Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dinner in 10 min flat!

Thanks to this handy little Food Network video and Giada, I was off and running with my first ever veggie/salmon frittata in ten minutes flat! Do you hear that? Dinner in TEN minutes. I know.

Step 1: Whip up six eggs w/ a little milk, salt and peppa
Step 2: Dice veggies
Step 3: Heat pan, add butter and olive oil
Step 4: Add veggies (i used peppers, spinach and onions)
Step 5: Cook for 2-3 min, add smoked salmon (i had some to use up)
Step 6: Dump in the egg mixture and let cook 1-2 min
Step 7: Add your choice of cheese (I used pepperjack)
Step 8: Put into oven for 5-10 min on broil
Step 9: Try not to burn yourself as you pull out the pan. Yes, I'm guilty as charged.

So there you go, dinner in 10 min flat. What's also great about this dish is that you can really throw whatever you have in your fridge as far as veggies, cheese, etc goes! What's one of your fav. go-to healthy, easy meals to make?

P.S. I'm off taking Thurs and Fri off to help a friend who does event production at the String Cheese Incident concert near Portland. Should be a few tiring days of who knows what! Catch ya on Monday!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Granola, Laguna Hills and Beautiful Berries

Thanks for everyone's great thoughts and comments on the dress situation. Crazy how much we can analyze little things that aren't such a big deal. Apparently, several of you liked that purple dress.

After seeing some recipes recently for homemade granola around the bloggies, I decided to make some of my own. Remember when I made some a few months ago? Plus, I just have been getting the baking itch and this seemed to fulfill that need without being too time consuming.

In the mix we have...almonds, dried apricots, cranberries, coconut, unsweetened applesauce, cinnamon, agave syrup, maple syrup and of course, oats.

After it was cooked and stirred at 400 for 20+ min, it was good to go!

And today's outfit. T shirt: Tar-get, Skirt: Banana Republic Outlet, Shoes: Tar-get

Love the stripes on this skirt with a touch of gold.

Now just look at these babies I picked up at the farmer's market today on the lunch hour! So juicy. Popped most of them in the freezer for future use. But I can't wait to use a few on tomorrow's cereal. Mmm...

Well, it's almost bed time. Manfriend is getting home LATE after a quick work trip down to Laguna Hills, CA for work. Can't wait to see if he reports that it looks anything like the show Laguna Beach. In the mean time, I'm watching Little Couple on TLC. Bill and Jen are the cutest couple. Is anyone else a fan?

No nail biting July update: I admit, there's been failure! I know, I know. I bit two of my nails. Anywho, the rest are still quite long and I scheduled a mani/pedi for next week. Pedicures are absolutely one of my favorite things to have done, right behind a full body massage. And with that, I'm out. Night!

Monday, July 26, 2010

a dressy affair

I thought I'd show you these photos during my recent trip to Ann Taylor LOFT at our local mall on Sunday during a last ditch effort to find something fun for one of the two upcoming weddings (my cousin's and two good college friends).

Let's not talk about the long drive I took Saturday AFTER 16+ miles of running to not find a dress at the outlet mall in 90 degree heat. Let's not talk about there not being a JCrew within an hour's drive of this town I live in. And finally, let's not talk about how many times I've been caught by the manfriend browsing for wedding guest appropriate dresses online.

But we can talk about what I've learned from this whole dress search. About dresses and what works on my body and about shopping in general.

Too much fabric or too long or something.

Just say no to puffy sleeves and fabric tummy pooches.


Good shape, not bad, but a plain black dress.

Comfy, but not the most flattering shape.

My favorite of the bunch. And of course the most expensive. And of course, manfriend didn't really like it.

Because I figure most of you don't want to hear about marathon training in every post, this should help mix things up a bit. Besides running, working, eating and sleeping, dress shopping has become my latest hobby. There isn't time for anything else.

Saturday market, a trip to the local farm, dropping off no longer worn clothes at the second hand store...all things that have been on my list for weeks, but there is no time. I imagine this is what a new mother with a crying, pooping, always nursing baby might experience, but in a more tangible way. A more "I'm giving life to this thing" and less of a "damn, I'd like to make it to the farmer's market some day soon" kinda way.

Anyway, on to the point of all this rambling! In the search for a dress that would you know, look good in photos and not make me look so short and pale, I realized a few things. The dresses I already have could probably work just fine.

Not only that, the time I've spent shopping brought up feelings of guilt. Feelings of "why the hell do I feel like I need to prove myself to anyone in some expensive dress that just might hang in my closet for a few years without being worn?" And "why the hell are these cheap pieces of fabric made in a sweatshop in Taiwan this expensive anyway?!" And "why is it so hard to find a classy looking simple dress?" BAH!

One thing I know for sure is that when you're looking for something specific, it's much harder to find. Often, it's those times when you were just browsing or don't have much extra cash to spare when you find that heart swooning pair of jeans, the perfect wedding appropriate dress, the necklace of your dreams.

Alas, I think I'm wearing a black strapless dress I already own to my cousin's wedding and the other is still up in the air. What item have you spent the most time and energy shopping for? Do you feel guilty for making purchases you know in your heart you don't need but love the excuse to buy? Or do you just throw caution to the wind?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It wasn't pretty

I know I said just the other day that the long run isn't that tough mentally. Well, yesterday was a different story. When your body isn't cooperating as you'd wish, the mental toughness becomes necessity.

When I started off early yesterday at a park along the river path, my legs immediately felt like lead. Sometimes this lasts for an entire run and sometimes it just takes a few miles to get the junk out. But this time, it was there to stay.

Luckily, I had already picked the main part of my route. So, I headed off with my cherry cashew Pure bar, Shot Bloks and Gatorade/water mix. About 4.5 miles in began a few miles of hills and trail, which felt okay. But then I reached mile 10 or so and just felt done. You know, the feeling I should have been getting around mile 15+. Mentally, it was time to buck up and commit to those last several painful miles.

From mile 7 on, I'd say it was one of the ugliest looking and feeling runs I'd ever had. I mean if a camera were following me, you'd be thinking "ugh, that stride, that pace, the posture." And it's exactly how I felt. At mile 10 I decided to head back to the river with a few switch backs here and there to keep my brain interested.

Conveniently (or not), my Garmin decided to lose satellites at mile 13.5 as I was running along under wide open blue skies. I decided to keep on trucking until the running time hit 2h 30 min. The last 15 minutes were no doubt the hardest. I had to have a little talking to myself and just put in the time.

Sure, I could have stopped and been done, but I wanted to put the time in. And as I've said before, I think those mentally tough runs actually help you in the marathon when you hit the wall because you've already dealt with it in your training. Over the last 10 miles I stopped probably 5 times to stretch or walk for a minute and regroup mentally.

After 10 min of walking around barefoot, sucking down more water and stretching a bit, I headed home. First stop, the market to get the essentials. Ice for ice bath, ice cream sandwich that I was craving and chocolate milk. Mmm...

It was my first EVER ice bath and I have to say it wasn't that bad! I did wear a sweatshirt, turned on some tunes and munched on my ice cream sandwich. I definitely think the legs feel better today because of my time in the cool water. Have you ice bathed after a long run or tough workout? I think I might do it from here on out for runs over 10 miles.

Final stats: ~16.75 mi
Time: 2h 30 min
Times walked: 6
Minutes in ice bath: 10

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fun Fact Friday

Hello there and happy Friday to ya!

1. I discovered Trader Joe's "Just Mango Slices" this week and they are to die for. Seriously, run to the nearest TJ's.

2. I've been eating entirely too much peanut butter lately in green monsters, on top of cereal, cracking shelled peanuts in the office. Sooner or later that excess catches up to ya so I'm scaling back as of today.

3. I'm wearing this big poofy skirt and heels today and it makes me feel like spinning circles in the office. Usually, I opt for jeans or something easy on a Friday, but today I kicked it up a notch.

4. This week I've had a serious craving to head out to Thistledown Farms, go pick fresh local blueberries and shop at the Farmer's Market. Fresh fruit has me swooning.

5. As of last night, I've declared SPEED workouts harder than any long run. I mean mentally, for a 15+ miler you prepare, fuel and plug in to run for a freaking LONG TIME. But the speed workout, every minute, nay 10 seconds my mind says "I'm not sure I can make it. This is too hard. I can't do it. Ugh, this sucks! Water!"

6. I'm planning on doing 16-17 miles tomorrow am and then maybe do a little dress shopping. Next weekend, I'm backing down on my LR, but running it at a harder effort overall.

What's your fun fact for Friday? Happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The great outdoors

Whooooa, we're halfway there! It's practically the weekend, dontcha think?

Last Sunday, I wanted to bust out of town and into the great outdoors. I had done my long run on Saturday so I was free to do a little cross training on Sun. We decided to head for Sahalie Falls, a nice place with great views (the falls) and a moderate little hiking trail just 90 min from home.

We were going to leave the dog at home, but her little puppy eyes made it impossible for me to just leave her by her lonesome. Plus, she loves a good adventure. So, in the car she went.

Manfriend tries not to fall in as Jonah Bell takes a dip.

Amazing how much force these falls create. It was so loud!

I loved how blue the water was. It nearly matched my shirt.

Love this race shirt from the Helvetia Half Marathon!

Believe it or not, our little 3 mile hike was tiring! We were ravenous for lunch (and a frosty cold Miller Lite) by 2pm when we finished. But the views were worth it!

I took a video for you guys, but it didn't upload so maybe another day.

This morning on my 20 min run around the neighborhood, a man in his 60s or so said "I wish I could do that!" as I passed. Boy, I sure hope I'm doing this in 35 years. If my joints can't handle it, maybe I'll just be a yoga fiend or spinning my wheels on the bike. One thing I know for sure, I'll still be active!

This round of marathon training has been great so far. I feel like I've reached the perfect mix of cross training and physical therapy to protect the little injuries that have creeped up, while still being able to up the mileage! The bad runner I am, I've still neglected to write up a plan.

Don't fret, I glance at three different plans a few times a week to decide what I'm going to do. Seems to be working so far, but I do want to write out a plan for the remainder of my training. Deadline: this Sunday. How's your training and cross training going? Are you able to meet your goals when you don't have a strict plan written up?

Monday, July 19, 2010

the C word

Cancer. I hate that word. I hate the way it seems more like a WHEN rather than an IF. I hate the way I think "cancer fighting!" when I eat tomatoes, peppers or blueberries. I hate the way it takes over good peoples' lives and destroys them (and their families) cell by cell.

No one in my family has cancer, but a friend's mom was recently diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast. The woman has had annual mammograms and the last one showed no signs of suspicion. Stage 4!

For god sake, please get your mammograms and do your breast self exams, even if they might not catch it. Do what you can to prevent this shiz. Has anyone in your family been affected by cancer? If so, what words of support would you offer to other families going through it?

In other news, how 'bout that Tour de France? I'm in love with it. This morning we even saw a big U. of Oregon green and yellow flag being held by someone in the Pyranees Mts. And then Schleck dropped his chain trying to drop Contador. Ugh. One things for sure, this has been a VERY exciting tour.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tips for a Better Long Run

Today's long run proved to be difficult at times. But then again, what long run isn't difficult, mentally and physically? When I started to have those "maybe I should stop and walk for a minute" thoughts, I pulled out some knowledge that made the miles a little easier. So, I thought I'd share.

1. Think light on your feet. In other words, think about your feet lifting off the ground and less about landing. Naturally, you'll notice yourself coming down more on the mid to fore foot rather than pounding down on your heels. You may also notice each step seems to be a bit faster because you're spending a little less time on the ground.

2. Think TALL. Think of being pulled up from the top of your head with a string. That bad running posture should disappear.

3. Be aware of your arms. It's easy to just Your arms should swing forward to back parallel to each other and swinging right along your sides. And be sure to keep your hands loose (no tight fists). When I'm tired for example, my left arm starts swinging across my body, which doesn't do much good for my intended forward movement.

4. Use incentives to keep positive. I tell myself "Okay, you have 5 more minutes and then you get a sip of water/gatorade!" I take a sip every 15 min generally.

Most of these come straight from the pro's who have trained my SPEED group. After hearing the reminders again and again, it's nice to put them into action and notice a difference. Do you have any tips to share that help you keep your form and positive thinking in tact?

I finished 15.75 miles (thanks to in 2:20. I couldn't find the Garmin before I left the house so I just based my run on time. Turns out, it worked pretty well!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Needing dress recommendations

Okay, here's the deal. I have two weddings to attend in August.

Wedding #1 is in Portland for my cousin's wedding. He and his fiance are 25. The wedding will be outside at the Rhododendron Garden and the reception will be at a rooftop terrace.

Wedding #2 is in Monterey, CA for one of my hippy chic college roommates and another good friend whom I took journalism classes with. The wedding will be outdoors and the reception is at the old whaling station. This one will be a little more fancy than #1 me thinks, yet still laid back.

Anywho, I NEED dress/brand recommendations. I've scoured JCrew, Modcloth, Nordstrom, Shabby Apple and Anthropologie. Any other ideas? And how much are you generally willing to spend for special occasion dresses? Or should I just dig something out of my closet?

End note: While I love love love strapless dresses, when I get to dancing (which usually happens at weddings), I definitely need some straps. I learned the hard way last summer at another college friend's wedding. I was yanking my dress up approx. every 10 seconds while we were on the dance floor, of which was at least an hour.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

the scary stuff

Motivation. Losing it, lost it, can't find it. Ugh.

In marathon training, sure, I manage to dig it up, it's easy. But in other places, I just can't seem to find the inspiration and motivation I need to dig down deep in my soul and really spend some time exploring. I notice that I surround myself with so many things, pack my weekends with activities, stuff my google reader full of contents I'm not utilizing. I just don't know what to do with it all!

What do you do when you've reached a Tipping Point? A point in which you need to evaluate, slow down and make a decision?

Ultimately, I've known all along, especially as a single gal that I was desperately searching for something I hadn't found. THE career! THE man! The city! The passion! Weekends were spent doing errand after errand and the occasional moments of peace I remember are sitting at Starbucks reading or cleaning my room on a sunny Sunday. Evenings consisted of running, the gym, grocery shopping and dinner. And then there were those serene moments of pure joy and peace as I hopped on a plane and flew across the country and the world to a new city for a marathon, a weekend getaway, a fun time with friends.

Well, now there's a man, THE man and he's great. More than I could have ever asked for. But we must not forget that a relationship is not the hidden key. I always told myself that a relationship wouldn't solve my problems and now I know it for real. But what a relationship does provide, is that stability and support when you need it most. I feel stronger today knowing that when I am ready to take a leap into figuring out just what I want in life, there's someone to catch me if I fall (or bandage my bleeding knee and elbow).

But still, it scares me. Scares me shitless. It scares me I won't find THE career. I won't find the time to make an inspiration board, or go back to school, or decorate our house, or whip up creative new foods, or travel to Spain, Ireland, Australia, etc. It scares me I won't live in a new part of the country. It scares me I'll just carry along at it all being safe, scheduling life week to week without any big plan in mind.

A few blogs remind me that this isn't necessary. There are bigger dreams, bigger risks, bigger goals we should set for ourselves. Because we deserve it.

Oh She Glows: Setting long and short term goals and her 10 goals for 2010

Makeunder My Life: Don't trip before the start line and Be the best you are with what you have and writing a letter to yourself setting your intention for the year.

What inspires your motivation? Where do you look when you're lacking it internally?
And maybe, just maybe I should take this whole life thing just a little less seriously. Perhaps I don't need to be the one with all the answers. Now just try to tell that to my little Type A mind.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Second day soreness and the knee

Sunday after my long run and manfriend's long ride and some refueling, we wanted to escape the heat so we headed to the lake, which is just 20 min from our house. It was a fun chance to let the dog cool off and put on my first swim suit of summer! I even hopped in the lake for a bit.

I wanted to show you an update on the wound healing. The elbow doesn't look too bad, but the knee is still taking it's sweet time to heal since I lost a good chunk of skin thanks to the pavement.

It's about half the size it was originally...magically shrinking!

And how about some yoga on the deck?
Please note: this is my new summer outfit a la Tar-get. I bought the shorts, tank and swim suit all there last Fri on my lunch hour. Quite a successful shopping trip if I do say so myself!

Second day Soreness: As I've said before, the second day after a hard workout is always the peak of soreness. Monday I opted to skip the group run and head to boot camp for a good yoga/weights session.

What's making my butt, inner thighs and abs sore are those:
40 jump squats with weights
50 sit ups (old school)
40 low squats
50 sit ups (25 old school/25 bicycle)
40 low squats
50 sit ups (25 old school/25 bicycle)

Whew! It definitely made yesterday's runs a bit harder. I decided to fit in a lunch on the run. I strapped on a small backpack w/ $ and my ID and ran along the river for 2 miles. My first stop was the bank to cash a check. Then I ran a few blocks over to the farmer's market to get some locally grown, organic spinach. And then it was time to run the 2 miles back to the office. In 1 hour, I accomplished: 4mi run, bank stop, farmer's market and my Vitamin D intake for the day! After work, I did another 2.5 miles before heading to manfriend's bike race.

Has anyone else tried Amber's errands on the run? Do you ever fit in daily double runs to get in your assigned mileage? I always feel hardcore when I complete two runs, even if one is fairly short.

Happy humpday! This week seems to be creeping along for me. Can't wait for the weekend!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Saturday in the Sun

There may be no other perfect way to spend a Saturday morning than surrounded by great friends, sunshine and fresh, locally grown produce, baked goods, flowers, coffee, honey, you name it!

We met up for breakfast and perusing the Portland Farmer's Market. I loved that it was so much bigger than my local market. In just a few short hours, I managed to purchase: 1 slice pumpkin bread (for breakfast), 1 iced coffee from Velo Cafe, 1 gingersnap cookie (for munching throughout the day), 1 pint of cherries and 1 jar of mango pepper jelly (to put over cream cheese and dip with wheat thins at some future date). It was definitely a successful day at the market.

There were so many beautiful flowers...

and a variety of produce (I've never even seen a kohlrabi!)

and lots of drip coffee!

Then we headed off to the Portland Rose Gardens for frolicking and photo shoots!

After the rose garden, we were pretty much hangry so it was time for lunch. Frolicking in the sun isn't easy!

Marathon Training Update: Sunday's long run consisted of one sweaty 13.5 mi run. I brought my water bottle (filled halfway with Gatorade) and a gu. The first three miles were painful, then I got into my groove and even ran up and down a big hill (twice) that I was sure I'd have to walk.

I planned an out and back so I wouldn't be able to give up midway through the run. And I even treated myself to a few miles of running through a beautiful old orchard! The final few miles ticked slowly away and my pace was all over the map. But all in all, I completed it and that's what counts. I followed the run by a big chocolate milk, a banana and 25 min of yoga for runners.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Just call me grandma

Friday night I met my friends in Portland for dinner and beer at the New Old Lompoc. I had a portobello mushroom sandwich w/ a side salad that was just so so. I also had a fresh grapefruit drink and a pale ale.

After a while, we moved on to a bar called the Gypsy for their Fish Bowls!

Pomegranate Fish Bowl shared by five of us! It was pretty strong, but tasty and even had sweedish fish candies at the bottom!

Cool hat shop we passed. Made me want to find a reason to wear a hat, ya know?

Three of us headed home around 10 PM while the other three stayed out past midnight for more fun. Let's just say I was exhausted by 10. I would never have made it 'til midnight. By the time we got back to my friend J's house, chatted and hit the lights for bed, it was midnight. My eyes snapped shut in a few seconds flat.

Next up: recap and fun photos of the Portland Farmer's Market! Did anyone make it to the local market this weekend?

I hope you're enjoying you're Sunday evening! Manfriend is grilling some yummy chicken and beef burgers and I have a salad (with lettuce from our garden) and a watermelon all ready to go. Oh, and Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde Ale is officially my summer beer of choice. Last summer it was Bud Light Lime. Do you have a summer drink of choice?