Monthly Archives: June 2013

Hey Coffee… Ya Miss Me?

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Howdy, and happy Thursday!

I don’t have a tremendous amount to tell you, because as you know, I’ve been in class for the past three weeks. Two weeks ago was Eating Disorders, and last week and this week were Substance Abuse and Addictions counseling. I just wanted to pop by because I’ve missed you all so much 😉

I thought I’d share with you briefly my experience going caffeine-free. As part of my Addictions class, each of us was asked to “give up” something — obsessive texting, Facebook-checking, smoking, drinking two 2-liters of Coke a day, or what have you.

My poison? Caffeinated coffee.

Both Ian and my mom always joke that before I’ve “had my coffee” [read: come fully awake and gotten out of my sleep funk] it’s best not to talk to me unless you require little more than a grunt. I certainly wouldn’t say I’m addicted to coffee; I do, however, rely on it to wake me up and keep me awake on important mornings.

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I realized, after having been caffeinated-coffee-free for the past 10 days, how much time I used to spend on coffee as part of my morning routine. There’s not just the brewing and the drinking… there’s the doctoring, the mixology, the waiting until it’s the perfect temperature, and then the requisite stop at the “facilities” before I can head out the door. The past two weeks, I have had anywhere from 15-30 extra minutes to read, watch Netflix, get a few more things done, mow the lawn, milk the cow… You get the idea.

The real reason I decided to allow coffee to be the vice I would give up is because I don’t want to rely on caffeine anymore. I want caffeine to be a treat instead of a regularity. I have found that I relish this extra time in the morning; rather than setting my alarm later, I’ve been enjoying pushing snooze a time or two, and then languishing in bed before going through my routine without haste.

I did allow myself to make decaf whenever I wanted it because decaf doesn’t serve any sort of eye-opening purpose for me. The purpose it does serve? To be my after-dinner sweet treat while I read on the porch. It doesn’t take much to satisfy me in the sweet-tooth department, and a cup of Folger’s doctored with Truvia, a little skim, and a dollop of fancy creamer hits the spot 😉

I’m certainly not planning to give up caffeinated coffee or other beverages on a permanent basis. I’m just enjoying making them more sporadic. As evidenced by my attitude now compared with 57 hours in, this challenge has done me a world of good!

Just FYI: I’ve got lots of new stuff coming to Sarcasm, including vacation plans and an update to the half-marathon Lauren and I are running! Stay tuned!

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We Have a Winnerrrr!

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Blends, I don’t even know how to contain or describe my excitement:

My friend Colleen, over at The Lunchbox Diaries, did a giveaway of the Simone France travel kit she received, and I was chosen as the winner!

I absolutely cannot wait to receive the travel kit in the mail and review it! As you know, I have never done a sponsored post (not that I wouldn’t) but I love to review products of my own volition and report back to you.

To be honest, I do very little in the way of skin care — because I’m that lazy. I do use a St. Ives facial scrub that supposedly “removes blackheads”… Yeah, like they’re just gonna up and walk away! And I also use a Mary Kay moisturizer that my mom’s consultant recommended for chronic dry skin. I actually have combination skin, meaning that it’s both oily and dry.

My nose and my chin have gathered so many little blackheads because I touch my skin a lot (gross, I know). My forehead tends to break out when I sweat a great deal, such as weeks that I run several days. Before I go to bed, I know I should do something in the way of removing the day’s oil and impurities, but I am just. too. lazy.

When I receive this little miracle kit that Colleen has raved about so much, I plan to make an honest attempt at using it on a regular basis. I’m not self-conscious about my skin, per se, but I wouldn’t hate having clearer, more evenly complected skin, either.

As soon as I’ve given Simone France a fair shot, I promise to write a full and honest review. In the meantime, I’ll just dream about the future of my clear, beautiful skin 😉

Richmond Firefighters Beat the Heat 5k [Race Recap]

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G’day, blends!

I fully realize that it’s been a week since we last “spoke,” but I have a good excuse! I was in an eating disorders education class Monday through Friday from 8:30 until 5 on the button. I came home, made a quick and easy dinner (let’s play ‘Can You Spot the Repetition?’),

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and dove headfirst into my work until 10:00 or so. I was lucky if I remembered to condition after shampooing before I all but collapsed into bed. (I’ve been watching season three of PLL, so I’m channeling my inner Hanna with the drama factor.) After all, that’s the mark of a quality education, right, Dr. P? 😉

Yesterday, I left immediately from the ‘Burg and drove straight to P.F. Chang’s at Stony Point for dinner with Ian and one of his groomsmen, Mac. Dinner (ahem, and drinks) put me home after 10, which barely gave me five minutes to greet my family before pouring myself into my inviting bed.

This morning, I was awakened from some gnarly dream at seven… to run for the first time in more than a week!

[Timeout for a second.]

I don’t want to make excuses, because those women who get up at 4:30 to hit the gym before work, and those women who run up bleachers and staircases because they don’t have the extra bucks for a gym membership, put my grade-A whiny butt to shame. But–in my world–last week, there simply wasn’t time to get buff and lean, nor was there time to spare to blog.

[Okay, time in.]

Dad, Mom and I piled into the car still half-asleep at 7:30. We got down to Shockoe Bottom and somehow found a place to park in plenty of time. Within five minutes, here came Ian and Mac, the other two-thirds of our cheering section 😉

Dad and I stretched out and joined the crowd at the front of the race. We are by no means among the first to finish, but we like to get a good start rather than trip over people’s dogs and strollers.

We started well, and the first mile breezed by in 10:40. It’s between the first and the second when I’m like, where the hell is mile-marker 2?! Finally, we crested a small hill, and two came into sight. We passed it with about 12 minutes left to make our goal of 34 minutes. If you will recall, 34 minutes was our goal last month, and I missed it by 12 seconds.

I thought, this is literally the best pace we have ever kept, and it didn’t feel like we were slowing down much. I was especially grateful for the extra time we had built up at the end, because the concluding segment had a slight incline, and I was really feelin’ eight days out of my workout regime.

When I saw that beautiful American flag come into sight, I gasped out, “Is that the finish line?” Dad said, “Yep!” and we both knew what we had to do. We picked up our pace even more, really kicking up our heels. At this point, we had two minutes left to meet our goal, and time was ticking.

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I slowed down a bit when I reached the American flag suspended from the fire truck because I thought that was the finish line, but we were corralled single-file into the narrow finish where the timer was. Dad and I crossed together in 34:11.30.

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I was immediately disappointed that we hadn’t met our goal, especially since we had kept a faster pace than ever, and we had had extra time at the end to allow for zapped energy, the heat, and the incline. Ian spun it like this: even though Dad and I didn’t precisely meet our goal of 34 minutes, we did beat our previous time record, and we did run the entire distance, and we did finish together. When it’s put like that, I guess we didn’t do so bad after all 😉 Not to mention that we earned these snazzy medals!

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In the spirit of full disclosure, I L-O-V-E earning a medal at a race. Call it my need for extrinsic motivation, but wearing that sweet thang around my neck for the rest of the day makes me feel like the biggest rock star.

After the race, we celebrated with breakfast power sandwiches, fruit smoothies, and even a shared Cobblestone at Panera.

I want to add that even though this morning’s race kicked my ass a bit in the legs department, my clean eating all week certainly supported me nutritionally.

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I was thanking myself in leaps and bounds–literally–as I struggled through mile three.

Well, that’s pretty much it for today. Also, welcome to those of you who are new to SWASOV! For the next two weeks, I’m gonna do it all over again. Well, sort of…

Grocery Haul Line Item

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Hello and happy Sunday, blends! I’m back at my little apartment for a long, blissful, peaceful, relaxing week of… class. Whomp.

Anyhow, I haven’t written about my grocery shopping exploits in awhile, so I thought it would be fun to update you on what I’m eating these days, how much I buy to feed a household of one, and about how much I spend per week on food. Here goes, in no particular order!

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I was falling a little behind on my TP supply. Get it? 😉 ($7.99)

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My fridge is always stocked with Chobani. This week, all Chobani was 10/$10, so I even indulged in a few Flips.

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In the grains department, organic frosted flakes cereal ($2.50), store-brand whole wheat rotini ($0.99), spicy blue corn tortilla chips ($2.79), and 100-calorie whole wheat sandwich rounds ($3.19).

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My “shame buys”: basil pesto ($3.69) for chicken pesto pasta this week, and soups ($2.69 each). I try not to buy these types of items often, because pesto is so high in fat, and because brand-name soups have a tremendous amount of sodium (34% RDV in just one of these cans!).

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In the beverage department, my impromptu purchase of Metro Mint water (on sale 10/$10), practically sugar-free and low-cal cranberry-pomegranate juice ($2.74), and store-brand skim milk ($2.19).

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I thought I was in desperate need of Orbit gum (2/$3), but it turns out there were two packs of strawberry flavor waiting for me in the pantry. Oops!

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Not-quite-ripe bananas — just how I like ’em — ($0.59/pound = $1.20), organic strawberries ($2.28), and white grapes ($2.99/pound = $5.20).

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As far as veggies go, one green bell pepper ($0.78), two Roma tomatoes ($2.28/pound = $2.51), one cucumber (4/$3 = $0.75), one Vidalia onion ($0.99/pound = $0.64), whole carrots ($0.79), baby spinach ($2.99), and Steamfresh frozen peas ($1.39) and a veggie blend ($2.69).

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One-half dozen grade-A large store-brand eggs ($0.99) and feta crumbles ($1.89).

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And last but certainly not least, my protein department: antibiotic-free, hormone-free, 100% vegetarian-fed, cage-free-raised chicken breasts ($3.95), and farm-raised boneless and skinless tilapia fillets ($3.99).

Drum roll, please……

My total haul for the week cost $83.42, and I saved $12.35 using my store points card. Woohooo!

Some of these items will last me longer than a week, such as three chicken breasts and four pieces of tilapia, a carton of juice, the TP (I should hope!), pesto, pasta, and gum. I needed to make a large grocery shopping trip today since I haven’t been at my apartment for a month and the fridge was looking pretty bare. That explains my high bill, as a typical weekly trip ranges from $40-$60. However, my fruit and veggie haul for this week was pretty typical, with some items varying depending upon weekly sales (e.g. grapes instead of pears, baby spinach instead of a butter bibb blend).

That about wraps it up! I’d love to hear from YOU about grocery shopping! Maybe I’m a weirdo, but I love seeing what other foodies and health nuts buy each week.

This Week Sucked [For Lack of a Better Title]

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Good (late) evening, blends. This has been a pretty lame start to June in terms of the blogosphere, and I blame that entirely on myself. I’ve been making excuses for why I didn’t have time to blog, but I’ve also been doing some serious prioritizing.

This past week, I did nothing but re-train for my fourth consecutive summer at my favorite job in the world, read for my two upcoming M.Ed. classes, sleep, try to spend an hour or so each night with my family, and eat — in that order. To say the least, this week was incredibly stressful. In order to prepare for next week’s one-week intensive course, I need to have read a 240-page novel, as well as a 186-page textbook. (Both of which I found out about 12 days prior to the start of the course.) Ready… Set… Go!

Oh, and did I mention that after two days of diligent reading and dogged highlighting, I discovered that I was reading the wrong textbook? That’s right, folks. Nothin’ like a jolting realization at 7:15 in the morning to jump-start my day. I’m now 50 pages into a textbook I don’t need for two weeks. Hey, I suppose extra-extra preparation can’t hurt!

Between training from 8:00-3:00 each day and reading for 1.5-2 hours per day, exercise and blogging have unfortunately taken a backseat. I did manage to squeeze in a 30-minute run around our Y’s indoor track and a couple of medium-intensity swims.

If you’re still a regular reader, I want to thank you for sticking around. I guess I lied when I said regular blogging would resume shortly. I’m going to do my best, but honestly, I haven’t had a lot to say of late. I try to be two things on this little blog slice — honest and positive. Had I blogged this week, I fear I would have been overly honest and “underly” positive. Not only have I felt pulled in all directions recently, I’ve had a bit of difficulty managing my stress level and keeping myself in check. Not enough hours in the day and too little exercise will do that to a person, I suppose.

In the end, what matters is not how well prepared I am to begin my six weeks of teaching in July, nor how many pages I have read in preparation for a class. What matters, first and foremost, is my health, and that is where my focus needs to be. This weekend and next week, while I’ll still be busy, I’m going to work on re-centering myself and focusing on what really matters to me.

Check back with me in a few days. I may have something better for ya by then 😉 Oh, and thank you to those of you who texted and tweeted, wondering whether I was AWOL. Your concern is greatly appreciated!