Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sandwich Lovin'

Let me lay this out for you.

I love food. I adore food. Especially sugar food. And donuts.

Mmm. Donuts.

It's one of the many reasons I run. I'm not sure why I love food sugar so much, but I do.

I'm not even particularly picky. Though I know what foods are good for me, good to me, and so not worth it. Raisin Bran is so not worth it. Ice cream and goat cheese are worth it on occasion, but my lactose intolerance doesn't like them a whole lot.

Today was one of those days that goat cheese was so worth it.

Another thing you should know about me is that I'm not a big sandwich person. Nothing wrong with 'em, they're just not my first choice. However, there is one sandwich in the world that I would knock down, drag out, sucker punch for.

Toasted Brio bread, fresh tomato, organic homegrown basil (fresh out of the garden, no less!), local chevre, extra virgin olive oil, balsalmic vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper. Add turkey to that if you've got it and I will hunt you down and eat your sandwich. The vegetarian version is just as delectable though.

Are you drooling yet?


TODAY: 60 minute Fartlek run — 15 minute warm up, 10 reps of 2 minutes swift running with 1 minute light jog, 15 minute cool down + Strength and Conditioning
SATURDAY (8/28): 3 miles

Monday, August 30, 2010

Confessions of a Fashionista

I can't help myself. I have to present the best news first.

Eeeeeee! I cannot help but be shrill with thrill. My aunt introduced me to her favorite haunt in Walnut Creek, Labels, a designer consignment store. We walked in and were confronted by a wall of shoes. Prada, Blahnik, Gucci, Coach, Vesace, Loubiton...sigh. I didn't have myself pegged as a label sort of girl, but one has a hard time not drooling over deliciously soft leather tooled in Italia at more reasonable prices than the original label.

For instance, these delightfully drool-worthy babies are Versace leather pumps that run in the $1,000- to $2,000-range were a highly attainable $75.

And please, don't judge. I'm not the kind of girl to normally drop that kind of dough on a pair of shoes (other than running shoes, that is), but I just couldn't say no! Not this time...

Next on the list. A little fun "beach sheik."

Green tank: Kohl's, $5. Grey lace tank: Abercrombie & Fitch sale rack, $14.99 (first and last time I will ever go there). Denim shorts: Target, $15.99. Gold charm necklace (60"): borrowed.

Sorry about the picture quality, by the way. Cell phone camera. A little touseled hair, a fun gold necklace. Fun stuff!

Moving on.

This weekend I got to spend with my grandmother (along with various and sundry aunts, uncles, and cousins). This is the woman who gives my mother and I those phenomenal cooking genes.

Nana in her kitchen.

Wonton soup bubbling on the stove (for what, we're still not sure), fresh herbs from Nana's garden.

She watches cooking shows, mixes up fabulous things and as the cranky matron of our family, imperiously directs people in her kitchen. Sigh. Apparently, she's running her caretaker ragged and cuts out recipes from the newspaper every morning for her to make.

This was lunch at Nana's, whipped up my my other aunt. Watermelon soup (yum yum yum!), and puposas (cheese stuffed tortillas) with homemade avocado salsa (not guacamole). So delicious!

So, as I have no more words today, I'll leave it this and let you drool over pictures worth a thousand words.


Monday, August 23, 2010

We will rock you

So apparently the brutality on my body of the half-marathon I ran last weekend was not quite enough for me. I felt like I needed a bit more.

photo courtesy of www.upa.org

Call it "cross training" if you will, as it certainly uses muscles that the nice, easy, forward motion of running does not.

I spent the weekend braving wet grass, collisions, fog and then enjoying a little bit of sun playing ultimate frisbee in a local tournament.

For those of you who have not experienced ultimate and the culture that surrounds it, I highly recommend it, though be prepared to be surprised. While deadly serious on the field, ultimate players are a raucous, rowdy, screaming, yelling, heckling, cheering, ranting, dancing, brawling, laughing crowd on the sidelines. It's literally two worlds, inexplicably and rather seamlessly melded into one as most of the noise on the sidelines is directed towards the players on the field and everyone — on field and off — is participating with heart and soul.

Largely inappropriate for children or the faint of heart, it's thrilling to be a part of the beast. Get down with it, or get lost, but if you're down with us, we're down with you without pause for your race, face, creed or greed. If you can handle a disc and be one with the dirt, you rock our world and that's just fine.

And by one with the dirt, for those of you who don't know, I mean be willing to eat it hard, twist, dodge, scramble, stretch with everything you've got to keep that spinning wheel of plastic from hitting the ground.

For a brief, here's ultimate in 10 simple rules from the Ultimate Players Association (UPA):

  1. The Field: A rectangular shape with end zones at each end. A regulation field is 70 yards by 40 yards, with end zones 25 yards deep.
  2. Initiate Play: Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective end zone line. The defense throws ("pulls") the disc to the offense. A regulation game has seven players per team.
  3. Scoring: Each time the offense completes a pass in the defense's end zone, the offense scores a point. Play is initiated after each score.
  4. Movement of the Disc: The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Players may not run with the disc. The person with the disc ("thrower") has ten seconds to throw the disc. The defender guarding the thrower ("marker") counts out the stall count.
  5. Change of Possession: When a pass is not completed (e.g. out of bounds, drop, block, interception), the defense immediately takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense.
  6. Substitutions: Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score and during an injury timeout.
  7. Non-contact: No physical contact is allowed between players. Picks and screens are also prohibited. A foul occurs when contact is made.
  8. Fouls: When a player initiates contact on another player a foul occurs. When a foul disrupts possession, the play resumes as if the possession was retained. If the player committing the foul disagrees with the foul call, the play is redone.
  9. Self-Officiating: Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls. Players resolve their own disputes.
  10. Spirit of the Game: Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.
So that's what I did this weekend. WHAT DID YOU DO?

Muscles that I didn't remember I had are aching and my head still throbs slightly when I move too quickly, courtesy of the minor concussion I managed by a bid for the disc. The important thing you should know about ultimate injuries though can be explained by the following:

I caught the disc.

I got up and finished the point.

We scored the point.

Therefore, the concussion was worth it.

Seems crazy, but that's the way it is. If you can run or walk it off, we tend to. If you made an epic bid (which I did) and caught it, it was worth it. And if we can get up and keep playing, we do. Scary really.

Oh! One more thing: the best part about running like I do now is that I recover more quickly in ultimate. I've never had the endurance to finish 3 games in one day and still feel like I could keep playing, but this weekend I did. Unfortunately, it means you're a great deal more sore the next day...

Ciao for now,

SUNDAY: 1.25 games of ultimate (I banged my head rather early during the second game)
SATURDAY: 3 games of ultimate (10 AM to 5 PM with 20 - 40 minute breaks between games)
FRIDAY (8/19): 3 mile hill run (fast!)
WEDNESDAY (8/18): 3 mile easy hill run
TUESDAY (8/17): 5 miles, flat recovery

Be Delicious

I don't quite understand it, but there's something distinctly delicious about wearing a negligee in public and having it be perfectly appropriate.

And I'm not talking about white trash tramps who wear them on a daily basis, or Ho-lloween hookers zipped and squeezed from here to there in pleather, plastic, and corseting with nothing but fishnets on bottom.

I'm talking about perfectly respectable business attire.

A cream-colored, soft, satin slip — perfect for a coy coupling — tucked brazenly into neatly tailored caramel-cotton slacks. Paired with a necklace or two, demure bun, and completed with a jacket. Hey, if a model can do it, why can't I?

 Jacket: Elle for Kohl's, clearance $10.99; Satin cream-colored negligee: Victoria's Secret, $30; Slacks: Elle for Kohl's, clearance $8.80; camel peep-toe pumps: Elle for Kohl's, $39.99; Necklace: thrifted.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Please Try Again

There's nothing quite like being completely humbled in the face of what you have chosen to do for a living by someone who has done it so much longer than you have. I don't get humbled by artwork done by artists still living very often. It's a vanity to say so, but I'd be lying if it wasn't true. It's not very often that I see a piece and am completely unable to say, "With a little work and effort, I could do that."

A lot of people cannot do what I do. I know this. Again, it's a vain statement, but it's true. Everyone could learn to do what I do and become moderately adept at the least, but most choose not to. It's time consuming, passionate, and frustrating.

Art is like the best and worst relationship you have ever had rolled into one without the perks of getting laid.

It makes you scream, it makes you cry, it makes you laugh, it makes you glow — and you can never ever walk away once you're hooked.

It's kind of like running in that way. Although with running, you don't walk just based upon the mere concept. After all, it's running.

I work with Robbie Jarvis, the artist Jarvis Lamoreux, building his website. To my recollection, I've never seen his work in person until today. While he is mildly eccentric, and 100% enthusiastic about the wonders of web work, I found it difficult to get really attached to any of his work — it's all abstract (not so much my thing), and via digital photo simply abstract.

Don't get me wrong, abstract — true abstract, that is, not the crap where someone's painted a canvas blue and called it "art" — is hard and I have a great deal of respect for people who can do abstract.

Robbie's work is simply abstract, that is until you are with the piece in person standing four feet away and breathtaken by the sheer intricacies involved with the medium, stroke, and tiny tiny detail of these huge works of art that a camera simply cannot begin to capture.

When building his website, this piece was my favorite, hands down.

Nobody Nose
122cm x 122cm, ©1974, oil on canvas

Do the math, this piece is roughly 60 inches by 60 inches, or 5 feet by 5 feet. Overwhelming, but in real life this piece is probably the least impressive piece. Its almost a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) piece when translated into a digital photo. Still incredible, but nothing overly spectacular in the way of detail.

This piece, however, takes on a whole new world of being in person.

Clown Mine
132cm x 147cm, ©1993, acrylic on canvas

There is an iridescence in the paint, minute detail behind the stripes on the left (which are shimmery and pearlescent), a crispness in the hand-blocked lines that only a true master could hope to accomplish.

This piece (below) looks harsh and rather garish — and not to my liking — digitally.

 New York Vibes In The Lower East Brain
168cm x 203cm, ©1971, oil on canvas

It's huge in reality, and the contrast between the true blue and bright red is phenomenal. I cannot even begin to describe the impact it had on me when I was standing not ten feet away.

Actually, I can.

I backed into a glass side table decorated with a few potted cactuses and knocked it over — riddling my thumb with cactus spines when I attempted to clean it up without taking my eyes off the painting. Rather embarrassing, really.

In comparison, my artwork is paltry, amateurish, and infantile. The work of Jarvis Lamoreux simply breathes "master" when you see it. That is the entire focus of my mind today, and I cannot begin to imagine being able to do that.

Here I was thinking I was a good artist. I'll let you know in thirty years.

TODAY: 5 miles

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cool Running

I ran my half-marathon and finished vertically AND with a 9:46-minute-mile average: 2 hours and 7 minutes. Very exciting.

Even better, it was if my cold was magically cured by the race!

This is my "I ran that first mile really really really fast!" face, as I did and was feeling a little out of my league at this point. Luckily, my boyfriend and my lovely friend brough cowbell and cheering along the way — and my lovely friend and her roommate got me that sexy Nike running tank that makes me look all fast and, well, sexy.

Anyways, busy busy busy today, more updates tomorrow!


SATURDAY: 13 miles!
THURSDAY (8/12): 3.4 mile jog/walk — mostly walk

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Magpie Effect

When I'm given certain phrases or words, I treat them like any magpie would with a shiny object — or any animal really I suppose. I turn them over and over, taste them, listen to them, eye them, test their durability, and on and on.

To the passerby, they're innocuous.

"You wouldn't have to drag me."

"I'll drive around until I find the perfect place."

To me, they're worth more than gold. They're treasures that I store away to fish out when I need a pick me up. I decorate the nest in my mind with them, until it's shiny and glittering with those happy thoughts.

I'm sorry, but I can't explain them any more than that, you'll just have to take away what you will from what I've given you. Like anything in life, explanation cheapens it. Turning them over in my own mind wears away the edges a bit, but true explanation gives them to the harsh eyes of others and snatches the special bits clean away.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Self Destruct

I have a cold. Bugger, butt, freaking, fucking sucks. What the hell.

It's like it knows I am running a half marathon on Saturday. Though I'm thinking that if it stays where it's at — slightly scratchy throat, head full of snot — I can deal with it. I've run on worse. Full-throated, seal-bark-hacking bronchitis? Done it. Pounding, foot-thundering migraine? Ten-four. Flooded with snot and aching with fever? Definitely.

I'm not saying they were the best or smartest things I've done, but it's doable.

Unfortunately, I think it means more "tapering" than I was hoping. So, less running.

I'm an odd duck. If I'm actually injured or sick, all I want to do is prove that I'm not and go run and do what I really ought not to do. However, when I'm not, I have no problem thinking, "Oh, my knee is twinging a bit. I should stop." or "Eh, I've got this teensy tiny headache that isn't really anything, I should rest." However, when I full out sprained my ankle (tore a ligament) freshman year of high school I was playing ultimate in my immoblizer boot (until the P.E. teacher called my parents), and when I had bronchitis senior year of high school, I ran coughing and hacking up a lung until my parents forbade all activity faster than a leisurely walk. Two years ago when I found a hole in the water while running to meet some friends who were swimming and collapsed in agony (having rolled my ankle black and purple) and had to be carried (and dropped) wet and sandy by my two guy friends from the ocean to the car and from the car to the house, I tried to run on it three days later. And was out of commission for a week and a half because of it.

Really, I'm a bright crayon, I promise. I just have something to prove.


God knows who I'm proving it to, however.

This serendipitiously leads me to the topic I want to address. I am being a bit of a copycat, as this is on the heels of reading my lovely friend's latest post, but I simply cannot help it because what she says is so true.

You are your own worst critic enemy.

She describes being unable to see the day to day changes as you get in shape, lose weight, whatever, and that is true to a point. I often have days where I look in the mirror and have a "when the hell did that happen" moment when I realize that my belly's flat (ish) again, my legs are toned (thank you, running!), and that lingering ten pounds has become muscle (slightly padded) rather than fat (with lots of padding).

But then the fat days hit.

You know what I'm talking about. We all have them. Every single one of us. Guys too, though us girls tend to shut them down when they do.

(EXAMPLE: my 150-lb. 6-foot-tall boyfriend, five months ago before I started running:
Him: "I've been feeling really fat lately."
Me: "Remind me how much you weigh again?"
Him: "150."
Me: "You are six inches taller than I am and weigh the same as I do. I don't want to hear about it.")

The fat days are those days when every sweater makes you lumpy, all your pants make your ass look big and your legs look short, all your shirts cling in all the wrong places, and you just want to cry rather than face getting dressed and going out to work. You settle for comfy rather than cute because cute just ain't gonna happen today. So what if you look like a bag lady, everything makes you look like  a bag lady today, and not in the waif-esque, Mary-Kate-And-Ashley-bag-lady way.

Caitlin of Operation Beautiful recognizes that we all have fat days. We all have days that we are uncharacteristically unhappy about our appearance for one reason or another. We all have days where a simple comment is misconstrued or just being in public makes us well up because we question our own self-worth, self-beauty, and self-in-general.

According to Operation Beautiful's "Fat Talk Free" article, "Fat Talk is extremely triggering of unhealthy behaviors, whether the comments are consciously processed or not. Putting yourself down verbally creates reverse inertia in all aspects of your life. Instead of getting healthier, Fat Talk will motivate you to overeat, skip your workouts, and stay involved in toxic relationships. Additionally, even if you don’t ‘hear’ your own Fat Talk, your friends and family members will, and it harms them emotionally, spiritually, and physically as well.  As Jillian Michaels said,'Fat talk is transcending….  It affects your reality and damages you professionally, personally, and physically.'"

How often are you crippled by your image? The way you look? The way you feel about the way you look?

I'm certainly not above it. I've got shitty days the same as the next person. And my point is that it's not always about being beautiful. You can have ten extra pounds and still know you're gorgeous. You can dress like a bag lady and still get compliments. That's not the point.

BEAUTIFUL is not the end all, fix all, whatever. You being happy with your situation, your job, your eating habits, your excercise habits, your friends, your life, being happy with you is the deep-down issue.

I agree with Operation Beautiful's mission, and with my lovely friend who says, "I always find it interesting how grateful and touched people feel when you compliment them on anything, weird, as you really think this would be common practice and could make the world a happier, more confident place to be." It's congratulations, it's appreciation, it's affirmation and it's not about beautiful. It's about you. It's about being who you want to be, doing what you want to do, and eventually reaching that goal you've set for yourself. Beautiful implies solely exterior, when the focus — true happiness — is when everything is balanced: interior, exterior, environment, goals.

Life is hard for most people most of the time. That's the bottom line. There's nothing easy about life, not even living it.

To Write Love On Her Arms website's vision statement says, "We wake to mystery and beauty but also to tragedy and loss...It is our privilege to suggest that hope is real, and that help is real."

Hope is real.

Love is real.

Loving yourself is real.

I'll dare to say what thousands have said before me: nobody's perfect. Let he who is cast the first stone.

It's not about beauty. It's about you and the difference between what you know and what you see and eventually making the two line up. Life sucks. It's hard. But it wouldn't be interesting — or worth living — if it weren't.

And with that deep and cheesy ending, I leave you to go ponder less-deep things. Like how to deal with this damned cold.


MONDAY: 1.25 hrs flow yoga
SUNDAY: 7 miles
SATURDAY: bummed out and did NOTHING
FRIDAY (8/6): 4.5 miles (including 10 hill repeats, starting at :44 sec, ending with :30 sec)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Signature Style

I don't know that I have a signature style, but I wanted to share this photo my friend just sent me from his wedding.

My friend, Nate, in the white tie, is the groom. I'm standing in for the best man who was off changing — and where I would have been had it not been for her traditionalist parents, as "best woman" — and his two groomsmen, Garrett and Nic. My personal photo is also from the wedding, and I just loved the outfit I wore — and I received a lot of "Oh my god, you look so Audrey Hepburn!" and I'll never turn that compliment down!

Dress — black halter with faux wrap, borrowed from my aunt, price tag still on ($150); shoes — gold flat sandals, San Luis Obispo boutique, $20; gold necklaces — one simple chain and one with a crystal heart pendant, lent to me by my cousin; and sunglasses (with a little bling) — Daisy Fuentes for Kohl's, $14.99.

I think it's such a great photo too.

I suppose I don't think I have a signature style, but I'm a big believer in "borrowing" ideas. Creativity is truly just someone else's idea inspiring your own trends. My lovely friend calls it copycatting, but it's truly the biggest form of flattery. I'm flattered by anyone who sees something I wear and mimicks it. I'd only be offended if they went out and bought the exact same outfit...

The hard and fast rule that I live by is when you see an outfit on someone else that you like, scour your closet when you get home. Is there something you own that could be worn a different way? Can you reinterpret that outfit through your own closet? Do it as best you can and dress it up with 2nd hand or cheapy accessories and VOILA! You have a hot damn outfit with very little effort.

It's all in the inspiration.

That's all for now, nothing terribly interesting going on other than that. I'll get back to you after the weekend — I'm supposed to go backpacking! Lots of glamour there...


Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Threads

...and by new threads, I mean new hair. Mildly exciting. Not too much to comment on, just wanted to update really quickly.

That and the future is moving forward. Slowly, but inexorably forward.

I can hardly contain the excitment wiggles.

I've applied for jobs, in this new location — boyfriend's parents moved in on some prime real estate and have just about signed on the dotted line for a house in a ski town. Boyfriend isn't thrilled, but I'm thinking, "Duh, no brainer, right?" So we'll see. I applied for 3 there, and I'm hoping I'll have more luck there than I have in Colorado.

That's it, in brief. More next time.


TODAY: 3 mile forest run (intended)
YESTERDAY RUN: sort of 6 miles, with stride outs

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Peaches, Revisited

I can't honestly remember a time when I wasn't tired. I'm sure there must have been one, but I feel like I'm always going going going. It's exhausting!

That's not to say that I don't take the time to pamper myself or anything. I have a hair appointment this evening at Studio 3 in Arcata. Renee does a wonderful job, she's slow (exceedingly and sometimes, frustratingly so), but is thorough and impeccable (though we still disagree on how to cut my bangs...but the rest goes well). I do have to pay more attention to what she's doing than my last stylist, Heather at Faces in San Luis Obispo. I could tell Heather generally what I wanted style-wise (funky, fresh, or flowy) and let her at it and fall asleep under the hairdryer. Renee needs a little bit more direction, but that's all right. I'd rather go to her than to MasterCuts or something.

I also pampered a little bit this weekend. Amidst lots of activities, however. Here's the breakdown:

After a grueling 10.5 mile run with my lovely friend (ran 4.38 miles to her house and ran the rest with her), chores around the house, miles of walking at the mall (mostly because we kept running into people we knew and being inefficient about our directionality) and being mostly good about spending $$, and then home to take advantage of the MILLIONS OF PEACHES and make a great big taco salad for dinner.
For the peach-raspberry pie, I made a basic double pie crust. One of my favorites (but least healthy) is from Better Homes & Gardens:

Basic Pie Crust
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c shortening
5 to 7 tablespoons cold water

Cut together flour, salt, and shortening with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add water one tablespoon at a time until dough forms a ball. Divide in half and roll out one half to line the pie pan and one half to form the top crust.

Then I followed my "standard" recipe that I mentioned here. Little of this, little of that...fresh peaches and fresh raspberries make for a delicious pie!

Next, for dinner, the Taco Salad. After our huge run that morning, my lovely friend and I decided to treat ourselves to a really fattening dessert (doughnuts on top of the peach pie a la mode!), so we decided that a healthy salad was in order for dinner. To "beef" it up, we decided to make it a taco salad.
Taco Salad
1 head of lettuce (we used homegrown lettuce from my madre's garden)
fresh tomatoes to taste, chopped
1/2 a large onion, coarsely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
tortilla chips
avocado if desired

Tear and dress the lettuce as desired. We used a light balsamic vinaigrette. Also, to avoid overdressing your salad, the standard is approx. 1 tablespoon of dressing per person-ish. Saute the onions and beef together until beef is no longer pink and onions are slightly translucent. Flavor with salsa, salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste as you are cooking. Make a "well" in the center of the lettuce and pour the beef and onion mixture into it. Beans can be layered with the beef if desired, we opted not to. Top with tomatoes, avocado, cheese and sour cream and serve with chips!

After a delicious dinner, my boyfriend, my lovely friend and I watched Hot Tub Time Machine (see it if you haven't, it's hilarious) and then toddled off to our respective beds.

The day dawned with packed in fog in Arcata, and after a brisk — and painful — 4.5 miles, my lovely friend and I packed up the car with food, floats, and some other friends and drove off to find some sunshine in Willow Creek. 90 degrees and perfect, we spent the rest of the day eating, drinking, laughing, floating down the river, talking, and playing lawn games. It was epic, beautiful, and hot. The water was perfect for wading and floating, and we all had a blast. The next thing we knew it was getting dark! So we packed up the cars and drove home, exhausted from a day in the sun.

Driven by the combination of an upset tummy and a need for a personal day, I took the day off work and puttered around, finishing chores (laundry) and errands that didn't get done on Sunday due to the unexpected extended stay at the river (we meant to be home by dinner, honest). By dinnertime, the cooking bug had hit me again and so I whipped up some Honey Whole Wheat Bread and then a Chicken Pot Pie for dinner. So good!


I'm looking forward to a tough week, but with some fun events in the future! Backpacking this weekend!


SUNDAY: 4.5 miles
SATURDAY: 10.5 miles!!
FRIDAY: rest
THURSDAY (7/29): 4.5 miles + hill repeats (so about 5 miles)
WEDNESDAY (7/28): 3 miles