8.26.2014

Popcorn By the Pound

I buy my popcorn by the pound.  Well I used to anyway. True life.  I was addicted to popcorn.

It all started sometime last year.  I had an insatiable craving for things like pretzels and potato chips.  Pretzels are low fat but super high sodium and you can only eat so many chips because FAT and neither one has any real nutritional value.  I started focusing on getting more nutritional value out of everything I eat and something kind of cool happened.  I totally quit eating pretzels and I only ate chips occasionally.  I fully enjoy the chips when I do eat them but I no longer crave them like I used to.  I needed a healthy snack that would satisfy my munchies AND give me some kind of nutritional value and popcorn fit my needs perfectly.  Low calorie, low fat and it has protein.  It has carbs but healthy carbs are okay right?  Loading it with butter defeats the purpose.  I wanted it in it's most natural form without added sodium or fat so I went old school and started popping kernels in a pot on the stove.  It turned out to be the perfect snack.  6 tablespoons of kernels makes a pretty big bowl of popcorn and I could eat all.  The whole getting to eat it all part was really cool.  

It was quick to make, I could eat a lot of it, and it was healthy.  Once I'd discovered the perfect snack I wanted it every day and there was just one problem with that.  Oil.  It was necessary in order to get the kernels to pop.  I used as little as possible but still, it was added fat AND washing the pot out every single day got old.  I'd want my snack but dread scrubbing out the pot. 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0089XJDIK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0089XJDIK&linkCode=as2&tag=pinksuns-20&linkId=SQGQ7ZFJ5T5BAY45

Enter the Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper that I found on Amazon.  Where has this magical bowl been all my life?  All I have to do is dump the kernels in the bowl, stick it in the microwave and in 3 minutes my all natural popcorn is done.  No oil, no fat and no clean up either.  I only have to wash the bowl once a week.  My popcorn addiction grew even more if that was even possible.  When I was making it in the pan I would sometimes add garlic salt or popcorn seasoning to flavor it up but if I do that in the bowl I have to wash it every single time.  With a daily popcorn habit I was too lazy to bother so it totally worked out that I didn't even miss the extra flavor.  I really love the natural flavor of popcorn.  If you really love popcorn this bowl will change your life.  I've since bought one for my mom and sister.  

Those dinky little 16 oz containers of kernels were not enough to feed my addiction.  I could not be a day without having at least the option of eating popcorn so I was constantly running to the store for kernels.  It was clearly time to go bulk so I went back to Amazon and bought the biggest bag of popcorn I could find.  Weighing in  at 12.5 lbs this bag of popcorn is actually larger then a new born baby.  I had to lean it up against the wall to keep the kernels from spilling out.  It looked really bad sitting there like that but I couldn't tuck it away too far because it's too heavy to keep getting out.  First world problems, I know.  I solved this by getting a cute jumbo mason jar to store the kernels in and refill as needed.

It was really bad.  This is the part of the addiction that I'm most embarrassed to admit.  I tend to be kind of possessive of my food anyway and it was even worse with popcorn.  I wanted  needed the entire bowl to myself.  I only allowed MJ to have a couple handfuls before I got really annoyed.  I used to ask him if he wanted some because if he did then, I'd pop some extra but he always said no.  And how long do you think it took me to eat 12.5 lbs of popcorn? Let's see.  I ordered my first giant bag on March 1st and I had to place another order on May 3rd.  That's about 4lbs of popcorn a month.  Told you.  I was totally addicted, but if you are going to be addicted to something it could be a lot worse then all natural popcorn. Right?  If it's not one thing it's another with me and food.  When I like something I like it and I will eat it constantly and never get sick of it.

My current meal plan does not allow for a huge mega bowl of popcorn a day habit.  I still eat it sometimes but it's been 3 months since my last overflowing giant steamy bowl.  I am still as yet undecided on how long I'll continue with this meal plan but I definitely see a big bowl of popcorn in my future and MJ better not ask for even one kernel.  

8.19.2014

Free Weight Fear is a Thing

I've enjoyed working out at home for a while now.  I don't have to worry about crowds or what I look like.  I don't even have to wear clothes.  I did weight training at home with what we had but I wanted to lift heavier and branch out with different exercises so after four weeks I forced myself to enter the free weight zone at the gym.  It was really hard at first.  I felt like a flopping fish out of water.  It took me a good two weeks of going almost every day before I started to feel more comfortable.  Free Weight fear is a thing. How 'bout some tips on getting over it.

1.  Get the gear.  It might make you look like you know what you are doing even if you don't.  MJ bought me some cute pink work out gloves.They keep blisters off my hands and I don't have to worry about feeling like I'm damaging my wedding ring.  Listening to music is motivating and gives me something else to focus on besides my nerves.  A lot of guys use the pockets in their giant gym shorts to put their music source but none of my outfits have pockets.  Some girls stuff it in their tank or their pants but I didn't want to worry about sweat.  I needed something to keep my hands free so I tried the SPI Beltfirst.  I like it and it's great for running but I needed to consult my online work out program too often to make it practical.  I had to keep taking my phone in and out which made me feel conspicuous.  I switched over to the Minisuit Armbandand now I can operate my phone right through the clear plastic and I can angle my arm in front of me to see the screen.  It's neoprene so my phone is protected and I can sweat all over it without worry and wash it later.  It makes it easy for me to switch my music up too so for me it's the much better option for working out.  I also wear my Polar HRM because I like to know how many calories I burn.  There is always going to be someone dressed weirdly inappropriate in jeans, chucks or a faded polo shirt.  You can't stick out any more then that! 

2.  Get a work out buddy.  It would have made things a heck of a lot easier if MJ could have just gone along with me for a week or so until I got comfortable using the machines but he dropped his membership a long time ago.  It doesn't even have to be someone who knows their way around the gym.  I saw lots of work out pairs and I know that if I'd had a buddy I wouldn't feel so self conscious even if neither one of us knew what we were doing because you can figure it out together.  I went with my mom over the weekend and it was great.  I wasn't as afraid to try new things and risk looking foolish.  I was nervous about doing box jumps because I didn't know if I could jump on the box without falling but with my mom there I went for it.  Then I did it last night at the gym on my own.

3.  Sign up for personal training.  It's really expensive so I only did the one hour free session that's offered to everyone.  During that time I asked him about three machines I wanted to learn how to use and it was just one more day of being out of my comfort zone around the free weights that I didn't have to do alone.  A personal trainer will be right there keeping you accountable, teaching you proper form and helping you navigate the free weight area but it just wasn't something I wanted to pay for.  I knew that I was capable of figuring it out so I toughed it out on my own. 

4.  Find and online training program.  If you know nothing about weights you are going to feel very aimless and even more confused in the free weight area if you don't have some kind of a plan of what you are even supposed to be doing there.  Having exercises in front of you using the equipment that you are nervous about using will force you to get on them and figure it out.  It's too easy to run back to the cardio equipment or the basic cable machines.  I went onto bodybuilding.com find a plan so I'd know what a weight lifting work out consisted of and have something to follow.  You don't have to do the whole thing.  Just get an idea of what a weight lifting plan looks like.  I found out how many exercises to do per work out and how the muscle groups are split up.  I followed the Live Fit plan for seven weeks and have now branched out to doing my own thing.

5.  Don't be intimidated.  I know there are a lot of buff guys wearing those tank tops with the huge cut outs in the arms but chances are they are too involved in their work out to notice you.  It truly feels like everyone is looking at you as you fumble around awkwardly with equipment but they aren't.  And the more comfortable you get being there the more comfortable you will feel about screwing up.  Maybe you can't get the equipment adjusted right but you aren't so freaked out so you can sit there and figure it out, brush it off if you can't or even ask someone nearby without feeling like a total loser.

6.  Keep on showing up and fake it 'til you make it.  There were so many days that I dreaded showing up to the gym because I hated that I'm confused and everyone is staring at me feeling.  I just wanted to say forget it, but I stuck with it and got more comfortable with every visit.  There were times I had to skip a machine because I couldn't find it and was too embarrassed to keep wandering around the gym or ask for help.  There were also times when I finally found that machine but skipped it because I was afraid I would like like an idiot when I couldn't figure out how to adjust it properly.  I kept watching what other people were doing and then eventually I got the courage to try it myself.

7.  Ask for help.  I failed miserably at this.  I'm sure I could have gone up to any trainer and asked where the row machine was or how to adjust the cable cross machine.  There are also plenty of people around me who also might know, but I'm shy about doing it and I just hate asking for help.  I'd rather wander around the gym casually sipping my water bottle and inconspicuously craning my neck in search of the back extension machine.

8.  Go when the gym is least crowded if possible.  It might make you feel braver about tackling machines and weight benches.  Plus, you won't have to jockey for space or stalk machines you want to use.  I get off work at 5pm and so do a lot of other people and pre work AM workouts are hard on me if not impossible so sometimes crowds are inevitable, which is one of the most annoying thing about the gym.  That and other people's sweat.  I went as early as possible on weekends when I was still feeling nervous.  My gym is 24 hours so I thought about going at 11pm on a Friday or 5 am on a Sunday but it never happened.  It would have been wonderful to have the whole gym to myself to figure things out though. 

9.  Remember, there are always people doing weirder exercises then you.  I saw this woman getting up and down into a straddle sit in slow motion with a kettle ball in her hand.  It was really bizarre.  Then she went over and did a handstand against the wall while she bent her legs into a cross legged position.  I saw this guy swinging from one of those giant racks and then putting his legs through his arms.  One pair of girls threw medicine balls at the wall.  People basically go into the gym and do all kinds of things to torture themselves.  Whatever works the muscle or gets the burn is what they are going to do so there is no need to be embarrassed about doing walking lunges across the floor or anything else.  I used to be embarrassed to even do the splits at the gym.  Why? I don't know.  I tend to be embarrassed of everything for one reason or another but I need to work those to keep my flexibility so I do them and now I don't think twice about it.  Speaking of which, I need to start doing my bridge there too.  Do what you gotta do and chances are it's no big deal.

After two weeks of I never ever want to go back awfulness I'm confident that I can walk into any free weight room in all my pink glory, be the only girl in there and not feel intimidated.  I don't notice everyone else. I'm not looking for people who might not know what they are doing so I can stare at them and make them feel uncomfortable.  I'm too busy sweating bullets and doing box jumps.  I get in there and do my thing.  You just have to push through the whole fish out of water phase and you can too.

8.15.2014

The Kind of Happy That Just Is

I had a really bad dream last night. For some reason it really rattled me and I can't seem to get it out of my head. Have you ever wondered about what your life might be like if you made a different decision or if one thing or another had happened differently? I think everyone has at one point or another. The dream was very vague and unformed as dreams tend to be but the gist of it was this. I was not married to my husband. I was with someone else.  I was miserable and I was thinking of that guy I met with whom everything was perfect.  That guy that I only went out on a few dates with before deciding it would be best to go back to an old relationship.
July 4th 2008 // Our first Vegas trip together
There were no monsters.  I was not swimming in a vat of spiders.  There was no Nightmare on Elm Street running through a field screaming bloody murder and yet this dream was positively chilling because in it I knew what it was like not to have MJ in my life.  In the dream "that guy" was MJ and for whatever reasons I went back to an old tattered relationship rather then take a chance at being happy.  I knew what it was like not to be able to hold his hand or see him smile and it was a terribly empty feeling.

In reality there was no guy I went back to but there was a previous marriage that ended in divorce. Ten years ago my marriage had fallen apart.  I was bitter, hopeless and oh so very lost.  Life was misery for me.  When I hear about any suicide including the most recent one that everyone is talking about it really hits home.  When I see Robin Williams face I look at his eyes and wonder what kind of torment and pain might have been hiding behind jokes and smiles at that very moment.  I hid a lot with my smile too.  I don't know his struggle but I know what it's like to see ceasing to exist as a solution.

Four years later I was still single and very anti relationship because relationships are "so hard" and I was not worthy.  I didn't think I would ever meet anyone I liked enough to take a chance with which was fine because in my mind I was unlovable anyway; destined to be alone and sad. When we started dating in March 2008 I pushed him away because I did not believe I deserved someone like him.  I was distant.  I wouldn't allow myself to like him.  I just knew I would ruin his life and that's exactly what I told him.  I was in a slightly better place but still very damaged and afraid.  I still didn't know what it was like to love life and be happy.  I had moments of happiness but not the kind of happy that just is for no reason at all and that's when I met him.  That's when everything changed for me and I'm so incredibly grateful.  He pushed, I found the courage to let him in and life with MJ has been nothing less then amazing.  We don't fight, we figure it out.  Loving him is easy.  He is my rock.  He comforts me in so many ways.  What if I had never gotten divorced?  What if I had successfully sabotaged our relationship?  I shudder to think of what my life would be like right now if I had never gotten a divorce and it saddens me to think of the lonely and miserable person I was and might still be today had I not met MJ when I did.

I vaguely remember him kissing me this morning like always before he left for work and reassuring me that it was Friday and not Thursday.  That was the other nightmare I had last night.  And when I woke up I felt a huge sense of relief.  Not only because it was Friday but because the life I have right now is so very different then the one I had ten years ago and I get to come home to a man who means everything to me.  It was just a bad dream.

8.13.2014

Las Vegas Confessions

Over the weekend we ran off to Las Vegas.  I love that place.  I don't necessarily do anything I can't do at home besides club all night (well I can do that at home I just don't want to) but I just really love the warm nights, anything goes attitude and the energy of this city.  The things people wear.  The things people do.  That alone is entertaining.  Every time I go there is something new.  We were just there last November and now there is The Quad which is my new favorite part of the strip.  There is always construction going on all over the place so there will be something new the next time we go.

I confess that I originally wasn't going to go at all.  MJ's friends were going for a Birthday.  We've been traveling a lot and I just didn't want to pay for another trip.  It gets expensive and I needed a break so I told him I'd sit this one out but then changed my mind.  I always have a really fun time hanging out with this couple and I couldn't bear to have MJ go to Vegas with out me!!  I didn't want to miss out. 

I confess that I chipped the nail polish on my big toe pretty badly a few days before the trip and refused to get my pedicure re done.  I'd just gotten one not too long ago and rather then spend precious time getting another pedicure since every other nail was still good I went to Target and found a bottle of nail polish in as close to the color as I could find so I could just touch it up.  It was $3.99 vs time I didn't have and $20.00 bucks so I took the easy route.

I confess that this trip was the first time I've ever ever had to pay to check my baggage and we had to share one suitcase because Spirit charges to carry on and check luggage.  They also charge for drinks and snacks.  You can't even get a tiny watered down soda and a mini bag of pretzels for free on that joint.  They don't even offer any actual food options unless you count cup o noodles.  Yes, cup o noodles!!!  They claim that their awesome bare bones policy is to reduce prices for their valued customers allowing us to only pay for what we want but in reality it's just their way of showing up with the cheapest fare in search engines and duping you into thinking you are getting a bargain.  Hello!!  I'm traveling.  I NEED luggage and you want me to pay just to carry on a bag with me?  Also, their seats don't recline so they can pack more people in and get more money.  They do have some rows with additional leg room but of course you pay for that.  You also pay if you want to choose your seat in advance (we didn't).  What's next?  Charging to use the restroom?  I wouldn't put it past them because not everyone needs to go to the bathroom on every flight right?  Might as well just pay for what you need. 
It was pretty cool to actually look decent on a flight for a change.  I love quick flights!!  On our last vacation to Cancun it was an overnight flight there.  I looked like crap.  It was a ridiculously early flight on the way back.  I looked AND felt like crap.  This was totally different.  We hopped on the plane and one hour later we were landing.  I wore sandals.  I was not wearing glasses and didn't look like a haggard lady in yoga pants.  It was pretty cool.  What was also pretty cool is arriving in Vegas refreshed and ready to go.  We've driven the last few times because it's so much cheaper but that drive is rough.

I confess that we ate at McDonald's twice!!  It was right next to our hotel.  Sometimes you just need a quick bite to eat to tide you over and you need it to be cheap!  I got a grilled chicken breast salad after we checked in and then a Egg White delight the next morning for breakfast.  Both healthy aside from the major sodium explosion but that is going to happen regardless of where we eat.   

I confess that on Saturday I put on my bikini then ended up taking a nap instead (yes, still wearing my bikini and cover up). What had happened was that MJ woke up earlier then anyone should ever wake up in Vegas.  He left to go sky diving with the birthday boy at 7:30am!!  When he got back he was obviously beat and I was just getting up and moving around.  I went and got us McD's then checked out the pool but when I came back and saw him all cozy in the bed it seemed like a better idea to join him. 
I confess that I blew through $10 in less then 10 minutes doing quarter slots.  Towards the end I even switched over to penny slots in an attempt to extend my play but there was no saving it.  Luck was not on my side and I wasn't willing to spend more trying to get it.  MJ spent more money and played longer but didn't do any better.

I confess that we did not bust out the DSLR.  Not once.  We brought it and I even charged the battery but it sat in the room all weekend.  I just wasn't feeling it.  We've been to Vegas several times and I know we'll be going back so I just stuck to the cell and my little point and shoot.  We really didn't take that many pictures period.  Eh.  Whatever. 

Not a bad touch up job on the pedicure.  Right?
I also confess that these are my wedding sandals from 2010!! Still going strong
I confess that we bought tequila shots to go.  Vegas is an adult playground if ever there was one.  That area behind me looks like one of those fill your own cup yogurt places but at the Purple Zebra instead of yogurt coming out it's alcohol flavors.  You pick your container and then fill it up with your alcohol of choice.  We opted for $3.00 patron shots that come in a handy vial carrying case.


I confess that Vegas brings out my inner 21 year old hoochie mama that wants to dress like one, booze it up and dance all night.  I did not wear the black mini and crop top I bought but I will be saving it for next time.  The first night we hung out in the quad area until about midnight.  It's this new really cool area that has a new giant London eye like Ferris wheel.  The birthday boy isn't really a "club" guy nor was he dressed appropriately to get into one but when we go to Vegas we like to get in a night of dancing.  It's literally, the only time I feel the desire or the energy to do it so I like to take advantage of it.  I love dancing.  In San Diego the music usually sucks for 50% of the night but in Vegas the music is great all night long.  We got to The Bank at Bellagio around 10:30pm and didn't leave until 2am.  Most of that time was spent on the dance floor.  There was no stage so MJ got to dance with me the whole night.  It was so much fun, minus the drunk guy that kept spilling his drink on us.  MJ literally removed the drink from his hand, put it on the table, and I don't even think he noticed. 
The obligatory fourth meal after a night of drinking and dancing.  That day after a mini McD's breakfast we ate a big lunch then went to Guy Fieri's restaurant for dinner but were only hungry enough to split an appetizer.  This was the biggest slice of pizza I've ever seen but it disappeared pretty fast.

Another fun Vegas trip on the books!!!  I can't wait to go back.

Vodka and Soda



8.07.2014

Because Target

Shopping.  Most women love it but there are some out there that aren't into it at all.  I always wished I was one of those because it would save me a lot of money.  I mostly love it but I do go back and forth.  It seems to come in phases that initially begins with me feeling like I wear the same thing every day and that it's impossible to get dressed in the morning.

Last year I was really into it but the "shopping bug" that plagued me last year has officially left the building.   I hated all the money I was spending and I hated that I felt like I couldn't stop.  Shopping is awesome and all but enough is enough.  We've been doing a lot of traveling over the last year and all that shopping was bumping up against buying airline tickets.  I was stretching myself thin trying to do both so it needed to stop.

It takes a while for the bug to fully leave your system.  When you are in the thick of it you feel like you need to buy all the things and they call out to you wherever you go.  I'd buy one thing, which would lead to another to go with it which would lead to a pair of shoes to go with that and it just never ends.   Now I can go into a store and not even glance at the women's and shoe departments.  I don't feel tempted to buy things when I see an add, get a SALE NOW!! email or click on an outfit of the day post.  I have a coupons I get in the mail usually from Express, Limited and Macy's that I save 'just in case' but I don't use them and I'm not online searching for that next thing.  I've gotten closer to shopping just if I need something. Like men.  I knew I was getting over it when I could buy just one thing and be happy without it leading me to want something else.  Hunting down the clothes, trying on the clothes, and sending back the clothes that don't fit just feels like a lot of work right now.  I have plenty.  My poor closet is stuffed because I'm terrible at purging. 

Target Haul:  Blue & White Maxi // striped skirt // T-Shirt Dress // Pink & Grey Maxi // Navy & Off-White Maxi
Now if I could just get over Target I'd be okay.

These are some of my Target finds over the last seven months.  My love affair with skirts and dresses continues.  It's the only thing I buy these days and only at Target.  They are just so versatile and comfortable.  My job is casual enough that I can wear all of these things to work and on weekends.  MJ used to ask me why I had so many stripes.  Particularly striped tops.  Well, the same reason almost every single pair of shorts he owns has cargo pockets.  They are everywhere, but that's okay because I love them.

It usually happens on my lunch break.  I casually check out the women's department and end up in the fitting room.  I go in there real quick for bread and toilet paper then the next thing I know I've found something I love and I'm scanning it with my Cartwheel app to see if there's an extra discount.  I can't shop without that app.  One time I couldn't get wi-fi for some reason and I was almost late getting back to work because I refused to check out without scanning.  I also combine that with 5% off using my Red card.  So that's how every single one of these things happened .  All individual purchases one lunch break at a time.  I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse and that's exactly the thing I love and hate about Target.

I guess I don't feel too bad because it's so inexpensive but I do realize that it adds up...and takes up space.  Did I mention that I REALLY need to purge?  Does anyone else have this problem of holding onto every last thing for years and years on end?  I bought it so it feels so wasteful to get rid of it.  Even if I'm not wearing it now I might change my mind later and it has happened.    How do you buy something and then get rid of it even if you still like it? Someone please help me understand how this whole purging thing works!!
 
So this happened two days ago.  I went to Target for one thing and came out with that plus something else.  This time around it actually was need based.  Mostly.  I'm going to Vegas this weekend and I found a really cute skirt but couldn't find a crop to go with it.  I might have been able to make do with something at home but you know, since I was going to Target anyway......

Oh, Target impulse shopping.  I don't think I can quit you just yet but I do promise to work on it.  If you are interested in winning $75.00 worth of Target impulse shopping money of your own you can enter the Target Giveaway here.

8.05.2014

Target Time Giveaway

It's been a while since I did a giveaway so I happily jumped at the chance to do one for Target, because TARGET!!   It's August and what better way to start the soon to be Fall season than with a Target Gift Card? Whether you want clothes, home decor, or a nice new coffee pot, we want you to get what you want so we're giving away a $75.00 bucks to Target. Good luck and happy winning!