.

It took until late Saturday night (imbibed with Footloose musical fever, tequila, and sleepovers with friends) til my grumpy self got over herself and I returned to a more stable, level-headed place.

Oh wait no, that’s never happened—stable and calm are not exactly my “strengths,” so let’s just say I returned to a happier, I-actually-don’t-want-to-throw-rocks-at-people state of mind.

Why the freak out, you ask?

Well, there are two things that send me into panic mode: picking the wrong dessert and not being able to undo it, and not being able to run. Since I had a fantastic helping of strawberry shortcake Friday night (read: a bowl of whipped cream sprinkled with bits of cake and some strawberries), I bet you can guess why I was pissed.

I want to run, I cannot run, seemingly everyone in the world is running, and I was/am sad.

I got all down and out on Saturday because all I was hearing about were PRs, registrations, long runs, carb loads, etc. and it all felt very far away. Truthfully, I’ve been out of the running game for just over two weeks, but in a runner’s brain that is approximately equivalent to forever. Every day without running counts for about three weeks of real time, and it feels like the further away I get from it, the less accessible it seems.

There is a big, gaping, holy-hell don’t fall in that hole difference between what I know and what I think. My knowing self is rational, practical, and reasonable. She’s the part of me that graduated from college, that listens to my mom, and that decides, “Okay, you probably don’t need dessert number 3 of the night.”

Then there’s my thinking self. The self that spirals herself into a state of senseless panic over absolutely irrational thoughts. She is the over-reactor, the freak-out mode professional, and the reason behind a lot of my less-than-finer moments. Sorry BF for reminding you about all those.

Okay, my “thinking,” of-the-moment self isn’t always such a whiny little bitch, and there are certainly redeeming parts to her, however she tends to get in trouble when her spasms overrule her knowing counterpart.

Case in point: I know I will be fine. I know this isn’t *too* serious. I know I ran a marathon faster than my training and no-shit-sherlock I’m probably still feeling those effects. I know that I can maintain my fitness without running. I know that I will race again before long. I know that Chipotle is the best food ever.

Commence Saturday’s “thinking” routine: I think I won’t run all summer. I think everyone else is going to have fun and run fast and improve while I disintegrate into a running-less glob of rage. I think I’m going to have to start  over from scratch when I can run again. I think I will never stop being injured. I think everyone loves their life while I have to be sad all the time.

STOP ME NOW. And eventually I did. Shut the eff up Robyn…that’s what my knowing self eventually came and said, while she fed me lemonadey cocktails and hit me over the head with my running shoe.

Fact: No I can’t run right now.

Fact: I will run again.

Fact: Things could be a lot worse, and I need to eat my own words.

Seriously, one of the things I like about blogging is that it keeps us accountable. Despite the fact that I kind of hate the power of the internet, it is pretty impactful to go to your own website and see the words that you’ve so ardently preached. It’s a really good kind of humbling, and it keeps my in check with my rational self when my crazy lady takes over.

So I can’t run for now. I still have all my limbs, a roof over my head, a very wonderful male friend who lives with me, and a lot of other good things going on. Yes I’m sad I can’t take off on a long run, or even a mile-long run, without fear of IT pain. But hopefully maintaining a more sensible outlook and a relative perspective will keep the storm calm.

I apologize for revealing the whiny pity-party that I went through on Saturday. Afterward I felt silly and I actually a little embarrassed. However, I think it’s an important message for runners to remember, as I am always and endlessly reminding myself of it:

Running is important. It’s part of who we are, and we love when we get to do it. However even when we aren’t doing it—we’re still runners. Being injured is a part of being a runner, the two go hand-in-hand. I know I still think of running friends and bloggers that are injured as runners, and there’s no reason I should count myself out of the game due to a temporary decrease in mileage.

The hardest part is keeping this lesson in the front of our minds. Even as I was typing all that out, I could hear the small voice in my brain aching to be out running, and crying over the fact that I was not.

Those voices don’t need to be shut out, in fact they should be listened to, but they shouldn’t overwhelm us. All the sad non-running thoughts exist because it’s something that we love—and, frankly, because you always want what you can’t have.

But you know what? Bodies heal. And the best part about running? It’s going to be right there waiting whenever that healing is complete. Races are always going to be happening, training is always going to be readily available, and all the running routes in the world aren’t all of a sudden going to get up and skip away before you get a chance to trot them again.

So what am I trying to say here? Well, honestly, most of this writing was for myself. I hadn’t really planned on this post going in this direction, which I think is a sign that I needed to do some therapeutic reflection. And I do feel better. I’m still confident that the longevity of this lingering pain is getting shorter and shorter, and in the mean time I’ll be planning my future race endeavors (info on that soon!) and staying off my Twitter feed on weekend mornings.

In fact, I think I should do that no matter what my current state of physical health may be. The internet is great, hello stress-relieving-blog-posting and meeting sweet people , but there’s also a black hole effect to it. Stepping back, living real life, and letting all the ramblings of the world sit for a while is always a healthy practice.

And just so you know, I actually do love hearing about everyone’s PRs and goals and such. I was just a negative nancy for a while in there, and please don’t be afraid to tell me about your running-filled fun.

Thanks for reading about my two-faced mindset on being injured. I know I’m not alone in this type of back-and-forth ness between being okay with not running and hating every single person with fully functioning legs. It’s the nature of the running bug beast—that little devil.

Now tell me, if you feel so inspired, what was the best thing you gained from a time when you could not run? Dare I say—how did being injured make you thankful?

Habits I’m Never Going to Stop, and I’m Okay With It

It feels like we are constantly bombarded with messages of self help. Everywhere I look recently, I see a new way to improve upon the way I live my life—how to work out better, how to eat better, how to cook better, how to be more sustainable, how to be more organized, how to save the whales, on and on and on. This stuff overwhelms me, and while I like to think I take it all with a grain of salt, every so often it gets in my head a little.

I start questioning my daily practices, and when I try to compare my lifestyle with all the mantras of “the right way to do such-and-such,” I get intimidated. Because frankly, it feels like I’m doing just about everything wrong.

Sure, I know that these are mostly just marketing schemes, and I can dismiss a great deal of them, however I’ve been realizing lately that there are certain “you should do”s that are constantly lingering in the back of my head. And once these ideas of “changes I should be making but haven’t yet” get planted in my brain, I have a really hard time letting myself off the hook.

I beat myself up over the fact that I “know” I should make a certain change, but never do. Some of these things are small, some are bigger; some are personal habits, and some are driven by the All Powerful Voice of Society. And the fact of the matter is—some of these are changes that actually should be made, I will fully admit that. That’s not what this post is about though.

No. This post is about accepting the fact that there are habits I will never change, and I’m going to forgive myself for it.

The thing is, a lot of the things I shame myself for are completely harmless and distinguishable only to me. They aren’t necessarily right or wrong, they are just small habits that I’ve decided to spend way too much energy stressing over. And why?

I’ve decided to let myself off the hook and focus my attention on more important matters—like the changes I can make that would actually make an impact. I’m finding it incredibly self-centered to spend so much time trying to tweak the way I live my life so it fits in this perfect little mold that our culture deems “worthy,” when in fact that mold is going to change again next week when there’s another way to organize our desks or eat our cereal or lift weights.

I’m thinking that maybe if I break up with these nagging notions of bettering myself, I’ll be able to exit the confines of my head a bit and focus on more important matters.

So, with that said, I give you Habits I’m Never Going to Stop, and I’m Okay With It.

Consuming Dairy

Oh ice cream, I will never forsake you. Don't worry, this relationship is fo life.

I have heard every single argument about why humans shouldn’t eat dairy, and to be honest I agree with some of them. And way back when during injury days, when I needed something to focus on besides being depressed about not running, I did a 3-week cleanse where I gave up a whole lot of stuff—dairy included. Truthfully, I felt great. But is this for life? No.

I don’t have very much dairy—I drink soy milk in my coffee and use almond milk in my cereal—but the fact of the matter is I love yogurt, ice cream, and cheese, and I’m not going to give them up.

I am always hard on myself with this one, especially since there have been points in time when I’m surrounded by “OMG why would you poison your body with…cheese?!?!” people. No offense vegan friends, but I consider myself a healthy enough eater to keep dairy on my plate. So I will enjoy my fro-yo and my grilled cheese sandwiches, and I will not feel any guilt about it.

Eating dinner in front of the TV

Alex, you're kind of an asshole, and you definitely fake bake, but I love the way you narrate trivia to me nightly.

I know every single study and their mom screams at everyone that “You eat 500% more when you eat in front of the TV.” Blah, blah, blah…I understand. However, the time I spend having dinner and watching Jeopardy with BF is one of my favorite parts of the day—and considering we don’t have a family of people to catch up with and together spend plenty of time conversing during other parts of the day, this one is gonna slide.

Sure, this might come to a stop someday, but for now I will shout out answers to Alex Trebek’s questions with a mouth full of food.

Not wearing real clothes every day

Best friends who prefer shorts and fleeces together, stay together.

My definition of real clothes means something outside of yoga pants, half-zips, and running shoes. This is, as you can probably tell, the combination of attire I put together quite frequently, and I always get so down-and-out about it. But hey—guess what—I work from home, and this is probably the last point in time in my life that I will be able to work in whatever I feel like. I need to give this one up and accept that Starbucks doesn’t care if I’m not completely put together every day of the week.

Taking samples out of the bulk bins at grocery stores.

Andddd there goes my self-control... and my law abiding actions.

You can judge me for this one, it’s okay. Except that we’ve all done it, and yes—as a 23-year-old adult I still do it. And I’m not going to stop. There’s something so fun about a mini snack while grocery shopping.

And on that note…

Choosing grocery stores because I know there will be samples

Strawberry shortcake sample. Tell me how this could not make your day?

As I’ve mentioned probably many times before, I love samples, and I fully believe that all grocery stores would benefit from providing a few samples throughout the day. With that said, I always think I’m a mooch/fat kid for going to grocery stores because I know there will be a sample available. However, after discussing this with a few people, I’m learning I’m not the only one who does this—and in fact,everyoneloves samples.

The sample-motivated grocery shopping stays.

Shopping at BP in Nordstrom

For those of you who don’t know, BP is the junior’s section of Nordy’s, and I feel embarrassed every time I go in there. I’m at that weird age where the junior’s clothes can look too young, the women’s clothes can look too old, and I’m armed with a credit card that is really only looking for things on sale.

Now, I will fully admit that my wardrobe can grow up a bit. However, I believe that I can still spend my shopping hours in the BP department, so long as I make non-high-school clothing decisions. I can afford BP, and I like to think I can make it look older than the girls who shop their with their mommies.

So until I can hire a personal shopper, I’ll stick with what I know—and oh, do I know BP.

– Not buying expensive jeans or shoes

See? I can even ride a bike in my non-designer-yet-still-acceptable jeans!

I’ve heard it over and over and over again. “Expensive jeans will change your life,” and “You’re ruining your feet with cheap shoes.” I know, I know…and I actually think I’m in the minority for not owning any Sevens or Pages or whatever those $200 denim wizards call them. I’m not buying jeans from Forever 21, but I don’t think I need to shell out a ton of money for a decent pair of pants. I’ve had the same two pairs of jeans for almost two years now, they are in great shape, and they were each under $100.

As for shoes, this does not apply to running shoes. Give me a comfy and dependable pair of sneaks and I’ll hand you all the money in my wallet. But as for heels, flats, boots, etc…no, sorry, I just can’t do it. I’m not a total cheapskake with shoes, but I cannot justify spending the amount of money some people do for shoes. I’ve tried—and all that happens is I think of all the races I could register for, the cookies I can buy, and the money I could put toward all my loans, and I just can’t do it.

And it’s okay. I’m forgiving myself for not shelling out for “the good stuff,” no matter what all you fashionistas say about it.

Reading celebrity gossip magazines

Oh Britney, you've come so far. I will always "Help" you, never fear.

As an English major and lover of books, I always scoff at myself for reading and (gasp!) buying gossip magazines. I always think, “You should be reading a book, listening to a news podcast, writing in your journal” instead. This is chronic; whether I’m reading an US Weekly on a plane, or flipping through an In Touch at the gym, I am so incredibly self-aware and embarrassed.

But guess what? I love these magazines, no matter how shameful I feel. And when I go to the airport, I look forward to a trip into Hudson News and selecting the most enticing publication featuring rich content such as Kim Kardashian’s Workout Secrets, The Truth Behind Justin’s Proposal to Jessica, and The Oscar’s Best Dressed. I love that shit, and I’m not going to stop.

I love nonfiction, fiction, biographies, plays, and the gossip of Hollywood’s rich and famous. It’s who I am, and I’m going to hold my head high.
_______________

After beginning to compile this list, I was frightened at just how many things there are in my life that I stress over. I’m realizing more and more just how much our marketing culture capitalizes on the fact that humans are so frickin’ self-serving, and as soon as we hear a message directed toward “us” we immediately become consumed with egotistical thoughts.

I know it’s human nature, and we’re all 100% guilty of it, but I think if we start to question the “what to do” and “what not to dos” a bit more, and forgive ourselves for the small nuances that don’t really alter our character, we can focus our energy more outward.

It’s a lot easier to appreciate the people, places, and general joie de vie around us when we’re less stressed about the things we so often get hung up on. Forgive yourself for the habits you have that you obsess over. Chances are, they add to the things that make you you.

 

What is a habit you aren’t going to change and be okay with? What are you going to forgive yourself for?

 

Friday Favorites: Comfortable Pace and Being Kind

We made it to Friday. Did this week seem especially long to anyone else? I’ve been thinking it’s Friday since about Tuesday night, and I’ve been pining for the weekend ever since.

Sweet, it’s nearly here.

This weekend has some serious running endeavors planned out, and I’m a little afraid. Mainly because Sunday is supposed to be a—GAH—20 mile run.

Damnit. I said it, therefore I’m accountable.

I’m planning on approaching it with this mindset: I’ve done it before, it’s only two miles more than I ran two weeks ago, and there will be many cookies on either end of it.

Also, I have this new strategy in tackling long runs—or any run, for that matter—and it’s new to me. It’s called: Running at a Comfortable Pace.

Groundbreaking, right?! I have this really horrible fixation on running at or below MP(Marathon Pace) on, oh, every run I do. It’s not an extremely difficult pace, but it’s not exactly comfortable either. This habit is so silly. Runs do not always need to be as fast as you ideally would want, and in fact it’s good for you to do some slow and steady miles in addition to quicker runs.

Blah, blah, blah…I know this, and I need to get better. Unfortunately, I am a distance runner who still has the brain of her former sprinter self. However, yesterday morning I was incredibly intent on running at a comfortable pace. I knew not checking my watch and panicking if I wasn’t around 8:00 minute miles would be hard, but I really wanted to just “feel it” instead of push it. Highly successful run; I finished 12 miles in 1:41:30, and although it’s not MP, it’s not bad for being a very comfortable run.

Let’s get to some favorites though, and I’ll leave 20 sweaty miles for Sunday AM.

– $5 round-trip airfare

HOLLA

Thanks to lucky timing and to my Alaska Airlines credit card, I ended up paying out-of-pocket FIVE DOLLARS for my spring vacation to my home turf of Los Angeles, CA. Okay, yea sure, that also means that I won’t have another free flight until I purchase thousands of dollars worth of things on my card—but the novelty of a $5 flight is still awesome.

That being said, I am PUMPED for this trip. I love to travel, whether it’s to a place I’ve never been or to a place I’ve been dozens of times. I’ll be meeting up with my family for a week of desert camping (better than it sounds) and perusing through Lotus Land looking for Seth and Sandy Cohen.

– My Timex watch

This was a 10 miler I clocked recently. NBD

You can keep your fancy Garmins and heart rate monitors. My little blue Ironman Timex and I are just peachy-keen happy with one another. I got this guy(or maybe it’s a girl, I actually never thought about it) a little over three years ago, and s/he’s been kicking ever since.

Don’t tell my baby blue, but I have toyed with the idea of getting a real Garmin watch. I know it all—keeping logs of my heart rate, my splits, my mileage, etc. would be an ideal addition to training. I know someday (don’t tell lil blue!) I’ll get one, however for right now I like not knowing my miles and calories burned on a moment’s notice. There’s something fun about doing the math after a run to figure out my pace and rate, and even when I do get all fancy and digital I plan on keeping my trusty Timex sidekick around. She(I decided female feels right) and I have been through a lot together in my life as a runner, and I could never, actually, let her go.

– Holiday Appropriate M and M’s

If you ask me to make dessert, I WILL make too much and I WILL bring options

Correction: Accessorizing Desserts with Holiday Appropriate M and M’s

BF and I decided that for V-day, we would make dinner together and he would provide the libations and I would provide the dessert. Obviously I was torn with this task; not because it was too daunting or I didn’t have time, but because the possibilities were too endless. In the end, I couldn’t decide and ended up just supplying us with two options. This was a very good idea, despite the fact that I think I’m still sweating brownie batter.

And yes, the plate above was originally intended for the two of us.

And no, we did not finish all of it. I do have some self control people—and plus, the best part of making yummy things is having BF bring them to his office and therefore winning girlfriend points.

– My Car

{This isn't actually my real car, but it's pretty darn spot on}

So I didn’t actually own a car myself until I graduated college, therefore buying this car was not only a milestone in becoming an adult, it was a milestone in gaining automotive liberty!

I absolutely love this little Toytoa Corolla, named Glinda, and she’s been a trooper ever since I got her—off Craigslist, I’ll have you know. Sure, she’s had some interesting moods at times, as in she doesn’t feel like starting, or she doesn’t feel like shutting down the engine when the key is out of the ignition…THIS HAPPENED.

BUT this little girl has been quite reliable, and I still perk up whenever I see her ready to take me all the places I need to go.

– Random Acts of Kindness

This photo is completed unrelated. But it works for some reason, doesn't it? Also, you're welcome.

Listen up: Today is National Random Act of Kindness Day!

I will fully admit that I think this recent onset of “National” holidays is a bit fishy, but as someone who both loves holidays and communal kindness, I’ll pay attention to this one.

Something I wholeheartedly believe in is the concept of Paying it Forward. We live in a world where approximately 99% of our energy is focused on Number One. We are self-serving creatures by nature, and in a lot of ways we cannot help it—it’s how we’re hardwired in order for survival. However, since I’m pretty sure that the majority of Americans aren’t currently being run down by lions and are within 50 miles of some source of food, I think we can take at least a day to do something for someone else.

{And if you are currently being hunted by safari animals or you’re in a desolate region without food or water, WTF are you doing reading this blog? Also, I know you have either a smart phone or a laptop, therefore I don’t really feel bad for you.}

Moving on, I dare you to try reaching outside of yourself to do one nice thing for someone else. It takes such little effort, but it can make—in my opinion—all the difference in the world. It’s as simple as giving the change in your pocket to the homeless man you pretend to ignore every day, complimenting a stranger on their bag (this should be genuine—btw), or paying for a stranger’s coffee. I am convinced that acts of kindness have a chain reaction, and they are a perfect example of small efforts making a big difference. Paying it Forward is one of the most accessible and simplest ways in which we can make a change in our world. And frankly, with all the hostility, anger, and self-absorption that clouds our outlook on society—we could all use a little more kindness. I truly believe this, and I think you’ll find that doing something nice for someone else will bring a spring to your step as well.

Kindness doesn’t need to be altruistic. But we do need more of it.

 

5 more faves in the bag! I hope you are getting psyched for your weekend ahead, and if you’re willing to share…

What Random Act of Kindness have you received before? What are your Friday Favorites?

Sweating the Sweet Stuff

On Saturday morning during spin class, as I was sweating like an obese man dressed in sweats walking through Death Valley, I was thinking about the difference between vacation time and our normal routines—namely, the difference in our fitness/food habits. Obviously when we’re on vacation (specifically around the holidays), it’s natural for us to want to relax and ease into a more indulgent routine. And rightfully so, as vacation is a time for relaxing and partaking in things we wouldn’t do on a regular basis (i.e. sleeping in, having a drink or 4, and actively seeking out 3 different desserts in one night).

Yes, this was me at Christmas.

And it’s fine…because we’re on vacation, and no vacation lasts forever.

However, personally I get a bit stressed out thinking about the lack of discipline that comes with vacations. I know it seems a bit counter-intuitive to the whole idea of a vacation, but because I’m normally very active and eat healthfully, the thought of derailing from that routine worries me. Once I’m on vacation and can loosen up a bit, I’m normally thankful for the break, but I always wish that the thought of taking time off from my regimented schedule wouldn’t be so frightening.

To help describe my point a bit more clearly, this was my brain during spin yesterday:

“This is seriously hard…I’m glad I can still keep up after being gone for so long.”

“Wait, didn’t you have a heart attack that taking time off would ruin every ounce of fitness you have?”

“And weren’t you stressed that all the wonderful holiday goodies you would consume would all of a sudden balloon you up to the point that none of your clothes would fit?”

“Yea, yea…irrational.”

“Of course it was irrational! You spend 98% of the time trying your hardest to stay in shape, why the hell should a week of fun undo any of that?”

“Ew gross, I think your earlobes are dripping”

Okay, that was a bit unstructured, but here’s my point: If you try your best to stay marginally in shape and healthy, then there’s no reason to worry over the occasional extra  drinks and desserts. I am constantly back-and-forth in my own brain with this battle, and I think a lot of people (mainly girls) are susceptible to this exact same mind game. We get down on ourselves before we even indulge for fear that we’ve lost all sense of discipline and are somehow weaker because we’ve “given in.”

Here’s the reality: Life is too short to beat ourselves up over these insignificant things. Our society—namely women’s magazines, commercials, realty shows, etc.—perpetually bombards us with the messages of: “Lose that Last 5!” “Think Skinny!” and “How to Resist Temptation,” all of which might as well say, “You Better Say No to Everything Containing Carbs, Sugar, and Fat if You Ever Want to Feel Pretty!”

To be blunt, I think this is bullshit, and I’m so afraid that this is the understanding of health and beauty that women today are being fed.

Hey Women's Health, Self, Fitness Mag, etc...screw you and your vodka-and-soda water only preaching.

I completely understand that this country is facing a severe obesity epidemic, and I completely agree that the U.S.’s understanding of healthy portions and food is seriously distorted. In no way am I undermining the efforts to make our country healthier, but I believe there is a huge difference between promoting balance and promoting deprivation.

Balance is the single most important thing in regards to being happy and healthy, in my opinion. We are human, therefore symmetry is key; too much laziness and not enough exercise will eventually deplete our bodies and spirits—and the exact opposite is also true.

The same thing goes for food—when we concentrate solely on being so healthy that every single thing we put in our mouths is predetermined and allows no room for spontaneity, we lose the joy of treating ourselves and we become a hollow, uptight, and (sorry) boring person who only cares about carrots and calories.

I say these things from a very experienced-based standpoint, as I have been all of these people: I have been so concentrated on exercising that my body gave up on me. I have been so focused on only consuming wholesome things that I couldn’t enjoy ice cream or drinks or Chipotle outings with friends. I have been such a dessert addict that I’d go to bed with a marginal stomach ache every night because I could never just resist the temptation.

These are all versions of myself that at one time or another have overtaken my sense of balance. Each of them tends to creep up every so often, however I have come to a place where I know myself well enough to know that investing all my energy into being the perfect athlete or the perfect eater only sucks away all other passions in my life.

I consider this a couple's shot. Sorry BF, Chipotle and I have a special bond.

That brings me to the title of this post: Sweating the Sweet Stuff. And I am going highlight why it is important that we don’t sweat the sweet stuff while we do sweat the sweet stuff.

“Say, wha?” You say…

Well, the term “sweat” here is a homonym.

Don’t Sweat the Sweet Stuff…

Guess what? You live in an age where cookies, beer, chips & guac, etc. are going to pop up—and that’s because these things go hand-in-hand with celebrations and a festive atmosphere. With that said, it is okay to eat these things. Instead of spending the before, during, and after of a party hating yourself for considering, indulging, and then regretting the choices to eat these things—how about trying to push aside the berating qualms of society for just one night, and enjoy yourself. I am willing to bet that not only will you have a much more enjoyable time, but you will also find you are more likely to quit while you’re ahead. Deprivation activates an animalistic/binge mentality: If you chronically deprive yourself from certain foods, they then become so coveted and idealistic that they hold a certain power over you.

I am, again, speaking from experience…when I get too absorbed in staying 100% healthy, the thought of every possible bad-for-me food starts to take over my brain: Note: dreaming about donuts.

And this is ridiculous. Food should never, ever be a primary focus for your life.

Fact of the matter: Humans need to eat, point blank. It’s not something you can shy away from if you want to survive, and because it’s necessary—why should you let all your energy be consumed by it? Would you spend all your time focusing on when you need to blink or breath? No…and that’s because it’s something you can’t get around.

You can, however, focus your energy on how to achieve balance. You cannot survive without fruits and vegetables, and your body will revolt without them, but you will also go crazy if you are the person at every party who says “No” to everything offered, sips lemon water, and watches everyone else eat chocolate and drink wine without you. Also, you might notice your invitations to such events starts to decline…

Please note: I am in no way advocating a free pass for consistently binging without rhyme or reason. Remember, this is about balance. Wholesome foods are essential to our well-being, and above all else I believe that everyone should be educated on what we need to eat to stay healthy.

I am simply trying to speak against the notion that we should feel guilty about every time we “slip” from our healthy regimes. If you spend 80% of the time focusing on eating well, then I personally give you permission to indulge the other 20% of the time. The healthiest, happiest people I have ever known are the people that say yes to both apples and apple pie, running and rest days, spinach and Sirah, I think you get…

Do Sweat the Sweet Stuff

One of the best parts about staying active is the allowance of treats it provides. No, an extra mile every day doesn’t equal an extra cookie, but….kinda. Excess exercise equates additional calorie burn, therefore necessitating excess calorie consumption. Ideally, this will come in the form of additional nutrient dense foods. However, as athletes, we have the advantage of needed extra food. This is two-fold; while training, we need more food, and because we are inevitably going to sweat everything out, there is less pressure on us when we do have chocolate for dinner.

"I am running, but I am thinking about bagels."

With this said, finding a balance in terms of health is much more attainable when you incorporate exercise. You will have more energy, and your body will help you know exactly what it needs to stay happy. One of the reasons that I love training is because I become very in tune with what my body needs in terms of nutrients. Frequent activity not only boosts physical health in every way possible, but it will also help in tweaking your guilty mindset about “bad foods.”

That said, I would like state that I absolutely despise when people use the words “bad” and “good” when it comes to health and food. For the most part, we all know which foods are better for us than others, and we’ve been taught which foods are supposed to evoke a feeling of guilt within us. When we declare that we have been “bad” or “good,” we are immediately allowing our propaganda-filled brains to decide our self-worth for us.

Instead, congratulate yourself for making a healthy choice, remember how good your body felt, and establish a way to maintain a regular routine of it. Similarly, if you happen to have had one-too-many licks of cookie dough, forgive yourself, know that they were delicious, and recognize that they will not make you immediately gain 5 pounds. And if you really feel that bad about it, go for a half-hour run. I can almost guarantee that your guilt will evaporate—not because you know you burned it all off, but because running evaporates all negative thoughts and makes you feel awesome.

Another couple's shot. Cookie dough and I are a match made in heaven.

Admittedly, I am far from mastering the mentality of being in a completely happy balance. It is a daily battle for me, and there are times when I feel completely consumed by the negative thoughts that I have admonished in this post. And that’s because I’m human—and I simply can’t help it sometimes.

But I’m trying. And because I have been through so many different phases of figuring out the whole “healthy” thing, I believe I have established a basic methodology of how to be my happiest. I do not always obey my own beliefs, and I have to be very conscientious about not slipping into the grips of societal gimmicks, but these are the truths that I believe to wholly encompass the secrets of happiness.

So don’t sweat the sweet stuff, and I think you’ll realize that once you rid yourself of the guilt of eating the occasional treat, you will regain control over your confidence and ultimately strike a happy balance.

 

 

Friday Faves and Explaining my Hypocrisy

Happy Friday to you!

I’m definitely excited to reach the end of the week, however I’m also horrified that come tomorrow Christmas Eve is ONE WEEK away. I’ll be flying with BF to Colorado at 7 am on Christmas Eve morning, where we’ll spend the next 10 or so days hanging in our hometown. I’m really excited, it just seemed to creep up so quickly!

Alright, so obviously Friday Favorites will be presented shortly, however I need to take a brief minute to explain a bit about the conflicting posts that I had this week. On Tuesday I wrote all about being a morning runner; as you might remember I went on and on about the advantages of doing your workout in the morning, and from my high and mighty thrown I advocated how everyone should push their inclination to hit the snooze button aside and strap on some running shoes.

Something like that, right?

So then yesterday[during a particularly foul mood, could you tell?]I admitted that earlier that day I had neglected my plan for a usual Thursday morning run and went back to sleep instead. Directing contradicting my message about being all go-getter-ish.

Nice Robyn, negate your OWN advice on your own blog. Talk the talk and then immediately not walk[run] the walk?

However, that’s not exactly what happened, and let me explain—because I think explaining this conflict of principles will offer some insight into my own development as a runner.

I’ve advocated on this blog the importance of rest, both for runners and for regular exercisers in general. Rest offers muscle recovery, mental reprieve, and an overall rejuvenation of our motivation. However, I admittedly have a difficult time following this advice, and it finally caught up with me yesterday morning when I ignored my alarm.

Although I’ve become much better at making sure I don’t overdo it in terms of running, I still enjoy doing something active nearly every day. Because I include a lot of variety, I often don’t realize that I haven’t taken a day off in a while. What happens, then, is because I don’t really recognize the fact that I’m burning out, I start to get grumpy about my workouts and less inclined to enjoy them. Yesterday morning, it finally hit me that the easier choice (sleeping in) was actually the better choice for me. And in lots of ways, it actually wasn’t the easier choice. This might sound somewhat elitist or snarky, however it’s actually more difficult for me to choose to take a break than it is to get to the gym or get out for a run.

Frankly, I love the way I feel both physically and mentally when I exercise—and so I see nothing wrong with trying to feel that way all the time. I treat my workouts, both before, during, and after, as an athlete would, meaning I know my limits, I’m fueling and refueling properly, and I’m staying safe. However, part of being a smart athlete is knowing when your body is saying, “Time out here tiger.”

So, in a nutshell, that’s why I completely contradicted my morning running post yesterday. I know I have the capacity the get myself up and run, but reminding myself that I also have the smarts and the control to know when I need a break is equally as important to both this sport and my own mental health.

I was very grateful for the day off yesterday, and today I felt rested and ready to gear up once again.

Running in the morning is great, but so is knowing when rest is more important than a daily workout.

Enough heavy stuff…let’s get to Friday Faves!!

I want to give a quick shout out to my coworker Leanne, who has started doing Friday Favorites on her blog as well. It’s spreading!

Also, this week on Glee, they sang “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music, and yes my head was exploding from the overload of my own favorite things all coexisting in one united spectacle. It was awesome.

1) Foam Rollers

"I will hurt you so good."

If you are familiar with this innocent looking tube of foam, you know one thing: This shit HURTS. Seriously, I have to hide my face whenever I use these at my gym, or else people will be all, “Why does that girl look like she’s constipated and about to cry at the same time?”

Not a pretty visual, huh? Yea, it’s not.

So why, you may ask, is this little devil on my favorite list? Well, despite how excruciating it may be, foam rollers actually do wonders for runners. If you can endure it, rolling out your legs after a run does an incredible job of loosening the muscles that get super tight when you’re running. Namely, your IT bands, pirifomis muscles, hamstrings, and hips in general. I find that if I spend just 5 minutes rolling my legs on one of these after a long run, I recover much quicker and I can prevent injuries from developing.

If you’re a distance runner and don’t already use one of these, get on it. The prevention in and of itself will be worth it.

2) Fro-Yo

Art.

Let it be known: I. Love. Fro-Yo.

Specifically, the newest fad of pay-by-weight fro-yo joints where there are several flavors available and endless amounts of toppings to choose from. The best part is that you get to make your OWN, therefore the opportunities for combinations (and quantity) are endless.

Last night, BF was in the mood for sweets(99% of the time it’s the other way around), and so when he mentioned fro-yo, I said, “I actually I love you a little more right now.”

No, I didn’t say that—but I might have thought it.

3) Nicki Minaj

I know she’s uber popular and overplayed right now, but I really cannot get enough of this chick.

I think she’s mega talented and unique, and her songs have me constantly dancing in my seat. In public. Just try her out if you haven’t yet, and not just Super Bass or Fly—but some of her lesser known stuff.

And yes, Mom, I know it’s explicit content.

4) Yoga

You know, just me on the beach, getting my "Tree" on. Damn paparazzi.

Yoga is a new found love of mine, and although it took me a while to actually learn to love it, I simply cannot get enough of it.

[When people say, “It took me a while to learn to love/like something,” it actually means, “I really effing hated/resented it for a long time.”]

There are so many reasons why I love yoga, both mentally and physcially, however I feel that the biggest reason is the sense of presence I get from it. Yoga forces us, whether consciously or not, to focus our attention on the present moment. I think it has a large part to do with the breathing, combined with the need to focus on each isolated movement.

No matter how stressed or distracted I may be, I never leaving a yoga class without feeling at least a little bit better and calmer. Yoga offers me an hour of stillness, which I think so many of us shy away from in our fast-pace world. We never long for the opportunity to be present because so few parts of our day allow us to really experience it. However, I truly believe that if we can connect with the present—independent of whatever else is going on in our busy lives—if even just once a day, we will can reacquaint ourselves with the beautiful things in life we so often take for granted.

Also…

yoga + running legs = ohhhh yaaaa

If you’re a runner, yoga feels fan-flipping-tastic, and it relieves our muscles of the impact they take on during running.

5) Peppermint Bark

For best results (and sustainability) store in freezer!

I always see peppermint bark around grocery stores during the holidays, and instead of shelling out to buy a small bag of it, I decided to make my own instead. I still shelled out a bit, but after making two batches of this seasonal treat—it was worth it.

This stuff has now become my drug of choice for December 2011. Not that I change metaphorical drugs every month, but you get the point.

It’s delicious, it’s pretty, and it makes a great present! I got the recipe from this post on the blog Peanut Butter Fingers, another recent addiction of mine.

There you have it, 5 more Friday Favorites! I hope everyone has a great weekend. BF and I will be racing on Sunday, so I’ll write a recap to post for Monday!

Now…tell me a few of your favorite things!