I’m really only half crazy.

I’ve been terribly, unforgivably inconsistent with updating the ol’ blog. I mean, it’s supposed to be a food blog – and besides that, a healthy food blog – yet, I haven’t been much into the cooking. That isn’t to say I haven’t been into the eating. It just hasn’t been super healthy until the past month or so. Now I’m back on the healthy foodie wagon.

I have a roommate these days. She’s pretty great – I found her on Craigslist and we get along really well (I get all the best stuff on Craigslist!). We just started going to Crunch together last week, where I started running again. Had I mentioned that I’d started running last year? I did – I got into running 3-4 miles a day probably 4-5 days a week, in addition to rotating my Jillian Michaels DVDs. All was going swimmingly until I went to Orlando for a business trip in November, located the hotel gym, got really excited about the fancy treadmill and ran 10 miles… and hurt myself. My right hamstring, to be exact. Now, I’m finally able to run without any pain or discomfort. So far, I can do 4 miles without any issues. And I’m a little faster than I was last year, even.

So I registered for my first half marathon (!).

I’ll be running the San Francisco Nike Women’s Half in October! Yes, for sure, because I registered as a student and students don’t have to do the random draw. w00t. I’m just looking forward to the finish line, where I’ll get a Tiffany necklace handed to me by the friendly firemen. Me likey.

Oh, and like magic (not really), I’m back in my size 0 work pants today. They’re a little snug, but they button! Baby steps.

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Foodie returns.

Things that have happened since I last blogged:

  1. I started and finished my first semester of grad school with a 4.0 average. Go me.
  2. I got into really, really good shape.
  3. I quit my job (yay) and moved to San Francisco (double yay).
  4. I got stressed out with all the changes and the big move and stopped working out consistently and started eating everything in sight, so I gained some weight. Sad face.
  5. Probably several more insignificant things that I can’t recall at the moment.

So you see, it’s been a real rollercoaster of a time, especially the past few months (I moved in early January). I am currently unemployed (sort of – I’ve been doing some freelance work) and in grad school full time. At first I really enjoyed my faux retirement, but it started to prove difficult after a few weeks when I realized that work was the only thing that was forcing me to maintain a structure to my daily life. I then tried to start adding structure back into my day by waking up at 5:00 like I used to when I was working, but that’s been a challenge the past few days. I’ve been meeting my friend at a cafe so we can co-work, which helps a little. But if I deviate from the schedule at all, the rest of the day is shot. I woke up late yesterday and ended up not getting very much done and watching Glee for the entire afternoon and into the evening (with a brief respite to watch Tuesday night’s episode of Smash). I wonder how people are disciplined enough to make a career of freelance work. How do they stop the lazy from taking over?

Anyway, I decided to start blogging again to hold myself accountable for my eating and exercise decisions. I’m going to try to stick to Dr. Perricone’s eating guidelines, though not necessarily following his eating plan to the letter due to budget constraints and social engagements. Like tonight, since it’s technically Day 1, I’m supposed to have steamed spinach, but I have a bunch of brussels sprouts, so that will probably happen instead. Plus, I love brussels sprouts.

So, here’s to doing my best to get healthy again. I have ten pounds of smoked salmon in my freezer and I know how to use it.

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I’ve been Shredding for 30 days, and I’m not talking about paper. Or cabbage.

I’ve officially been doing Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred workouts for thirty days. Of course, keep in mind I stuck to level one for twenty-ish days and am now basically alternating levels one and two after five consecutive days of level two, but the point is this thirty-day situation has been going on for thirty days. Seems like something to celebrate, doesn’t it?

I tried on the Rock & Republic jeans I bought over a year ago this morning. The fit when I bought them, but for the past year, I haven’t been able to pull them up all the way over my ginormous slightly larger than ideal thighs. It was a shame – I like them a lot, and when they fit me, a smaller, more svelte version of me, they looked really good. And this morning? When I tried them on? Not only did I get them on all the way, I was also able to zip and button them while standing (as opposed to while laying down on the floor, legs in the air, hoping gravity would work its magic). I still have some work to do, but this is major progress for me. It was a really good start to the morning.

Now, what does that have to do with the circuit training I’ve been doing with my good friend Jillian? Well. Let me tell you. This Saturday at Safeway, I bought (among other things) a jar of almond butter and two packages of single-serving popcorn. As of Monday evening, the almond butter was gone. As of Tuesday evening, the popcorn was gone. So, Saturday through Tuesday went something like this:

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Yet, still, my waist remains at 23″ (that’s how small it was before the Buenos Aires trip/July pastry bonanza of 2011). I’ve been “shredding” and walking 4-8 miles (usually 7) every day with limited exceptions. That’s all I do. It’s really not a lot, considering the Shred is only half an hour per level. Absolutely maintainable, and I know when I finally make it to level three, I’ll be in even better shape.

I love that I can occasionally get away with eating somewhat healthy food in larger than normal quantities and still maintain (and get smaller!). Or, you know, I could have pizza, same effect. I have no idea what I weigh now, but I’m wearing most of the clothing I was wearing at my smallest, which is what matters – plus, I have muscle tone and definition that I don’t think I’ve had at any point in my life, so that’s a major benefit. Of course, my T-Rex arms are still only using the 2.5-lb weights. But who cares? It seems to be working out just fine.

The system itself took awhile to grow on me, but once I realized that the hard work was starting to pay off (in the form of more defined arms/back/shoulders, at first), I started looking forward to getting home from work so I could exercise. It’s perfect for my lack of attention span for physical activity – ahem, some physical activity – and I know I’m working hard, even when the moves start to feel easier. I also didn’t like Jillian in the beginning, but she’s grown on me as well – I like how she seems to know when I’m getting tired and want to lay down on the couch instead of finish the circuit. How does she know? Can she see me? Creepy.

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Anyway, the point of this post is to let all you fellow foodies know that 30-Day Shred is awesome (because when you do it, you can eat more food, and what foodie doesn’t love that?). In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s that circuit training in general is awesome, but this is easy and quick and I can do it at home so I can be gross and sweaty without witnesses. Fairly confident I wouldn’t willingly subject witnesses to that kind of traumatic experience.

Also, for the record, to serve as proof that I ate well this week aside from the popcorn and almond butter, I present to you Monday’s lunch:

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(If anyone asks, I’ve been working this whole time.)

Happy Wednesday! Not hump day. That’s not work appropriate.

Despite the obvious pitfalls of going back to school – going into more student loan debt, starting over in my career, changing everything about my life – I can’t help but feel as though I’m doing the right thing. I haven’t felt this creatively inspired since I was in college. And excited! There’s no way I’d be this excited about business school or law school. And isn’t that the point? Life should be exciting. It shouldn’t be sitting behind a desk all day, making decisions that don’t mean all that much in the long run.

I’ve been chipping away at my portfolio, which is due on July 23. I’ll admit, there’s been a little bit of procrastination going on. I brought my MacBook Pro to work today so I could make some headway on the porfolio – which I’m going to be submitting in the form of a website – and actually did as I’d intended. Right now, it’s just the template of the front page, but I have a sitemap in mind and I have a good idea of what I’ll be including. I want to do more with motion graphics than I have in the past. Not a lot, because I like a cleaner design, but some subtle effects, like onmouseover icon animation. And I still have to clean up some of my older work and upload it, since some of the sites aren’t live anymore. All these details…

On Monday, I called my grad school financial aid adviser to pepper her with questions. As it turned out, they’d just finalized my award offer, so she gave me the news. Basically, what it boils down to is this: I’ll be able to afford school and have some additional loan money, but I’ll still need a full-time job in order to pay rent and eat food and otherwise live like a normal human. Well, there goes my original plan of just being a full-time student, but somehow I knew I wouldn’t be able to get away with that one. The good news is, I don’t need to be getting paid as much as I am now in order to afford the same things, so I can get an easy full-time job when I move down to San Francisco in January while I’m in school. Not like the one I have now, where it’s literally in my job description that overtime is required, despite the fact that I’m a manager and don’t get paid overtime.

Waiting until mid-December to give my notice is already proving to be a mental and emotional challenge. I stressed myself out during my four-mile walk this morning, talking to my mom about how worried I am about having to do year-end work (there was a lot last year) in addition to finals. I don’t know how I’m going to make this move work; my future roommate (currently living in San Francisco) and I will somehow have to find a place and move in early- to mid-January before the new semester starts in late January. I think she will probably have to do the apartment-hunting by herself in December, since I’ll still be up here, but we’ve been emailing back and forth with listings on Craigslist, so hopefully by then she and I will be on the same page about what we’re looking for. And then there’s the job aspect. But I do think it will be easier to find a lower-paying job than trying to find one in my current salary range. I just need something brainless that doesn’t require me to work more than my allotted time, and that doesn’t zap all my energy. I’d be a terrible waitress, so that’s out. I mean, I’d eat all the food before it got to the customers, and I’m already prone to tripping over my own feet without the added challenge of balancing a tray.

Speaking of lack of coordination, I finally worked up the nerve to try level 2 of 30-Day Shred last night, after something like twenty days of level 1 (I stopped counting after 10 days). Surprisingly, after hearing from multiple people that level 2 is the hardest, I actually really enjoyed it. It went by faster than level 1, and I like all the jumping. I could do without the planks, but I’ll keep working at it. The only problem is that she had me moving my arms and my legs in different directions, and that confuses my brain (which is why I never excelled in dance classes. That, and aforementioned tripping). I definitely feel the effects of the workout today, so I know whatever I was doing did something. Plus, I finally fit into my size 2 (well, size 26 because it’s designer-ish and they do weird denim sizing) denim miniskirt again! And by “fit into,” I mean it doesn’t squish my legs in unflattering ways when I sit while wearing it. In fact, there’s no longer any inappropriate squishing of anything. I’d definitely call that a step in the right direction.

Okay… this is probably enough blogging at work. Shhh don’t tell.

Feel free to skip all the words and go straight to the puppy picture.

My best friend is in the process of packing up her life and moving to Malawi for a year. My mom doesn’t like to talk on the phone for an hour when she’s home with her boyfriend. Who am I supposed to talk to about all my major daily accomplishments? Hmm? I guess I’ll have to settle for strangers on the interwebs. Hello, strangers.

Here’s what I did this weekend:

  1. Cleaned. Everything. I cleaned under my bathroom sink, and I cleaned out and organized my closets, in addition to my normal Saturday cleaning regimen. No, you don’t understand. The under the sink area had become a hazard, and my closet was brimming with clothes I kept trying on in my quest for outfits and subsequently discarding, over and over again. I think I need to have a garage sale, and maybe find a friend who has an actual garage.
  2. I watched a lot of Pretty LIttle Liars. This is my third viewing of season 1 on Netflix. I had seen it before. I wish they would post the next season so I didn’t feel like I’m memorizing this season. This show makes me want to be a skinny teenage girl; their lives seem so ridiculously dramatic and they don’t have to worry about real adult things, like eating carbs and paying bills.
  3. ImageI spent quality time with the brown dog. I’m trying to get her to sleep on her own bed instead of on my nice couch and on my bed, because she had a little bladder infection this week and… I had to take my duvet to the dry cleaner. $150 vet bill + $33 dry cleaner bill. Fun? Not so much.
  4. I successfully went to the market and spent $21 on my produce for the week, then came home, chopped everything and prepared it for my weeks’ salads (lunch and dinner). I then managed to clog the garbage disposal… and unclog it with a plunger. I know this isn’t revolutionary for most people, but I felt like a total champ when I figured this one out.
  5. I did days 12 and 13 of Jillian Michaels’ 30-day shred, level one. I realize I’m supposed to move up to level 2 on day 11, but it scares me and I haven’t mastered level 1 yet, so I’m sticking. It’s still hard work! My T-Rex arms are looking a lot more defined, too. Too bad I’m not allowed to wear tank tops to work. Plus, I’m getting smaller and eating more since I started doing this. Talk about a win-win.
  6. I got myself together and finally applied to grad school. I’m trying for my MFA in Web Design & New Media at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for it, but if I get in, I’m moving to San Francisco in September. Or if they let me in and September doesn’t work out, I’ll move in November-ish and start in the spring. Fingers crossed for September, though! I’ve been considering this program for about two years, and I think it’s time I just jumped in and did it. I’ll do what everybody else does and worry about the details when I have to. I’m simultaneously excited and terrified. From what I’ve read about the school, they’ll let anyone in (it’s graduating that’s the challenge), so I’m just assuming I’m already in and freaking out accordingly. Always good to prepare, right?
  7. For some reason, I’m not completely dreading work tomorrow. Probably because it’s jeans week. The grad school thing is giving me hope that I won’t be a mid-level executive drone forever, so that helps my attitude. 
  8. Darn, bedtime. I was so enjoying this one-sided conversation. I do love talking about me.

Changes prompted by other people’s changes, and other updates.

A male friend – with whom I have a slightly strange, complicated, long-term relationship that isn’t a “relationship” – is moving to New York. He apparently got a promotion, complete with a transfer to one of the best cities in the world. Hearing his tremendous news made me want to punch things. That, and win the lottery, quit my job, and move to Paris, just to one-up him. Oh, and lose 20 lbs.

But really. I’m happy for him.

Sorta.

Anyway, I also decided this week that I’m finally going to get a dog. I’ve been toying with the idea for a few years now and never felt like it was quite right, but I woke up on Wednesday and  realized there was no good reason I couldn’t just get a dog now. I would do it eventually. Sure, a dog will make my life a little more challenging, but it would be worth it for me. I love dogs. I’d be a good dog owner. I go out for long walks already, I need a furry walking buddy. So, I will be getting a dog, hopefully in the very near future.

I think it will take a little longer because I’m being fairly picky about breed, size, etc… I have to be, otherwise I’d end up taking home all the dogs, and I can only afford to take care of one. I’m looking for a black or chocolate Lab, 60 lbs or under, under 3 years old but not a puppy (the youngest would be 9 months). Most Labs under 60 lbs are going to be female, but I actually found two males (brothers) that I will be seeing on Saturday. I found two females online, but their current owners haven’t gotten back to me yet, so… no clue. I had no idea it would be this hard to even get a response. Le sigh.

This dog-finding mission has kept me nice and distracted for the past few days, so fortunately, the past two workdays have gone by quickly. I had been getting very bored in the mornings and eating lunch too early, then getting really ravenously hungry later in the day… unfortunate.

However, I ordered these protein bars late last week in an effort to have quick, easy, healthy breakfasts, and they just arrived yesterday afternoon. I got the all-natural line, which is made with Stevia instead of sucralose (the original line is made with sucralose). They’re actually pretty tasty, but my favorite part is that they kept me full all morning, for once. I had lunch close to 1 and I wasn’t even hungry yet. I’m going to try a few more flavors, but I’m really excited about these babies. More excited than any sane person should be about protein bars.

I also finally got a walking/jogging hat today, after learning my lesson the hard way by being caught in a torrential downpour during my walk yesterday afternoon and having to turn back early. It was awkward to be on the trail trying to hold down my hood while the properly clad runners zoomed by with their waterproof-looking hats and superior looks on their faces. Pshh. Whatever, runners. None of you have awesome pink shoes.

Tomorrow’s Friday. Fridays are wonderful. Almost as wonderful as Saturdays.

27.

That’s my age. As of today. 27. I usually love birthdays; birthdays, for me, are a valid and reasonable excuse to take the day off from work, pig out, be lazy, and do whatever the hell I feel like doing. My birthday is a free day. It’s also the day I make resolutions for the rest of the year. It’s my actual New Years’ Day.

27 is weird. 26 was hard enough; I had to come to grips with the fact that I was on the downward slide into the dreaded 3-0, so scary that the 3 and the 0 cannot be in such close proximity as to be adjacent. Yikes. What do I have to show for the past 20 + 7 years of my existence? I am not famous, I am not rich, I am not skinny (although I am still healthier than I was two years ago). I don’t love my job, nor do I love my adopted city anymore (sorry, Seattle, but it’s true). My life is in a state of flux as I’m trying to lose weight again and move my non-skinny ass to San Francisco.

I did, however, get a new workout outfit yesterday:

The pants and the jacket are new. I like the jacket because it has zippered pockets and is warm and rainproof… plus, it was on sale. Happy birthday to ME.

Anyway. Today, instead of indulging in the aforementioned lazyassness, I went for a 10-mile-long walk, right on the heels (no pun intended) of my 13-mile walk yesterday. I’ve decided I’m a hardcore walker, apparently. I opened an account on DailyMile and have committed to updating it. Now, here’s the logic: I’ve been working out every day (just about), for an hour a day, in the fancy new gym. I spend half an hour on the elliptical, then fifteen minutes on the treadmill at 4 mph, then fifteen minutes on the stationary bike, or some other combination that totals an hour. I’ve been doing this for the past month, plus a low-calorie diet, and my pants still don’t fit. Whaaaa?

Okay, so, look at my legs in those pants. There’s a little fat, sure, but that’s mostly muscle. They’re getting bulky. Ugh. No more elliptical. It’s all walking from here on out. My legs do not need any help being bulky, thankyouverymuch.

This, by the way, is how much I walked today.

Enough of that…

Time to decide on my goals for this year!

1. Move to San Francisco, ideally by September.

2. Lose 20-ish lbs by the time I move to San Francisco; a.k.a., look like this again:

3. Walk at least 35 miles per week. Totally doable, since I can already easily walk 6 miles a day.

4. Finally learn how to budget… or win the lottery. Preferably the latter. Although gambling probably doesn’t fit too well with fulfilling the former. Kind of a flaw in the plan.

5. Keep my remaining plants alive. Poor plants.

6. Make more of an effort with general upkeep: get mani/pedis, schedule hair appointments before my hair becomes an unstyleable mess, clean my apartment at least once a week (including vacuuming the couch and dusting), etc. Maintenance is a good thing. Grown-ups do it.

7. Have a better attitude at work. They may annoy me and I may not want to be there, but I have to make better use of my time until I get to leave. I feel better when I make an effort.

8. Make more of an effort to spend time with my remaining friends in Seattle before I leave them for good. The ones that haven’t flaked out on me are the keepers, they deserve the effort.

9. Start refocusing my energy on hobbies I’ve neglected, like music.

Okay, I was going for 27 goals, but it turns out I only have 9. Overall goal: be better. The end.