bye bye august

and so the summer comes to a close.  the sun’s setting at about 7:30 now which seems so early at this point but in a few months will feel so late.  school is back in session at most places and the hurricane has brought the temperature and humidity down quite a bit so it’s starting to feel a bit like fall in the morning.  as august ends today, it’s time to re-visit my august goals.

here’s how i did:

marriage

fitness
  • set meeting with trainer.  this one i didn’t get to.  i even thought that all i had to do was schedule the meeting and it could be in september, but i just didn’t do it.  maybe this will show up on next month’s list.  not sure though because tina and julie share some great workouts that i want to try.  however, if i do decide to schedule a meeting, i know who i’d want to meet with.  that’s progress, right?
  • find a new gym routine.  i definitely made some progress on this since the last check-in.  i’ve been to the gym a few times since and am getting more comfortable with the new gym.  i found a yoga class that i like on sundays, a spin class on thursdays, and i’ve done a cardio workout on two tuesdays.  but not sure i can say it’s a routine just yet.
  • get new sneakers. at least one fitness goal i can cross off the list.  what do you think?

home
  • set weekly chore calendar.  ha!  this was an ambitious goal.  clearly i’m not that motivated. though i will say i’ve done a bit of home maintence.  i dusted our bedroom but then this morning i noticed the dust just piling right back up.  i cleaned the bathroom once or twice (ok, maybe once and a half). note to self: buy toilet brush. and i organized half of our linen closet.  baby steps.
  • sell, donate, toss items we’ve set aside.  progress has been made here.  our pile is significantly less than it was at the beginning of the month.  now, what to do with what’s left?  i’m sure i should just toss it all.  maybe i’ll repost (or in some cases post for the first time) when we’re back from labor day.
so out of 7 goals i completed 3 and what do you think, like 3/4? maybe 4 and 1/2?  not so bad.  alright that’s all i got.
what were your august goals??  what did you accomplish in august?
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things i learned on the abs diet

up until last august i’d been trying to lose weight for as long as i can remember.  i remember in middle school running on the treadmill in my parent’s bedroom at 6:00 in the morning while my dad was still sleeping. i spent most of college wanting to lose weight–going to the gym multiple days a week, trying (loosely and without guidance) weight watchers.  i thought about and talked about my weight a lot, to mike, to my mom, and to friends until one day last year i decided “if this is my body, this is my body.”

this cookbook is filled with great recipes. see photos below.

then two weeks later mike says “i found this diet in men’s health called the abs diet. you can sign up online for pretty cheap.  i think i’m going to do it.”  i panic, thinking “what?? i just came to terms with my body and am learning to accept it and appreciate it for what it is, i can’t go on a diet/don’t want to be on a diet and concentrate on every single thing i eat.  but if mike’s on a diet, we’re both on a diet.”  i had serious anxiety about this.  after talking to a friend at work, i decided to embrace it and go for it.  what did i have to lose?  weight?  ok.

lime-grilled turkey tacos with avocado salsa

so mike and i started the abs diet.  he signed up online and had access to a ton of recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. he took care of all the meal planning and grocery shopping (i know, a dream, right?) and we started to eat better.  before i knew it mike was saying “next week will be one month on the abs diet. can you believe it?” “really? wow, no i can’t. i don’t feel deprived or hungry. this is great.”

i didn’t feel deprived or hungry because the abs diet doesn’t set out to starve you.  in fact, it’s almost the opposite.

pillars of the abs diet:

  • fill up on powerfoods (whole grains, lean meats, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables)
  • eat 5 small meals throughout the day
  • it’s about how you eat most of the time not all of the time (don’t deprive yourself)

"thinner mexican dinner:" lean ground beef, romaine, tomatoes, black beans, low fat cheddar, baked tortilla chips (though these are def. fried)

how i’ve changed as a result of the abs diet:

  • i choose foods that fill me up and give me fuel
  • i have a new awareness about how foods make me feel (energized, full, tired, groggy) and make food decisions based on that
  • i’m not tired all the time
  • i know when i’m full and stop when i get there (before, the abs diet i had two settings: hungry or completely stuffed)
  • i eat five times a day and make sure there is protein or fiber each time to fill me up
  • i don’t obsess about my weight or what i eat
  • i rarely find myself saying “ugh, i ate too much” or “i want to lose weight”
  • i’m able to listen to my body and give my body what it needs. if i’m really craving chocolate or salt, i have that. one time at lunch, i was really craving red meat so i chose a meal with steak in it.
  • i’ve lost 5-7 pounds and maintained my weight 

whole wheat waffles with peanut butter and raspberries

*the meals above come from the new abs diet cookbook

**i should note that i was not compensated in any way for this post.  i just really enjoy the abs diet and want to share what i’ve learned from it.

date #2

date #2 was a wonderful low-key dinner at cafe deluxe. something we’d both been looking forward to during our weekend apart.  the weather was beautiful so we sat outside, something i’d been wanting to do since we moved to this neighborhood last month.

 

we started with two beers and the spinach dip. chips were yummy but the dip wasn’t as good as i thought it would be.  (forgot to take a picture).  i had a hard time deciding what to order because they have a bunch of great things to choose from slash i was pretty full from the popeye’s chicken i had at the delaware welcome center on my way back to DC but finally decided on the chicken quesadilla.

this quesadilla was so good. my mouth is watering just looking at this picture. the black bean relish and salad that with it were a perfect compliment.

mike had the prime rib cheddar melt with sweet potato fries.

when our server asked if we wanted dessert, we looked at each other and said “sure, we’ll take a look at the menu.”  funny how i went from “so-full-i-might-not-order-anything” to “dessert? yes, please.” but we were celebrating and didn’t want our meal to end. we compromised on the peach cobbler with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

delicious!

we talked and talked and enjoyed each other’s company.  i shouldn’t be surprised as i’ve always found the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” to be true. but i was still amazed at how chatty i was from the second mike got in the car at the airport. i think it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and not spend a lot of time talking. but it feels sooo good when you do talk and have a real conversation.

this date was a wonderful end to a good long weekend and just what we were looking for: a nice long, leisurely meal and conversation. and it happened just in the nick of time.

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ps–i came home to this today:

an “i’m proud of you for pursuing an MBA”/happy first day of class present 🙂

good weekend

despite the hurricane over the weekend, my weekend shook out to be just as planned. after much debate on friday morning about whether i should make the trip to pa for my cousin’s wedding, i decided to go ahead as planned and figure out my return when the time came. i considered staying in dc so as not to get stuck in pa during the hurricane and was tempted by the opportunity to be really productive reading, writing, taking care of things around the apartment but ultimately made the decision to go home so that i could spend time with two of my best friends from high school. and i’m glad i did. it was a quality weekend with a lot of people i love.

i had pizza and icecream with my sister when i got home on friday afternoon.

one of the last tastes of summer

paid a visit to my in-loves before going to my cousin’s wedding.

she. looked. stunning.

saturday morning i helped mike’s brother, dave, move into a new apartment with his girlfriend, gayle. even though it was crazy hot and humid, and moving is never fun, this became a great memory for me. dave and gayle ordered pizza for everyone after and as i sat on the porch with dave, gayle, and two of mike and dave’s friends, i had a strong sense of belonging and comfort: these people are my friends and family and regardless of how often we see each other or talk we’ll all help each other when we need it.

then i went to “the D” with these two:

you know how i feel about girlfriends (and pizza). more pizza:

tomato basil, with garlic. mmmmm

(do you see a theme running through this weekend??)

this morning i went to home depot with my dad and picked out this for our new apartment’s kitchen:

perfect for more storage

i drove back to DC and picked mike up from the airport before heading to date #2. more on that later…

how was your weekend?  survive the hurricane craziness??

how to get somewhere

great quote from my yoga class on a few weeks ago:

“sometimes the best way to get somewhere is to let go of trying to get anywhere at all.”

i think i can apply this message to some aspects of my life right now.

what about you?  are there areas of your life where you should just be?

the tennis lesson

remember when i found a new tennis court for mike and i to play? since then he’s been wanting to play regularly.  we played one night last week and afterward i suggested a couples tennis lesson as something new and fun for us to do.  mike looked into some lessons but didn’t find much.  then saturday morning he told me he had a proposition for me: “i was thinking that i’m pretty good at tennis and could give you some lessons, some pointers. what do you think?”

so saturday night about 6 o’clock we head out to the court. (when i asked mike what he wanted to do on our first free saturday night in a while he responded “tennis/frisbee?”  yes!  that’s exactly what i was thinking for a nice saturday night together.  who wants to go to a nice dinner and a movie? but, i digress). when we get to the court i ask mike if this is my first lesson.  he shrugs and says “if you want.”  i say “sure.” “ok, three things. first, follow through with your racket. the ball will go in the direction of your racket. turn your wrist to put a little top spin on the ball, you know what i mean?”  i nod and smile “mmm hmm, yep i know what you mean.” (i had no idea what he meant.) “and last thing, always come back to the center of the court.” and with those words of wisdom, we took the court.

this was not the type of lesson you see in movies where the guy leans over the girl leaning over the pool table showing her just how to hold the cue and the sexual tension builds between them. no, i stood across the net from my husband, wearing my prescription sunglasses so that i could see his face and the ball clearly from across the court, both of us hitting many a ball right into the net instead of over the net.  as i walk to chase stray balls my roomy, almost to my knees nylon gym shorts ride up between my thighs forming what looks like two curtains and i can feel my lunch in my belly. as i bend down to pick up the ball, my sunglasses slide down my oily face hitting a a newly formed pimple on the side of my nose.  yep, i’m lookin’ good all right.  and i’m definitely feeling hot.

i’m physically and mentally steaming.  it’s about 87 degrees (though mike insists it’s not warmer than 80) and it’s summer in DC so the humidity is high. i really don’t want to be here and to be honest i’m getting kind of mad at my “coach” because he’s not performing much better than me.

after about 10-15 minutes mike says “you don’t look like you’re having very much fun over there” to which i respond “i’m not having very much fun over here” and he laughed.  we both laughed.  it lessened the tension significantly and we picked up our game a little bit.  i told him i thought he wasn’t playing great and that i wanted to move around a bit more.  he thought we were warming up and practicing a bit. i said i was hot and that i think there are certain months of the year that i’ll play: march-may and september-november (when the weather is right.) honestly i think i was just in a mood.

for my next lesson, i will make sure that three things are in place: i’m in a good mood, in a cute outfit, and that the weather is just right.

 

 

our first pizza!

i love pizza.  like love.  it’s definitely one of my favorite foods. i used to think it was really stupid and unoriginal when kids in middle school said pizza was their favorite food.  i mean really? everyone’s favorite food is pizza, it’s hardly even a meal people.  pick something like chicken or meatloaf for crying out loud.  but now that i’m older and wiser and have had many different pizzas—greasy takeout pizza that you fold in half and the oil drips down your fingers, fast food pizza like domino’s or pizza hut, fancy pizzas, frozen pizzas, dessert pizzas—i can say that pizza is in my top 5 favorite foods.  it may even be my answer to the question “if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?” even though i hate that question. yep, i just love pizza. 

today, my pizza world expanded just a little bit.  or maybe significantly.  probably significantly.  because today, we made our first homemade pizza with our new pizza stone.

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we made the dough and everything. it was super easy and delicious!  the only tricky part was transferring the pizza from the cutting board we prepped it on to the pizza stone. we made two different pizzas: margherita and white with turkey sausage and peppers. 

they were really really good. especially the margherita which you wouldn’t think would be so great because it’s so simple.  but it’s probably the simplicity and the way the flavors of the buttery fresh mozzarella, sweet tomatoes, basil and garlic go together that make it so tasty.

i’m thinking pizza making is going to become a regular thing in our apartment.  maybe a sunday afternoon/dinner thing.  it was so fun, easy, tasty and filling.  i’m excited to try out some new variations.  our next one will be a toss up between meatball and trying to recreate the fresh fruit pizza from matchbox.

oh, and with these pizzas i accomplished one of my august goals. making a big weekend lunch from scratch, feeding people i love (amanda was here), sharing a delicious meal with friends, pizza, red wine, and completing a goal.  does it get much better?

lovely wedding gift

we got the williams-sonoma bride & groom collection for our wedding. it was such a surprise since we hadn’t registered at williams-sonoma but it’s the perfect gift for us. i love the packaging, the classic box for the set, the clean lines, beautiful pictures and organized pages. 

we’ve made two recipes from it and they were both delicious.  i can’t wait to try more.  this weekend, perhaps?

what a lovely gift.  if you’re looking for a special wedding gift, i highly recommend this!

thank you, jordan!

go on our honeymoon!

at almost exactly this time six months ago, we quit agonizing over where to go on our honeymoon and impulsively made one of the best decisions of our lives.  we decided to go here:

we had the most amazing honeymoon here.  it was a complete escape from the real world, romantic, relaxing, energizing.  we booked it through living social escapes and guess what?  it’s back!  

if you need a honeymoon or just an adventure and a total escape, buy this deal and go!  you will not be sorry!

or you could buy this deal and come visit me 🙂

define date

since i have “go on two dates” as one of my august goals, i’d been thinking about the definition of “date.” 

and ironically, this topic came up at work today (though i didn’t bring it up) and my co-workers and i got in a heated philosophical discussion about the definition of a date.  questions posed included: what is a date?  when does a date occur?  who goes on a date?  what’s the difference between a date and just spending time together? can you go on a date when you’re married?  how does “dating” fit into this whole thing? is going to ikea on a saturday a date?

{our favorite wine bar in DC and one of our favorite dates nights: sonoma}

my answer is simple: a date is a pre-planned activity or event with a significant other. i think the advance planning is the key here. part of what makes dates so great is the build-up, the anticipation and excitement over a special activity/meal/event. 

beyond that, i think a date can be anything if both parties are looking forward to it.  and i’d like to add that dates do not include errands or obligations.  there shouldn’t be a “to-do” to check off during a date.

we kind of talked ourselves in circles until we decided this was all just semantics.  but, i’m curious.  what do you think?  what does “date” mean to you and your significant other?  what’s your simple definition and what qualifiers do you add onto it?