Monday, April 16, 2012


I have been drooling over this this pretty food blog for the past few days, so when presented with my own especially delightful breakfast this weekend, I felt compelled to take a picture of it:

My photo is not that great, but the meal was. Cristina's eggs: Crunchy toast with a bit of olive oil, topped with charred tomatoes, spinach, and poached eggs, and then finished with sprinkles of balsamic and parmesan.

Now go check out Simply Breakfast! It makes me wish I had leisurely mornings.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mission 6: Take a Multivitamin

Take a multivitamin every day.

I do this already. Plus I take all kind of other supplements depending on what strikes my fancy on any given week. I have high blood pressure so I'm taking some Omega business and some COQ10 business... and I can't even remember why I'm taking bee pollen right now. Energy? Anyway, I take plenty of vitamins, including the regular multivitamin. Done!

Next mission: "Keep the Outside Out." This involves removing our shoes at the door and creating "a transition space to minimize unwanted outdoor pollutants in your home." I like the thought of this, actually - spring in this snowy town is a mess. There is mud and sand and road salt everywhere, the dog hair is everywhere, dust and leaves are flying around... I would love if it would be possible to keep some of that to a minimum. Will try to implement with my family and will report back! Stay tuned!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mission 5: See the Glass as Half Full

I think it's become obvious by now that I am not "making changes" once a week. I'm okay with that. It's mainly the blogging assignments that define my schedule on this project and sometimes I just can't blog once a week. So... it's going to be 52 changes over a general period of time, then. Okay?

Mission #5: Develop an optimistic outlook.

This has actually been a good lesson for me, and one that I do keep thinking about every day, which is good, I think. The objective is to see the glass as half-full. Now, I am simply not myself if I am not worrying or stressing about something, so I have been trying to channel that worry and negativity into more positive thoughts. Recent examples:

(a) My condo complex just took away half our parking spots and we basically have to compete for the few spots there are or else park 3 blocks away. Everyone races home at 5:00 and peels around looking for one of the empty spots. It's pathetic and demeaning. I want to move.

New outlook: My condo is actually quite nice, once you get inside. Walking three blocks is not a huge nightmare. At least I don't live in Syria!

(b) When I'm at work, the incompetence kills me. I have one co-worker who has, on more than one occasion, literally laid her head on her desk and started snoring. I know I should just worry about my own work and not worry about anyone else, but how is this okay?!

New outlook: I am lucky to have a job. I do like my job, aside from some of the people around me. If I lived in Syria I wouldn't even have a job.

(c) My husband and I went to the desert for Easter weekend last weekend. We stayed in a friend's gorgeous condo, we had a really nice time, and yet I cried all the way home because our 4-day vacation wasn't longer.

New outlook: Be thankful you got four lovely days of vacation instead of none. Syrians don't get vacations!

(d) OMG it is so fucking cold in this town.

New outlook: But at least it's pretty!

I'm (sort of) kidding about all the Syrian stuff, but really, I am trying to be thankful for what I have instead of being sad about what I don't have. It's a good lesson. I have been consciously thinking about this every day. Hopefully one day I will become more naturally grateful, even without this assignment.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

fabulous palm desert weekend

sunny breakfast spot

grapefruit from the tree outside our door!

checking the score, even on vacation

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mission 4: Keep a Food Journal

Keep a food journal, and track everything you eat and drink each day.

Forget it. I'm definitely not doing the food journal.

The next mission, ironically, instructs me to BE POSITIVE.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mission 3: Keep Off the Couch

Apart from exercise, incorporate regular and routine activity into your lifestyle.

I am coming to the realization that these missions are clearly taking me more like 10 days to wrap up instead of a week. I can't seem to get started on time and then I just can't get to the blog often enough. So bear with me on that.

Anyway, "Week" 3. Really, all I have in my life lately is "regular and routine activity", and no actual vigorous exercise. I walk the dog a few times a day, I live in a three-story home so I am up and down those hideous stairs all the time, I walk to run errands. I am fine with "routine activity", I think. But getting exercise, on the other hand? Total bust. I did not exercise once this week. On the other hand, I stress about exercising pretty much constantly, so there is really no danger of my not being worried about this part of my life.

Onward! Next mission: Start a food journal. Ugh! I hate food journals!! How can I possibly conduct my secret binges on Double Stuff Oreos (or pretzels dipped in peanut butter) if I have to write about them?! Or, to be honest, just feel guilty because I am totally not going to write about them!? Ugh. Food journals.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

purse pause

Excuse me, can we please just take a moment to admire this Alexander McQueen clutch? Sigh.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

paper my walls

I'm really digging Anthropologie's current wallpaper designs. I would love to paper just one wall of a bathroom, say, or a walk-in closet with one of these fun prints.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mission 2: Get Your Zzz's

Get seven to eight hours of restful sleep every night.

I thought this would be my favorite homework assignment of all time. I love getting into my bed at night probably more than I love any other activity. I am serious.

But the thing is, I already try to get more and more sleep every night as it is. I worry about how fat I am for approximately 90% of my day, and I worry about my sleep habits for the remaining 10% of my waking hours. So compared to all the other topics in the world that I think about, worrying about sleep is right up there.

Here's the thing: My husband snores. Loudly, and often. He also thrashes. So I lie awake for hours most nights, frustrated to the point of tears because I am never allowed to sleep. (For the record, I don't "blame" my husband. I know he's not doing it on purpose. He's perhaps not exactly trying anything that might help the situation? But that's another issue.)

Anyway, the book told me to "optimize my sleep environment" and "minimize sleep inhibitors." I feel like I already do try to do this. I really do what I can to make myself feel restful. I never drink much caffeine (and when I do, I am finished with it by 10:00 a.m.). I take baths at night with lavender bath salts. I drink ginger tea while I read in bed. I wear ear plugs. I apply flower petal essences designed to make my mind feel at ease to my chest and the soles of my feet. I take calcium pills, wear an eye mask, and once in a while I nibble off one-third of a Tylenol PM caplet to take the edge off (too much Tylenol PM gives me a hangover). Short of gulping down a bottle of Ambien with a glass of wine, I honestly feel like I'm doing what I can to ameliorate my situation and encourage a restful night.

But the snoring husband does not get that I am "creating sleep rituals" and trying to "develop a sleep schedulel". Neither do my neighbors. This is how it went:

Earlier this week, after three nights of sleeplessness, I threw in the towel and moved myself into the pull-out couch in our office (we don't have a guest room/bed, sadly). It is so uncomfortable, but at least I'm the only one thrashing in there. Now let me tell you a little more about our house. We live in a condo complex, and everyone faces each other around a courtyard. We have a neighbor I call The Hacker. The Hacker is a lady who sits on her porch for, oh, I don't know, 19 hours a day, smoking and coughing. And I can hear everything, because it echoes around in the courtyard. So anyway, I moved into the guest room, and I'm almost falling asleep when... The Hacker starts hacking. At 2:00 a.m. So if it's not the Snorer, it's the Hacker.

On the next night, I just started out on the couch. I didn't even pretend that I was going to sleep in the big bed. I think I fell asleep around 10:00. Awesome! Well. Evidently this night was a big one for the Hacker because around 2:30 a.m. she starts singing. (Can I call it "singing"? Mumbling? Caterwauling?) Must have been a big night for her, because she was really feeling her tunes. I think she had headphones on because I couldn't hear any actual music - just the singing accompaniment. Also she didn't seem like she knew all the words. "NOWwWwwwww.... hmmm mmmm ... and wwmmm FREEEEEEEE!" So I listened to that for a couple of hours. There was no stopping the singing or the hacking.

The next night, I don't even know what woke me up, but I was lying in the dark, watching the minutes tick by on my alarm clock, when I heard the first gunshot. At first I wondered... fireworks? My town seems to have a lot of fireworks celebrations, but I couldn't think of a good reason for fireworks to be going off at 2:57 a.m. It was definitely a gun. I wonder what someone was shooting? A bear? There are a lot of elk in the neighborhood right now - maybe they were shooting an elk? A wolf that was getting after the elk? But at 3:00 a.m.? Probably not, but who knows. I live in Idaho. Then there was another shot. Hmm. No screaming, so... drunks shooting at trees? Into the air? Shooting at other people?! Should I be worried? I know I would really be mad if someone was shooting at me and none of the neighbors came to investigate. Am I being a bad neighbor? A third gun shot. So I lay awake listening and worrying that I should be doing something. But I didn't go outside because it is zero degrees here and then what if someone shoots me?!

(The gunshots were at 2:57, 2:59 and 3:21 a.m. I actually wrote this down, because (a) I'm wide awake, why not? and (b) What if there was criminal activity and the police came by my house to see if anyone heard anything? I wanted to get the details right. No officers ever showed up and I never did find out what the shooting was all about.)

So last night I was at my wits' end. I was ready to call this Mission a bust because I just haven't been able to get better sleep going for myself. Then - eureka! - I finally came up with the idea of looking for a white noise app for my phone. I found one! It has about 10 different sounds (crickets, ocean, train tracks) and a timer, so you can start it up and then it will turn itself off when you tell it to. This worked GREAT for me last night. It did not drown out the snoring (or the hacking or the coyotes that howl every morning at 5:00), but it did give me something else to focus on so that I could get back to sleep quickly. It kept me mellower, I think. I am going to keep trying it and will report back again next week. This could be what I have been looking for!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

52 Small Changes: Mission #1: Drink Up!

Drink an adequate amount of water each day to maintain a healthy level of hydration.

Here we go! Week #1 of my 52 small changes. (I think I will call them "missions". Makes it sound challenging and therefore more satisfying when I complete them. Also sort of like I'm a spy.) And I'm already behind on posting my "results", but visiting guests and the holiday weekend threw me off.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, drinking water isn't all that hard for me. I am sitting at a desk from 8-5 every day, so it is easy for me to have a glass of water at my desk and drink from it all day. Which I do.

I drink my water out of a giant plastic Duke cup that I have had since I was in college. I love this cup! It's got my sorority letters on it, I keep it for sentimental purposes, and it's huge, so I do
n't have to get up and fill my glass 20 times a day. However, for a long time now, I have been thinking that it is probably not the healthiest idea for me to be drinking out of an old, cracking plastic cup that is 20 several years old and has been seen rolling around in the back of my car, sitting in the sun, etc. BPAs with your water, miss?

So, this last week I finally got my act together and bought a nice little silicone-coated glass bottle to keep at my desk. I also managed to bring a few lemon slices with me to the office. I have been trying to add lemon to my water more often for detoxification purposes, so this week I really made an effort to do that.

Next (this) week's mission: Sleep more. AWESOME. Can't wait.

making oneself happier and healthier

I recently had an amazing girls' weekend at Miraval. I love that place. It is just so nice to slow down, focus on yourself and be quiet for a few days. We hiked, ate amazing food, and had a really lovely time.

While we were there I ran into another friend, Maren, completely randomly. She was on her own girls' weekend with other friends. Such a bonus gift during my trip! Anyway, during a chat one day, Maren recommended a book called The Happiness Project. I don't feel like summarizing the whole premise, but basically the author (Gretchen Rubin) basically had a revelation one day that she needed more happiness in her life, so she set about it. Which you can probably tell by the title of her book.

So while I was looking for The Happiness Project in the self-help section of the bookstore, I came across another book called 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You, by Brett Blumenthal. While Rubin's book is overarching, and her monthly happiness projects include "Contemplate the Heavens" and "Make Time for Friends," Blumenthal's book has projects like "Take a Multivitamin." I decided this book might be more appropriate for my capabilities. I bought both books.

I'm reading The Happiness Project off and on (alongside my usual novels) and am enjoying it. Rubin makes you think. I know I certainly feel I could be a little happier most days. I do appreciate everything I have, and I have a very nice life - but "happy"? I am interested to see how the author's project ends.

As for 52 Small Changes, I have decided ... drum roll ... to chronicle my use of this book's suggestions on this blog. Each week for a year I will look at one of the 52 changes and see if I can incorporate it into my life, whether or not its useful to me, whether or not I feel happier and healthier because of it.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I am mostly doing this because I need a theme for posting in my blog. I am better when I have assignments. I think it's probably boring for everyone (myself included) to write/read about what I'm reading every week, and I am SO over Etsy (now Pinterest, on the other hand...). So this weekly thing will give me something to post about.

I don't necessarily think this book is going to be LIFE-CHANGING. I mean, the first week's instructions are to "Drink More Water". I already drink gallons of water, so this won't be that hard for me, nor will it change my life. However, maybe there is some related change I can make that will be useful. We'll see! I know you'll be on the edge of your seat until next weekend's big reveal!