Saturday, May 31, 2014

No cookie so how about a koozie?

Each of my blogs have had some sort of cookie reference and 6 posts in, not a dang cookie here. I wanted to share one of my current favorites. It's no secret that I LOVE Trader Joe's and the plethora of delights in their stores. This is one of my all time favorites.

So light, summery and delicious and only 110 calories for 4 of them. I cry happy tears when I eat them.

Another reason I cry happy tears? This:

That would be candied Snickers bacon. Candied bacon with caramel and chocolate drizzle, topped with peanuts. I took a little bite and saved the rest for Kevin. He was a huge fan. It was seriously delicious. There's a little cafe around the corner from my work where I go sometimes to get breakfast. He's had candied bacon in the past and this day, candied snickers bacon. I couldn't resist. 

What else, Weds I skipped the gym in exchange for a little pool time. This past weekend we took a day trip to the beach and I decided not to bring a swim suit. I couldn't remember if there would be any place to change and didn't want to strip down in a rank gas station bathroom. In theory a good idea. The only downside? The unfortunate farmers tan I'm currently sporting,  so off to the pool I go to hopefully catch the last hour of sun. 

I still have the farmer's tan but enjoyed a relaxing hour pool side before heading home. 

So I grew up in the northern part of WV, fairly close to Pittsburgh and was pretty unfamiliar with koozies for the majority of my life. Sure we drank... beverages in cans... but I get down to NC and EVERYONE uses koozies. Go to the beach, koozies. poolside? koozies. Picnic? more koozies. Is it just a way to hide your beer while you watch the kids play at the pool? Because everyone at my community pool has a can of Bud Light in a koozie. 

If I think about it, I guess we just let the can sweat on out hands and wiped the wet on our shorts. Seriously though, have people been using koozies for 30 years and I just didn't know or is this a relatively new thing?

This time last year I had 0 koozies and several friends who were a little horrified by that fact. Thankfully my Kappa Delta Alumnae Chapter had a fundraiser and sold koozies. I went from 0 to 2 koozies. Then I got one at the beach, 2 more at a race and the next thing I know, I have a drawer full of koozies. I guess this is how it happens. #ididntchoosethekoozielifeitchoseme
Friday, May 30, 2014

Essential Oils

So almost 3 years ago I reached my Jenny Craig goal weight and started to transition off heir food and back to real life. About a month later I started getting shooting pains in my stomach after I ate, literally it was after every meal. It was an extremely frustrating time. I tried everything I could think of, from antacids to food elimination, I tried that for a few months before I made my first trip to the gastroenterologist. Over the next year I had just about every test under the sun. An endoscopy, tests for fructose, lactose intolerance, celliac, gall bladder disease, masses, bacterial overgrowth, you name it, we tested it and they all came back negative. I also tried several food elimination plans. After another year I noticed that eliminating soy made a lot of difference in how I felt and for the most part, the stomach aches went away. For anyone dealing with food intolerance you know how difficult it is to eliminate foods, especially something like soy that is literally in EVERYTHING. I can't tell you how many times I've asked and asked at restaurants only to discover that there is indeed soy in the food or it was cooked on a grill with vegetable oil or sprayed with vegetable oil. Thankfully my reaction isn't as severe as others but it's extremely scary when people don't take food allergies seriously. 

I spent over a year with the gastroenterologist with no success. I was getting pretty frustrated and decided to explore natural remedies. Since then I've also visited an applied kinesiologist and seen some great results but that's for another day. 

A few months ago a friend of mine started promoting DoTerra essential oils and asked if I would be interested learning about them. I'd heard that essential oils had been used pretty effectively to treat various ailments. Heck, I didn't have anything to lose, so why not? 

Standard disclaimer: I'm not a medical professional, essential oils don't necessarily replace conventional medicine but a lot of people have experienced success.

So what makes DoTerra different from the other oils you can purchase at Whole Foods or other health food stores? (From their website)
dōTERRA® (meaning "Gift of the Earth") essential oils represent the safest, purest essential oils available in the world today. Each of dōTERRA's 
CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essentials oils is carefully extracted by a global network of skilled growers, distillers, and chemists ensuring a consistently powerful user experience. They are 100% pure aromatic extracts and contain no artificial ingredients and are tested to be free of contaminants such as pesticides or other chemical residues.

I was shocked to discover that those other oils weren't recommended for human consumption. Really? I assumed that essential oils were made of that oil, not a bunch of fillers, I guess not.

Since I was experiencing stomach issues she recommended an oil blend called DigestZen. You can apply it topically or take it internally and it is AMAZING. Anytime I have a stomach ache I put one drop in a shot glass and fill with water. In minutes the pain disappears. I've even used it on my bacon-loving husband. To say he was skeptical is an understatement. Indigestion? Rub some on his belly and in 10-15 minutes he's feeling better! Seriously, DigestZen is made of unicorn tears, sunshine and a little bit of peppermint. 

I still don't know the exact cause of my stomach issues, we have a few guesses but I do know that this helps. I take it and I feel better. After 3 years of searching and trying conventional medicine, this works for me.

I've tried several other blends and single oils and will continue to praise the benefits of essential oils on this blog, I think if there's something out there that can help you, use it. Give it a shot, open your mind to "alternative" medicines and what results you get.

Over on the right side there's a link to my DoTerra page, if you'd like more information, please let me know, I'm happy to share my story with others!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

First WOD

Yesterday I went to my first non-foundations Cross-Fit class. I love being able to decipher the cross fit code. So, the WOD was an 8 minute AMRAP but the part I'm most excited about was the strength portion. For the back squats, he told us to go heavy and being new, I started with 2 10lb weights on a 35lb bar. Well, the other ladies added another 15 to each side. I squatted the 85 and then we decided to add 10 more to each side. For the last round it was 105! Holy Crap! I had a bar with 105lbs and I didn't fall over or die! I guess all those Body Pump classes really paid off.

I got to write my name in chalk AND I wasn't the worst one. NSV I tell you, non-scale-victories.

Afterwards I got home, showered and Kev and I headed to a local Lebanese restaurant around the corner. They were having a Tuesday night magician which is ... nice... I never thought to pair magic with hummus. Who knew. 

While we were sitting there, a skinny awkward guy wandered over and asked if we were enjoying our food. We were and he left. Then I see him pulling quarters out of some kid's ear. Seriously? I guess we didn't make the magical cut. Maybe one day we'll make the cut.

If you haven't already seen this, go now to Kickstarter and check out LeVar Burton's campaign to bring back Reading Rainbow. I grew up watching Reading Rainbow and know how much the program impacted me. I think it took less than 12 hours to meet the goal and every penny goes towards providing the gift of reading to children. Also, there are some pretty sweet rewards. For $400 LeVar will record your outgoing VM message. YES HE WILL. I can't even put this into words, kids get books and you get a voice mail. Worth. Every. Penny.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day festivities

My parents have been visiting us for the last few days and I might have worn them out just a bit. My mom wanted to find present for grandma so I figured a trip to the outlet mall was in order. Kev and dad decided to go to the YMCA instead. I'm all for getting a good sweat on but when it's between the outlets and a treadmill, the choice is pretty clear.

I haven't mentioned yet, but I have a "problem" with stripes. I love them. Like looooooove them like my fat kid self loves some cake. This is what I found at Banana Republic (50% off!) and yeah, they're all stripes. I ended up taking home the dress on the left and the yellow and gray shirt on the bench. :) Mom hit up the QVC store and we headed home.

After we got back I'd planned to go to Crossfit at 430. Put on my gym clothes, headed over and they were closed. :/ Apparently they were only open for the 8 and 9am classes. I'm working off a month long Groupon there and had no idea the times were different. I checked my Fitness Connection app and saw that all of the classes at all the locations were canceled as well. Double grumble. Yes, I have a membership at Fitness Connection and routinely buy and use fitness Groupons. It's really a great way to try out new work outs and if you don't like it, you aren't stuck. I really enjoy Crossfit but not the price tag. 

Any who, that left me a few options 1. Go for a run in the 90 degree heat, 2. Take the dog for a walk 3. Hose off my bike and take it out for a spin.

If I've ridden my bike 2x since we moved into this house 4 years ago, I'd be surprised. But hay, I take spin classes and I was a bike MASTER as a kid. It's gotta be just like.... wait for it.... RIDING A BIKE. Even though it's been years and years I still push the pedals backwards to try and get the bike to brake. Then I panic and squeeze the handlebars. This isn't my pink Huffy. 

This is.

 Instead I rode my bike around the neighborhood all the while cursing how this was nothing like spin class. Then I wondered if I really had to get a different bike to do a triathlon. I could get clip pedals and a basket, put my running shoes and some snacks in there and be good to go.

After a while I ended up at one of the community pools which was a good thing considering I was a little lost and know my way back from there.

Found the key to  my old house. I really should ride my bike more frequently.

Afterwards, quick shower and out to dinner. We went to a taproom around the corner from my house and it was surprisingly good.

They had a Pittsburgh salad! I happen to prefer the Pittsburgh chicken salad which has grilled chicken and cheddar cheese instead of steak and bleu. I thought hard about asking to convert it into the chicken version. Really hard, but definitely next time. Yes, in Pittsburgh we put fries on everything. Sandwiches, salads, you name it, fries make it better.

All in all a relaxing day, time to close out the 4 day weekend and get back to reality on Tuesday!
Monday, May 26, 2014

Gotta get over the hump

One of the things about the starting another blog is having to introduce yourself all over again. I'm having deja vu as I sit here typing this post, but life is considerably different since the last time I exposed my life all over the Internet. Three years ago I just started running and like so many others did the Couch to 5k program, culminating with my very first race in June of 2011. (FYI, this is the Cardio portion of Cookies Cardio and Clothes) Since then I've ran several 5ks, a few 8 and 10ks and 3 half marathons. 

Growing up I was the farthest thing from an athlete. I loved being a sedentary kid, hated gym class and anything that had to do with the outside. 3 years ago I was almost to my goal weight with Jenny Craig and had the brilliant idea to start running. Honestly though, I'm super competitive and my brother had bee running marathons for years. I figured if he could run 26.2, I could do 3.1. It was hot and hilly and I barely slept a wink that night, but I did it. I finished in 37:something, got passed by 70 year old men, small children and pregnant women and immediately wanted to do another. (Did I mention I'm super competitive?) I guess the rest is history.

Last year I was knocked out of running due to a back injury and only this year have I been slowly working my way back. Seriously, who knocks out their sciatic joint in a spin class? In January I started training again and ran a verrrrry slow half marathon. Since then it's been all about keeping up the running fitness and trying to get my speed back. Let's be clear though, I'm slow. Like seriously slow. I will never be one of those long limbed gazelles, I just want to not get passed by the man running uphill and pushing a wheelchair. (That happened in March)

Yesterday afternoon I headed over to the Shelly Lake Trail for a 4-ish mile run. Can someone please remind me to run in the mornings instead of waiting until 3pm? In terms of good idea / bad idea, this was a bad one. Lordy was it hot but my shoes were cute.

I took my new shoes for their first run, seriously, is there anything better than new running shoes? 

Like I said, it's been a slow running road back but I have a few races coming up that I need to get ready for, I'm doing the Running of the Bulls 8k next weekend and the Komen Race  for the Cure on the 14th. The Komen race has a special place in my heart. It was my first race 4 years ago and as long as I'm able I'll continue to race it. So, 3 weeks to go and I'm no where near a PR but there's nothing like the anniversary of your first race.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Third Time's the Charm

Alright, this marks the 3rd blog I've had and I have high hopes it will continue on for a while. Blogs are interesting, they're a permanent record of a period in time, one that's been captured for all the Internet to see. So, blog #1 was a crafty blog, I was super into making cards and scrapbooky stuff. As is often the case, it started to feel like work. I was designing for a stamp company and having to make and publish at least once a week just became tedious. I still have a room full of craftiness. During that time, I went on Jenny Craig and started a year long journey to lose 50 pounds. It's interesting, because I associate that craft with, for lack of a better term, "Fat Lara". Sitting in the room cutting tiny pieces of paper and gluing them together is something Fat Lara did. New Lara is interested in healthy eating, staying active and trying new things and that's what I want to focus on in this blog. I have 3 loves, 1 being cookies, (I do love me a nice cookie), cardio, (mainly running) and clothes, which I've always, loved, I just love them a little more now. So, come along for the ride, I'll be trying new things, taking pictures with random animals, embarking on an up-coming 21 Day Purification Cleanse, trying to lose these damn 10 pounds I gained last year and shooting for a sub 30 minute 5K. It's gonna be interesting!