Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The race is long and...

...in the end, it's only with yourself.

My Better Years

Facts about young Erin:
  1. I refused to wear jeans. I only wore soft pants
  2. I also regularly refused to let my hair be brushed. 
  3. I liked to make believe that everyday items were toys (my mom tells a story about a juice box being a camera) 

such joy

concentrate hard enough and it'll work

coolest kid you know

creepy photobomb dad.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Pretty sure this accurately articulates my feelings exactly.

Stop Being Sad, Start Being Awesome

I have been the queen of putting myself in a bad mood this weekend. It has made this weekend long and unpleasant.

So, in order to get myself out of this funk I will list 10 things I did this weekend that were the opposite of my self-imposed bad mood:

1. Watched the series finale of Chuck.
2. Read some of a new book I got this last week
3. Walked on the pier
4. Went gambling at Valley View with my mom & her friends
5. Went shopping and got shorts for 30% off
6. Walked around Ocean Beach and enjoyed the summer-ish day.
7. Did so many dishes
8. Picked up all the junk laying around my living room
9. Vacuumed the whole apartment
10. Took a long, hot bath with candles, incense and the whole deal.

The cure for anything is salt water -- sweat, tears, or the sea.

ALSO, here are the flowers I bought myself.

Friday, January 27, 2012


"There has been nothing on TV recently. We even watched a Clippers game yesterday" - my mom

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Will I Ever Know Silence Without Mental Violence?

Often, people cry not because they are weak but because they have been strong for too long.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

You Had Me At Bacon...

I was up early this morning so I decided to be ambitious and make a fancy breakfast for myself. I was inspired by this post to try two things - one, baking bacon and two, making it into heart shapes. 

Baking bacon is the smartest thing on the planet. Here is what to do: 
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Arrange bacon on foil lined sheet. Put into cold oven.
  3. Set temperature for 400 degrees. Go do other shit for about 15-20 mins. Look at it for the last few minutes to know when it is done. 
  4. Remove from oven and immediately drain bacon on paper towels. 
SO EASY. And hot bacon fat won't pop in your eye like traditional pan frying does. Also, lining with foil makes clean up so simple - you can funnel the bacon fat into a container and save it for later if you want. 

HEARTS: This was not so easy. I first tried cutting one strip of bacon in half and arranging it - not so effective. I also tried with full strips of bacon which was a major fail (didn't even picture it). I had mixed success with my final methodology which was to quarter each strip and then arrange into a heart. The meatier parts of the bacon work way better for this so you might want to just take the fattier parts and lay them flat instead of trying to make them into a heart (see how it shrivels in the top left corner of the fail picture). 

This would be a nice breakfast in bed/Valentine's Day meal. Try it out. Let me know how it works out!


Meat Candy


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Just The Juicy Bits

So I decided to declutter my house a little bit. I had stacks and stacks of magazines piling up with post-it flags of recipes, outfits, hair-dos and all sorts of things marked for use someday. After a while it just became too much to remember and sort through. Solution: Idea Binder!

I went through each of my magazines and clipped, snipped and tore out the things I wanted to save. Because, really, no one needs to keep around a magazine that is a bunch of ads and junk you aren't actually interested in (I'm looking at you "should I get Botox" article). There are some really great tips, ideas, crafts, recipes etc in magazines, but it is often so hard to get thorough all the clutter to find what you really want to save. So why not make it more accessible.

I took all my clippings and put them in sheet protectors and then into a chic binder (purchased at Target for $5). I am also planning to add in dividers so the fashion/beauty clippings don't blend into the recipes etc. Maybe eventually each topic will get its own binder, but for now I don't have the volume to necessitate that.

Give it a try! I am finding that I am actually trying out a lot of what I marked as interesting instead of just thinking about how I should and then getting intimidated by my magazine pile.

Old and Busted
New Hotness

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year, New You Part Threeux

Fact: Thinking about going to the gym burns between 0 and 0 calories.

Things I have learned at the gym:

1. If you aren't sweating, you're not working hard enough. Seriously, sweat is just your fat crying. Hurt that fat's feelings. Bully it like you want it to make a "it gets better" video and then kill itself a week later. (that joke is in poor taste, I'm sorry).
2. Grab your towel and don't panic. Listen, you're going to sweat and need to mop off. Bring a little towel with you. Gyms sell these OR you can get packs of them on the cheap at Target (hand towel size is perfect).
3. A little grunting is okay. Grunting like you are having a difficult and painful bowel movement isn't okay. If you are making that much noise, you probably are not at the right settings. You'll rupture, strain, sprain or pull something.
4. Wipe down your machine. I know, I know - that little spray bottle of who knows what kind of cleaner and a couple swipes with a paper towel probably doesn't do much... but it is just nice to know that the person ahead of you made the effort to at least get the visible puddle of sweat off or whatever else gross. (p.s. don't think about how icky the gym actually is... working out is worth it and take hot showers, use soap etc).
5. Do not fear the weight machines. I have lived this culture of fear and am just getting over it. They aren't that scary - they have labels that show you how to do it properly and you should do a resistance that is comfortable yet challenging. Ask someone if you are unsure and if all else fails go home, do a work out tape or follow those "perfect arms for party dresses" workout tutorials in fashion magazines.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

You're Great

Some days you just need someone to tell you that you're doing a good job being you.

That you're not too shabby at this whole being adult thing and that you're downright gosh darn special.
I don't need an ice cream cone.
It's not an ice cream cone. What's an ice cream cone?
You know. "Here's a little something to make you happy. Something sweet that melts in five minutes." I'm completely cool with anything you want to say or not say. I don't need it.
except for how today, I did need someone today to say something sweet.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Year, New You Part Deux

Here are more tips for getting healthy:

1. Use a smaller plate. This really helps with portion control. I try to only use my salad plates for all my meals so that I am not tempted to eat too much because I filled up a regular dinner plate.
2. Don't always get Low Fat & Fat Free. When cutting calories, all the fat free this and low fat that can be such a trap. Get to know your tastes and read ingredients. Fat free cheese is not awesome. It doesn't melt and doesn't have good flavor. It is made of like quadruple processed oil or something... I usually do not substitute cheese - it is too delicious to half-ass. However, 2% milk cheddar is quite good if you do want a low cal alternative. Be conscious of this stuff and like I said before experiment a little (maybe you like fat free american cheese slices!). 
3. Don't keep your vices in the house. I was a serial snacker and I often would munch on candies, cookies, cheeses etc. I had no self control. I tried hiding them from myself etc but really I just needed to not have them around. Make these things not an option. This also helped to force me into a better system of eating meals AND to cook more. 
4. Speaking of cooking... do it more! It is fun and there are so many easy recipes that are no fuss and healthy. I used to be intimidated of cooking - thinking it took too long post-work or whatever. Wrong. It takes virtually no time to throw together microwave steamed veggies and pan seared meat. Start simple. 
5. Prep things ahead of time. I am a big fan of marinating meats (chicken and flank steak primarily) and freezing individual servings. Take a bit of that "bleh I'm bored" time and prep some easy meals for later in the week. You won't be as tempted to say "screw it, I'm going to Arby's" when you have easy meals just waiting to be thawed and cooked. 
6. If you can, grill! GRILL GRILL GRILL! It is magical how a little olive oil, salt, pepper and grilling can make veggies & proteins taste amazing. It is so easy too. Do this. Always.
7. Remix your meals. I was so bad at leftovers before I started to try and be healthy about my eating. I finally got in the groove though of making simple items that can be used in many ways instead of making enough pasta for a family of 8 and then struggling through eating it for a week+. Recently I got steaks on sale and I went ahead and grilled both (instead of freezing one for a later date). I had a nice steak meal the day of purchase and then was able to make a steak salad the next day and a steak burrito the day after that. This also really helps you stretch your budget. I try to make basics like rice very neutral when I initially cook them and then add flavors when I put my meal together that utilizes that leftover. This works really well with ground meat too! Brown turkey with just salt, pepper and a bit of oregano (or whatever you want) and then use one serving size of it for multiple meals (like meat sauce for pasta or for tacos or whatever you want).
8. Do what it take to get you to the gym. I used to think it was so silly to have matching sneakers, sweat bands and gym clothes. No one cares what you look like at the gym. But now I am realizing that if you need to have a coordinated outfit to get there, do it! I am a wear whatever t-shirt has a little stain that prevents it from being a regular shirt and yoga pants/capris kind of gym person, but do/wear/bring whatever you need to get going. ALSO, try a get a gym buddy - accountability to another person will help you get in your groove. A gym buddy will not only help you get to the gym, but also make time pass by quicker while you are working out (hopefully - make sure your gym buddy is interesting to talk to... :P)

I'll post more things as I think of them. Happy New Year, New You!! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New You

So as many of you know, over the last year I have lost a ton of weight and worked to become healthy & active. AND since it is a new year and people are making resolutions to get healthy I thought I would share some of what worked for me.

Track Yo' Self
I counted calories religiously for most of the year (I have since memorized a lot of them so I don't track as hard now) and I used loseit.com to do it. Find something that works for you to know what you're eating and how much you're exercising. I found it really helpful to have it on my iPhone.
I think it is especially important to not all of a sudden try to starve yourself and stay under a certain calories number or exercise for 4 hours just so you make up for a bad lunch decision. Step 1: Just track yourself. Do it for a week or so. Know where your good and bad decisions are coming from. Step 2: Identify where you can make adjustments. Maybe you are eating healthy but just need to step up your exercise game. Maybe you drink 90% of your calories in Dr. Peppers.  Step 3: Do your research. There are plenty of sites that will let you know what a healthy weight is for your height etc. Talk to your doctor - ask lots of questions. Be informed. Step 4: Make changes! Get motivated! Want to change (this is critical - if you don't want it, you won't stick to it). Do it! Stick to it! Step 5: LOOK AMAZING.

Adjust Your Eating Habits
After you have identified the places where you are eating a lot of calories (or points if you are doing weight watchers or whatever other tracker), do a little research into making adjustments. I eat a lot of yogurt and a lot of my calories went to the sweet yoplait kind. I needed to find a way to get in my sweet treat without breaking the bank, so I started by trying low fat yogurt then fat free and adding my own fruit. I finally settled on greek yogurt. I am in love with the stuff now. You can get pre-made flavors. Get plain and mix in a bit of honey. Take that honey kind and add fresh fruit. Also, greek yogurt can be subbed in a lot of recipes for mayo and to make salad dressings etc. Shit's amazing. Google the crap out of things and look for recipes that further your goals. But my best advice for this stuff is to experiment a little. Buy one and see how you like it. Sometimes you just can't substitute things - be okay with this (for example: fat free sour cream is gross and should be illegal in all 50 states). Find a different place to make an adjustment. EAT MORE VEGETABLES - they are practically zero calories. They are delicious - try out new recipes! Email me if you want some ideas (for recipes or substitution dos and don'ts). Grilled asparagus is great. Garlic green beans... also amazing. To be perfectly honest with you guys, I was not a vegetable fan and I really had to work my way into this. It started with broccoli with various cheese sauces until I just started to eat the broccoli without the sauce. Now I prefer the vegetables to fries or fried anything. I can't promise that you'll have the same experience but I do know that now that I eat healthy most of the time, I don't feel as good when I eat poorly for no reason.

Adjust Your Drinking Habits
Let's be clear. I do not, by any means, advocate quitting alcohol or anything like that. I am still a big fan of whiskey, beer and all sorts of cocktails. And I pretty much always drink as much as I want whenever I want - one of those where I don't substitute (how are you going to substitute craft beer... seriously?) and make adjustments elsewhere. What I mean by adjust your drinking habits is drink more water, put down the sugary drinks, drink diet cola, don't have giant sweetened starbucks drinks or juice smoothies that are actually the caloric equivalent of a whopper (which I still love - get it without mayo and sometimes skip the cheese). The biggest thing with making sure that your nights out (or in) don't break your new healthy eating lifestyle is to be aware of the calories you are drinking. You can't just stop counting calories because you went to the bar. Sub diet or sugar free mixers. Make up for all those beers at the gym the next day. It is super important to have fun and not feel like you are denying yourself. I really feel that it is important to not treat losing weight and getting healthy as a diet because a diet implies that it is for a particular duration (i.e. until you hit a certain number on the scale or a dress size). No. Make your lifestyle healthy and go from there.

Get Active, Stay Active
Exercise!!! I don't care what you do, just get out there are do physical activities and keep at them regularly. Some people do best by joining a sports league or doing a regularly scheduled workout class, but for me it is just gym gym gym. I know a lot of people hate being on a machine pedaling or running to nowhere, but it works for me. Because I was mad fat, I could rely on just massive amounts of cardio to get my weight off, but find a program that works for you and is enjoyable. I feel invigorated after a workout and enjoy being able to listen to my music, watch a tv show or read a book while I do it. Maybe you need your doctor to recommend a program - do it. Maybe a personal trainer is what you need - get one. (Now that I have shed my inches and pounds, I am considering doing some personal training sessions so I can get strong and toned - One Ab To Rule Them All). ALSO, find the frequency that works for you. Not everyone is a daily gym person. Some people do well with a MWF routine or something like that. I do best when I have it on my daily agenda and only skip it if there is a good reason (social activity, dead tired, errands that can't wait etc). Weekends count too - in exercise, eating and drinking! You can really ruin yourself by acting like weekends aren't part of your new healthy lifestyle. Again, don't deny yourself fun, just be aware and make sure that you are making smart choices that are worth it (that smart choice can be to go ahead and have the pizza or an extra beer etc and be way good tomorrow or to just call this week a wash [don't do that permanently] and get back on the wagon with a little extra exercise next week).

Don't Forget to Treat Yo' Self
Don't starve yourself. Don't exercise yourself to death. Have fun getting healthy. Enjoy a better you. AND TREAT YO SELF sometimes. Some days you just need caramel cake or ice cream with sprinkles or bacon wrapped bacon or carne asada fries and a california burrito just for you.

FINALLY. Don't be afraid to ask questions - I am more than happy to be a resource. The internet is a great friend when you are trying to navigate what a healthy lifestyle is for you. Ask your doctor. Ask the people at the gym.

Happy New Year, New You!