Right where you left off

HER: There’s been a lot of ‘her’ on here lately, hasn’t there? I guess that means I automatically win as favorite writer. Thank you for your support! Anyway, the past two weekends have been fabulous – catching up with friends and family that I love dearly and don’t get to see often.  The first was a bachelorette party in Vegas celebrating not one but three of my fabulous friends.  A ‘three in one’ bachelorette – does it get any better than that?! The weekend was filled with hilarious moments, reminiscing the crazy college days of living on the downstairs floor of our sorority house, and dancing on tables (we were in Vegas afterall). My friends are fun.

I had two interesting observations from the weekend: 1. for a group of 16 girls, there was minimal drama. I would go as far to say we had none but I don’t want to jinx myself.  None! That in itself is pretty amazing. and 2. every time we paid for a bill (dinner, breakfast, etc.), we always paid too much money, which I know is a rarity in a certain someone’s mind.

For some reason, this past year feels like we really grew up.  Although we’ve been out of college for a number of years, it seems like this is the year some of us are getting married, getting promoted, traveling to exotic places, going to medical school, etc.  It’s pretty crazy to remember the dreams of our early twenties and say ‘when we grow up we will do this and that’ and to now look back and say ‘we are living the lives we’ve always imagined.’

Sure, we don’t have as much time anymore.  We often don’t get a daily catch up and know what each other ate at lunch that day or the shoes we bought a week ago. Schedules and work stresses take precedent over a coffee break.  But at the end of the day, a job is just a job and when you’re really lucky to have those special people in your life, you go right back to poking fun of each other, laughing at yourself, and take life a little less seriously.  You pick up right where you left off.

My thoughts on the cleanse…

HER: I was certainly apprehensive of this cleanse at first – especially the word.  Coming from a background of on/off diets, depriving myself of certain foods and social functions as a result, I almost felt that cleanse had a negative connotation.  I’ve always been intrigued by them but have been apprehensive to try it, especially with the criticism I assumed I would get from other people (i.e. why would you do a cleanse, you don’t need to lose weight, are you starving yourself, you’re crazy, etc.). After learning more about the Zrii cleanse and going on three work trips last month, I knew that this would be the perfect time to reset and recharge.
I couldn’t have been more right with my decision to choose Zrii.  This Zrii is NOT a starvation cleanse.  The cleanse provides AM and PM supplements  that are blends of Ayurvedic herbs, a detox oil, and a fiber powder.  The whole time you are on the cleanse, you are encouraged to eat whole, clean meals…no dairy, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, or white processed foods.  It was fairly easy to follow and I ended up doing it with a group of people (all linked together in a private Facebook group)  – this made it that much more beneficial and fun. I have NEVER followed through with something like this before!  I was so proud of myself.  For me, I think I’m feeling most of the positive results now that I’m off the cleanse.  I had an uncomfortable, bloated feeling throughout the week but I’m noticing that it’s going away as I’m weaning off the fiber.  Today I feel clear-headed, high energy/mood, and about a 4 lb. weight loss.  I feel fantastic.
Similar to others in the group, I learned some great takeaways:
-I don’t really ‘need’ caffiene, I just like the habit.  I made it this morning because I missed it and I couldn’t even drink it, nor did I want to.
-I used to always reach for carbs/sugar when I was starving. I learned that I can and will feel more satisfied if I pick something substantial like nuts/fruit.
-I don’t have to miss out on social functions – but I don’t always have to fully participate and that is OKAY. Twice I went with out with friends and there was alcohol/frozen yogurt involved.  I didn’t ‘participate’ in the activity but I was present and social and enjoying myself.  This was huge for me.
-Sugar is my worst enemy.  I strongly believe it effects my mood, other food choices, and energy levels.  This is the one I need to 85% cut out of my diet – I do LOVE sweets so I don’t think I can 100% cut it out but definitely for now.  I need to wean off of this more – I like to call it my ‘drug of choice’.
I would absolutely recommend this cleanse to anyone!

Reset.

HER: hi. awkward silence.

for some reason, I feel like I’m talking to a friend that I just keep forgetting to call back or maybe have been avoiding for some reason or another. Maybe I have, maybe I haven’t.  J and I certainly haven’t forgotten about our little space here but we have been purposely putting it off because well….we’ve been busy.  A glimpse into 2012: DC, Austin, SXSW, San Jose, Denver, Tahoe, Vegas, etc etc etc. All the while planning a huge conference for work, taking on lots more responsibility (the R word!), and being the best bridesmaid I can be (x3!). not that I’m complaining about any of this. 2012 has been a whole lot of fun. like, really fun.  After my last three straight weeks of traveling, I needed to come home and sleep in my own bed. I needed to press the reset button.

And you know what? That’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past week and a half. It kicked off last weekend with a Race for the Cure 5k and a yoga workshop entitled ‘What are you manifesting in you life?’  It’s hard to put into words as I’m still digesting but it was deliciously rich and amazing. So what I needed.  Also, I’m in the middle of my first cleanse (!!!). Doing the cleanse for me was not really about anything specific but I really wanted to actually do it.  And I’m going onto Day 6!! I’m doing the Zrii cleanse and it has been much easier than I anticipated.  I will do a recap when I’m done. Tonight, I went to a Goal setting session with some friends at Lululemon.  I love goals. Goals and to do lists make the world go round. Lots of inspiration and good thinking swirling about.

My point is, sometimes you just gotta press reset.  And that’s the cool thing about life – because you can. I’m the first one to admit that I can talk about how I’m going to achieve a,b,c, and d and then I find myself working way too late, zoned out in front of a social media frenzy, and numbing my brain as I go from one task to the other.  But this is it, folks. It’s now or never.  Let’s put some ACTION into it! I’ll see you soon.

 

Different Type of New Year’s post

HER: Hi friends!  Happy 2012!  Hope you all enjoyed the break and the holidays. Jason and I just got back from spending our New Year in DC.  We woke up this morning at 3:00am East Coast Time and made the trek back.  Take this for my forewarning message.

Standard tourist shot - incoming traffic included

At any rate, in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I thought I’d take a different spin on things and think back to the improvements, adventures, and tasks that I am particularly proud of in 2011 and hope to carry over into 2012.  Not that I can expect you to even care a lick about my self improvement theories but hopefully, it will spark you to think back on your own 2011 in that light.  I think we are all too guilty for thinking “I will start saving money”, “I will go to the gym 3x a week” and all the other shortcomings that we didn’t do that year.  While it’s good – and I’m a fan of resolutions – it’s also good to step back and say ‘hey self – you did a damn good job’.

Without further ado, I’m giving myself a big ole’ bear hug for the following:

  • Found a balance.  I switched jobs in April – which for those of you that know me, this was a huge deal.  Although I enjoyed my previous job, I had zero time or energy for anything else (let alone myself).  I’m loving my job now where I am challenged, have a 20 minute commute (vs. 90 min.), and have the desire to work out, cook dinner, and call a good friend. Big yay.
  • Stopped being such a scaredy cat for .2 seconds. I’m not an experienced skiier and am afraid of heights. After some coaxing from J & my father (and a lot of temper tantrums on my part), I realized it’s really not that scary if I just let go and trust myself.  Oh, and I flew a plane.  Twice.
  • This isn’t mine exactly but my parents moved out to Laguna (from GA) and started their own company this year.  To say I’m proud of them is an understatement.  Pretty badass if you ask me.
  • I took some incredible trips.  One in particular – Israel.  I learned that perceptions can be deceiving, sometimes I’m happiest when I unplug, and the world in fact will not stop turning if I don’t blow dry my hair (shallow but true).

All in all, 2011 was a pretty decent year.  It was filled with the good moments and the bad but I felt like it was a year of building some pretty important foundations for myself.  Hopefully you can look back and say the same.  If not, I guess I’m just a better person that you are.

kidding.

In the spirit of all things ‘feel good/mushy’, I’ll close with this adorable video.  Google, you get me every time. Cheers, everyone – here’s to a happy and healthy 2012!

Experimenting with Needles

HER: Mom, calm down.  Not what you think. (PS – hi mom! I’m glad you decided to join us over here!) Although I’ve been thinking about it for a while, I recently started to get acupuncture.  Why the heck would you do that?, you ask.  No, it’s not because I live in CA, go to yoga, drive a Prius, etc.  No, it’s not because my boyfriend is Chinese.  I went for a specific reason that I’ve always personally worried about but no other (western) doctor has seemed to really worry about and/or prescribes me a variety of medicines to simultaneously ‘fix’ this concern.

What is acupuncture?  Just as the Western medical doctor monitors the blood flowing through blood vessels and the messages traveling via the nervous system, the acupuncturist assesses the flow and distribution of this “vital energy” within its pathways, known as “meridians and channels”. 

The acupuncturist is able to influence health and sickness by stimulating certain areas along these “meridians”. Traditionally these areas or “acupoints” were stimulated by fine, slender needles. Still, the aim remains the same – adjust the “vital energy” so the proper amount reaches the proper place at the proper time. This helps your body heal itself. source

Self portrait before my session (I always make sure to perfectly apply my make up beforehand)

I start the session by telling my acupuncturist anything that has been going on: i.e. not sleeping well, sugar cravings, etc.  She checks my tongue to check my progress and the severity of each system so she knows what areas of my body to focus on.  When I asked my acupuncturist about her road to this profession, she told me how she originally went to medical school to become a ‘Western – focused’ doctor but was intrigued by Eastern because “Western is great for fixing a specific issue but Eastern is beneficial in the long-term, for overall health”.

She suggested dietary changes based off of the book Eat Right for Your Blood Type.  I was worried at first because I normally don’t eat a lot of the foods it recommended for me.  I focused on three main foods that were ‘highly beneficial’ and tried to avoid the ones that the book encouraged me not to eat.

The results?  I love it!

This is a little what I’ve experienced so far:

  • higher energy levels
  • improved memory, more focused
  • better immune system
  • pulled a muscle in my foot from running – felt better after one acupuncture session

All in all, (and my sisters make fun of me for saying this) I just feel more balanced.  I really believe and encourage these small ways to improve your health before you have an issue or a concern.  Whether it’s small changes to your diet, adding services like acupuncture, or just simply being more aware and asking questions about your health, we will all benefit.

There are many resources.  One of my favorite bloggers (and the first one I ever started reading!) Healthy Tipping Point‘s husband is the co-founder of their business Holistic Wellness and their blog has lots of good info on all sorts of oriental medicine whether it’s acupuncture, supplements or other kinds of natural medicine therapies.  Ask the questions and be open.

What are your thoughts on acupuncture?  Freaked out by the needles or curious to try it?

Leftover Recipe

HIS: Leftovers are one of the best things about Thanksgiving.  Most of the time, leftovers can just be leftovers, heated up or not. And a cold turkey sandwich with a dab of cranberry sauce can be nice at midnight, or anytime over the Thanksgiving weekend.  But rather than eating the same things all over again or maybe it’s just more so a culinary challenge to ourselves, it’s our tradition to try to come up with creative ways to make the leftovers into something different.  And given that I’ve spent the past two Thanksgivings with the GF’s family, I was under some pressure to come up with something good to impress.

The nicer slabs of turkey are always saved for that second meal or a sandwich, but what are you going to do with that carcass and the scrappy bits of meat that aren’t sandwich-worthy? Soup comes to mind. A hearty minestrone wouldn’t go amiss, with white beans and chard, perhaps. Or you might rustle up a little turkey risotto.  But what I came up with was a soup that is something a bit lighter yet still packed with flavors – a pallet refresher from the previous night’s overindulgence.  I made it two years ago and it became such a crowd pleaser and that I decided to make it again this year but with a Mexican/Latin American twist.  Though it’s not quite 100% authentic, but it’s nonetheless a tasty version of the Sopa de Lima.

STEP ONE: To make this, it’s quite simple actually.  Simmer a pot of Turkey broth (use the meatiest carcass parts) with your favorite vegetables – carrots, celery, yellow onions and etc.  For the best flavors, throw in a few more halves of onions to get that aromatic rich taste.  Season the broth with teaspoons of sea salt, white pepper and red peppers to give it a kick.  And if you are like me and like leafy greens in your soups, give the Napa Cabbage a try.  It is the best in absorbing the essence of the soup, punching in the best flavors when biting into it.

Vegetables are essential to an aromatic rich Turkey broth

STEP TWO: Ensemble dices of avacado in your serving bowl then ladle in the turkey vegetable broth.  Top it off with some minced scallions and a light squeeze of lime juice.

Avacado then the broth

For presentation, pile some fried tortilla strips and cilantro at the center and pile high (rule of thumb, for presentation, always build up).  And voila!, you now have an aromatic and tasty bowl of turkey sopa de lima ready to serve.  Now, sit back and enjoy.

Running in the Rain

HER: Hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving is personally my favorite holiday…relaxing, playing games, family, great food – what’s not to love? We had a wonderful holiday with some delish food – J will post his award winning recipe that’s quickly becoming a tradition in my family.  Anyway, I’m here to write about the other side of eating all of that food – motivation to burn it off!  I decided to challenge my mind, body and stamina a couple weeks ago when I ran my first 10k. Now I know that a 10k isn’t a huge distance, but it was the perfect amount for me – the perfect first race.

I worked up to running 5-6 miles (2-3 days a week), ordered a new Sweaty Band (can not recommend more!), hydrated and felt strong & prepared for the race.

True story.  Our favorite waiter at my cousin’s restaurant, Sol, dropped this off at our table because he was sick of filling up my water glass so often – we ate there the night before my race.

The next morning, I woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed – luckily it just happened to fall on the day we gained an extra hour of sleep! I quickly got ready in all of my gear, headed down to the race spot, & posed for a series of dorky photos.

I gave J my jacket because I’m so paranoid about getting too hot while running – it makes me feel claustrophobic!  I plugged in my new running playlist on Spotify (love!), stretched a little, and before I knew it – waved goodbye to Jason & we were off!

I took off, jammed to my music, and tried to pace myself even though the adrenaline was pumping through my body.  I ran & ran & ran, thought ‘this is going to be easy as pie’ and then looked up and saw Mile 1.  Mile 1?! This is going to take longer than I thought.  Then I looked at my iPhone and realized only 9 1/2 minutes had passed.  Miles 2 & 3 ticked by quickly.  I spotted a woman at the beginning of the race and decided she would be my target.  I didn’t have a time goal in mind, I just decided I wanted to beat her and not stop running.  She pulled ahead and was a good distance in front of me in the beginning half of the race.

Then, it started to rain.  Slowly at first and welcomed.  Then, harder. And harder.  I turned the corner at mile 4, was running along the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and it started to pour uncontrollably.  I’m talking, torrential downpour.  Not to mention, I was now running against the wind & couldn’t see anything. I was freezing!  What are the odds?  The one day it rains in SoCal.  In any case, I struggled and I thought about walking, but I pushed through.  I kept going.  Eventually, I spotted ‘my target’ and moved passed her.  I swear I was her target too because she kept up with me & was always in the corner of my eye.

Through the blur, I eventually saw the finish line and decided I was just going to go for it.  I used every ounce of strength left, pushed past her, and sprinted towards the finish line.

I didn’t even notice J standing there at the finish line in the pouring rain.  I’m kind of glad because he accurately portrayed the ‘drowned rat’ look I had going on.

I was really happy when I finished – had a huge goofy grin on my face all day.  I couldn’t help but feel so proud of myself!  I was also pretty impressed with my time considering the conditions – 1:05:23!

Thanks for letting me self indulge for a second.  Bottom line is – anyone can do a race, regardless of the distance.  It’s such a great way to motivate yourself, challenge yourself, and just have a good time.  (I swear I’m not an affiliate for races).  Tell me, what are you doing to motivate yourself in between all of the holiday meals?