Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rise & Shine

After a long and relaxful summer, it's now time for the little minions of Los Angeles to go back to school. And since there's no one else to do it, Ev must now wake up at 5:45 am to undertake such a task. I have been called upon to make a change and switch over to his new bed/wake schedule.

Now, if you're not snickering going 'Heck, I get up earlier than that every day!" and your response is "OMFG that's an ungodly hour.", then you can understand why the decision to change gave me pause at first. I mean, I'm used to getting to bed by midnight and rising at 8am! (That is, of course, after I got my steady 40hr a week job. As some of you remember from my other blog, waking at 4:30am to be at *bucks working at 5:15 was a regular occurance for a while.)

I decided to give it the 'ole college try, and went to bed Sunday night at 10pm and awoke Monday morning @ 5:45am. WOW. That was hard. Actually, the waking up part was not that hard, the waking up after not having a restful sleep part was difficult. We both tossed and turned all night! It was terrible.

So after cooking him some obligatory oaty-chia-goodness, I totally caved and went back to sleep for an hour. I should have put sleep in quotation marks because sleep I did not get. Instead I recieved frustrating amounts of sunlight through my bedroom window and annoying meows from the Pipster about wanting to be let out in the yard. And yes, I'm not ashamed to say I acutally fastened a make-shift sleeping mask to block out the light using just a clean sock and workout headband. Ghetto fabulous.

After a long day at work, I started to get snippy with Evan around 9pm, (mostly) due to fatigue. Man, when I'm tired I can turn into quite the B-


E-A-Rawr! Last night was still a bit rough, in bed @ 10pm but staring at the clock till 12am. I know it will get better with time as my body adjusts.

Fortunately, I was able to get going this morning relatively easy. I cooked up some eggies for Ev and got decked out in estretchy pants @ 6:30am. Our the door with a piece of toast, I wanted to hit the gym for an hour, but I settled for 40 mins. If I push too hard too fast on little sleep, I know I'll just get sick.

It was so amazing to get home at 7:30am and make my lunch for the day, shower, and get my makeup on without any rushing. I think I'm going to like this early morning stuff! Iced coffee + Jason Mraz = a great drive to work. Very loud singing always makes the traffic more bearable. I've been digging Jason for many many years (I knew him back when he was playing Java Joe's!) and I am OBSESSED with this album:


Naturally I LOVE the video to "I'm Yours", it's a total slice of life from home. I pull out my ukelele and jam along, singing as loud as I can!

Unforunately, tonight is my 15-hour day: wake up, snack, gym, bfast, shower, work, lunch, work, sit in traffic for 1.5 hrs, 2.5 hour choir rehearsal, drive back, wash up, sleep. I've requested that Ev let me sleep in on Wed mornings because I can't get to bed the night before till at least 11:30pm, but tomorrow is his birthday so I HAVE TO wake up and cook him a special breakfast!

Send me your early morning tips, tricks, and hardships if you've got 'em!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shot through the heart!

I think have a bad heart.

No, not as in "I'm eeeeeevil", bad heart as in "it's not very strong or healthy".

Let me say first off that I have never been diagnosed with any heart related condition. I've also never been tested for anything heart related, so I'm completely in the dark on this. My overall health I judge on how I feel, period. If i'm snuffly and feverish, it's easier to tell that something is wrong, but years of yoga and knowing what I'm eating has fine tuned my ability to read my body.

For some reason, I've always felt that my heart was not up to par with the rest of me. Even at the peak of my athleticism (5-6 days of senior cheerleading practice and games + 2 days of karate classes + 3 days of ballet classes) I could feel my heart aching sometimes, I thought it might beat right out of my ears!

The thought of a weak heart was never really stressing or alarming, hence the never going to see a doctor about it, but one morning changed my life forever. After a party in Evan's old apartment, let's say about a year ago, I fell asleep with a few beers in my system. I had a fitful and unrestful sleep, and awoke the next morning with my heart feeling like it was being squeezed in a vice. It was unlike anything I'd ever felt before.

Drinking was never out of the norm for me, I had fun (not TOO much fun :P) in college partying with my cheerleaders, gaming nerds, and sorority sisters. Usually the morning after, I'd wake up WAY too early craving a big breakfast, but with little physical reprocussions. Aside from a bit of dehydration, I was pretty much fine! This pain though, was frightening and all too real.

The vice grip of pain lessened throughout the day, but never really left. Had I health insurance at the time, a trip to the Emergency room would have been in order. I didn't want to freak myself or Evan out, so I just took it easy and tried not to stress. A few days passed and I was relatively back to normal, but I was scared to touch alcohol after that. Since then, my life has been dry in that department.

Then, on Aug 17 (my birthday), I got a call in the middle of my swing dance birthday party. My dad had suffered a heart attack, almost 98% blockage. I BROKE DOWN. I actually don't remember much of the rest of that night, except sitting on the sidewalk crying uncontrollably that my father was going to die, while Evan calmly got all the info from my mom on the phone.

My dad was fine. No serious damage, but he needed to make some life changes. Since then, he's switched his eating habits and lost a considerable amount of weight. While he's not trim and toned yet, he's a much more normal weight and leads a normal life (with the help of a few medications). A bit of research into my family history shows that I am at a high risk of anaemia, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. (Awesome. Well, I've already been diagnosed with anaemia before, so just two more to go! Woo!) I figured that since I was anaemic at the time, the alcohol probably thinned my blood out too much and that caused the heart hurt.

In any case, I started to become more active and cared much more about heart healthy foods. I started running, something I swore I would never do. Those first few times were hard. Really. Really. Unbearably. Hard. But, gradually the pace became easier and I learned to control my breath and keep my heartrate from going wild. I'm still not "a runner", but I love how it makes my body feel and should be less interested in categorizing like that anyway.

Since joining the gym, I've been focused on cardio from the start. When asked what my goals are, I told the rep "I'm not focused on weight, I'm not focused on muscle, I above all want to strengthen my cardiovascular system." The other stuff I know, will fall in along with that. My biggest goal right now is to keep my heartrate in my target zone without going over, which is quite a challenge. I've always been a bit tacacardic (slightly elevated heart rate), so it kicks up pretty high if I'm not paying attention. Hopefully, in a few months I'll learn how to do it naturally, and the risk of heart attacks will go down.

If there are any heart-friendly tips, recipes, or exercises that you know of, please leave a comment below so I can check them out!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Creamy Artichoke Soup

It just got cold here!!! God I love California, if you can make it past the heat of summer, fall is well worth it. I'm fighting a bit of a bug coming back from Vegas, so I knew I needed something warm and comforting for dinner. Enter in: Creamy Artichoke Soup!

This is adapted from a Giada recipe, veganized, and very versatile. It does take at least 30 minutes, and you'll need a blender/vitamix/processor/magic bullet/stick blender to be able to puree it.

- 2 leeks, chopped (white and light green parts only)
- 1 russet potato, skinless, cubed
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed or minced
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 8-12 oz artichoke hearts, canned or thawed is fine
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
- 2 tbsp Earth Balance or other margarine
- 1/2-1tsp salt
- 1/4 white pepper (use black if you want!)

1. Sweat the leeks and garlic in Earth Balance over low heat till soft.
2. Add the potatoes and veggie broth.
3. Simmer covered till the potatoes are just about tender.
4. Uncover and add the artichokes, almond milk, salt, and pepper.
5. When potatoes are totally soft and artichokes are are warmed through, transfer to blender and puree in batches till desired consistency.
6. Adjust seasonings to your liking and serve with crusty bread!

I really wanted something thick and hearty this evening, so I pureed the soup very little. I've pureed it every which way from sunday, and thick or thin this soup is damn good. It's great with fresh peas tossed in or blended in, or with a drizzle of cashew cream on top. Heck, I've even eaten it cold the next morning! Texture shot, topped with a small kale chip:

Time for a bath, some tea, and some sleep. Hopefully that will cure what's ailing me!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's HOT!!!

Well, not that hot, but enough to remind me that it's not really fall yet here in Southern California. I work late on Thursdays (11am-8pm, bleh!) but that leaves the morning open for leisurely breakfast. I almost ran to the kitchen as soon as I woke because I knew breakfast was going to be... OIAJ!!!

Barney Butter is the KING of nut butters. Soooooo smooth, sooooo dreamy. The oats melted the BButter and it was absolute heaven in a jar. Coupled with a mugful of half-caf coffee w/ unsweetened vanilla almond milk and turbinado sugar. YUM!

In the oats mix:
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 3/4 cup almond milk (vanilla, unsweetened)
- 1/2 cup water

Enough for both Ev and I, though I didn't take a picture of his. We had a nice leisurely breakfast while I packed some lunch. Since I knew it was going to be hot, I wanted something light and refreshing.

Improvised spring rolls! I didn't have any rice noodles on hand, so my fillings include ribbons of carrot, cucumber, mixed greens, and lots of cilantro. I really wanted to try Averie's peanut sauce, but I was all nut butter'd out from the OIAJ so I just packed some asian sesame style salad dressing I had in the fridge.

I usually eat lunch in my car at the park by work. It's not glamorous, but it gets me out of the office and into the sunshine! I'm almost caught up on my favorite fantasy novel series, The Sword of Truth series, so I spent a nice afternoon with my rolls and Chainfire.

Glistening with sesame dressing! I also had an undeniable craving for starchy goodness and ketchup! Enter: Del Taco Macho Fries, smothered.

Now before you start screaming at me, just know that I ate a mere 1/4 of the fries before I realized that I didn't really want them! I can't think of a better ketchup delivery device though...

Just a few before my tummy and my head said "No!!!". Fried foods = tired. For dinner I had the last of my spring rolls (I saved a few from lunch to eat later) and now I'm just relaxing with Ev, watching the last season of the X Files. LOVE that show! One more episode about brain-eating bugs and then I'm off to bath and bed.

Don't forget: Tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nothing Important Happened Today

That was the name of The X Files episode I watched last night. Wow, Lucy Lawless looked so young! I didn't even recognize her till the end.


Unfortunately, the title wasn't quite as ironic for me as it was for the X files. In fact, my day was pretty bad! Nothing overly horrible happened, but I had a few disappointments which just overshadowed my attempt at bringing up my mood.

The saddest news I received is that a yoga teacher I really enjoyed and hoped to study again with recently moved out of state. She was the very first yoga instructor I ever had, and I'd be hard pressed to find another teacher as awesome as her.

For those of you who do yoga a lot, you know that the teacher is a make it break it for many people. Carolyn, I feel, has a very open and ancient "soul" about her. In my first class, her balance of trying something new and heeding your body's own boundaries, caught my attention in profound way. It was spiritual in its simplicity.

Though I tried other yoga teachers at the same studio, and eventually moved to another city and found a good studio there, Carolyn gave me the best vibe out of all my teachers. I recently moved back to Pasadena, and was excited to return to my original studio where she was working. Unfortunately I checked the schedule online today, and didn't find her name. So I went looking online for the other studio I knew she worked at, no name there too.

Randomly, I thought "I wonder if she's on Facebook", and checked. Sure enough she was on! So, I sent her a quick message about who I was and asking if she'd moved away. Sure enough, she did! In fact,wait for the irony...She moved to my real home, Hawai'i! Oh man, just my luck I move away from home, and she moves there. BUMMER!!!

So now my kumu moved back to Hawai'i recently, leaving me hula-less here on the mainland, and my ideal yoga teacher moved there too! LAME!

On the bright side, I came home to a loving boyfriend who cooked me dinner:

Breadcrumb crusted Tilapia with spinach and sweet corn with Earth Balance. All picked up at Fresh&Easy! Yes, that is a Coke in the background, it was a hard day today.

And yes, that is a Playstation controller... :P Also known as the "PS3 Netflix controller". I'm sure today was nothing but some passing negative emotions, but it's nothing that some Fat Princess, South Park, and a hot bath can't cure.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Created: About Page

Just to let you guys know: 'About' page is up.

I'm sure it'll just end up redoing it next week, but at least it's up. Check it out if you want!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

An odd saturday...

Woke up today feeling very strange, not quite right, but not necessarily in a bad way. Our apartment complex was scheduled to have a huge pool party so we were expecting some of our friends to come over. Unfortunately, most everyone was working so we had most of the day to ourselves (also not a bad thing!).

 The day started off as usual: sourdough, my fav! And some lovely Hualalai coffee in my new cup Ev got for me from Anthropologie. I'm pretty sure the M stands for "More toast please!".

I spent most of the day cleaning the house, getting ready for people to arrive. Since it involves lots of orange cleaner, scrubbing, and kneeling in front of the toilet... I'll spare you any more details.

By 1 Ev and I were ravenous! I had a rare food today: eggs! Why rare? Well, I don't really like them. I mean, I like eggs a lot, but I can't bear to eat them due to the farming practices of chickens. However, Ev only buys organic certified free-range eggs also due to his concern. I fell out of practice eating them for AR reasons, so I don't really miss them, but I thought I'd have them today as a little treat.

In the pan:
- 1 russet potato, cubed
- 1/2 an onion chopped
- 4 eggs
- 2 tbsp almond milk
- dash of salt and pepper
- basil, chiffonade

The flip was not the most beautiful thing in the world, but I'm just not used to cooking delicate eggs anymore. The consensus was: more salt, needs hot sauce! Can you believe we don't have hot sauce in the house? It was just screaming for it!

I love these new blue square plates from Ikea! We got 2 small side plates and 2 dinner places, and I am already thinking about going back for a few more sets.

The rest of the day was spend going to the gym and coming back to a whole houseful of people! We decided to vote on the movie and naturally we went with a zombie flick: Dawn of the Dead (the new one). I love my friends. :) :) :) We've all seen the old one far too many times, and I have to say that I much prefer the new one in terms of pacing, character development, and fright factor.

I'm going to have nightmares tonight for sure!