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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School, dog, food, school. Happy Tuesday.

I submitted my web portfolio to my graduate advisor yesterday and should have the results of my review in 2-3 weeks, at which point she’ll work with me to register for my fall semester classes. I had another OMG-I’m-going-back-to-school moment after I got that email; then I got a migraine. It was still with me this morning, although it’s (thankfully) diminished. I think it has more to do with the lack of sleep this weekend while I was scrambling to finish my portfolio than the OMG moment, but one never knows.

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OMG I’m going back to school.

I’m more excited than anything. I’m admittedly worried about how I’m going to juggle full-time work and full-time school (although it will be online this first semester), plus continuing to work out and eat healthy and get enough sleep. The getting enough sleep part will be tricky, as evidenced by this past weekend, so I need to learn how not to procrastinate – I had a month to work on and finish this portfolio, and I didn’t get my ass into gear until Saturday afternoon. I’m pretty pleased with the end result, but I could’ve used more time to make the site compatible with IE. I hate Internet Explorer… so much.

In other news, the dog and I had her final session with the trainer on Sunday. She was behaving marvelously well. The trainer commented that she’d made so much progress just in the past two weeks since our last session, and he was impressed at how much she was ‘checking in’ with me as we were walking. This is a dog whose last owner gave up on training her to heel, and now she heels like a total champ. She sits on command (usually) and she’s gotten so good at staying. I am so freaking proud of this dog. 

My mom also ordered us a “Dog in Training” vest for her so stupid people would stop trying to pet her/call her/generally be ignorant while I’m out walking her:

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She doesn’t love it. It sure looks cute on her, though. I totally understand, I have outfits like that, too.

And, in foodie news, I’m toying with the idea of doing another two-week Perricone stint. I’ve been eating pretty well, but the way Perricone structured his meal plan seems to work much better than what I usually do, which is eat lower calorie things in semi-compliance with his guidelines. I would have to do something for breakfast besides Quest bars, though, and I don’t know how I feel about that. I love me some Quest bars.

Speaking of food, my lunches lately have been just splendid. Here was today’s:

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I picked up these new Orowheat flax & fiber sandwich thins (apparently too new to list on the Orowheat website) during my Safeway splurge last weekend and they have become a lunchtime staple – I pop one in the toaster oven at work to make it crispy, then top it with either a homemade salmon or tuna salad and serve with a side salad. The salmon and tuna are from pouches I picked up at the Dollar Store, plus some mayo, celery, red onion and garlic. Needless to say, my breath smells all kinds of awesome after I have lunch. Lunch breath is so awkward. Reason #459 why it would be better for everyone if I could just work from home.

And when I’m done with my MFA, hopefully I’ll be able to find a job that will allow me to do just that, if I so choose! Ah, to dream…

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.