Posts tagged ‘work’
I’m currently plopped on the couch with my feet up, a glass of wine next to me and a show about polar bears on TV. Because I’m REALLY cool, obviously.
Don’t you just LOVE when I upload weird, random pictures of myself with PhotoBooth? Man, I’m a creeper.
You may notice (that is, if you can keep your eyes off that lovely giant litterbox) a bunch of boxes in the first picture. Well, those are there because…*drumroll* I’m moving. AGAIN.
This will be my third move within 12 months (I moved July of 2010 from Madison to Chicago, May of this year from an apartment with roommates from hell to a studio, and now I’m moving back in with a new roommate). I’m pretty excited to have more space again, but moving is still insanely stressful. You’d think that after doing it…oh I don’t know, 15 times I’d be better at it but alas, I am not!
A few things I’ve learned from the 14 billion moves I’ve made over the years:
- Always buy more boxes than you need; many places (like UHaul) will buy them back if you buy more than you need, but even if you have leftovers, it’s rarely a bad thing. More often than not, you won’t have too many — I promise.
- If you don’t want to shell out on a bunch of boxes, check the Craisglist “free” section — a lot of the time, people have zillions of leftovers and will give them to you for free!
- Dont’ use boxes that are “medium” or larger if you can help it; even though small boxes will fit less, they are MUCH easier to move.
- Hire movers. I know it’s expensive, and I know it’s scary, but seriously, just do it. It will change your life.
- On that note, don’t hire cheap movers off Craigslist. Just trust me on this one — don’t do it.
- Start packing two weeks before your move date, at a bare minimum. Time slips by quickly, especially if you have a full-time job. A good way to start is by packing up all but a few essential dish/kitchen items & silverware, and set aside just enough clothes for the next 2 weeks, then pack everything else. It can be annoying if you need something in those 2 weeks, but you can make it work.
- Make your last bigger grocery trip (pasta, pasta sauce, frozen stuff, etc) two weeks before moving at the latest, and make your last smaller grocery tip (milk, veggies/fruit, eggs, other perishables) 1.5-1 week before moving at the latest, and keep it small. Only buy what you need, and try to use up everything you can before moving — boxing up/transporting fresh food is a huge pain in the ass. Pack up any rarely used dry food/pantry items farther in advance (rice, extra oats, sugar, etc).
- Pack under-sink stuff in grocery bags and leave it under the sink until you move. (For example, I keep my Ziploc bags, aluminum foil, cleaning stuff, dish soap, etc. under the sink) You’ll probably use it enough not to pack it, but when it’s time to leave, you can just grab them and go, and they’ll be ready to use right away in the new house/apartment.
- Label the room where each box belongs, as well as a simple but detailed explanation of what’s in the box (not just “clothes” or “living room stuff” — try “couch pillows and blankets – living room” and “summer clothes – bedroom” instead). Sounds tedious, but you will be glad you did. Trust.
- Make a separate box (or boxes) for things you will need to use right away — for example, a box of the stuff you keep on your bedside table, a box of your toothpaste and everyday toiletries/makeup, and a box of the food things you use everyday (for me, this is oatmeal).
- As the countdown gets shorter, make a loose schedule of what things you need to do/pack on which day, so you can spread out the work and won’t get overwhelmed at a specific point. This helps a LOT, and it’s also a good way to help you remember to do important things like set aside all sets of keys (to return if you’re renting), change over bills/utilities, etc.
- Use this as a time to de-clutter your life. Never more than when I move do I realize just how much crap I have. While you’re packing, make a few piles, bins or boxes divided into things that you want to donate, things you want to throw away, and things you’re considering doing one or the other, but haven’t yet decided on yet. Moving into a new place is a new beginning, so it’s really nice to get there without all the extra junk to drag you down.
I’m here! Life is insane.
I have essentially started a new position at work, and beyond that, my brain is all mushy. I apologize for being MIA :(
She didn’t tell me, but I’m pretty sure these are Mexican wedding cookies. They’re kind of like lemony, tangy sugar cookies, but…I don’t know, different! I ate the entire bag in like, three days. I shared of course, but it goes without saying that these were my lunch a few days in a row :D Lots of love to my bloggie bake partner!!
I’m a terrible person and haven’t sent hers yet. I tested the recipe for her treats last night to be sure they were good enough for someone besides myself to eat. They were :D
In other news, froyo has been consumed.
The drive to Madison is really pretty at sunset.
The beer in Madison is also pretty great.
I learned that Trader Joe’s stir-fry sauce is really good on baked chicken.
Garlic Gold and olive oil go pretty nicely with quinoa, too :)
And last, but certainly not least — gay Twister is way crazier than I ever could have imagined.
Will return soon, loves — promise!
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!
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.
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!
I am a tired lady. My sleeping schedule is seriously out of whack at the moment…I’m finding myself staying up as late as I used to in college! Not that I’m too far out of college now or anything (I graduated in 2009), but since I’m now an “adult” and have an “adult job,” I have to be more responsible about getting a good night’s sleep so I can work hard. Last night I was up until at least 3…It wasn’t intentional, but I get such a burst of energy at night that I find it hard to imagine going to sleep when there are so many other things I could be doing!
Definitely drank a giant iced coffee this morning, made half and half with almond milk.
Part of the reason I was up so late is that I worked from home yesterday and got a late start. I focused and worked hard, but it was one of those days where nothing was going right and I couldn’t get the answers I needed to get things done. It was very frustrating, so I ended up working later than I planned to try and get more done. I worked most of the day at Caribou, but this time only bought a large iced tea and brought lunch from home — a small turkey, goat cheese and avocado sandwich on whole wheat and a few strawberries (not pictured).
I finally got home and made dinner around 9, and stuck to a simple combo of whole wheat rigatoni, marinara sauce, pecorino cheese, a Trader Joe’s chicken sausage and some asparagus on the side. It was simple, hearty and delicious.
So as much as I hate doing so, I have gotten back on the calorie tracking bandwagon. I am by no means obsessive about counting calories (I think those people who know the count of every single food offhand are a little neurotic), but I’ve realized that it’s really important to help keep portion sizes in check and to make sure I’m not unknowingly going completely overboard with my daily intake. I know that I need to set small goals for myself in order to make continuous and long-lasting changes toward a healthier lifestyle.
It’s one thing to eat three slices of pizza for dinner — anyone with an ounce of sense knows that this is a caloric meal and, if they’re trying to watch their intake, can compensate to a pretty close balance. That’s not an issue for me. My problem is all the really healthy, nutritious, but calorically dense food that I eat. I love healthy food — I love seeing how many superfoods and nutrient-dense things I can pack into my day, and seeing the benefits both in how I look and feel (hello, glowing skin!). But things like nut butter, chia seeds, Greek yogurt, olive oil, avocado….all these things are very calorically dense. I love all of them, so after tracking my portions and calories very closely, I’ve realized that I usually eat more of these things than I need. Sure, I can balance it out with fewer calories from other things throughout the day, but I doubt I would be satisfied or full if I wanted to stick to the same intake goals.
My point is, as much as I despise calorie counting and feel that it can border on obsessive or disordered in some ways if you’re not careful, I think it’s an important tool that can be used periodically to help make sure you’re sticking to the nutrient and calorie intake that your body needs, but not more than your body needs. My problem isn’t too many cookies or chips — it’s the freakin’ avocado!
On a similar note, I’ve noticed that while tracking on Livestrong.com/The Daily Plate that I almost always go over the fiber and protein “nutrient goals” they set. Fiber didn’t faze me at all — lots of fiber is awesome and most people don’t get nearly enough. But the too much protein thing really surprised me! They’re suggesting I need only 41g per day which I don’t think is anywhere near enough (for health, satiety, muscles, etc), so I decided to look up how much protein I (& women in general) really need per day.
As I suspected, I actually need more than twice as much protein as Livestrong initially told me. I’m guessing they just suggest the bare minimum since most people don’t get enough (or get far, far too much) protein, but I was still really surprised to see such a disparity. Interesting! Glad I have been making sure to get plenty and not listening to Mr. Armstrong ;)
One major accomplishment I made last night was finally setting up my wireless router. Even though I moved into my current apartment at the beginning of May, I neglected to set up a wireless connection for a variety of reasons, the main being laziness, but also because my apartment is very small. I could easily leave my laptop on my coffee table next to the modem I needed to plug it into, and it was never really a problem — just a slight annoyance, the biggest drawback being not being able to use my laptop in bed. I think overall that’s probably a good thing, but I suppose I’ll find out soon enough now that I have wireless!
Funnily enough, the only reason I couldn’t figure out how to set up the router was a faulty Ethernet cable! I thought I was going crazy or at the very least had lost my techie prowess because I couldn’t figure out this silly router for the life of me (it was used, but handed over by my parents so still in great condition). As it turned out though, the cord they included was just busted. As soon as I tried a new one (why didn’t I think of that sooner!) and followed the simple steps on the LinkSys website, I was up and running in no time! Hallelujah!
Another major accomplishment last night was making my first protein muffin, the ones that Gina is always raving about! I wanted a dose of protein (how appropriate!) but also something dessert-y. I know I’m always saying I’m not a sweets person, but for some reason lately I’ve been craving sweets much more than usual. Maybe I’m just not a junk food, processed sugary crap type of person? Even as a kid, I thought Sour Patch Kids and gummi worms were disgusting; they always gave me stomach aches!
I did a pumpkin-chocolate combo for the muffin and it turned out delicious! It was almost like a brownie, but it also wasn’t very low-cal either…I’ll post pictures and the recipe I used later, but I have a feeling I’ll be experimenting with this recipe quite a bit going forward, tweaking it to at least make it the ultimate brownie!
I’m off to finish some work and eat my lunch, then I’m having dinner in Little Italy with my parents for my dad’s birthday! I cant’ wait! Due to the freezing AC in my building, lunch is a steamy cup of lentil veggie soup (in my favorite mug!) and a cold, crunchy salad. I also brought a cup of tasty fruit that I cut up. Have a great day!
I was still sort of in a funk today. I got to work from home, which was nice, but right now I’m having trouble shaking these yucky feelings.
One thing that did totally make me smile was a slew of Twitter conversations from some of my favorite bloggers :) I’m starting to realize that it’s almost impossible for me to get anything done if I have Twitter open in the background (as Angela noted today on Oh She Glows), so I’ll have to check in a little more sparingly in the future, but today it really did the trick.
On a similar note, I tweeted at Tina, asking if she would blog about how to be productive when working from home. I can’t wait to see what she says!
After running a few errands and
wasting a ton of time reading blogs finishing up the working day at Caribou, I called it quits and headed home to drop off my computer. I texted my friend Allison to see if she wanted to join me for a walk since it was so nice out (and the fact that I hadn’t seen her in awhile!), and she jumped at the chance, which totally made me smile. In an earlier post, I mentioned making fitness dates to keep up with your social life — I am a perfect realistic example, right here!
We strolled around the neighborhood while chatting about our respective weekends, then passed some of the tennis courts nearby. Apparently Allison is really good at tennis and has some rackets, so we’re going to try to get a court sometime soon and play! By “play,” I mean having her embarrass me horribly while I run around, red-faced and panting. Even though I totally suck at tennis (poor hand-eye coordination, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself), I’ve always thought it was fun, and it will be a nice change from the run-gym-run routine.
It was a beautiful evening.
After passing though the park, we walked over to the lake and Al showed me how to use my fancy schmancy camera. I still have no freaking clue how to use any of the manual settings on this thing.
I love living so close to the lake, and it’s amazing in the summer when all the sailboats are out :) If this is exercise, count me in!
After strolling around and chatting a bit more (including some serious discussion over the Casey Anthony trial), we decided to head back. We made plans to get together this weekend though, which I’m super excited over because I never see Allison enough — every time we hang out, I’m reminded about how much I enjoy her company.
As I was walking back home, I realized how hungry I was for dinner. My eats are always a little wonky on work-from-home days because I wake up later than usual and either spend the day parked on the couch in my pajamas, grazing away, or head to a nearby coffee shop and end up getting coffee, iced tea, or occasionally a baked treat.
For example, this was a work-from-home breakfast one week:
And here was a lunch from last week:
See? Wildly inconsistent. Today I had a bowl of Kashi Go Lean! Crunch for breakfast with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Lunch was my leftover massaged kale salad alongside a small bowl of whole wheat rigatone topped with a spritz of olive oil and some pecorino romano.
A short while later I was hungry again, so I had a bowl of blueberries. They were SO good though, that I had to have more, so I finished off the pint. I seriously can’t resist summer berries, mmmm.
After working some more, I hit the point where I needed to get out of the apartment so that’s when I went to Caribou. Before walking out the door, I had a Kashi waffle topped with that same cream cheese, fig spread and chia topping to tide me over. While running post-work errands, I nibbled on a mini cherry pie Larabar (not my favorite), then did the whole walkin’ thang with Allison. See! Eats all over the place!
Guess what I had for dinner, though? :D
Yep, another FlatOut pizza. I am so obsessed with these, and I’m getting really good at making them! This one started with a new-to-me type of marinara sauce — it was Bella Terra Organic‘s Tomato Basil, and it was SO GOOD. It had just the right balance between savory and sweet, and tasted super fresh. I wasn’t thrilled about the 25% daily value of sodium in one serving, but I eat too much salt anyway so I was able to look past it, haha. Overall I highly recommend this brand!
Next, I topped the toasted wrap with the usual spinach, then added some sliced roma tomatoes, a few leftover sliced grape tomatoes, yellow bell pepper slices, creamy goat cheese, a few shreds of mozzarella and a sprinkle of pecorino romano. I made sure to do less cheese this time around (although it doesn’t look like it) to see how it would fare without as much fat, and I was so glad I did! The runniness of the marinara, cooked spinach and tomatoes made it super juicy, so you better believe I licked the plate clean. I’m obsessed with these pizzas!
On the side, I cooked up some Alexia spicy sweet potato fries. Note to self: your oven is very small, so it cooks things (and therefore burns things) much faster. Plan accordingly.
I totally burned these, but they were so good I ate all of them anyway! Well, okay, maybe not that one on the left side…But seriously, the combination of the sweetness from the sweet potato and the chipotle seasoning is to-die for, and at only 130 calories and 4 grams of fat, along with loads of vitamin A per serving (30 fries!!!) these are totally a great bang for your nutritional buck. Go out and buy these. Now.
So I got about halfway through this post when I realized that I left my computer charger at Caribou — d’oh! Had to call and frantically run back to retrieve it, but thankfully people in my neighborhood are awesome and neighborly, and someone turned it in to the register. Phew.
Earlier today I got some fantastic news — I called my insurance company about a bill I had received from Quest Diagnostics, a medical testing lab, for $400. Not only do I believe that medical insurance exists to pay things like this, but I also believe it’s insane that they would charge me for super important tests of the female persuasion. After chatting with the lady for about five minutes, she offered to call the company and check into it. As it turns out, there was just a paperwork error on their end, and I never should have gotten the bill. I was SO SO happy to hear this news, I can’t even tell you. I do NOT have that kind of money, plus — where would that leave me to be able to tame the wild hair? ;)
Sadly, I also got some really awful news about half an hour ago, but I’m going to hold off on posting about that, as I still need somet time to process it. If you have a spare second, please send some positive thoughts out into the universe…Not for me, though. Lately it seems as if bad things keep happening to good people left and right. Gotta push the negative out with some positive thoughts.
I’m off to bed — last night I stayed up way too late again reading The Hunger Games, but it’s so good that I can’t put it down! I’m almost finished!
What are you guys reading lately?
No, I’m not referencing Joaquin Phoenix’s highly publicized and ultimately fake meltdown.
Just letting y’all know that I haven’t fallen into a ditch somewhere, or possibly lost my mind. (Okay, the latter may be true, but only a little bit)
Life is a little cray-cray right now, and despite the fact that I feel like my life is always a little nutso, it has been more difficult than usual lately.
- I’m having some health issues that will (hopefully) be resolved by the middle of next week – in the meantime, waiting is really tough
- A close family friend just started chemo for her second cancer diagnosis, and it’s horrifically scary :(
- I’m at a turning point in work where my initial training period is coming to an end and my performance is expected to increase significantly
- My 5k (and very first race) is Saturday morning
- I’m attempting to wade my way out of moderate (but substantial for me, who has never had any) credit card debt
- I’m still working to get over a break-up
- Horrible allergies and a messy apartment are making all of the above significantly more difficult
I have also been feeling significantly fatigued recently — moreso than my usual lazy self — and I’m thinking that my diet is lacking, so therefore my iron is lacking. I have all the necessary supplements at home, but my messy apartment and lack or organization makes it tough to get my act together.
On the to-do list tonight: get in a 2 mile run with Amy, pick up my race packet, hit up Trader Joe’s or WF for groceries (I have been eating random canned items for dinner…times are getting desperate), update the blog with a few funny stories, a few sad stories, and a few really great recipes (this may have to wait a bit longer :( sorry guys!), do the painfully huge mound of dishes in my sink, fold and put away the OTHER painfully huge mound of clothes atop my bed, and last but not least — get to bed at a decent hour.
I’m surprisingly cheerful for this level of craziness, but I may just be hiding from reality…who knows. Anyway, just wanted to pop in and say hello — I promise I’m here and will be back soon. Missing my bloggies!
I hate how up and down I’m feeling lately…I kid you not, I was doing dishes the other night and out of nowhere, just burst into sobs. So. Pathetic.
(Maybe it’s because I hate not having a dishwasher?)
Thankfully I was in better spirits yesterday, but I’m not really sure why. It might have been that asked the ex-fella to please stop contacting me for the time being because all it did was make me feel worse, yet hopeful at the same time. Conflicting emotions + lack of sleep = bad.
It’s frustrating because I can tell this is affecting my work a bit…thankfully, we’re in the middle of a huge slump, so I have very little work to do and my lackluster motivation and energy likely isn’t an issue. But had this been a busy period, I’m not sure how I would have managed.
After getting through the day with no major emotional leakage (hah), Amy came over for dinner. I whipped together some buffalo pulled chicken that had been in the slow cooker all day.
Sidenote: when I first walked in the door, my apartment smelled like cat food. Apparently slow-cooker chicken smells like cat food? Gross. I kinda wanted to vom, or just throw it out…
I decided to take my chances with the cat food/chicken and I’m glad I did. Easy peasy: I just popped two frozen chicken breasts and a splash of vegetable broth in my standard-issue, $10-from-WalMart Crock Pot before leaving work, and turned it on low. When I took it out for dinner, it started to fall apart immediately — success! I pulled the rest of it apart with a fork and smothered some of this stuff on it:
It was a little different tasting than I had expected — more vinegar-y and quite a bit of bite, but it was good! I served the pulled chicken along a chopped romaine salad with red pepper and cherry tomatoes, and a bit of whole wheat linguine with olive oil, salt and pecorino romano cheese. I actually ended up putting the chicken on top of the salad and eating them together — delicious! I love putting pulled chicken on salads :D
After chowing down and watching a HORRIFICALLY DEPRESSING episode of 16 & Pregnant, we needed to introduce some levity back into the evening and decided to paint our nails and get froyo. Four lovely colors and $14 worth of froyo later (cake batter, strawberry, dulce de leche and cookies & cream for me), we were happy ladies :)
Just as we finished up, the sweltering heat started to finally break and before I knew it, I was battling some seriously epic wind gusts on the walk home. Minutes later it started thunderstorming, which was an excellent way to end the night curled up in my bed. I always sleep better when it rains. It sure makes it harder to get up the next day though…maybe that’s why I accidentally woke up at 9:30 this morning. Oops.
Back to (not really) working for now, catch ya later kids.