Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Updates and Playing Catch-up

“Running is just a small part that makes me happy and it will always be there for me when I’m ready to come back to it!  Oh, and remember that I am still a runner, even if I’m not running for a little bit.”


I can’t remember what blog I stole this from, but it’s one I read regularly and this statement really hit home for me.  As I’m sure you all well know (those of you that are still sticking around, that is), I have not been running much at all.  Like, weeks will pass between me going out for runs.  It’s not for lack of WANTING to run.  It’s a whole combination of different things all added up together.  First, I’m still working an average of 64 hours a week.  Second, if I’m not working double shifts, I’m most likely at my boyfriend’s house (oh yeah, I started dating someone about 6 months ago).  Third, I’ve been heavily distracted with crafting and costume making.  Fourth, if I have down time from those other 3 things, I’m exhausted and don’t want to do anything and if I do anything at all, then I’m cooking and/or cleaning. 


Anyway, the gist of me including that quote is that even though I’m not really running right now, I’m holding onto my identity as a runner.  I’m not willing to give that up.  I’m just on a hiatus right now.  I’ll get back into it.  I know I will.  I love it too much.


So…even though none of this will be running related, let me fill you in on what I’ve been up to!  First, it’s been exactly a month since my last post.  My response to that?  Oops.  I’m really sorry, I truly am, but I’ve just been so preoccupied with everything else going on in my life right now.  I’ve wanted to write posts, but when I sit down to write, I can’t think of anything.


My last post, I wrote about costumes and contacts.  I did end up buying a full 6 month supply of daily wear contacts.  That will last me quite a while as I only intend to wear them while sporting a costume or if I’m going to be outside all day, that way I can wear some stylish sunglasses (of course, if I’m doing something sporty, then I’ll wear my most awesome double-tinted prescription sunglasses).  I had just completed pirate jacket #2.  So let’s pick up there…with the pirate jackets.

I have now completed THREE pirate jackets!  And I will tell you right now, the third one is my favorite.  First, it’s pink…well, more of a dusty mauve, really.  Second, it’s corduroy!  And thirdly, I’d already made 2 jackets before it, so I pretty much had all the “bugs” worked out of the process of making this pattern…namely with the sizing issues I was having.  Also, it just plain looks fantastic and unique.  I also received my pirate hat in the mail and I love it!  I was able to decorate it without using glue or poking extra holes in it.  So I’m pretty happy with that.

I also started working on a scalemail bra which I plan to pair with a kilt for wearing after hours at the renaissance festival.  Scalemail is actually fairly easy once you figure it out, it’s just tedious and takes a while.  But, I’m really happy with how it’s going so far.  I’m completely done with one side of it and a little over half done with the second side. 

I’ve recently relearned how to do the basic knit stitch!  I’m pretty excited about this and am already 2 skeins into a scarf!  I’m going to do another ½ skein and then finish it off.  Then I’ll start work on a scarf for the boyfriend as part of his Christmas present…pretty excited about doing that for him.  after I’m done with his scarf, I’ll hit up the YouTube videos on how to knit a beanie hat with the remainder of the yarn for my scarf so I have a matching set!  So that’ll be fun!

Another thing that has happened is I got another tattoo!  I love it!  It was done by an apprentice artist and she really did a fantastic job and I would totally get another tattoo from her.  I do plan to have my regular artist add to this tattoo by doing a background of a tattered American flag behind the eagle.

The boyfriend and I also went out to his friend with the leathershop's place and made sheaths for our spearheads and I'm pretty happy with how mine turned out.  However, I do wish that when I asked him which leather dye would match the leather wrapping that was already on the spear that he had told me the correct one.  Oh well, I do like how it turned out and how the dye isn't solid in its coloring.

I cooked some Indian food (a mash up of beef curry and tikka masala which is good but not exactly what I was hoping it would be) and made this rice recipe that called for I bought saffron!  I went to this awesome spice shop in the Arboretum in Austin called Savory Spice Shop.  I highly recommend this place.  The staff is super friend and knowledgeable and the selection is huge!  While there, discovered that coriander leaf is another name for...drum roll...cilantro.  HA!  I felt a little silly when I found that out.  And they threw in a free baggie of vanilla bean sugar, which I gave to the boyfriend.

During the last month, boyfriend and I attended a Viking Feast event at a local brewery.  Dressing up in garb was encouraged and we jumped at the chance to do a test run with our Viking garb!  We got there a little early and we were getting ourselves pieced together at the same time as the Viking Invasion re-enactors, so we struck up conversation with them.  We got lots of compliments throughout the night, including the re-enactors referring to us as "the pretty people"...HA!  Then, one of them gave us a little private lesson on hand axe fighting.  That was pretty awesome!

I think that's pretty much all my updates from the past month.  I, again, apologize for my lack of posts.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Costumes & Contacts

My life has drastically changed in the last year.  Last summer I was 100% in the zone with running and being at what I thought was the “perfect weight” with my “perfect body.”  Sure, I LOOOOOOVED how I looked and I felt amazing, but in order for me to maintain that body/weight, the pressure was and would be pretty great and demanding.  I just don’t have the time or motivation right now to attempt to maintain that standard.  Maybe after I’ve paid off a good chunk of my debt and am no longer working 64 hour work weeks most weeks, then I can refocus and work on upping my motivation to better my physical self.  Right now, I’m about 35 pounds heavier than I was this time last year.  I have to say that I’m about 85% okay with that fact.  Why?  Because other than my finances and that I haven’t worked out beyond walking a couple times a day in almost a month now, things are going fantastic in my life. 


I’ve been focusing a lot on costume making lately.  So far I’ve made 2 pirate jackets.  Why 2?  Well, you see, what happened was…and I want to preface this by saying that your actual clothing size does not determine what size you should buy your sewing patterns in.  Needless to say, I wear anywhere from an 8 to a 12 in regular clothes, but apparently in sewing patterns I wear a 16 to 18.  This was rather frustrating to discover AFTER I’d already completed jacket #1.  I put it on and while it was a smidge tight in the breast area, it was comfortable.  Then I took it off and happened to look at the seams down the back of the jacket and the fabric (which is NOT a stretchy fabric) was stretching.  NO BUENO!  So I have decided that until I lose weight again, I cannot wear that jacket again.  Sooooo, I made a second jacket and this one fits.  It’s actually a teensy bit big, but not by much.  it’s very comfortable and looks fantastic.  I’ll be making a 3rd jacket before the big trip to the Texas Renaissance Festival over Thanksgiving weekend with a large group of old and new friends.  But, first I need to take a small break from pirate jackets.  Both jackets I’ve made so far were frustrating for separate reasons.  I’m pretty sure that jacket #3 will go a lot smoother, but I still need to take a breather.  So what’s up next?  An elf huntress costume, of course!  This costume isn’t going to be worn until the Sherwood Forest Faire in next spring.  However I do want to get a jump on it and get the sewing done then I can focus on doing the purchasing of the commercial items that will accompany my wearing of it.  My elf huntress costume will basically be my Linken costume.  In case you’re not familiar with Linken, let me just give you the short story: Linken is a female Link (from Legend of Zelda).  That’s it.  My commercial purchases for this costume will be Link’s shield and a dozen arrows with green fletching.  I already have a Link’s sword.  I will make a baldric that goes cross-chest to hold the sword.  And I’ll make my own quiver.  And then I’ll just use the belt and pouch I’ve already made for my Viking costume.  The quiver will hang off my belt.
selfie in jacket #1

jacket #1 with underdress, corset and boots

selfie in jacket #2

I’ve also been doing some pyrographing.  What is pyrographing, some of you might be asking, I’m sure.  Basically, it’s just a fancy word for burning designs into wood.  I pyrographed a few quotes onto my Viking spear, along with a rose as well.  Then I pyrographed the Futhark runes into wooden discs to make a set of casting runes.  And most recently, I pyrographed my long bow!  I had quite a bit of fun with this.  I burned the symbol for the “unfound” from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series twice onto the spine of the bow, above and below the grip area.  Then…and here’s the actual fun part…I chose some quotes in J.R.R. Tolkien’s elvish language and then burned them onto the bow.  It turned out amazing and I’m quite happy with it!
the rose I pyrographed!

my set of casting runes!

up close of the runes that wrap around the bottom of my spear

"unfound" on my bow

completed spear with leather wrapping and pyrography

quotes in J.R.R. Tolkien's elvish language

I recently got a new eye exam and an updated prescription.  And let me tell you, I’m going to see much better once my the new lenses for my glasses come in.  They had to special order them because I had to be fancy and want the photochromatic, anti-glare, scratch resistant lenses and they didn’t have them in stock at the store.   I bought some frames off the internet from Zenni Optical.  (I highly recommend them, but would probably advise you order them with your prescription already in them from Zenni and not take them to a local shop because it’s more expensive…I’ll be doing that next time)  I bought a pair of sport sunglasses for running and biking.  And I bought a pair of regular, daily wear glasses.  The sunglasses came with tinted, mirrored lenses and it had little inserts for the prescription lenses.  Well, the prescription lenses are also tinted and polarized too.  I’ve always been frustrated because I cannot find sunglasses that are dark enough for my preference.  I have very blue eyes and they are rather light sensitive.  Well, these sunglasses are PERFECT! 


On top of getting an updated prescription, I got fitted for contact lenses.  I have absolutely no intention of wearing them frequently.  In fact, a 90-count box will most likely last me at least a year, if not longer.  I want them pretty much exclusively for when I’m in my costumes.  Because, you know, who ever heard of a Viking or a pirate or a barbarian wearing glasses?  I have a follow up appointment with the eye doctor later this week so I can report back with my thoughts about the contacts and then order that 90-count box.  I will say this about the contacts.  I’m used to glasses and varying levels of correction and also going between looking thru the lenses of my glasses and above/below them at whatever I’m looking at.  So the fact that I had complete correction no matter what direction my eyeballs are pointed is a little disorienting.  I don’t know how to describe it, other than it just gives a weird sensation sorta like extremely mild vertigo, mostly when I point my eyes in a direction that would normally be above/below the lenses of my glasses.  But it’s something I will get used to and it’s a very mild affect, so it doesn’t SUPER bother me.  Right now it takes me a few minutes to get them in and to get them out, but I know that time will improve with practice.  I do want to get some colored contacts in grey. 
might be hard to see, but there is a contact lens in there!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Meal Prep...I Mean It!

Sooooo, I just paid to renew my domain name for another year at the end of August and I am being so very horrible about posting here lately.  So very horrible indeed.  And I apologize.  I mean, I have no clue if anyone actually misses my posts or not, but I’d like to think that at least ONE person out there cares what I have to say (besides you, of course, mom…love you!), but it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.  This blog started many years ago as an online journal for me.  In fact, I do believe that if you go back to the very beginning, those journaly blog posts are still there.  I had a lot on my mind and a lot to get off my chest back then.  It was not a pretty time in my life.  But, anyway, I digress.  What’s going on the here and now?  Well let me fill you in!


First and foremost, I’ve started meal prepping again!  And this time it’s epic!  I bought these neon green meal prep trays with 3 compartments for 1 main dish and 2 side dishes.  And they are perfection!  I love them.  I bought them off Amazon (like a lot of people have).  I got the pack of 14, so that’s good for 2 weeks of main meals, including my days off from work.  Very important to be consistent!  Anyway…at the beginning of this week, I prepped up 14 meals!  I made a WIDE variety of things.  Let’s see if I can remember everything…


For main dishes, I prepped:

• Panko breaded fish sticks w/2 oz tarter sauce

• Baked swai fish w/2 oz peach mango salsa

• Backed lamb steak

• Brisket cooked in the crockpot

• PF Chang honey chicken

(I think that’s all the main dishes)


For side dishes, I prepped:

• roasted baby carrots in a garlic butter glaze

• spinach artichoke dip made with Greek yogurt w/baby rainbow carrots

• quinoa w/pinto beans seasoned with cumin

• baked acorn squash w/hatch chile apple pie filling

• orange spiced sweet potatoes

(I think that’s it for the sides)


Yesterday, I prepped MORE food!  I made paleo chicken cacciatore in the crockpot and vegan avocado man n “cheese.”  The cheese is in quotations because instead of cheese, the recipe calls for nutritional yeast.  The avocado makes it super creamy.  The nutritional yeast gives it a flavor similar to a sharp, aged cheese.  It’s pretty dang good and I’ll be making that recipe again for sure!  fast forward to tomorrow and it’ll find me making a creamy sundried tomato chicken dish and FIVE POUNDS of potato salad.  Haha.  That’s a lot, but it’s what the recipe says.  I’ll give some away because I won’t be able to eat it all before it turns.  I had only 2 empty meal prep trays, so I froze most of the chicken cacciatore I made and I’ll thaw it out later, probably next month sometime, when I want to use the rest of it up…when I don’t feel like cooking one week for instance.


I had to suspend my beloved Studio package class portion of my gym membership.  I just need that $90/mth to help me pay bills right now.  Plus I hadn’t been to a class in over 2 weeks.  So it was just going to waste.  That was unacceptable to me.  So I suspended it for 3 months.  If I haven’t regained my motivation to hit the gym at least 3 times a week by then, then I’ll just go ahead and cancel it altogether.  I really love the classes but yeah, they aren’t super convenient for me right now, so it just made sense to suspend them for a while.  I want to focus on making the gym (and running too!) a regular part of my life again.  I want to do the gym 3 days a week and mix in 2 days of running.  I do have a marathon the first weekend of December that I’d like to finish in enough time to get a finisher’s jacket that’s actually in my size, ya know? 


All in all, I think I’m on my way to making a habit of making healthy choices.  As always, it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.  I’ve got what I want to cook each time I do meal prep all planned out thru November…that’s how excited I am about doing this.  If you have a plan, you’re more likely to succeed.


Friday, September 8, 2017

You Only Fail When....

In my last blog post, I told you guys I was going to DNS the South Padre Island Marathon.  I wanted to let you know that while I did think a lot about it before making the decision final, it still pains me that I won’t be running it this year.  But!  There is still hope!  I’ve emailed the admin at the marathon asking if I can defer this year’s registration to next year’s race.  We’ll see.  Fingers crossed…but breath not held.  Also, I do still fully intend to do the San Antonio RNR marathon.  I want just one more “marathon finisher” jacket from the Rock’n’Roll franchise before I call it quits to marathoning (at least temporarily…I’m undecided currently if this is to be just a hiatus or a full on withdrawal from running marathons).  Don’t get discouraged though, I am HOPING to continue with occasional distance running.  I’d like to run another 50K next year…maybe even a 50 miler.  I want to do more on trails.  I want to get away from the pavement.  I want to be in nature, you know?


But on the subject of quitting things…I’ve been seeing a lot of motivational stuff lately like this:

Pretty inspiring in my opinion.  It brings to mind my summer goal that I wrote on the wall of the Fit room at the gym: “Don’t give up.”  In fact, I’m doing the OPPOSITE of giving up.  I seem to maybe be getting my mojo back.  The other morning I had an appointment at the doctor’s office for the blood draw that comes prior to my annual physical for work.  I decided that I was going to go for a run afterward.  The entire drive from the doctor’s office to Ladybird Lake I kept saying “I don’t want to run, I don’t want to run, I could turn around and go take a nap before I go to work.”  But that would be giving in and giving up.  Thankfully the runner that’s still there, deep within me steered the car until I found myself parked under the Mopac bridge, so I therefore had no choice but to go for my run!  I decided I would do 4 miles.  They were not fast.  But I didn’t expect them to be.  And I’m so very okay with that.  The run went amazingly well and I only stopped to take pictures of the cute things my watch was telling me.

Then the following day, after work, I went for a night run.  Just 3 miles as I was sore and my legs were tired from the 4 miles the day before.  That one was even slower and yet again, totally okay with that.  The fact that I’m going for runs again makes me so happy!  I’m pretty sore but, like I said, I’m super happy.  Now if I can just keep up running 2-3 times per week, I’ll continue to be happy, plus I should have no problem dropping the 15 pounds I want to drop by mid-November! 


Meal prep is still chugging along.  Made pork chops with some pork dry rub that I bought when my friend Heather and I went to Terry Black’s BBQ not too long ago.  They are soooooo good.  I bought a giant package of bone in porkchops at Sam’s Club.  This weekend I’ll be making zucchini taco boats (I’ve made them a few times over the past couple years).  I’ll also bake the acorn squash I bought a while back and then stuff them with the hatch chile apple pie filling!  Oh yeah!  Can’t wait to eat those for sure! 



Friday, August 25, 2017

A Hard Decision

I want to tell you all something that may seem a bit of a shock to those that know me.  I have decided to DNS (did not start) a race.  What’s even more shocking about this is that this race is one of my absolute favorite races…the South Padre Island Marathon.  There are number of reasons why I have thought long and hard about doing this and ultimately decided it was the best decision for me right now.  So, let me go over those reasons real quick.


1. I haven’t been running and, while I do miss running, I haven’t had a real urge to start back up again yet.  So therefore, I’d be severely undertrained and would probably just barely make the 7 hour cutoff limit.  However, I don’t mind taking a very long time to finish and potentially be the very last person to cross the finish line. 


2. I have a camping trip to the Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF) with a group of friends over the Thanksgiving weekend and really don’t want to spend the $300 (or possibly more) that I would need to make the trip to South Padre Island happen.  That’s for gas, hotel, and food.  I’d much rather put that money aside for spending at the festival.


3. That’s the only weekend that my best friend, Amanda, can go to TRF, and I’d much rather spend the weekend with her than alone, running my slowest marathon ever.  I think that I will just, in general, have WAY more fun at the renaissance festival than I would at the marathon.  Besides, I already have all my entrance tickets for the festival.  I’d just need to pay for my camping pass ($25, split between the 2 of us is just $12.50 each) and my food for the weekend…and any souvenirs or costume items I want to buy while at festival. 


Hopefully you all can understand why I made my decision to DNS.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Tracking My Caffeine Intake & Meal Prep is a Thing Again

I’ve had my Gear 3 watch for over a week now and guess what.  I am still totally in love with it!  I downloaded a calculator app for it and a flashlight widget.  I also downloaded an app to track my sleep my I’m not quite sure if I like it or not yet.  I also downloaded timer and stopwatch apps.  The timer watch comes in quite handy for my job.  I loooooove that I can track my water straight on my watch (on FitBit you have to use the phone app or the web dashboard to track water intake), I just wish I could enter the ounces of water I’ve drank instead of the amount of cups of water.  So, I just have to do math.  I add up the ounces of water I drank and then divide it by the 8.4 ounces that the Samsung Health app determines is 1 cup of water…then I just round down.  I also absolutely love that I can track how many cups of coffee I’ve drank!  Some other features that I really love include being able to access my activity logs on the watch itself.  I don’t know how far back it will store data on the watch, but it’s stored everything I’ve done so far since I started wearing it.  But, I can go back and see how many steps I walked or how many floors I climbed on a previous day.  I love that!  With FitBit, I had to go into the app on my phone or my dashboard on the computer in order to view data from previous days. 


Soooo, I’m in need of saving money and losing weight.  To help me do both of those things, I’ve decided to bring meal prep back into my life.  I’ve been eating out almost every single day of the week and I have gained like 15 pounds in the last 3 months as a result.  My digestive system is also not happy at all with all the eating out.  I’ve been eating too much gluten.  Speaking of that, when my benefits reset after October 1st, I’m going to go and get tested for Celiac.  I’d also like to get an allergy test done.  I think getting those done will help me out a lot when it comes to my eating. 


I recently ordered 2 new pairs of frames off Zenni Optical’s website.  One is a pair of pink frames that will be my daily wear glasses outside of work with transition lenses.  The other pair I ordered is a pair of sports goggles so when I go on the trail bike rides, I don’t get all the dust in my eyes.  Also I won’t have to keep pushing them back up my nose as I bounce around over rocks and stuff.  Since I couldn’t find my prescription and don’t have my eye measurements anyway, I just ordered just the frames.  After my benefits reset, I’ll take those frames into the eyeglass place and have them put the lenses in them.  They already have my script and measurements on file.  So I’m pretty excited about those!


So, this week, I bought a 2 pack of chuck pot roasts and seasoned them liberally with Terry Black’s BBQ dry rub and cooked them in my crockpot.  I shredded that for sandwiches (on gluten free bread, of course).  I also made my newest tweaked version of my family’s version of enchiladas.  The original recipe is over 1000 calories per serving (but oh my is it delicious!).  I’ve got it whittled down to under 500 calories per serving, which is completely reasonable.  I replaced the ground beef with turkey, reduced the amount of cheese the recipe calls for and use reduced fat cheese instead of the regular, full-fat variety.  I originally had replaced the regular flour tortillas with low cal whole grain tortillas, but with this making I further tweaked it by using corn tortillas.  And I have to say, I really like it!  I’ll be making it this way from now on.


I’m going to make 1-3 food dishes every weekend.  So, this coming weekend I’m going to bake a side of salmon and throw together a fruit salad.  and then I might also do some baked acorn squash filled with this hatch chile apple pie filling I bought the other day.  It’s sooooo good.  I’m going to buy a few jars of it after payday!  I seriously love it.  They also have these salmon burger patties with hatch chiles in them and they are sooooo good, so I’ll buy as many packs of those as I can afford ($6 for 2 patties) and freeze them.


Sooooo, not only is meal prep a thing in my life again, but so is walking to hit a daily step count goal!  My new Gear3 smartwatch has motivated me to kick myself back into gear with being more active.  I’ve seriously slacked off over the last few months and I really needed something to help me get back at it.  So, while for now my step goal is the target that came preset on my new watch: 6000 steps, I’ve hit it every day for the past week!  I’m pretty proud of myself.  This is the most steps I’ve gotten on a regular basis in forever.  On the days that I get to work early, I’m walking the parking garage again.  I’m also walking the parking garage on my lunch breaks again.  Small changes will add up.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I'm a Data Junkie

Okay, sooooo…you all know I love my wearables and my gadgets and my data and such, right?  Well, if you didn’t, I’m here to tell you I’m a pure junkie…a 100% data addict.  I will admit that I’ve become a smidge desensitized to it over the last 6 months.  Not obsessing about it quite as much as I used to.  Hell, that run I did with the Sports Bra Squad where I had my worst trip and fall ever?  Completely forgot my Garmin so all I had to track with was my FitBit.  Whatevs.  Didn’t really care all that much in the end. 


So, where am I going with this?  I bought a new smartwatch, that’s where.  I have jumped off the FitBit band wagon and jumped on the Samsung Gear train.  This watch is straight up amazing with everything that it can do.  I will tell you I don’t care one tiny bit about texting or making calls from my watch.  I think that’s just kinda silly.  I mean, IF I do it, I’ll treat it the same as I do talking on speaker phone: it is to be done ONLY at home and never in public.  You’re just ridiculous if you do that in public.  No one needs to hear your private conversations.  Anyway, totally off subject.


I’ve only had it a very short time, but I am totally in love with it.  I love that I can track my water consumption on the watch.  I don’t have to open up an app on my phone or log onto my account dashboard on the computer.  I just select the water and hit the plus sign and it adds a glass of water.  Something else that is super neat that I really get a kick out of is that I can track my coffee consumption on the watch too!!!  isn’t that neat and a little funny?  I mean, it makes sense…you really should watch your caffeine consumption, but it’s still a little tiny bit fun, you know? 


Something fun with it is that you can download different faces and customize it to your personality.  I, of course, hit up the “Top Free” section because I don’t like paying for things if I don’t have to.  Even tho I downloaded like 20 faces to play with, I wanted a cactus one but wasn’t finding it.  So I hit up the search and discovered that there were no cactus faces that were free.  They all cost something.  I just HAD to have this one that was a super cute cactus with a bright yellow background.  After tax it cost me a whopping 97 cents.  Ooooh, break the bank!  Haha.  In my opinion, it was worth it because I love it. 


While I won’t be using FitBit wearables anymore, I will still be using my FitBit scale.  I love it.  Too bad it’s not compatible with the Samsung Health app.  I might eventually buy a new scale.  I did find one I like, but it’s $200.  It’s very pretty though.  But, I have no idea if it will sync directly to the Health app, so it might not even be worth it if I still have to enter my measurements manually like I will have to do with the Aria scale.  Besides, it’s not like it’s a huge inconvenience to plug my stuff in by hand. 

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