Posts tagged ‘self confidence’

Tag, you’re it!

This isn’t my “7 Links” post. Not yet.

So, I’m having a crappy day today. I’m still struggling with the acceptance of an unfortunate situation which I cannot change, and right now, it’s making my day pretty tough. In turn, I’m feeling down about myself, and a lot of negative thoughts are creeping around inside my head. So, in tune with Caitlin and Operation Beautiful, as well as taking my very own words of advice behind the reasons for starting this blog in the first place, I’m going to create my own blogger-tagging post to remind myself of just a few of the many, many reasons I have to be happy. As I said before — sometimes, it’s the little things.

I want each one of you who does this following me to list five things that give you confidence and that you really love about yourself. They can be physical (toned arms!), mental (brilliant at math), emotional (supportive), totally random (makes perfectly symmetrical pankcakes) or anything else you can come up with. All that matters is that these things make you, you.  I’m sure there are maaaaany more than 5 wonderful things about all of you fabulous bloggers out there, but sometimes we all need just a little reminder — or a kick in the pants! — to let us know how fantastic we really are. This is in no way tooting your own horn or being conceited – just some positive energy to put out into the universe. I can’t wait to hear what other bloggers have to say, and to learn a little bit more about the things that make each of us special and beautiful.

Keepin’ things positive, oh yeah! :)

Please write your own, then tag five other bloggers!

Laura’s 5 Things:

  1. I absolutely love my green eyes. Most people have brown or blue eyes, but I don’t see emerald pairs like mine out there very often. They make me feel beautiful and unique.
  2. I love that I’m comfortable enough with myself to say whatever is on my mind without much censoring. While this can sometimes get me in trouble (!), I think it makes up a big part of my personality, and I really like that about myself.
  3. I have (or at least hope I have!) a natural talent for writing that I wouldn’t give up for anything. It means the world to me that I can sit down and start writing without hesitation.
  4. I care deeply about and greatly appreciate my friends and family, and try to always let them know. This seems to be a rare thing sometimes.
  5. I think my girls look pretty great in a low-cut dress :D

Sorry…had to slip that last one in there! Hahahaha.

Now…for the fun part!

Tag, you’re it!

  1. Ali from FoodFitnessFashion
  2. Gretchen from Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
  3. Sarah from Run Sqrl, Run!
  4. Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers
  5. Allie from Picky Eating RD

Have fun, ladies!! :)

Tell me, what do you love about yourself?

July 27, 2011 at 5:17 pm 10 comments

Linked: A Tale in Forgiveness

This is one of the best posts I’ve read in a very long time. Hell, it’s one of the best essays — not just on a blog, but anywhere — that I’ve read. I fear Heather is going to think I’m going a little cuckoo over all the compliments I’ve paid her over Twitter today, but that’s okay — any girl loves a bit of ego stroking, right? Haha.

When you have a few moments in your day to sit down and really open up to something great, read this. I swear, it was more effective than a $150 therapy session. And it warmed my heart. And I’m gonna read it again right….now.

Linked: A Tale in Forgiveness (& accolade, & giving up, & following your heart)

July 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm 5 comments

Never enough hours in the day [+ pasta rosa verde]

Why, hello there.. *bats eyelashes*

I hope your Tuesday was a lovely one! Mine sure wasn’t, but I’m trying to get myself into bed and move past it…

Remember how I wanted to get plenty of sleep last night? Yeah, that didn’t happen =/ I got caught up making my lunch for today and the stinkin’ pearled barley took for-EVER to cook — even in the rice cooker! After waiting for that to finish, I still hadn’t wound down for bed and couldn’t get myself to go to sleep. I didn’t end up passing out around 2am.

Needless to say, I was tired and a big cranky pants all day.

But I still didn’t work out. What is going on with me? I feel like I’m in a funk :(

At least my lunch was delicious — with the pain-in-the-ass barley (not really, it was super easy) I mixed in some chicken thighs that I popped in the slow cooker with onions, veggie broth and poultry spice on high for about 3 hours. When I reheated it this afternoon, the chicken just fell apart and mixed in with the barley. Super tasty! (Make sure to sneak some of the chicken slow cooker juice though, or else it will be too dry). I also had a side salad. I would have taken a picture, but to be honest, it was pretty boring looking. How about a picture of a puppy instead? ;)

this is what I feel like right now

After work, I had another appointment with my chiropractor’s assistant (or colleague? I’m not really sure of her title) but she does more massage work than the crackin’ stuff. I saw her because I’ve been having issues with my sinuses, and boy did she help. I’m still feeling a little skeptical because I can’t figure out why my health insurance would pay for weekly 30 minute massages…because that’s what these are! Okay…maybe not JUST like a massage, but I always walk away feeling incredible, loose and refreshed. She spent a good amount of time massaging my face [that sounds super weird, doesn’t it?], concentrating specifically on my sinuses and temples — it felt amazing. I was honestly trying not to melt into the table…

As I was leaving, she told me that I need to be wearing a hat when it’s cold out to prevent headaches [I’m not really sure I understand this part.] I laughed and told her my mom would agree with her, to which she responded that I must be the same age as her grandson. The natural jokester that I am (hah), I laughed and asked if he was cute. Apparently that was the magic line, because within seconds she had me writing down my Facebook information and told me she would have him contact me…and she was dead serious! Bahahah! I tried to hold the laughter in and finally burst through the door outside to laugh my ass off….oh my.

Unfortunately when I left to run a few errands afterward, my hair and face were a big greasy mess from the lotion she used. I was a sight to behold, let me tell you…

On the trek back home, the weather dipped a few degrees cooler [and it was already cold, crummy and windy] and started drizzling a bit — just as my tummy was starting to grumble. The icky weather [and relative lack of all things carb/cheese loaded] had me craving something gooey and comforting, but I didn’t want to bust my calorie goals (more on this in a minute), so I decided to play around with a few things hiding in my freezer.


frozen shrimp + frozen broccoli

See my Misto hiding in the background? ;) I sauteed about 3 oz. [this is a complete estimate] of frozen cooked shrimp in some olive oil, garlic powder and sea salt. I know you are supposed to thaw shrimp before heating it, but I always just toss it in the pan — is this bad? I don’t see the point in taking 2 separate steps!


cheese and pasta -- now we're talkin!

After cooking about 3/4 cup of whole wheat rigatoni (my favorite pasta shape, next to orrechiette), I poured 1/2 cup Whole Foods marinara on top and mixed in about an ounce of WF goat cheese, then popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt. I then mixed in about a cup of broccoli florets, mixed it all together and sprinkled some parmesan on top. Oh goody!


I love the combination of colors in this dish — the red and green look so tasty together!


shrimp time

This may not be quite restaurant quality, but it’s close enough, easy as pie to put together, and pretty healthy to boot. Win!

For dessert, I had a few small squares of Green & Black’s 85% cacao dark chocolate and a bit of Malbec rose. I had thought about hitting the gym, but by the time my food had digested, it would have been at least 9pm — and that just sucks.

I talked a bit yesterday about how crummy I am feeling lately about my self image…One of the great things about living in Chicago is all the incredible restaurants + bars that are a hop, skip and a jump away. But that is also one of the worst things about living in Chicago as well — if you go out to eat/drink regularly, you are taking in a lot of extra calories!

I thought I was doing a good enough job keeping my intake in check, but apparently I have not, as I am feeling very uncomfortable in my skin lately. Add to that the jitters of dating someone new, and, have a recipe for anxiety. So, dear friends…I have begun counting calories again.

BLEGH. I despise counting calories. It is so tedious, so time-consuming and so….sucky! I don’t want to know that my favorite foods are veritable calorie bombs because that means I can no longer eat them! But as any “dieter” will tell you, it keeps you accountable for everything you put in your mouth, and therefore it works. I don’t plan on doing it for long, but I feel that right now I need to get my food priorities back in check and re-learn calorie estimation and budgeting so I can still splurge on dates or weekends [or simply when I want to!]

I’ve been using because they seem to have the most comprehensive list of foods. Here is a snapshot from my tally today:

This isn’t my usual intake of calories, but since I am trying to slim down, I’ve set it so I can drop a certain amount of weight per week [whether that actually happens or not remains to be seen]. The thing that I don’t understand is their goals for protein and fiber — why on earth would they imply that it’s bad to get more of those things, especially if you’re trying to lose weight?! I mean, they keep you full + satisfied — how the hell would someone eat a low calorie diet without adequate protein and fiber and still stay full? Kinda makes me laugh…silly Livestrong app, I know more about nutrition than you! ;)

The only reason I’m over on cholesterol is because of the shimpies I had for dinner, and I’m okay with that :)

They just released the Android app for Livestrong’s calorie tracker, but since it is so new it has horrible reviews and costs a whopping $2.99! I think I will wait until they drop the price and fix the bugs, thank you very much!

If all goes according to plan, my original goal of hitting the gym 3x a week (minimum) should do just fine in combination with calorie reduction for weight loss. The real trick now is going to be sticking to the numbers and getting enough sleep.

Speaking of which, lately I am really feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day. How do you gals do it, between working full time, errands, gym time, showers/prettying up, dating, friends, cooking dinner, prepping lunch….my head is spinning just writing this. It’s only Tuesday and I feel like the rest of my week is completely planned out, with nary a second to spare =/

More details to come, but some of said plans involve butterflies and pencil skirts.

I’m hitting the sack early for real this time. Night kiddos!

March 22, 2011 at 9:01 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

I’m a lucky lady


One of my wonderful friends decided it probably wouldn’t be ideal to leave me sitting pantsless in my room, topping off an endless glass of cheap wine by myself listening to Coldplay. Generally, I disagree, but I gave up and went out for beers (hah!) and Thai with him and another friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. Bless their hearts for letting me bitch and moan in the backseat the entire ride there.

I had some delicious pad woonsen and a few Goose Island 312s. Totally hit the spot, and they really cheered me up. Thank goodness for good friends :)

After dinner, we headed back to my place and rolled around on the floor with my little rascals and caught up on each others lives, as well as a few goofy blogs. I had another glass (or 3) of wine and tucked myself into bed early. I can’t promise I didn’t listen to some more Coldplay.

In this particular instance (and many others passed, and more to come as well, I’m sure), I was upset about a dude. He did a shitty thing, and it made me feel shitty, and it was a shitty situation. As many times as I’ve dealt with morons, it is still a disappointment at the least and very hurtful at most. Despite the fact that I appreciated this dude being honest about his feelings, he went about them very immaturely and somewhat disrespectfully. I was sad. I still am kind of sad. But after going though all the silly stages of dating so many times, I’ve put together some rules for myself. One of them (which, surprisingly, took quite a long time to learn) is that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay! Men are jerks and make you feel bad sometimes. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent sniffling my way through a box of Kleenex, wondering why I was such a weakling. But really, it’s okay to be sad.

But a clause to that first rule, at least for me, is that you get one day. Maybe two, depending on the severity/length/whathaveyou of the situation. One day to wallow, feel bad for yourself, cry, mope around, listen to sad music, whatever you need to do. But after that day, or those days (if necessary), it’s time to pick yourself up and move the hell on. It’s still okay to be a little bummed out for awhile — hell, it’s natural and NORMAL — but I absolutely refuse to let these sort of things disrupt my life more than they deserve to. In this instance, there isn’t a reason why my life should be disrupted, so I’m speaking in more general terms. I have let horrible dudes cause me to miss class, give up my gym time, and give me really ugly cases of tear-induced puffy eyes. That shit doesn’t fly anymore. So if you’re upset over some jerk who blew you off, didn’t call, or simply said or did something stupid, have your mopey time — but make sure it’s for YOU, not him.

Inhale. Exhale.

Phew! So I was feeling somewhat disheartened last night (see above), and getting my mope on, coming up with all sorts of reasons to feel bad for myself. Or rather, bad about myself. Not permanently, but you know, one of those days. I’ve been working my ass off at the gym and was beginning to think it wasn’t really paying off, but then, aha! I put on a pair of pants this morning that I had bought recently and they were noticeably looser! BAM! I love little moments like that. And just like that, I am inspired to get my (noticeably less jiggly) ass back on the wagon and back to the gym after work today. I didn’t really fall off, but it’s nice to notice a payoff.

Back to work I go, lovelies. Catch ya on the flip side.

January 19, 2011 at 10:35 am 1 comment

Hi, I’m Laura!

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