A BLOG ABOUT A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Don't Skip It! (Your Workout)

I know I've written before about when and why I've skipped workouts; sometimes I am totally fine with my decision to take a rest day, but usually the best solution is to stick to my workout plan. Today, I did not feel like working out, but I knew that I should go anyway. How have I learned to tell the difference? Here are my reasons for NOT skipping it.

Don't skip it if...

You've already paid for the class...
Workout classes are a MAJOR, and I mean major, motivation for me. One primary reason for this is that I will NOT skip something I have paid for unless one of these things happens: I have an illness that includes a fever or is bad enough to require a doctor visit, I feel driving conditions are dangerous, or I have an obligation at work that I cannot get out of. I've been doing my yoga classes for 3 years now, and I can think of maybe one class I have skipped for each of these reasons in that time. Other than that, I'm there. Picture yourself flushing the cost of the class down the literal toilet. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but when I see those dollars being flushed away in my mind, my butt is in class!

You can't make it up, REASONABLY, later in the week... 
At the beginning of the week, I like to map out my workout plans in my life planner.  If I end up wanting to skip a workout, I think about whether or not I could fit in that workout somewhere else. Obviously, the workout has to be able to fit reasonably. If your make up workout would involve doing two workouts in one day or going to an 8:30AM Saturday class when you know you aren't likely to wake up for it, then do not skip your original workout.

Your heart is at least 30% in it...
I know this is impossible to measure, but when I skip workouts, I'm about 10% into it (and 90% not). If I can be at least 30% committed to the idea of working out, it is enough to get me out the door and to the gym, and 9 times out of 10 that will turn into a great workout.

You're hungry...
I can think of times I have literally taken a "peanut butter lollipop" (Take a spoon, dip it in peanut butter, eat it) in the car on the way to the gym. Sometimes you are feeling a lack of motivation because you really need some extra calories for energy.

You're tired...
Exception: I literally got less than four hours of sleep last night. Otherwise, I would go. It usually makes me feel MORE energized to workout.

You're overwhelmed with work/what you have to do around the house...
Those things can move down on the priority list for one hour while you take care of your health. Often, working out gives me the energy I need to grade a few papers and clean the kitchen. But if those things wait until tomorrow? Not the end of the world. Whereas, if I make skipping a workout a pattern, I ultimately wouldn't be as healthy and happy, and that would be a bigger issue.

You can think of at least 3 reasons the workout would be beneficial...
That is usually enough right there to convince myself that I need to go to the gym. I think about how good I will feel after, how the workout is helping me reach X goals, and I remind myself of one area I know I'm improving in.

Something social or fun comes up...
I've gone to many a gathering in my sweaty workout clothes. Put deodorant in your car. Wipe your face with a towel. A birthday dinner or drinks with friends is NOT a good excuse for missing a workout. Meet up with your friends later.

Skip it if...(a guilt free list)
You are injured in a way that a workout could aggravate. See a doctor before doing anything.
You are sick enough to need medical attention *Allergies or common colds shouldn't stop you though.
Weather has made driving conditions in your area dangerous (This happened to me once this past semester...the school canceled all after-school activities, so I played it safe and stayed home).
Your heart is only about 10% there, and you know that you can and will be able to make up your workout.
You got less than 4 hours of sleep last night. I'm pretty sure it's dangerous to workout while sleep deprived.

I hope my personal checklist is of help to you. I know it certainly has (and still does) helped me to reach fitness goals. See below where I was all smiles after my fastest ever 5K :)

November 2014
<3


Monday, May 4, 2015

"Last" of the Mondays + Sesame Curry with Peas and Sweet Potatoes

Greetings from my Monday evening. I titled this post the "last" of the Mondays because today will be the last time that Monday has normal Monday connotations for me until August 17th.

Can you tell that I am ready for summer?

I will be teaching a spring interim course during the month of May, attending some trainings at school, and working on one of my online courses. Thus, May is not 100% summer, but I will not have to wake up early anymore, and, to me, that makes all the difference in my mood.

A few great things happened today:
1.) Honor cords arrived for our student group---they will be featured in the graduation program and asked to stand at graduation this year. Getting the cords in on time was a HUGE relief.
2.) I got a call from my mimi! She told me about a better way to make biscuits. I can't wait to  try it!
3.) I showed up to yoga class and no one else was there; thus, I got a one on one lesson, and it was soooooo helpful. My chaturanga will never be the same! We also had time to review the treacherous headstand!
4.) I heard Madonna's "Holiday" on the way home. It reminded me of being a kid with my Aunt Lisa (mom's sister). She would pick me up in her Z3 BMW nicknamed "insanity," and we could do whatever I wanted. This usually involved some combination of the following: picking up Sonic and swimming OR picking up chicken tenders from Cheddars, going to see a scary movie, or shopping. I was definitely one spoiled niece. The song brought me back. Good times! PS--If you are looking for  a scary movie, try Babadook streaming on Netflix. So scary!
5.) I thought Brendan was planning to throw something easy together for dinner, since groceries have not been purchased since last Saturday, but he prepared this amazing dish. Since I usually am terrible about forgetting to put his delicious creations on the blog, I quickly typed it up for you.

Sesame Curry with Peas and Sweet Potatoes 
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 diced onion
4 diced cloves of garlic
1 diced habanero pepper
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 cup of uncooked rice
1 can green peas
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can of white kidney beans
1/3 cup tahini
2 cups of vegetable broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium sweet potato
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 tablespoons Tandoori masala
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
Green onion (optional)

Directions:
1.) Prepare the rice
2.) In a wok or large pot, saute onions, garlic, ginger, and pepper in the butter for 3 minutes on medium heat.
3.) Reduce heat to low. Add bay leaves, cinnamon, tumeric, and 1 tablespoon of the Tandoori and coat the vegetables in the spices.
4.) Stir in tahini, can of diced tomatoes, honey, vinegar, and 1 cup of the vegetable broth. Simmer.
5.) Microwave sweet potato for 4 minutes or par boil it. Slice it into thick wedges. When cool, dust with 1 tablespoon tandoor and salt and pepper to taste.
6.) Heat vegetable oil on high heat in a separate skillet.
7.) Fry the sweet potato in the oil (on both sides). This should take about 3 minutes per side.
8.) When potatoes are crispy, add beans and peas to the wok from step 2.
9.) Continue to add vegetable broth to the wok as needed.
10.) Before serving, mix the potatoes into the wok.
11.)  Serve over rice with green onions to garnish (optional).

Result:


Deliciousness Factor: 4.5 out of 5 stars. This dinner tasted amazing. I would eat it again and again and again! The texture and spice level is just so perfect. It is pretty healthy but tastes decadent!
Total Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes

*Brendan wants you all to know that dictating the recipes is hard for him; he just throws in whatever he wants to and doesn't see the need for a recipe.
**I want you all to know that I will NEVER cook that way. I need an EXACT formula. Make this like chemistry class without the goggles and low grades.

I hope everyone's Monday had a good ending!
<3

Saturday, May 2, 2015

As of Late...

I really don't know what to tell you all, other than we now own this amazing painting by the brilliant Michael Hubbard. This is David Bowie as he appeared in the Labyrinth with Lola and Zoe. People keep asking us how we got so lucky, and the answer is I don't know. Michael and his wife Jennifer are good friends to us, and there is little that could make us happier.



A few things that also made me happy:


I met this dinosaur at the children's museum at the Museum of the Southwest. Immediately, I had dreams of hosting my next birthday at the children's museum. 





On Wednesday, Brendan and I found a big box of thank you notes from the student group we advise. It made me very emotional to read their letters. They are sweet to let us know we are appreciated. It really meant a lot.

Also on Wednesday, my friend Kristen treated me to dinner out since I had had a rough start to my week with a traffic ticket. Defensive driving is in my future, and I'm not thrilled. Kristen made me feel better though. She reminds me not to be so hard on myself!

On Monday, Brendan treated me to fro-yo and a dinner he made to make me feel better:



So despite the stress of grading, making it through the last week of teaching, my sickness due to allergies (sore throat, yuck), and the house repairs we had to have done this past week, it was still a pretty good week. 

With finals week coming up, we're feeling sort of like this: 


But this too shall pass, right?
<3

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Building a Backyard from Scratch: The Prickliest Friends I Ever Met!

All week, Brendan and I were looking forward to Saturday so we could pick up some Agave cacti and continue our xeriscaping backyard version. The big day arrived, and we headed to a local nursery and found a huge Agave...for $150.00. Back to the drawing board...we needed some smaller specimens that better fit our budget.

Luckily we ran into Nick and Brandon, and Brandon happens to be extremely knowledgable about succulents!


We developed a new budget conscious strategy...


Three tiny succulents for around the Mexican Ocotillo that we planted last weekend (center).


This cactus is like a sister plant to red yucca...should be useful in our goal to attract birds, bees, and butterflies. 


These four were the big purchases. As you can see, we did get one Agave (center), but it was a lot smaller and only cost $24.99. We got a barrel cactus that already had some bird of paradise growing on it (bonus!) and a cactus that had a few miniature barrels. The cactus in the far left corner was perhaps the best purchase of all because it had several off shoots growing at the bottom, so we were able to separate the roots and plant the "babies" elsewhere: 





Also at the nursery, we noticed some prickly pears had dropped some pads on the ground. If you plant these, root down, Brandon told us, you should be able to produce your own prickly pears. Added bonus, the pads were free. 

We planted three: 




Lets hope they eventually root and grow. Remember when planting cactus to WEAR GLOVES. These friends are prickly, and I got jabbed a few times even through the gloves. Total cost of all our prickly friends: $170.00. Far better than paying $150.00 for one plant. We topped the $1,000.00 point in our backyard renovation this weekend...but I'd say we've gotten our money's worth. To see past efforts check out our previous posts: 


After our efforts, Brendan made us mojitos using the sweet mint, spearmint, and peppermint from our very own herb garden. Then I made us pasta for dinner with basil, rosemary, and thyme from the garden. The herbs really added flavor to the meal! 


Then we went to school to host an on campus movie night with the club we advise. We had 20 students come to watch The Great Gatsby (the newer version) on the big screen. Here's the elusive green light on the edge of Daisy's dock: 



The students brought some awesome "themed snacks" 


All in all, an excellent Saturday.

Today is all about getting ready for the last teaching week of the semester...oh my! Grocery store, laundry, cleaning up...and Brendan is out in the yard putting weed guard down on the side yard. Tonight, we'll go over to our friends' house and watch Game of Thrones, which will be a great way to end the week. I am ready to put on my "A" game and make it through the end of the spring semester. This semester has been a challenge because of our move and getting settled, and I'm pretty exhausted, but I know I need another burst of energy.

Here's to finding your motivation!
<3

Friday, April 24, 2015

Happy Met Ya Day!

7 years ago today, I was lucky enough to meet the love of my life. After our long coffee shop hangout, he sent me an email that was the start of our friendship. 2.5 years after that, we kissed, and I swear, I'm not exaggerating when I say my world lit up forever and has been brighter ever since. 2.5 years as friends plus 4.5 years in love has equaled the best 7 years of my life.

Brendan, my life isn't just happier now, it is more meaningful. Thank you for having the love, for making me smile, and for being off to see the world with me. I love you so very, very much. 



<3 Stacy

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Building a Backyard From Scratch: Drought Resistant Planting

Our backyard efforts continued yesterday, starting with an early wake up to visit the Permian Basin Master Gardeners plant show (after the farmer's market, of course!) where we picked up eighteen plants and succulents for $125.00.

We then visited Alldredge Gardens to pick up more rock to finish the other flower bed and some more garden soil. We spent a good few hours out in the sun digging and planting.

I added a few more herbs on this side as well, including cilantro, fennel, chives, and lemongrass. I hope my herbs make it, but this spring is all about experimentation and discovering what does and doesn't work.


For the plants, we suck to things that like sunlight and require very little water. We also looked for plants that attract birds, bees, and butterflies. Maybe it worked already because we saw one white butterfly as we were planting.  In this bed, the plants toward the right in the photo are supposed to eventually grow to be about four feet wide and have some blooms. 



Around the flagstone path, we planted some succulents and drought resistant plants. It doesn't look like much now, but everything should grow up (some as tall as eight feet) and out and even flower a little. In the photos below, you can see the weed guard that Brendan put down a couple of weeks ago to keep the uncovered dirt from blowing around. 




Along the fence, we planted some yuccas and other drought resistant plants like sage. 


We do eventually want trees, some grass, and lots of gravel, but this is progress towards our little desert oasis! 

In other weekend news, we saw Jay Leno on Friday night when he did a performance at the college. It was nice to laugh a lot after such a busy week (and before another busy week starts!) 


And last night, we took a group of thirteen students to see the community theater production of West Side Story. At the end, the actor playing Tony proposed to the actress playing Maria. It was pretty cute! 

Today, our plans are: laundry, grading, preparing for week 14 of the semester (gasp!), and dinner and watching Game of Thrones with some friends tonight. 

We hope your Sunday is a Fun day!
<3

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Weekend Apart, or Camping in Fort Davis

On Friday morning, Brendan left for South Padre, TX to attend the Great Plains Honors Council conference with the other director of the MC honor's program and two student presenters. To lesson your confusion, this is part of Brendan's position as the Co-director of the honor's program, which is separate from the English Honor Society that we co-advise together. 

Though I was invited to attend the conference, there was no possible way for me to miss teaching on Friday (way too much going on in my eight week flex course), so when my friend Kristen invited me to go camping this weekend with her Outdoors Club, I was very excited to be able to work Friday and still have my own adventure away.

Kristen picked me up shortly after 5:00pm on Friday and we headed to Fort Davis, which is about 2.5 hours away. We had an SUV packed full of stuff for our 48 hours away. What can we say? We like to be prepared (according to our friend Chelsea, we like to go "glamping," but she is over-exaggerating, though I do love my camp stove and double high airbed!) 

It was raining when we arrived, but the sunset was gorgeous: 



We enjoyed conversation with the other campers and made veggie burgers on the camp stove for dinner.  We survived incredible winds in the canyon we were camping in on both nights. I really thought that our tents were going to go flying away, but Kristen is a seasoned camper and kept assuring me that that wouldn't happen.  

Friday morning, I went on a drive with Chelsea and her boyfriend, Brandon, and we saw some pigs, horses, cows, roadrunners, and other wildlife. 




Friday afternoon, we all went rappelling off of an 80 foot canyon cliff. This involved putting on a harness, gloves, and a helmet and then being tied to a lot of ropes that my life was sincerely depending on. I felt comfortable because Richard, the former founder of the Outdoor's club was highly experienced and had an experienced helper, Tom. I also watched several people go before me and survive. Plus, back in December, my sister-in-law, Annie, took Brendan and I to her rock climbing gym, which gave me an idea of what to expect. 

So, I suited up: 


Got hooked in:

Hugged my friends goodbye and told them to establish a scholarship in my name for a reading program for children should anything happen to me: 


Then I began my descent (backwards!) off the cliff. The photos don't show how nervous I was. This took a big leap of courage for me: 




I kept my feet on the rocks until I was perpendicular to the ground and there were no rocks. Then I had to push off to find myself hanging 80 feet in the air. I continued to let out rope until I was safely down on the ground. I got an awesome view of the canyon on the way down. It was so cool! 

The rest of Friday was spent relaxing since everyone was exhausted from staying up late, the canyon climb (very step), and the rappelling down. Kristen and I made mac n'cheese for lunch and other campers made two kinds of cobbler, which we proudly ate for dinner. 

This morning, it was time for a short hike! We packed up the tents and our campsites, and I headed off with Kristen, Chelsea, and Brandon. Fun Fact: I have been friends with Kristen and Chelsea since fall of 2011, so over 3.5 years now. 

We had an amazing hike, though we all estimated it to be longer than its true distance of 1.5 miles roundtrip (I logged it on my Run Keeper app just to see). 


We even found more horses:


And because of recent rains, the creeks were not empty:


At this point, I hadn't showered in three days, but I was happy to break in my new hiking boots this weekend. I got them at Sierra Trading Post and only spent $54.00. They were very comfortable and had good traction. 


We saw a rattlesnake (scary!) 


Even after my bravery rappelling yesterday, I still appreciated a helping hand to get across the mossy rocks! 






We stopped for food in Balmorhea and made it back to town a little after 3:00pm. As for Brendan, his flight lands in about fifteen minutes, and by all accounts, their conference was a big success. Both students had never been on a plane before, and one student had never seen the ocean before, so I think it was a big weekend for them. I cannot wait to see my husband after our weekend apart. I had a great time, but now I just want to watch the Game of Thrones season premiere and cuddle (and don't worry, I did take a much needed shower as soon as I walked in the door!) 

We hope your weekend was awesome too! 
<3 
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