Sunday, July 31, 2011

Change Your Life Challenge: PUSHUPS. (not the Flintstone variety)

Who: Me. And my upper body strength.

What: Do 10 push-ups a day for 30 days.

When: Starting August 1, 2011 through August 31, 2011.
Why: Because I have flabby arms, and really, how many of you can do 10 push-ups without considerable effort right now?
How: Unclear. I'm just going to make sure I do 10 push-ups every day. I'd like to say it will be first thing in the morning but...I'll be honest, it will probably be randomly around 3pm in the bathroom at work or something equally ridiculous. Plus, I really hate push-ups so maybe when I'm going nuts at my desk they will sound appealing. You can choose the time when you do them.

I'm trying to decide if I should measure my arms now, on the 15th, and on the 31st. I will tell you how long it takes me on the first day to do 10 pushups, and how long it takes me on the last day. Anybody want to join me on this stupid little challenge? Let's kick it. Or...push it?

How about let's pump it?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Needles in my back, Needles in my ears

I've now gone to 3 acupuncture sessions so clearly I am an expert.

I still love it as much as I did on Day 1. After my second session, I was sent home with Chinese herbs.

I finally drank 1/2 of one of those packets and well...I honestly don't know if I can drink anymore. Yuck. Times ten. My acupuncturist advised me to drink through a straw that I put as far back in my mouth as possible. I guess I'll try that.

My favorite part about acupuncture is a tie between the therapy portion before the needles get stuck in me and laying on my tummy in the dark with music on and taking a needle nap. I practice breathing in for 4, out for 4, and imagining clear air coming in and black smoke going out. I basically clear my mind, and sink lower lower lower into the table.

The therapy portion just involves going back over a selection of the same questions she asked me on the first day. She always asks about my mental health, she always asks about my diet, sometimes she asks about my relationships, both friendships & romantic relationships, sometimes she asks about work, sometimes she asks about my family. I swear she reads minds though, because today she asked me about something unprompted that I had been thinking about all day.

It gives me an opportunity to talk, uninterrupted, to someone who cares about me and my health but doesn't actually care. Does that make sense? Plus, she bases where she puts the needles on the things I tell her. So if I tell her I have stress or anxiety, she puts a needle in a certain place. Same thing with inability to sleep, or for women who are trying to get pregnant (I'm not one of them but they frequent the acupuncturist!)

I will continue going to see my acupuncturist for as long as my insurance will cover it. Acupuncture isn't cheap, so hopefully my insurance will cover longer than they inititally quoted me. Cross your fingers!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Love Stuffed Peppers

For the last few weeks I have been focusing on cooking something on Sunday that I can eat for at least 2 more days. Since earlier this week I've had my eye on these stuffed peppers. I don't like basil, so I eliminated that from the recipe almost entirely, but it was still SO good.

The directions are easy (althhough I never really follow a recipe...just add ingredients as I feel like it). Chop onion, saute, add garlic, add 1 lb ground chicken. Heat 1 package Trader Joe's frozen brown rice. Mix in. Add 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Mix and heat 1/2 jar pasta sauce and 1/2 cup cream. Add 1/2 of the pasta sauce mix to chicken/onion/rice. Stuff peppers with mixture. Use 1/2 of remaining sauce to cover each pepper and in the bottom of the pan. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes at 400*. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for another 30 minutes. 20 if you are impatient. Dig in. YUM! And as you can see, I made 2 peppers. Guess what I'll be having as leftovers one night this week?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ding Dong, My Garden's Dead

Well, my garden died.

I don't really know what else to say. I successfully grew about 9 peppers and part of a cucumber.

Things I learned:
  • only 1 plant per planter
  • don't over-water
  • pay close attention to disastrous bugs
  • add a trellis to cucumbers

I will be growing cucumbers, peppers & hopefully broccoli again next year. I might add some lettuce to the mix! I really liked having a garden, I really really did. Maybe I'll look into some plants I can put in my planters and grow in the fall. Now there's an idea!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm a Tennis Fiend & Apparently Can't Focus on 1 Topic in 1 Blog post.

I just thought you all should know that I haven't won a tennis match in 2 weeks. Granted I've only played two official matches (and 2 unofficial matches) but still. My ego is feeling slightly bruised, and my competitive side is disappearing. Quickly.

I find myself looking at a scoreboard that reads 3-0 and thinking...ok, I'm going to lose, I might as well hurry up and get it over with so I can get out of this drenching, nasty heat. Then I end up tying the score at 3-3 and then losing 6-3.

One of my friends that I play with on the reg told me the first 3 games shouldn't count and while I didn't agree when he said it because it would have meant that I lost instead of I won, I am now leaning closer to agreeing. Maybe that's the loser mentality? If only those first 3 didn't count, then I'd win. But how do you stop at 3? How many do you play before it starts counting? When you start winning? Then it's definitely the loser mentality.

Anyway, I just wanted you all to know this about me. I don't like to lose, but I don't like being hot and sweaty either. For what it's worth, last night we lost and I was okay with it because we were making really good shots and placing them really well, just...a little outside the lines. But I'm okay with that. I'm not okay with hitting the ball 9 miles behind the baseline or into the net.

I also earned 26 WW points playing tennis the last 2 nights, so that's a win, too. I can drink 1/2 a margarita or eat 2 oreos. Actually, did you know that 3 oreos is only 4 points? Not bad, my friends, not bad at all.

Speaking of oreos, I heard about a few things recently that I wanted to share. Do you know there is such a thing as man versus machine? I thought it was some sick exercise thing, but no, I was dead wrong. Man versus machine is when a (hu)man eats 1 item out of every slot in the vending machine in a 24 hour period. Also, one of my friend's little brothers was challenged to eat the top 2 rows of candy in a vending machine in an hour. Who are these people? Apparently he wanted to practice and I was around for the text messages after his practice round that said, "Dude. My stomach hurts." Why would you practice something like that? People are so weird.

My other friend told me about a contest between 2 people. Real people! People she knows! One had to do Man versus Machine and the other had to eat only 1 bag of Cool Ranch Doritos every day for a week. Apparently 1 bag of Cool Ranch Doritos has the necessary caloric intake for a day. 7 days of only Cool Ranch Doritos! An entire vending machine in 24 hours! I think my heart just collapsed and the button on my pants popped off. GROSS!

I'll let you know when I hear about the results of both challeneges. Any other vending-machine-eating-idiots out there? Please share. Considering these two things were shared with me within days of each other, I'm convinced there is some subliminal messaging. Maybe I've already drank too much WW Kool-Aid and it's a subliminal voice screaming "STAY AWAY FROM THE VENDING MACHINES KATIE." Don't worry, voices in my head, there aren't any vending machines around here. Only open jars full of Oreos.

Anyway, back to tennis - who wants to play? I've got a vending machine to eat my way through and I need to earn some activity points.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Things You Should Know

1. I joined Weight Watchers.
2. I have a crush.
3. I've met 2 people that I only previously knew via the internet.
4. I'm addicted to summer TV. Last night I dreamt my name was Annie. No lie.
5. I can't figure out how to transfer my playlists from my old computer to my new one.
6. I miss using my camera.
7. I'm currently reading this.
8. Playing tennis has become my newest obsession.
9. The 5 most recent friends I've made have been women, yet somehow I always find myself surrounded by a group of guys.
10. I bought a new watch. Two, actually.

Monday, July 18, 2011

101 in 1001

I have this list posted on the inside of my smaller closet door.

I started it on January 1, 2010, which means that I am halfway-ish through the time commitment of 1,001 days. I'd also say I'm about halfway through the list itself. Some of the things I put on this list were much more difficult to measure.

Use reusable bags whenever possible. Be a Good Friend. Wear cute outfits just because.

Others I have crossed off, feeling like I had accomplished those things, only to un-cross them, feeling rather unaccomplished.

Stop biting fingernails. Spend more time with my sister.

Then I decided instead of crossing and un-crossing, I would do status check-ins and write the date and a checkmark when I felt that I had accomplished those things. It might take me awhile to add another date next to "Go on more dates" but the June 2010 date has 3 check plusses!

Some things I have crossed off for good because they no longer apply.

Attend AMA events. Put more time and effort into AOTG.

I no longer work in Marketing nor am I a member of the Atlanta Marketing Association (although I highly recommend it for those of you who are in Marketing!) and I have closed my personal assistant business.

And some things I have done, crossed them off the list, and never looked back.

Buy a Wii. Buy a new computer. Visit Minnesota once a year.

What is really fun are the ones where I left blanks next to them to fill in as I complete them.

Try 1 new restaurant per month (I list restaurant and month). Meet 10 new friends (I list names). Do 5 new craft projects (I list project and date completed).

This list has been SO much fun to have. I fully intend on creating another one after this one "ends." I love that it is more than just New Years Resolutions. Many of these things dramatically impact my life, my future, and me. Some of them are fluff, naturally, but others of them mean real life changes on my part, and I love that I don't feel pressured to do them immediately, but instead I have the course of 2.75 years to marinate on the ideas and figure out how to best implement them in my own life. I love that they are all mine - I came up with them, they were all things I wanted, and no one else is holding me accountable. Hell, if I hadn't posted this, none of you would even know I was doing it!

I love the most that I put them up in a place where I see them almost daily. They aren't harsh, they don't scream at me, and most days I ignore them (mainly because they get wrinkled and it drives me bonkers), but I know they are there, and days like today when I need a little pick-me-up, I can leave my closet door open those extra 2 minutes, grab a pen, and start checking, crossing, and writing things down on my little list. And then, just like that, I can shut the door feeling accomplished and proud because I have changed, I have become a better person, and I am me!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Goodbye Dell, Hello Acer

When I was in college, I had a friend who would always call me to go to lunch on Fridays because she knew that I would likely be hungover, and therefore would try to spend money in order to make myself feel better. It never worked for me, but she always got a free lunch out of it. Good thing I liked her company so much.

Honestly, I don't know when I started associating spending money with feeling better, but some things never change. After a surprisingly crappy kick-off to one of my favorite long weekends of the year, I decided it was time to kick my shopping into high gear.

First stop, new computer. I've been toying with the idea of buying a new computer for a while, and what better time to do it than when I was trying to buy my own happiness? I typically avoid shopping at Wal-Mart, but since there (to my knowledge) aren't any local computer retailers, I felt okay with my Wal-Mart computer purchase. Plus, the price really couldn't be beat.

The only poor review I found was that the computer wasn't so durable, but considering the furthest I move my computer is between my couch and bed, I figured it was a safe bet. I also did not purchase the extended warranty for the same reason.

I've got a few other pending purchases up my sleeve. Now if only I hadn't spent Friday moping, I could have maximized my weekend and taken a short trip to the outlet malls for the ultimate in shopping. I have plenty of open weeknight in my future though. Who knows what will happen?

What's on your "Cheer Me Up" shopping list ?

My First Round of Acupuncture

Disclaimer: I apologize in advance for how wordy this is. I didn't want to leave a single detail out! And none of the pictures are mine, they just were the best ones I found to go with what I was writing when I found them :)

Today I went to see an acupuncturist. I went for a variety of reasons to help me with things that I felt like my regular doctor was not able to help me with in the way I wanted her to. Nothing against her, just my own preferences. I wanted to at least explore other options before jumping into traditional medicine. And now, I'm SO glad I did!


A few weeks ago I tweeted at @CaitlinHTP, whose husband is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, asking for recommendations on finding an acupuncturist. I had no idea where to begin! She directed me here. I found someone in my area, called her, and she returned my call, informing me that she was no longer practicing. I didn't know it at the time, but I am really glad I phoned only female acupuncturists! She was able to refer me to someone else in Atlanta, so I called her referral, asked a few questions, and voila!

There were a few other things I had to do in the meantime, such as call insurance to find out if they would cover it, etc, but I'll leave that for another time (or you can ask in the comments!)

I went in today having quite literally no idea what to expect because like an idiot, I left the papers I was supposed to fill out prior to my appointment sitting on my desk at work. And herein lies part of the problem! The woman (I'm not entirely sure what to call her and I don't want to keep referring to her as "the acupuncturist" even though that is what she is…) brought me into her room – if you have ever had a massage at a smaller, local massage clinic, it was similar to that. Dimly lit, comfy chairs, large table in the middle of the room, etc. My appointment was scheduled for 2 full hours – 1 hour of intake and 1 hour-long session. I ended up staying a full 2.5 hours!

I filled out a ton of paperwork regarding my health, diet, digestive system, bodily functions, and everything in between. Just as an example of how invasive the questions were, one of them was "Do you have trouble reaching an orgasm?" Riiiiiight. After I answered all the questions on the paperwork, she started digging a little deeper, asking why I was there, asking questions about my answers to the paperwork, and genuinely getting to know me and why I was there. I didn’t look at my watch, but I'd say she spent a solid 45 minutes asking me about topics ranging from stress to my diet to my sleep schedule to digestion to physical pain and so many other things. We spent the majority of the time focusing on the reasons I was there, but she definitely made sure to touch on everything. She was thorough, patient, understanding, and explained things to me so simply. She also commented on things that could change and kind of explained why. At the time I wished she would have explained more, but in the end I would have never remembered the whys and hows so I'm grateful to just know what I should and shouldn't make an effort to do.

Then she left the room but not before explaining that I could undress, leaving certain pieces on because of what she would be doing. I started out face up and at first I thought she was taking my pulse… I found out later she was actually testing 6 pulse points. Then she had my roll over and she made pen marks on my back and did what felt like measured in between. I saw later she had something that looked like a ruler lattice. I know, technical terms. Then she put in all the needles. Some I felt a lot, some I hardly felt at all. Some I could feel the whole time I laid there and some I forgot were there. It definitely didn’t hurt, but I'm not squeamish about needles or anything.

Then, she clicked off the light and told me to sink deeper and deeper into myself and asked if I wanted music or silence. I opted for music, and then I practiced one of the breathing techniques we talked about earlier while I laid there in the dark. I have no idea how long I laid there for, but I definitely fell asleep. Not a deep hard sleep though – it just felt restorative. A little nap! She came back in and asked how I felt.

I think the hardest part for me was her asking me how I felt and if I felt anything – I kept wanting to ask how I was supposed to feel but I knew that wasn't the point so I really tried to just let my body guide me and tell me how it was feeling. That sounds hokey and ridiculous but… I did it.

We talked about potential Chinese herbs and then she did something where they were "lit" and she wanted me to tell her when they felt warm on my skin. She did those on my back and on my stomach. I wish I knew what the "real" name was but… I don’t. Maybe next time.

The last part of the treatment was performed on my stomach and wrists. She asked very specifically if I felt anything, and it was shocking how much I really felt! It was really cool to see the physical response from my body and to feel it.

And that was it! She left me to re-dress and meet her in the lobby where we talked about a liquid supplement. I'm not entirely positive I'll take it. She gave me some recommendations for things to change in my daily habits – foods to avoid, drinks to avoid, and behaviors to modify. She's also going to email me some information about meditation.

Ultimately, I loved it. I felt like it was therapy and medicine combined into one. I trusted her completely and I am really looking forward to my next session and to seeing how this changes me. It is going to take some commitment on my end (she recommended little to no dairy products…seriously?) but I am going to try my best to be serious about it. Starting by coming home and heating up the best macaroni and cheese I've ever eaten. I'll start that whole no-dairy thing tomorrow :)

I'd love to answer your questions or let you know how I got acupuncture covered by my insurance! I don't think I was intimidated before my session today, but I definitely didn’t know what to expect, so hopefully this first-hand account gives you a little piece of mind and piques your interest.

I think the best thing the acupuncturist said to me over the course of our time together was that acupuncture was not for everyone, and I would know pretty quickly if I was or wasn’t for me, and that was okay and she encouraged me to listen to my body and do what was best for me. I appreciated that more than any other piece of information she gave me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Change Your Life Challenge: Cooking!

Remember when I used to post about delicious recipes I had created at home? Me too. Those were the days. The days before work consumed my life. The days before travel budgets lured me out of my house and into restaurants. The days before I gained 18.2 pounds because I mean...what's one more chip dipped in queso? The days before dinner with friends who I don't normally get to see during the week took priority over eating at home. Eating healthy. Eating normal portion sizes. Remember what I said about travel budgets? Apparently they mean ordering everything on the menu, too.

Guess what all of this means? It's time for my next...

It may seem silly to dedicate only a week to changing what has clearly become a lifetsyle for me, but I really think I just need to refocus and get myself back on track. I want to start cooking again. I want to start grocery shopping again. I want food to stop going bad in my fridge (or acquiring layer upon layer of freezer burn in my freezer!) I also really, really want to focus on cooking just for me. Not cooking for 1800 and freezing leftovers. I don't eat them. I want to cook for 1, me, moi, uno.

When: Starting today, Tuesday, July 5, through next Monday, July 11.

Why: I'm tired of eating out and feeling like crap afterwards. Plus, I miss cooking!

How: Plan at least 3 meals per week and focus on making enough to serve me for dinner and maybe some leftovers for lunch. But that's not the goal - I want to learn to cook just for myself without weeks worth of leftovers.

If you are ready to participate in this challenge, then comment on this entry so we can support each other! Got questions about the "Change Your Life Challenge"? Email me with any questions or concerns you have.

If you accept the challenge, post the challenge logo on your blog and encourage more people to scurry over here and sign up for the challenge, too!

Grab the link for the logo: if you'd like! Feel free to copy and paste (and post) this entry at your own blog. Just give credit and share the love!

Monday, July 4, 2011

June Top Ten

A visit from my best friend

Pulling off a successful surprise party for my roommate

Shooting the hooch with friends

Going to da club

3 hour long birthday brunch in Washington DC

3 glorious days at the beach

Having a crush on a boy

The end of basketball season

Pints for a Purpose and ensuing GT baseball game

Getting 2nd place in my kickball league

What were the top 10 things you did in June? 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

We all have bad days. Some of us have more bad days than others. I am so not that person. 99% of my days are good. But you know what that means? When I have bad days, they feel 100x worse than they actually are.

I am an emotional person anyway, but bad days just really put me over the edge.

Yesterday was a bad day. It involves someone else, and their business is not mine to put out on the internet so I'm not going to, but suffice to say I spent the majority of the day alternating between crying giant alligator tears in my bed, crying giant alligator tears to my mom, and napping. Maybe I overreacted, I'm not really sure, but my feelings were hurt and I hadn't felt this way in a long, long time, so I just didn't know how to deal. But, like most things, you remember. I remembered that I know myself really well. I remembered that I really need to let myself have that time to wallow. I don't want anyone else around, I just want to feel sorry for myself and lay in bed and be pathetic.

Today, things are different. Granted, I'm still hurting and things are not perfect again, but I'm more myself than I was yesterday. Today I got up out of bed, I made a to-do list, and I crossed quite a few things off of it. I had friends over and I was able to make good effort towards snapping out of my funk.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, we all have bad days, and we all deal with them differently. Some people surround themselves with friends, some people mope and whine and complain until reality forces them to stop, and others find a happy medium. There is no perfect solution for everyone, so you just have to know what is best for you. I do know that if I had let myself mope much more, I would have started getting concerned because it wasn't like me.

So now, c'est la vie on my favorite holiday weekend of the year!