Doing More Cooking (or Maybe It Does Save Time)

I think we’ve all seen tons of articles that talk about how cooking from home is so much better than getting take out, delivery, or going out to eat. Obviously, it is cheaper (unless you are making something really elaborate or with a ton of ingredients). But there are also dozens of articles that I’ve seen over the years saying that it’s much faster to make your own dinner than it takes for a delivery person to get to your house.

Cooking has always felt like an event to me. Maybe it’s because I live alone and cooking for one person isn’t always that fun. But it’s never felt like part of the routine or natural in my day. I’m really working on fixing this because I was doing great cooking all my own meals while I was on the cleanse a year ago. It’s been really tough for me to get back into really cooking but it’s an effort that I’m working on right now.

After making my chicken dish on Monday, I was feeling a bit better about cooking again. It was my first big cooking thing in a long time and it did feel great to cook again. And since there were leftovers, I knew I’d have some home cooked meals for a few more meals.

I had ever intention of eating the leftover chicken for dinner the next night, but I ended up eating it for lunch and then feeling very uninspired to make dinner that night. I’m not happy I did this, but I ordered delivery food. While the delivery food tastes good while I’m eating it, I know my body doesn’t love it. I feel a bit sluggish after eating and I know that it is a big factor in my weight gain.

I don’t know why I ordered the food. Obviously I needed dinner, but I didn’t need to order food. It’s almost like an impulse or reflex that I didn’t think about until after the fact. I need to work on being in the moment or more aware when I do this, because I know that I could have done without the delivery food.

From the time I placed my order for food until the time I was eating was just over an hour. And the next day I was determined to prove to myself that I can do much better for myself in an hour with food that I had in the house.

The next day, after getting home from my workout and showering, I cooked myself some dinner. It wasn’t anything fancy. I cut up some zucchini and an onion and cooked those in one pan until the zucchini was brown and the onions were soft. And in another pan (yes, it was a 2 pan dinner!), I cooked a frozen turkey burger that I had in the freezer from Trader Joes. I started the veggies first and then the turkey burger and by some miracle they were basically done at the exact same time.

I have to admit that not only was it healthy and tasted great, it looked pretty nice too.

Home Cooking

I sat down and ate my dinner and then started working on the dishes. There were a lot of dishes to do (knives, 2 pans, cooking utensils, a cutting board, the plate and fork I used to eat) so that took me a while to clean and figure out how to fit everything into the drying rack since I don’t have a dishwasher at my house. By the time that I was done cleaning, I felt like it had been a big production to cook and clean. But I looked at the clock and it hadn’t even been an hour from the time I started cooking until the time I was done with all the cleanup.

I know it shouldn’t have surprised me, but I was pretty shocked. I figured that obviously cooking is faster than waiting on delivery since you can easily cook in under and hour and most deliveries seem to be an hour. But I wasn’t expecting it to be faster to cook, eat, and clean in the time I wait for the delivery guy.

I’m not going to say that I will never order delivery food again. That would be a total lie. I know I’ll order it again because it is delicious and there is nothing wrong with an occasional treat. But I need to work on making it a treat and not a habit. And now I know that the most important thing for me is to make sure my house is stocked with foods that are easy to put together. I’d love to make awesome meals all the time, but when I’m tired and lazy I just need something that is easy to make and will be healthy and fill me up.

I’m sure that at some point it may be possible that I will “forget” this lesson and go back into my bad habits. I’m hoping that won’t be true, but I’ve learned that setbacks are a part of life and I can’t let those get me down. I need to be able to have my setback and then get right back to the regular game plan right away. And I’ve proved to myself that I can do that.

Being As Honest As Possible (or Making People Feel Awkward)

I’m pretty open about my life on here. I try not to hide things from all of you and I don’t see the point in doing that (unless I’m waiting to share news for a specific reason). I’ve spent so long not being honest with myself to others (and to myself) that I don’t want to lie or share half-truths if I can avoid it. There’s just no reason to do that and I’m glad that I’ve found an outlet that I feel safe sharing on.

And I’ve been pretty open to my friends and family since being honest on here. Obviously, anyone who reads this blog knows about my eating disorder. And while some family and friends knew about it before I shared (or had guessed that I had it), not everyone did. But now that they do, we can talk about things without fear if we want to. Not everyone does want to talk about it, but I’m glad that people feel ok discussing things with me. I’ve been pretty open with my parents (I usually call them after seeing my therapist so I can update them on my medication dosage or what he has to say about my progress). And I’m glad that no matter if I want to share what’s going on or not, nobody has issues with it. There’s no question in my mind that since being open and honest that recovery is something that is a real possibility. When I was hiding things, there was no way that I could get the help that I needed or realize how deep into things I was. But now, I recognize my good moments and bad moments and have hope that the good will outweigh the bad in the future.

But I’ve become more open and honest outside of the blog lately. I’m sharing more on Facebook (not everyone I’m friends with on Facebook reads the blog). I’m commenting on posts I see about binge eating disorder and trying to answer some of the questions that some people have about it (or defending it when people claim it isn’t real and it’s an excuse people make for their weight issues). I’m even sharing my story on other blogs I write on.

So far, I’ve gotten a very positive response to my honesty and people have been very cool with what I’ve had to say. I used to think that people would see me as weak if I shared my issues with them, and I’m happy that I was totally wrong about it. Some people consider it strong to be honest, but to me I had to be honest for myself and not for others. But even random people who I end up sharing this news with have seemed to be interested in hearing my experience and my story.

But despite pretty much having a positive response, there have been some negative responses that makes me question if I should hide or lie about my eating disorder. I was sharing with someone about how much I love working out at Orangetheory and I had mentioned how much I love the heart rate monitors we wear. I have to be careful with my heart rate because of Vyvanse and wearing a heart rate monitor is the perfect way to make sure my heart rate isn’t getting too high (I can usually feel when it does, but it’s nice to have a backup too). The person I was talking to asked me why I like the heart rate monitors and I mentioned that I take medication that elevates my heart rate and I have to be careful. They asked what medication it was and I told them. Then they asked what it’s for and I told them.

Obviously, I could have kept this all private (and it could be seen as prying but I was fine answering things). And once I shared I have an eating disorder, this person got super weird and started to look at me like I was crazy. They asked the questions and I answered them, but it seemed like after saying my answers they regretted asking.

I know that it’s not my place to make people feel comfortable about my eating disorder (or anything for that matter). And if someone is going to ask me something about it I’m going to answer with as much truth as I can. If that makes them feel bad or awkward it is their problem and not mine. But it still made me question for a second if I was being too open about myself when I got that reaction from that person. It put doubt in my mind that I should be sharing what battles I’m facing.

I’m aware that this was all in my head and that I don’t need to change. I have tons of friends who are brave and honest about their depression, suicide attempts, eating disorders, alcoholism, and other addictions. Knowing the truth about them only makes me feel closer to them, so me sharing the truth hopefully does the same for them. But that self-doubt part of my brain is loud and sometimes I need to tell it to be quiet so I can move on and keep making progress the best way I can.

Honey Dijon Chicken (or An Easy Sheet Pan Dinner)

I’ve been seriously slacking on cooking lately. I was doing so great doing bulk cooking and then cooking less often last year. But this year cooking just wasn’t something I felt like doing. I haven’t just been eating freezer meals or delivery, but my cooking was limited to making turkey burgers or something really easy to throw together. And I knew that I needed to get myself back into the cooking game because while I don’t know if I want to cook every night, I do want to eat more home cooked meals.

So the other day I was browsing through Buzzfeed (it’s something I do between customers at one day job after I’m done doing the other day job), and I saw a recipe that looked good to me. So I decided to test it out, and I’m actually super happy with how it tasted! It wasn’t perfect, but the chicken was super juicy and the flavorings were really awesome. So here it is!

Honey Dijon Chicken With Potatoes and Carrots

Honey Dijon Chicken

What you need:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 medium red bliss potatoes (about ½ lb), roughly chopped
  • 2 medium carrots (about ½ lb), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, or sage leaves, divided
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

And here’s what to do:

  • Remove the chicken breasts from the fridge, dry them with paper towels, and season them with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Place the potatoes and carrots on a large sheet pan and toss them with ½ tablespoon canola oil, ½ tablespoon chopped herbs, a pinch of salt, and some freshly ground pepper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the remaining canola oil, the honey, mustard, the remaining chopped herbs, a big pinch of kosher salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Dry the chicken breasts again with paper towels. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl and toss everything together to coat. Place the chicken on the sheet pan with the vegetables, spreading everything out.

Before the oven

  • Roast in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through with no pink in the middle. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast should read 165°F.
  • Let everything rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.

Cooked meal

I used more chicken than the recipe asked for (I couldn’t find just 1 lb of chicken breasts at the store), so I decided to do more carrots and potatoes than it asked for as well. And the carrots at my store weren’t looking so great, so I used baby carrots instead. If I was doing this over, I’d cut the baby carrots in half (they were very crisp) and I’d cut the potatoes a bit smaller too. But nothing was tasting raw or not cooked, so I was happy. The only other modification I might do in the future is to change the herbs in it or add garlic since I love garlic so much.

I turned my cooking into 3 servings. I had the first serving on Monday night when I cooked it and then put the other 2 servings into storage containers in my fridge. I know that sometimes leftovers don’t heat up that nicely, but I ate this again yesterday for lunch and it was still just as good as the night before (and I was shocked that the chicken was still juicy and not dry at all).

The fact that this came out so nicely the first time I made it really made me feel great and made me remember how much pride I feel when I cook something from scratch. It’s not easy to do all the time, but I really do want to make more of an effort in the future. And now that I’m feeling more confident in my cooking abilities again, I think I’ll be ok with trying new recipes again (I’m always nervous that I’ll spend a ton of money on ingredients and then the food gets ruined or tastes bad).

I highly recommend this recipe (thanks again Buzzfeed!). It’s a nice meal to make for yourself, but it also looks impressive if you are making it for other people as well. This is definitely going to be saved in my collection of favorite recipes!

Seeing Friends In Random Places (or Unscheduled Hangouts)

I haven’t been so great with scheduling friend hang outs lately. I’m seeing my friends at the gym, at events, or at pre-scheduled things a bunch. But I’ve been slacking on the random get-togethers recently. I know a part of it is due to my crazy schedule (which seems to only get crazier through this month), but there is still plenty of time that I could see my friends and I don’t.

I was feeling a bit down about this over the weekend when I had 2 very random friend run-ins that really made my day! And both of the random run-ins were with women I’m in my mentoring group with. We just scheduled our next mentee meeting to be later this month, but to see people out and about was really great.

First, on Saturday I made a trip to Trader Joes (which I usually don’t do on Saturdays due to everyone else being there that day). I was getting my reusable bag from the backseat of my car when I looked up and saw fellow mentee Janice! I was totally in shock! I knew that she lived near me (she loves that the meetings are at my house because it’s super easy for her to get to), but we’ve never run into each other in the neighborhood.

I rolled down my window and found out she just arrived at the store too, so we said we’d try to do our shopping together. Of course, with all the people inside and us getting distracted by our conversation we didn’t do too well with our shopping. So we stood off to the side and did some quick catch up chatting and then split up since she had a short list and I had a ton of groceries to get. But it was still so awesome to get to see her even for those few minutes.

Then on Sunday I had to work. It was interesting working at a theater show when everyone else would be watching football (or the commercials), but we actually had close to a sold-out crowd and I think everyone with a ticket showed up! Plenty of people made jokes about how we should have the game going in the lobby, but nobody seemed upset to have to watch the game recorded so they could be at the show.

While I was busy doing my will-call work, I heard my name called and thought maybe it was someone I was working with needing me to help with something. But then I saw my friend and fellow mentee Jane at my will-call table! A friend of hers had gotten tickets for the show and she at forgotten that I told her before that sometimes I work there at the shows.

Again, it was awesome to get to see her and we had a bit more time to catch up since by the time she got to my work I was almost done passing out all the will-call tickets. We also had some time to chat during intermission and after the show was done. Since I had seen Jane more recently, we didn’t have as much to catch up on as I did with Janice. But there was still plenty to talk about. I know I’ll see her when we have our next group meeting, but I’m hoping she and I can make plans before then too.

It’s so funny how down I was feeling about not seeing a bunch of friends before the weekend started and then I saw 2 of my friends so randomly. It really did make me feel better about myself and make me realize that even if I don’t see people that often, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t friends or don’t want to be friends. Everyone is so busy these days and it’s really easy to go weeks or months without seeing someone (or you feel like you’ve seen them recently because you connect on social media and not in person). But it’s ok if that happens because if you are true friends with someone, you can go a while without seeing them and then just pick things up where you left off the last time you saw them.

More Progress And Steps Back (or Trying My Hardest)

I had a long 4 workout week this week. It was long because there were 4 workouts (the 4th workout is still a tough one for me) and it was long because it was a difficult week for me. A majority of the week didn’t have us switching between blocks, so I was spending 30 minutes straight on the treadmill. I was hoping for a run/row day, and never really got one.

Monday was one of those 30 minute treadmill days. I’m still testing myself with my push paces, but I’m really most comfortable at 3.5 miles an hour for my pushes (and 3.4 miles an hour for my base pace). I’d really love it if before my next 5K I could bump both of those paces up .1 miles an hour, but it’s so tough for me to do it. I think I’ve hit a wall with my speed training, and I need to figure out something that will help me get out of that rut.

Besides the long treadmill time, we had some rowing that I didn’t do too much speed one. I wanted to work on my form so I kept things pretty slow. So often I’m the last person getting off the rower when we have rowing, so it doesn’t bother me at all to be much slower than everyone else. We also had a ton of TRX strap work which is starting to be something I’m enjoying more and more. I’m finding that I can push myself a lot more with squats and other leg work because I’m holding on to something that helps me balance. I’ve been scared to push myself too hard because I know when I’m doing bodyweight work my hips hurt. But I’m starting to see that as long as I’m holding on to the straps really tightly and with very little slack in the straps, I can do more than I thought.

Wednesday was another 30 minute treadmill day. The blocks were all 5 minutes long and it really felt more like a 30 minute block and not 4 blocks that were 5 minutes each. Since we only had a minute of walking between blocks and long push paces, it felt like we would never get off the treadmill. But I think I did really great on the treadmill and took pretty limited breaks during the blocks (I look forward to the day that I don’t need to take breaks during the blocks because of pain). Since I was kind of on a high from doing so well on the treadmill, I kept things going with using 20 pound weights on the floor work. Those 20 pound weights are something I’m using a lot more often and I think that it’s a great thing that I’m more and more comfortable using them.

Friday was a pretty tough day. Again, it was another 30 minutes on the treadmill day. I was doing ok for the first few minutes and then my shin splints came back really strong. I have no idea what set them off (I’m doing research on what I’m doing that might be triggering them) but I know that once I feel them I probably won’t get rid of them during the workout. I tried to do my best, but I was doing more like 1 minute on the treadmill and then close to a minute break after. It was on and off like that. My Friday coach, Bruce, encouraged me to lower my incline to help so I spent a good portion of the workout at 2% incline (instead of 4%) and at 3.3 miles an hour. I didn’t feel too great about my work, but I know that doing something is better than nothing. Fortunately, the shin splints didn’t bother me during the floor work and I was feeling better that night.

Just like I have planned, my Saturday workout was done on the bike since it was my 4th workout of the week. I think that was smart anyway because of the shin splints the day before. Of course, this was the day that was closest to the run/run I had been hoping to have all week. It was a run/bodyweight workout. We had short cardio segments (I think the longest I was on the bike was about 3 minutes) and then we jumped off of the cardio equipment and did bodyweight work like squats or calf raises. It was nice to have the workout broken up and I think that I probably could have done the treadmill if I wanted to. There was also rowing before each of the cardio blocks and I was able to get my wattage on the rower pretty high since everything was a sprint.

On the floor, we had a lot of squats, lunges, and crunches. All of these things are pretty fine with me, but I usually don’t push myself too hard because I know for squats and lunges I can get a lot of pain in my hips. One of the lunges we had were lunges where your back leg was on the weight bench and then you did the lunge. I rarely do these because it is so difficult to balance, but I took my time and was able to do them all that way! I’m pretty happy with myself.

So this past week wasn’t really any great progress but wasn’t too much of a set back either. It was more like 1 step forward and 1 step back. But the consistency is paying off and the little improvements I’m making really are making a difference.

This coming week is a 3 workout week, and I’m glad to have a short workout week. Hopefully the shin splints won’t come back and I’ll be able to do my treadmill work. I did just order new calf sleeves to wear because I was feeling my others were a bit stretched out (I’ve had them about 6 months). So think that those might help me this week keep the shin splints away.

Another Year Of Disneyland (or No More Ink Money)

I just renewed my Disneyland pass for another year! I’m so happy because I think you all know how much I love Disneyland. And because I have a double grandfathered pass (my pass level is only available if you are a renewal now and I have the parking add-on that doesn’t exist anymore), I have to make sure I renew before the pass expires each year. I don’t mind having to do that each year, but I do make sure to get to Disneyland before the expiration date because of this.

I knew my pass was expiring soon, but I didn’t have a Disneyland day planned before the expiration date. And since paying for my pass is complicated (more on that in a minute), I can’t renew over the phone. So on Monday after my workout, I drove down to Disneyland with the only purpose to renew the pass.

I’m glad that the drive was super easy this time. I was on the tram from the parking lot to the parks in under an hour after leaving my house. It was so empty at Disneyland that I was a bit sad that I really didn’t have time to stay and go on rides (I had errands to do at home that afternoon).

Once I got to the ticket counter, it was time to deal with the complications of paying for my pass. Because I recycle ink for my mom, I was able to get a bunch of Visa gift cards and Disney gift cards from Staples. I also had gotten some gift cards for my birthday from friends. All together, my parking add-on was totally paid for by the cards plus about $50 of my pass. It’s a bit weird to pay this way because the cast member helping me has to set up the payments to be as if it was on a payment plan so they don’t accidentally charge one of the Visa gift cards the full amount of the pass (since they are each only worth about $25). It took a little bit of time, but I got everything taken care of and I was on my way.

I was super tempted to go into the parks because of how ridiculously empty it was, but I figured that if I did that, I would stay there too long. So I just took a photo at the gates and headed back toward the parking lot tram.

Disneyland

I made a stop at the Disney store since I never really go in there and of course I got distracted by all the really awesome Disney stuff. There were some kitchen things I was super tempted to buy, but I didn’t have the money to spend $60 on something. Then, I was intrigued by the dog toys and found the perfect thing to get for Tucker!

Disney Dog Ties

They only had the ties in XS/S, but I saw that all the girl dog things also came in M/L (which was the size Tucker needs), so I grabbed the ties and brought them to the register to have them order the larger size for me (Disney is usually awesome like that). Sadly, they only make the boy dog things in XS/S and there is no way that our 70 pound dog could fit in something that tiny. So I left Disneyland empty-handed (well, I guess I did have my renewed pass to bring home with me).

While I’m super excited for another full year of Disneyland adventures, I’m a bit sad because this looks like it will be the last year I can use my ink recycling money to help pay for my pass. You used to be able to use Staples Rewards for gift cards online (but not in stores), so that’s how I got my gift cards. But sometime recently they changed the rules (or started enforcing rules) and you can no longer get gift cards with Staples Rewards money. I understand the reasoning behind it now that I’ve done some research on how gift cards sold from third-party retailers work, but it still stinks for me.

Having a few hundred dollars in gift cards really helps to make my pass affordable. I have no plan on letting my pass expire in a year. There are other options for me to pay for my pass. I can use the Disneyland payment plan which doesn’t have interest and can be paid off in advance if you have the money. Or I can figure out other ways to save for it (or just ask for only Disney gift cards for my birthday or Hanukkah). I’ve got a year to figure it out.

But I can’t let the end of the ink money bring me down. I’ve got an entire year to make more Disneyland memories and I have a feeling that my park adventures are going to keep getting more and more amazing!

Grease Live (or A Fun Night In With Friends)

Since almost all of us use a DVR or watch tv online now, it’s so rare for me to watch something live. Unless it’s an awards show, I’m usually watching a recording of it. I know that most people also watch sports live, but I rarely watch sports (I do watch the Super Bowl for the commercials).

But when NBC started to do live musicals (even though they are taped delayed for the west coast), I got really excited to watch them. While I didn’t love The Sound Of Music or Peter Pan, it was still really excited to live-tweet along with others about what was happening and feel like I was a part of something special. And when The Wiz ended up being so great, I got really enthusiastic about live musicals on TV.

FOX did Grease Live this past weekend and for the first time I decided to have a viewing party at my house. I figured it could be really fun whether the musical was amazing or was a bit of a disappointment. So I invited a bunch of my friends and said that I would provide the drinks if they wanted to bring snacks.

My friends Rayshell, June, and Amanda (who I know from Orangetheory) came over to watch on Sunday. And even though none of my friends had met each before, it ended up being the perfect group (and all of them ended up bringing dessert treats to share!).

As soon as Grease Live started, I made a joke about how the green screen wasn’t that realistic looking. But as soon as the camera pulled away and I saw that they were acknowledging that this was a live event happening all over the Warner Bros. backlot, I knew that this was going to be something special. For all the other live musicals, they never really seemed to treat it any differently than having a play being taped. But Grease Live really did seem to want to show off all the hard work that they did.

After that initial joke about the green screen, there wasn’t much joking among the group. We did joke about funny moments and character choices, but it was all in a very positive way and more enjoyment than snark. I didn’t even end up live-tweeting because I was so enthralled by the show.

I loved seeing them all over the backlot (I know it well from working there as an actor and back in 2005 as a tour guide and being there for the SAG-AFTRA Gala) and shared fun facts about the backlot with my friends. And I loved seeing them use the tour guide golf carts to get from one stage to another (they even drove my favorite cart, #9)! I did have a moment where my heart felt like it would stop when the golf cart started to tip in the end of the show (I know how unstable those golf carts are), but fortunately the cart didn’t tip over.

It didn’t feel like a live production because of all the hard work the cast and crew had done over the past few weeks. They had everything perfectly choreographed and timed out so that the audience only saw what they wanted us to see and nothing was delayed. I mean, look at how perfectly the associate director did the camera moves for just part of a song! I know that every cast and crew of a live production work hard, but this one just took things to another level. And since the sets were full rooms (not just the set facing a wall of cameras) it felt so different from all the other live musicals (although I did say that in a way that made it feel less like a live production at times)

My friends all agreed with me that this was the best live musical that we’ve seen on TV. There was very little that we would have changed about the show and we all had a great time watching it. And I think that getting together to watch the live musicals will be a new tradition (another adventure with friends to add to my goals list!) and we are already planning on trying to be together for the one happening in March.

I really went into watching Grease Live thinking I wouldn’t love it, but I’m so happy that I was wrong and it ended up being such a fun thing to watch and experience with everyone.

SAG Awards (or Watching After Knowing The Winners)

I really love the SAG Awards. All awards shows are amazing and I love watching them, but this one is so special. Part of it is that it is the only awards show that I get to vote for (at least, the only one I can vote for so far). And part of it is because these are my peers being nominated and one day I could be too. I take my voting seriously and work as hard as I can to see everything nominated (I don’t always succeed, but I make a big effort to see them all).

I usually watch the show live on TV and try to live-tweet my excitement over the winners. It’s fun to live tweet those sort of events and see what everyone else has to say about things. Even if I can’t watch with my friends, I still get to be connected with them while watching.

But when the show happened this past Saturday, I was babysitting. So I didn’t get to watch live this time. I don’t mind babysitting, but I was a bit sad that I wouldn’t get to watch the show when it happened. But I needed to babysit and I had my DVR set to record the show (plus an extra hour in case they ran late). So it wasn’t that horrible that I didn’t get to watch live.

Fortunately for me, twitter and various news sites online kept me posted on who the winners were throughout the evening. I was finally able to see who all the winners were when the kids were asleep at the babysitting job and was pretty happy with who won (a majority of the people/shows I voted for won) and I was anxious to hear all the speeches.

I got home from babysitting super late, so I didn’t get a chance to watch the awards until Sunday morning. Since I knew who all the winners were, I was able to fast forward a bit on my DVR. I watched all the introductions and speeches, but I skipped when they announced the nominees and the moment the announced the winner. But even with skipping those parts, there was so much good stuff to watch.

I loved all the speeches. Everyone seemed so grateful and gracious when they won. I knew that some of the winners were people who had almost given up on acting or had been trying to make it for years and seeing them win gave me hope that I will be there one day. And of course there were some random funny moments and I loved those as well.

Plus, I loved getting to see my friend Woody’s name in the credits at the end.

SAG Awards

All in all, it was a really great show. It did feel a bit weird not watching it live and not being interactive with people while watching. It was almost like it was my own awards show viewing and not something that everyone else watched. But even without being online and tweeting with people while it was happening, it still made me have so much pride to be a union member.

How My Goal Setting Is Going (or A Spark Planner Update)

I’ve officially been using my Spark Planner for a full month now and I have to say that I’m loving what I’m getting done with it! While I still use my phone/computer for my scheduling (things overlap and change too often to handwrite everything), I’m using the goal setting sections of the Spark Planner and finding my own ways to customize it to work for me the best that I can. So I figured that a month in would be a great time to do an update!

First of all, I’m still using the weekly calendar feature for blog scheduling. Since the weekly planner has 3 sections for each weekday (morning/noon/night), I use the morning section to write what I want to write about here for that day. It’s so helpful for my Monday posts about Orangetheory because now I write down what I did for each workout after I get home so I don’t forget about the workout (I hope that you’ve noticed that change on here!). It also helps me see where I’m missing an idea or where I have too many posts scheduled for that week so I need to move something to the next week. I’m hoping to make Finding My Inner Bombshell bigger and better this year and planning out my posts will be a big part of that!

For the beginning of January, I didn’t really do much else with the weekly planning section. I sometimes put a to-do list in the noon section so I had it there to check off, but that’s not a daily thing. Then, about a week ago I saw something about making gratitude lists each day to help stay in a positive mindset. So I decided to put a list of at least 5 things I’m grateful for in the night section of the weekly planner now. I’m loving this routine but I need to create an alarm for my phone to remind me to do this in the evening (sometimes I get in bed and realize I forgot to do it, so I have to get up and write them out quickly). I’ve actually made my gratitude lists my 29 day challenge for February!

Speaking of the monthly challenge, I’m so excited to share that I was very successful in my 31 day challenge for January! I decided to challenge myself to do 100% accurate food tracking for the month and I did it! This may be the first time that I did 100% tracking for an entire month and I know that I will be able to keep it up now. The big change I found while doing this challenge is that I’m not loving My Fitness Pal as much as I have in the past.

While I have loved seeing the exact numbers for my calories and knowing I’m under my calorie goal, that also created anxiety when I was over my calorie goal. So I stopped tracking on days where I was going over or when I had a binge. I didn’t want to see what I had done and the number of calories I ate. And that was creating avoidance for me. So I’ve been using Recovery Record now and I love it! There are no numbers on the tracker. You just write what you wrote and how you feel. That’s all. And there are meal reminders so even though I don’t always remember to eat lunch, I at least have the alert that I should eat then.

I’m also loving the monthly/weekly goal setting pages. I don’t hit all my goals at the time, but it gives me something to work toward and each day I look at what the goals are so I can make sure that I’m on track to check off as many of them as I can. It also has made me think more about what goals I want to track and what is really important to me. I never thought that maybe I had some bad goals in mind, but I’m now reconsidering some of them (don’t worry, I’m happy with my 2016 goals I announced on here).

I’m still not sure what I want to do with the monthly calendar or if there is something I want to do regularly with the noon section of the weekly planning pages, but the beauty of this planner is that there isn’t something that I feel has to be there. It’s freeform and I can do what I want. I’m thinking about some ideas with meal planning or maybe workout tracking. I’ve been seeing some awesome inspiration on the Spark Planner instagram page. I know I’ll think of something soon and then that will be what I keep up for whatever time remains in the year.

No matter what else I do with my Spark Planner, I can’t believe how much this planner has influenced and changed my life in the first month. I’m so excited to see how amazing it helps to make my year and how much I’ll be able to get done.

A Full Workout Week (or Sticking With My Plan)

I had a 4 workout week this past week and I feel really great about what I did in my classes! This was my second workout week after making the decision to use the bike on the 4th workout of the week and I’m glad that I made that choice. This week was tough, but I don’t feel totally exhausted from it.

Monday was a bit of an odd day. After the warmup (which was about 5 minutes) we all gathered on the floor and did a core blast for our abs. It was partnered work and used regular sit-ups and some with the medicine ball. It was tough and my abs were so tired after it was done, but that was only the beginning of the workout. After the core blast, we all stood around while our coach Brendon counted us off and split up the group. I almost always do my cardio work first, but this time I didn’t have a choice and I had to do my floor work first. I wasn’t too happy about that, but it is what it is and I got through it the best way that I could.

Once I did get to the treadmill, we had some speed training blocks. Normally during speed training the power walkers just work on incline training. But since I’m still struggling to get past 8 or 10% incline, I didn’t want to push the incline work too much. So I decided to try the speed training with the runners. For the runners, they were supposed to increase their speed by .3 or .5 miles an hour each time, but I knew that it would be too much for me. So I did my increases by .1 miles an hour and got pretty fast (at least pretty fast for me). I know that I can’t do the really fast speeds for more than a minute at a time, but just proving to myself that I can do little sprints made me feel awesome!

On Wednesday, the treadmill block was a solid 30 minutes without floor work in between the blocks. Each block was 5 minutes long (which felt long when we were in the blocks) and I kept all my push paces at 3.6 miles per hour because they weren’t too long. That’s still feeling almost too fast for me, but I know that the more that I do them in short bursts the more normal they will feel. So I’m glad that I was able to push myself a little bit more this time. And I felt even better about my work because I was exhausted that day! I know that going to the Pantages the night before didn’t let me sleep as much as I’m used to. But those Tuesday night shows are a rare thing for me so I’m not too worried about them.

Friday was another 30 minute treadmill block day (I really don’t love those but I’m working on tolerating them more). We had a bunch of pushes that were 3 minutes long which are a big challenge for me. I kept my speed at 3.5 miles an hour for those. And while I did have to take some breaks during the pushes, I tried to go as long as I could before taking a break. 3 minutes is a long time to do a push and having multiple pushes like that really tested my limits. I think I was pretty tired from the workout by the time that I got to the floor. I think I could have used 20 pound weights for a lot of my work, but I just couldn’t lift them so I stuck with 15 pound weights. I regret not trying the 20 pound weights more, but at the time it just didn’t seem possible.

And finally on Saturday I did my cardio on the bike. My heart rate really can’t get that high on the bike (I’m not sure if it’s because of the bike or because my heart rate monitor doesn’t work as well when I’m hunched over on the handlebars), so I don’t stress about what the heart rate screen shows (unlike how I am on the treadmill). Our blocks were about 6 minutes each and we switched between cardio and the floor between the blocks. My legs did get tired on the bike because I was pushing it with the resistance, but I know that my legs and hips were grateful for the break from the treadmill. And getting that break helped my floor work because I was doing a lot of work with the 20 pound weights this time! Those 20 pound weights felt like 100 pounds weights at times, but I pushed through and am so glad that my body doesn’t hurt as much as I would expect after working so hard.

I’ve got another 4 workout week coming up this week and I’m really happy about the plan that I’ve made for myself for that 4th workout of the week. I’m still pushing my limits, but I’m pushing them safely and not hurting my hips as much as I have been in the past. And that’s good because my hip pain has been increasing lately. I have no idea if it’s random or if I have done some additional damage lately (which is expected and I’m almost waiting to have happen before my next surgery), so I want to be cautious. But I think with the mixture of the bike and the treadmill I’m protecting my body while pushing myself at the same time. And that’s exactly what I need to do right now.