Posts filed under ‘Fashion’

Like, OMG! Fashion!

FASHION! HAH!

While I definitely think I manage to make myself look at least somewhat presentable most of the time, I’m certain I rarely warrant a, Oh my gosh, you look so cute!  Totally guilty of having a “uniform” and sticking to it. Religiously.

Behold.

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or

Yeah. I am pretty much guaranteed to be wearing some combination of this outfit 8 times out of 10. It’s partially because it’s amazingly versatile — it can work for almost any season, and you can mix and match everything in your closet. But it’s also because it’s what I feel the most comfortable wearing…Cardigans, if picked out and worn correctly! — can complement curves and hide….lumps? Haha.

My favorite spots to score cardis and camis are LOFT, Banana, Gap and J. Crew. All known for their plain — albeit adorable — styles. Eeep.

My work “dress code” is very casual, so while it’s totally acceptable to show up looking super adorable and dressed up — just as it’s totally acceptable (but still unfathomable to me) to show up in ripped jeans and old sneakers — I’m looking to strike a happy medium using clothes I can also wear on the weekends.

BUT.

My other problem is what I wear when I’m not trying to look good and simply aiming for not homeless. My day off/working from home/pre- or post-gym/it’s-Saturday-and-I-have-things-to-do-but-don’t-want-to-shower-because-I’m-going-out-tonight-and-don’t-feel-like-showering-twice-in-one-day … *INHALE* … look is going out in my “nicer” gym clothes (aka Lulu) with brushed hair and some makeup on.

I totally look like this when I hit the gym. NOT.

Are you guys guilty of this? I feel like I’m totally copping out by admitting this, but it’s totally acceptable because it’s all, “Hey! I’m active and physically fit! I ran 77 miles before you even woke up this morning so it’s totally legit to walk around in my gym clothes! Why YES, my hair DOES always look this perfect after I work out…why do you ask?”

Don’t you guys love me? Haha.

Should I just stick with what works? Or try and branch out with some new styles? But I don’t know what to wear. What do normal people wear every day!?? WHAT THE HELL IS A JEGGING? OMG LIFE IS HARD.

(For the record, I totally have a bunch of dresses that I regularly wear in the summer, but haven’t yet mastered the winter dress and tights look, and can’t seem to find a single skirt that doesn’t make me look 1000x ridiculous, so that’s not really an option).

Also, sometimes I wear this.

This was fun.

Please help me.

Love you all.

September 22, 2011 at 6:30 am 5 comments

Another anti-dude tirade

Sometimes, everything sucks.

—-pause—-

I’m giving you complete permission to skip this post if my opening line proved to be too cheery for you. I don’t think this will turn out to be a total Debbie Downer, but it’s at least gonna start that way.

A good friend (okay, a very good friend — like best friend) of mine just had a short but intense relationship end. She was under the impression that all the good things it had brought were just beginning (as was everyone else who was witness to this twosome), and didn’t see the abrupt end coming. Her birthday is tomorrow.

source: Texting My Pancreas

That just…that just sucks. I’m concerned for my ability to comfort and be there for her, because this reminds me all too much of my fading but still-recent-enough-to-be-painful breakup, and the best things I can come up with to say do not do a very good job of masking my intense disdain for anything with a penis. Dudes are awful.

This dude doesn’t suck that much, but as whole, most dudes still suck tremendously. I don’t like that this happened so close to her birthday, and I don’t like that he ended things only after pulling both of them past the this-could-still-just-be-a-fling point.

Of course, he still wants to talk to her and like omgletsbefriends.

source: someecards.com

We all know how I feel about that.

I’ll be joining her tonight to hopefully drown some of our sorrows in a messy alcoholic haze, but I’m going to have to do my best to keep my man-hating rants to myself. Bitching about a dude that hairline-fractured (not broke) my heart isn’t gonna do her any good, but it’s hard not to want to scream SEEITOLDYOUSOAREN’THEYALLHORRIBLEOMG

(To clarify, I don’t really hate men. I just think they’re mostly worthless putzes at the moment. This may just be temporary.)

it's fun to break up with people over text message!

This week I was also stood up by a freaking OKCupid date who I had not yet met. I’m having a little trouble understanding this logic, seeing as he asked me out, sent me several nice, normal-sounding conversational emails, set up a date, then went to the trouble of emailing me asking if we could postpone (major eyeroll and air quotes here, people) the date — did he Google me and find some horrific picture I don’t yet know exists? Shocker shocker, he was never heard from again (which is slightly awkward as his full name sits prominently at the top of my gchat list now). But clearly he’s an asshole and seeing as I didn’t even waste a leg shave or a swipe of overly expensive lipstick on the bastard, I’m almost glad he showed his true colors this early. But really, guys — what gives? Someone needs to lock these kind of idiots in a cage before they reach breeding age.

source: Street Knowledge Media

On a cheerier note, I got some new glasses! After paying an arm, a leg, and my pinky toe (for a copay, obviously), I am the proud owner of a pair of Oliver Peoples hipsta-nerd glasses. I kind of love them. Everyone may just be being nice, but I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on them as well, which makes me feel a little more secure since they were outrageously expensive and not exactly…neutral looking? A certain dude who shall not be mentioned (and yes, I know you’re reading this) asked me, however, if this was a situation where he had to lie just to be nice. And said that they mask my sweetness, or something along those lines.

Big middle finger.

I like them, so I stick my tongue out at you, sir! I’m a sweet pea, and my glasses ain’t gonna change that.

In conclusion, men are giant babies who deserve to be locked in cages. And I’m getting drunk tonight.

August 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm 5 comments

Fire + ice

Good lord, has it been hot in Chicago lately. I have taken to wearing either next to nothing (while at home only, of course), or workout/wicking clothes most of the time because it’s literally like an oven outside this week. Yesterday’s heat-inspired outfit at least looked somewhat put-together:

I feel like my head looks awkwardly huge here…but yeah, that’s my new Lululemon CRB (cool racerback), a hat to cover up the major sweaties/greasies and some cool, comfy LOFT shorts. Flip flops were obviously worn as well.

This was worn as a work from home outfit, but my working was intended to be at the Caribou nearby. Unfortunately, I got there and paid for a drink before finding out that their WiFi wasn’t working! I feel like that is kind of a big deal for a coffee shop where people sit around and work, so I was pretty annoyed that they didn’t have some sort of sign up or something. Small potatoes, but still. Hmph.

I decided to just go back home and finish my work there. I had rented a Zipcar at 6 o’clock to run some errands, so I didn’t want to waste time walking around to another coffee shop when my apartment was much closer. Still though, I hate being cooped up inside all day. At least it was a good day to hide out in the AC.

It was also a beautiful night for colors in the sky.

Isn’t that incredible? I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it looked at dusk.

Even though I have AC in my apartment and it stays pretty cool because it’s so small, I haven’t wanted to use the oven at all — something about hot food or standing over a steamy pot just makes me want to gag. Tuesday night, I made an Amy’s frozen veggie lasagna that was actually really good. I can’t remember what I ate on the side, but it was some sort of vegetable….

The portion size seemed just right (enough to feel slightly indulgent and filling, but not too huge where it was overly filling or had too many calories). The veggie filling was also nicely bulked up, and while I would have preferred whole wheat pasta, the organic ingredient list was nice. I highly recommend it!

Last night, I went all cold and picked up some sesame tofu (marinated but I don’t think they were fried) from the Whole Foods prepared foods case. For some reason I don’t really like the way sesame oil smells, even though I like how it tastes, so the smell kind of put me off and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m so glad I tried it though — it was AMAZING!

(Sorry for all the crappy camera phone pics). I know this doesn’t look like much, but I promise it was delicious. If you see these, definitely give them a try! I also picked up a lemon-lime Zevia because I was craving soda. To continue with the no-cook theme, I made another massaged raw kale salad. This time, it was just kale, olive oil, sea salt, white balsamic vinegar and garlic powder. I topped it with grape tomatoes.

I love how easy this is to make, plus I feel like I’m eating superfood when I make it (I guess I am!). It’s perfect for hot nights.

So this morning, I finally got to see my doctor regarding the knee pain I’ve been experiencing. I’ve had knee problems for a long time, but they’ve never really interfered with my life like they have been doing lately. I know it’s in part due to my increased running, but I know that that’s just what intensified the problem, not what caused it.

I got up early to work from home for an hour or so, then headed out to see the doc before going into work. My doctor confirmed my suspicions in that it’s not my IT band and likely not my actual knee that’s causing the problem, but it’s actually “further upstream” in my hip. My right hip is tighter and slightly higher up than my left, causing a misalignment and subsequent knee pain. Some physical therapy focusing on hip stabilizing and strengthening, as well as strengthening my gluteus med muscles, should really help, so she wrote me a scrip. I can’t wait!

Doesn’t she have such nice handwriting for a doctor? I seriously love my doc — she is a D.O. as well as a licensed clinical social worker, and puts a lot of focus on holistic health, and always recommends natural and healthy alternatives like yoga, whole foods and natural supplements. Please let me know if you live in Chicago and would like a recommendation! I can’t speak highly enough about her!

When I got to work, I had not one, but two Amazon packages waiting for me. I seriously have a problem! I worry someone is going to nominate me for Hoarders soon…

One item was super-relevant to the doctor’s orders today.

She told me I need to be icing both sides of my knee for 15 minutes every day, twice a day (wow!) so I’m glad this came in the mail. I know I can use frozen peas, but it will be nice to have at least one “real” ice pack since I don’t have any. I still got a bunch of other stuff too though.

I know, I’m insane. Look at all those boxes! But I got some fun goodies, including:

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book I’ve been wanting to read forever
  • A kitchen scale which will not only be useful for cooking/baking (weight is much more reliable than volume), but also occasional portion checking
  • A 4-pack of dark chocolate roasted almonds that were WAY cheaper than at the store. Can keep some at work for afternoon snacks, some in gym bag, some at home!
  • A (not pictured) locking glass shaker bottle that I will use for transporting smoothies!
  • Another fun surprise that will be revealed soon!

Love. Love love love love love. This is a clear case of the wild hair syndrome, but whatever – I know I will use all this stuff, and I am really jazzed about the new book. I’m also super excited that Mel offered to lend me her Hunger Games books! Thanks, Mel!! :)

Just for fun, here are a few more 5k pictures.

This was my post-race brunch:

Not sure if I remembered to mention the bacon in that brunch or not, haha.

cutie-pie Amy

Amy's face describes exactly how we felt at the end

anguish!

I am going to get back to work, but I hope you are all having a wonderful day and aren’t melting in this heat. I’m going to try to make it to the gym tonight as my knee is finally feeling a little better, but I’m still wary of busting it up even more. See ya!

July 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm 7 comments

The wild hair

My dad has this ridiculous phrase he is always tossing after me: “Laura, you’ve got to comb the wild hair growing out of your ass.”

Yes, my dad is ridiculous. And very gross. I’m pretty sure he was the original #shitmydadsays.

What he means with this phrase is that once I get an idea in my head, it’s nearly impossible for me to focus (at least fully) on anything else until I get/do whatever that thing is, or if something else (aka another “wild hair”) comes along.

Well, guys, I have a serious wild hair growing right now, except it’s not just for one thing. I don’t know what my deal is — maybe it’s the warm weather, but it’s like I have this voice in my head screaming, “SPEND! SPEND! SPEND MONEY!” Every day I’m reminded of something else I want or need, but then I remember the sorry state of my bank account, the reason behind my lack of funds being this exact silly voice!

At the top of my list:

A Kindle. This is nothing new — I’ve been ranting and raving all over Twitter and the blog about how badly I want a Kindle. Unfortunately, I have too many unread books waiting for me to justify this expense right now, despite how frequently I read. I’ll probably save this one for my Christmas list.

An iPod touch. I’m pretty sure my full-size iPod was stolen on the train (along with my Michael Kors watch!), but I have a nano and a smartphone, so this isn’t a huge necessity.

A Garmin ForeRunner. Obviously not a necessity either because I’m not a super-serious runner, but now that I know that I can run a few miles without totally dying, I would like to work more on improving my pace and learn more about splits and how different elevations + mileages affects me. This might also have to go on the Christmas list.

Some new clothes and shoes. Because you can’t ever have enough, right? (Wrong). In all seriousness though, I desperately need jeans that don’t have holes in them. Not a pressing issue in the summer, thankfully.

A new pair of running shoes. I love my Mizunos, but I might have to retire them sooner than I had planned because they just feel a bit too big because I’m in between sizes in the Wave Rider’s new release. This makes me sad :(

Lululemon’s Cool Racerback (aka CRB) and Groove shorts. The CRB is brand new and it looks sooo amazing. I’m not big on wearing tanks when I exercise (they make me feel a little too exposed), but this one looks too cute and comfy to resist, plus it’s longer than most wicking tanks, so my ample chest won’t give it the illusion of a midriff top. Their Groove shorts are also amazing.

Some Tarte cheek stain. Cause it’s cute :)

This. No explanation necessary.

 

 

New running gear always gets me super excited to hit the gym or the streets, even if it’s something small like a headband. What are you currently coveting?

 

July 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm 5 comments

Hey, I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything was right…

Retail therapy, much? (Mr. Paolo Nutini sure knew what he was talking about)

image

I’m thinking I like ’em. They’re a little funky/unusual for me, but I kinda dig em. The only issue is that, while you can’t really see it in the photo, they’re feeling a tad bit large. When my foot moves back into that little molded heel-cup thingie, there’s a lot of space between my toes and the rest of the shoe, and I hate how that looks (do you know what I’m talking about? Where there is too much…sole showing…?)

Thankfully, I have this hideously pukey-colored green carpet to walk around on and test em out :)

My other “therapy” plans for the night? Seeing Mr. Ray LaMontagne in Millennium Park with one of my best buddies in the world — my big bro! I CAN’T WAIT!

Ray Lamontagne “Jolene” (Directors Cut) from Ben Unwin on Vimeo.

June 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm 1 comment

Hiatus

Friends, I have a confession to make…

I’m sure you’ve noticed I haven’t been posting much lately. That I’ve gone MIA from time to time. There’s a reason for this.

It has been..gasp…an entire month since I’ve worked out.

Gulp.

I could explain to you how life has been hectic and stressful (it has), with starting a new job and moving to a new apartment. I could explain how I simply feel burnt out, and couldn’t get myself excited or motivated with the usual tactics. I could even tell you about the knee pain that has been plaguing me, with the only solution being a seemingly expensive trip to the physical therapist that I simply cannot afford at the moment.

Unfortunately, these are just excuses. I haven’t exercised (vigorously) because…well, because I haven’t. I’ve chosen not to. There have certainly been days (say, the two weeks I was very sick with a nasty cold/sinus infection) where working out wouldn’t have been an option, or at least a good one, but there have been other days where I simply said, Eh, I don’t feel like it today. I’d rather watch TV and lay around the apartment.

I need to cut this shit out.

I’m running my first 5k in a few weeks, and thankfully I had been training enough beforehand where I feel I’ll still have plenty of time to do just fine, but this is the point where I need to shake some sense into my lazy ass and get it back in gear. I know a huge part of this has been feeling sorry for myself, not being able to fit in all the fun social activities brimming from every corner of Chicago in the summertime AND get my workouts in. Oh, well if I work out after work, I can’t do spontaneous things after work, like beers on the patio or concerts in the park. Well, Laura, figure it out.

I can’t lie to you — I’m freaked out. I’m worried that I’m going to continue to lose my diligence and totally suck at (or even completely bail out of) this 5k, especially after telling almost everyone I know about it. I’m worried I’m going to lose a grip on the progress I’ve made from making healthier portion and food choices, resulting in a ~10ish lb. weight loss. I’m worried I’m going to slip on a bathing suit and feel terrible about myself (again). I’m worried the lumpiness I see creeping up on my thighs is going to get worse.

I don’t like how I feel when I’m not working out, but sometimes — well, I’m a lazy piece of shit. It’s go-time, and I need to keep my eye on the prize and come up with a solution that will work with a) my tendency toward skipping workouts in order to lay on the couch or grab dinner/drinks with friends, b) my busy schedule, and c) my utter hatred of mornings/total inability to wake up early.

I have no idea how to do this. If you’ve been reading for awhile but never commented, now is the time…any and all tips, suggestions, stories or motivators are welcomed….Oh hell…PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO DO THIS, GUYS! I NEED HELP!!

Hmph. Well, that’s that :D

In other news, I’m still totally addicted to Greek yogurt. Seriously, this stuff is my crack — I go through a giant tub per week. It’s so delicious! And ya know what else is in abundance in Casa de Laura?

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STRAWBERRIES. Oh. Mah. Gawd. I can’t get enough.

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I had some with oatmeal the other day, but it couldn’t hold up against the creamy Fage 0% I usually roll with…There is almost always a healthy sprinkling of cinnamon, Milk + Honey Cafe Mix Granola and walnuts involved as well.

I’ve also been rolling on the salad wagon lately. Below is my unbelievably tasty mustard maple chicken atop some butter lettuce, cukes, goat cheese and Sabra roasted red pep hummus. Despite the fact that I was pretty hungry a few hours later (no carbs, maybe?), this salad was GOOD.

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Today I mixed it up a bit with butter and torn-up red leaf lettuce, cukes, some pinto beans, goat cheese, baby carrots and some organic chicken breast that I slow cooked last night with thyme, TJ’s 21 Seasoning Salute, garlic powder and veggie broth. The chicken was insanely flavorful, and all the flavors mixed together perfectly. As a bonus, the added beans really gave this bad boy some sticking power, but because I am a fatty and seriously can’t understand how anyone can eat JUST a salad for lunch (wtf??), I swiped a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle from a friend, watered down half the can with some hot water from the Keurig, and had at it (only 70 calories! nice!). It was a perfect lunch for a wet, dreary day. I love gloomy weather from time to time, but Chicago has been testing my patience recently…

Anyway, I’m off to finish up the work day. I did some seriously ill-advised shopping last week and came home with far too many adorable dresses, so I’ll be sure to share those coming up here. Thanks for reading my nutty rant, and please do provide feedback if you have any, I’d love to hear from you!

May 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm 4 comments

Big changes

Howdy!

This is my friend Amy. She makes me smile :)

Hi Amy!

We decided to put on some cheap (and not so flattering…) sunglasses after a few beers and have a photo shoot. This is why we are friends :D

My life is going through some crazy transitions right now, and one of which involves this lovely lady above! I will be moving out of my current apartment soon, and Amy might be a new roommate. Thrilled doesn’t do justice to my excitement about this!

The issue, however, is that my current lease is not up until August 31. Amy’s is not up until July 31. And, well….as I may have mentioned before, I don’t exactly love my roommates.

I’ve been trucking along and doing the best I can to get by though, and for the most part things have been fine. Recently, however, things have taken a turn for the worse. I’m naturally somewhat of an anxious person when things get stressful, and the relationship (or lack thereof) between the troublesome roommate and I is making me physically ill with stress. Not only does coming home when I know she is there put a knot in my stomach, but she is also disrespectful and even took something of mine (a coach purse), then lied about it when I asked (nicely) for it back.

I’m feeling like I can’t live here anymore, but am not sure if I can afford to move out.

BUT. I am a happy, goofy, hilarious and fun person that is generally positive an optimistic about life.

Those last two are pretty weird, huh? I was trying to emphasize the “goofy” part, hah! Say hello to my friend Amanda in that last one — she is pretty fantastic!

I truly believe in the mantra that if you don’t like something, you should change it. Instead of sitting around feeling miserable, you can get up and do something about it! Life doesn’t always (or really, never does) go as planned, but if you are flexible, positive and willing to go along for the adventure, everything will be okay and turn out exactly like it is supposed to.

Because my current roommate situation has gone from “nuisance” to something that is actually interfering with my happiness and living of my daily life, I have decided to look for a new place to live ASAP as a temporary solution.

This freaks me out for a number of reasons: 1) moving is expensive, 2) living on your own is expensive, 3) I have a lot of stuff and moving is a HUGE pain, and 4) I’m not sure how exactly this will work out. I will have to coordinate the timing of my moving out with someone new moving in to takeover my lease (and who knows how difficult a person will be to find), and I also have to talk to my roommate about doing this. Since she is the type of person that seems to need to control everything, I’m not sure how this will go. I just know that I need to get out of there for the sake of my sanity, and that I cannot afford to pay for 2 apartments at once.

Wish me luck.

Another big change that I’m beyond excited about is that I (officially) have…

…drumroll…

A NEW JOB!

I’m keeping the company name under wraps (at least for now) because I haven’t really ironed out how comfortable I feel about sharing that sort of thing, but it’s for a large and well-known company in Chicago that I’m thrilled to be joining. My start date is April 25; I’ll be part of the editorial staff and will finally be back on salary, something I haven’t been on since I moved from Madison and switched jobs back in June. It’s been a looooong time coming, friends.

Big changes, but happy changes. I hope I can keep improving my life everyday and continue to be the happy, downright KICKASS chick that I know I am (she’s just been hiding from satan roommate).

I’ve had some delicious eats recently, but I’ve scarfed most of them down before thinking to take a picture! (bad blogger!) Salads are back in my life, and I’m so happy about it because I think a big salad a day is what makes me feel the best. In today’s mix:

  • huge handful of arugula
  • huge handful of TJ’s organic broccoli slaw
  • sliced leeks (soo crunchy and add a huge pop of taste without being too onion-y)
  • sliced 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/4 avocado cubed
  • a few shakes of ground flax
  • 3 oz grilled chicken
  • TJ’s lemon pepper seasoning
  • big dollop of TJ’s Mediterranean hummus

It was DEEELISH. It was so crisp and fresh tasting, but I feel totally satisfied afterward. I also have an orange to munch on later. I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture, but I’m sure I’ll have the exact same lunch tomorrow! :)

I made an internet pact with my buddy Mike last night that we would both hit the gym today, since we’ve both been slacking this week. The universe must have answered my prayers yesterday when I was talking about lacking motivation, because it arrived to my doorstep yesterday in a shiny little package!

I wish it had been SHAPE or Women’s Health, but hey, I’ve always said that the ladymags are the best way to get my butt to the gym when all else fails.

See ya on the flip side!

April 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm Leave a comment

The higher you fly… [+ mustard-maple chicken]

…the farther you fall.

I spoke too soon, blog friends — I’ve had a rough night.

After work, I stopped at Banana Republic to return a dress I decided I didn’t want (I am a serial returner — I seriously can’t decide on anything until I have it home). I purposely didn’t bring my Banana Card so I wouldn’t buy anything in exchange for the dress since I can’t really afford it right now, but I still wanted to shop around since I am feeling those spring-y urges to wear bright and colorful things (of which I have none).

Enter the dreaded dressing room mirror.

I don’t know if it was because it was nearing the end of the day and I was tired, the particular cut of the clothes I was trying or simply just all in my head, but it was one of those days when every single thing I tried on looked..awful. It’s disheartening because I’ve felt fantastic lately since I’ve kicked up my workout routine. The scale hasn’t budged much, but I can see and feel myself getting stronger, and a pair of jeans that had been too tight all winter is fitting again.

Not today, though. Everything was too tight, or pulled in the wrong direction, or just looked…bad. One failed clothing item after another piled up higher and higher in the dressing room when I finally had just had enough. I’m starting to realize that this is why I seem to wear some variation of the exact same thing — it’s because I don’t feel comfortable in much else.

I’m sorry to be such a downer, guys; I’m just really feeling down tonight. How do you cope with those awful dressing room days?

Instead of going to the gym, I wanted to get home and cook a wholesome dinner and get myself to bed early — there is no situation or mood that is made better by being exhausted. A good night’s sleep works wonders.

So does a good meal.

I really can’t believe I went so long without eating Brussels sprouts. Mmmmmmmmm. To accompany my massive batch of sauteed sprouts I made some chicken. What’s so shocking about chicken, you may ask? Well…it had mustard.

crispity crunchy

Please excuse the crazy burned sauce..I don’t know another way to do it! But at least I didn’t set off the smoke alarm this time :)

If you know me at all (or would like to know now), I despise all things mustard. I don’t know why, but I have never ever liked the smell, taste or even look of mustard — it seriously grossed me out.

Recently though, I’ve been trying to be (even more) open minded about food and tried something with stone grond mustard in it. The real shocker was that I actually liked it! I think stone ground mustard has a much more savory, complex flavor than your acidic, stinky yellow mustard or even dijon. This makes me happy, because mustard is used in so, so many recipes — in everything from salad dressing to sauces to marinades — for a lot of flavor bang for your calorie buck, and I had been missing out on it. Call me crazy, but I think I kinda like stone ground mustard!

Let’s not get all crazy now, though — I still need to do this in moderation! ;)

My dinner turned out wonderful. I wanted something that wasn’t too carb-y or had cheese (okay, that’s a lie, but after feeling the way I did today, I wanted something that wouldn’t make me feel like a piece of lard) so I went with my own take on maple-mustard baked chicken.

Laura’s Maple-Mustard Chicken

Ingredients (serves one)

  • Two boneless, skinless chicken thighs (organic, if possible)
  • Heaping tablespoon of stone ground mustard
  • Heaping tablespoon (or eyeball a pour) of maple syrup
  • Tablespoon red wine vinegar or cooking sherry
  • Liberal shake of garlic powder
  • Liberal shake of poultry seasoning (or any combination of thyme, basil, marjoram and sage)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray baking dish or cookie sheet with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix mustard, wine/sherry, maple syrup and spices. Whisk together and adjust ingredients as necessary so mixture has the consistency of ranch dressing (thick enough so that it won’t run all over the pan while cooking).

Place chicken thighs in dish and spoon mustard mixture over chicken, making sure to cover completely. Bake on center rack for 20-40 minutes until meat is cooked through (I did about 30 minutes).

It’s slightly sweet, savory, healthy and oh-so-tasty. Try it out! You won’t be disappointed :)

And now, because I want to smile, some puppy pictures from my weekend in Madison

Hi Shandy!

March 21, 2011 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

What I’m loving lately

I’ve seen a few of these posted on some of my favorite blogs, so I thought I’d try one out myself!

 

https://prettylittlewords.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/mistooliveoilspray.jpg?w=300

This little guy is SERIOUSLY amazing. It’s kind of like Pam spray, but for your olive oil! I have a tendency to liberally pour olive oil over everything (because it tastes good, duh), which can sometimes get me in trouble in the calorie department. This thing is not only amazing for spraying (instead of pouring) into your saute pan, but is especially amazing for making salads. I don’t often use salad dressing at home, so this makes it super quick and easy to enjoy some simple but nutritious flavor.

 

  • My rice cooker

This was a great purchase. I had a hard time deciding which one I wanted because there are seriously SO many options. One had a bread-maker function (should have gotten that one!), there were round ones, square ones, flower-print ones, cheap ones and a few that cost more than my monthly rent. I went with this model because it was pretty affordable (about $60), had fuzzy logic (sensor logic, as they call it) technology, and was large enough for bigger batches, but a practical (6 cup) size for me. I have always sucked at making rice, so every time I use this bad boy I’m still astounded at how simple rice making can be. Why did I wait so long?

  • Hannah’s Bretzel

Spanish Serrano Ham + Manchego Cheese (551cal)Hannah’s Bretzel has quite possibly created the perfect sandwich. I’m not kidding. This thing might change your life. I haven’t gone in quite awhile, but a friend was talking about it yesterday and planted a serious craving that will need to be nixed very soon. If you live in Chicago, go. That is all.

I tried this stuff for the first time at the recommendation of Gina at the Fitnessista and couldn’t believe I haven’t tried it sooner!! I must be nuts, because this stuff is the bee’s knees. It’s creamy and delicious, not overly salty, and has just the right kick of flavor. I usually stick with classic hummus from Trader Joe’s or Tribe, but was in the mood for something a little different because I wanted to try using hummus for a salad topper. If you have not tried this yet, trust me — it is HEAVEN. I honestly can’t believe I’ve gone this long without hummus in my salad!! It will be a mainstay from now on, that’s for sure.

Paula Deen Signature 9"x13" Quarter Sheet Pan

Loving this simply because it was my very first cookie sheet purchase of my own. Lame, I know, but it was exciting. I got two :)

Maritime dress

This is almost too cute to be true. I love dresses for more reasons than I can count, but don’t have as many as I’d like…This one might have to make it into my closet sometime soon!

Because….well, just because. Too bad they’re sold out in my size already! :(

 

Hope you enjoyed my lust-worthy list…Looks like I will have to find a second (or third!) job if I expect to be able to afford food with all this stuff!

Fun surprise coming up, so stay tuned…

February 16, 2011 at 11:31 am 4 comments

Super wha?

Hello friends! It’s been awhile and I apologize; my epic snow-blogging experience took quite a bit out of me (okay, perhaps it was the being sick part and not so much the blogging). Nonetheless, I just somehow couldn’t find the motivation to write anything decent for y’all.

Post-snowpocalypse, my week was still somewhat busy. Since I was out of commission for a full workday mid-week, I felt behind and really rushed to make my deadlines by the end of the week. Luckily I was given some (much-needed) leeway due to the storm and my illness, but that didn’t make missing deadlines feel any better.

Let’s get crackin’

Another unfortunate consequence of being sick last week was being unable to get to the gym. All things considered, the timing was probably perfect, as right before my food poisoning/flu/mystery illness hit, I began having some pretty painful recurrences of a knee problem. Although I’ve seen a doctor and a physical therapist for this knee pain, no one can really seem to figure out what it is or what is causing it. Several doctors have suggested IT band issues, but I had read that IT band-related knee pain is usually on the side of the knee, while my pain is throughout the kneecap and on top. It’s also very sharp and painful, and occurs when I’m going up or down stairs, or putting a lot of weight on it (treeking through a snow drift, for example).

Recently, though, I read about Tina’s (from Carrot’s ‘n’ Cake) struggles with her IT band (seen here and here) and decided to try again, and this time with a chiropractor as she did. I’ve seen a chiropractor before so I knew that I enjoy and believe in their practice. My insurance plan is somewhat picky though, so instead of looking a practitioner up on my own, I took the less-than-ideal approach of asking my insurance for the name of someone nearby. I looked her up to make sure she wasn’t a nutjob, then called and make an appointment for Saturday morning. (It was initially for Wednesday night, but a certain snowstorm got in the way of that.)

HOLY COW.

This lady was certainly not the sort of chiro I was used to….I showed up, and her office was much more low-key than my last doctor, who had a very medical-office feel to his practice. This felt almost like it was set up in the back room of someone’s home, which made me nervous at first, but I gave it a shot. She explained to me that she has a very hands-on approach and believes strongly in deep tissue massage. For those unfamiliar with this, it translates to pain.

source

After I slipped into the standard issue backless/assless robe, she lubed me up with some baby oil straight outta the bottle (WHAT?) and got to work on my back and neck. Ow ow ow ow ow OW was all I could think the entire time — this lady meant BUSINESS! She told me that my right shoulder is ridiculously tight (duh) along with my neck, and that the alignment in my spine around my bra strap is also off (also duh). The duh’s are because a) I’ve seen a chiro before, and b) a friend of mine was in chiro school for awhile and enjoys adjusting me regularly :)

After some quick discussion about what was causing me problems (IT band), she sent in another woman who I hadn’t seen up to this point. She had a heavy Eastern European accent and asked me to point to where I was having pain, then disappeared for a minute only to return with an anatomical chart telling here where to apply pressure depending on which body part was experiencing pain.

At this point, I was thinking “Woah, woah woah — when did this become an open-book exam? Why do you need notes?!” I was confused and completely nervous, but once she started working me over, it became apparent she knew what she was doing. And again, let me repeat — this means PAIN. She started massaging my IT band and  literally had me writhing on the table in pain. She apologized and assured me that if the pain was a 5/10 I should tell her to stop. (Nevermind the fact that I have no idea how to distinguish this — all I felt was PAIN or no pain. How do you put, “OW, that fucking HURTS!” on a 1-10 scale??). I knew enough to know though, that if it hurt this badly, then it was badly needed. She then got to work on another painful spot on the inside of my knee, then one near my hip (she said my hip muscles are seriously shortened from sitting at a desk all day….I wish there was something I could do about that…)and finally, my personal favorite of the day — my GLUTE.

Yep, she massaged my ass. And it tickled. And hurt. And felt weird. I wonder how many other people have started laughing during this process? I hope I’m not the first.

Anyway, they sent me along assuring me that I would probably be somewhat sore the next day. And she was right.

I’ll be seeing them again, and I could feel some improvement in my knee already, so I’m hoping this will continue to help — otherwise, I have no idea how to fix this knee pain. I’ll also be using the foam roller on my IT band on my own, so we’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out!

Aside from my chiropractic adventure, my weekend was mostly low-key. I spent some time reading, sleeping in, hanging out with the kitties and watching old movies. It was a little boring, but I think my body needed the rest. As did my wallet =/

I totally didn’t watch the Super Bowl.

Foodstuffs

Last week, I was seriously disappointed because the nearby grocery store (where I usually pick up a quick lunch if I haven’t packed anything) was out of stock of my favorite chicken burrito, so I picked up the closest equivalent. I’ll post a picture later, but it was Ian’s something-or-other, and it looked about the same, so I didn’t think twice. Bad move, because this bad boy was SIGNIFICANTLY less healthy! Gah! More calories (by almost a hundred!), more sodium, more everything. Not good. And it didn’t taste anywhere near as good either!

Thankfully, they had them back in stock today, so I made sure to grab two :) Along with my seriously-missed burrito, I had some baby cucumbers and a banana and an icy glass of Dr. Zevia.

Last night, I made a very un-orthodox trip to Whole Paycheck and picked up some goodies that I’m far more excited about than I should be. I also grabbed some pre-cooked rosemary chicken breasts and used one on a huuuuge dinner salad last night.

I’d love to share some pictures, but I can’t get my camera/phone to cooperate at the moment. Look for them tonight, as I will also be updating with 1) whatever I decide to do with a looooverly eggplant I picked up for dinner, and 2) what I should wear on an upcoming…wait for it…DATE! Tomorrow! Too little time to prepare, gah!

Adieu for now!

February 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment

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