Archive for March, 2010

The Cult of Busy

March 29, 2010

“Some of the best thinkers throughout history had some of their best thoughts while going for walks, playing cards with friends, little things, things that generally would not be considered the hallmarks of busy people. It’s the ability to pause, to reflect, and relax, to let the mind wander, that’s perhaps the true sign of time mastery, for when the mind returns it’s often sharper and more efficient, but most important perhaps, happier than it was before.”  –  Scott Berkun

This quote from Scott Berkun’s blog post The Cult of Busy really speaks to me for some reason. It makes me want to throw my television out the window, spend more time reading, or just plain do nothing to leave time for unexpected detours or adventures. I think I’ll challenge myself to take a break from television this week {except for the Office that is}.


90 Minutes of Heaven

March 28, 2010

I’m totally on a soccer high right now. There’s nothing quite like 90 minutes of good, hard, physical soccer.

Last November I found a woman’s league to join in Round Rock and our team has grown together pretty well; I feel like I really belong on this team and that I’m an important part of it. We’ve got a few girls that played in college, some played in high school and others just have a passion for the game, like me. So far this season we’re undefeated; I always seem to be on the team that gets second place so winning for a change is feels great. It’s so awesome to be back in the game after not being on a team for 8 years.

Soccer is so liberating for me, when I’m on the field all my insecurities are left behind and I am 100% confident in myself. I wish I could say I felt like that in every aspect of my life, but it’s something I’m working on improving. I enjoy the physical aspect of the game too, I missed having a contact sport to play throughout high school and college because I mostly played volleyball and tennis. I remember back when I played basketball in middle school, my dad always said that he would give me 25 cents a point when I scored and a dollar for every time I fouled someone. I think about that every time I have a foul called on me now; you’ve turned me into an animal dad! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t revel in intentionally dishing out pain, but a game without a little pushing and shoving just isn’t any fun!

Also, I think I’ve finally found the perfect position for me; left center mid. Being a midfielder challenges me; I’ve got to be efficient on defense as well as help set up attacks for the strikers. Now midfielders are also the ones who do the most running, we go up with the offense and drop back to help the defense…I hate running, at least mindless running on a treadmill. With soccer, I’m pretty much running off and on for an hour and a half but I’m not concentrating on the fact that I’m running, I’m thinking about playing.

Basically what I’m saying is that I love soccer, everything about it: the strategy, the finesse, the exercise, the challenge and the camaraderie; and I never want to stop playing!

Green Smoothie: Day 2 & 3

March 13, 2010

So I had another green smoothie with my lunch yesterday, I brought it with me to work along with half a sandwich and a granola bar; to my surprise I could hardly finish all of what I had brought, that smoothie was so darn filling! I made the same strawberry/banana/spinach mixture and found that it was already starting to get a little boring. I’ve read that it’s good to change up what fruits and greens go into your smoothie day after day so that you get as many varying nutrients as possible.

With that thought in mind, Mark and I visited the Austin Farmer’s Market on 4th and Guadalupe this morning to scope out the scene {we had never been before} and find some other fresh greens. The market was great, the sunny weather and cool breeze made for a perfect day to walk around and see what all the vendors were selling. I bought a small bunch of baby swiss chard and a head of red lettuce, then we headed back to make lunch.

This time my smoothie consisted of some frozen strawberry/blueberry/raspberry fruit mix, a little orange juice and a handfull of the swiss chard. The change in fruit was nice but this one definitely tasted a little “green.” I knew going in that chard has a stronger, more bitter taste but the thicker and darker green the leaves are the better it is for you. All in all it turned out to be pretty tasty, it wasn’ t green in color this time thanks to all those red berries and the orange juice gave it some acidity.

I’m sure 90% of this is all in my head but I’ve felt more energetic the past few days. And when I start my day off by drinking a smoothie, I start my day with a healthy attitude. I think I’m going to start replacing my breakfasts with a smoothie; I’ve never been a huge fan of breakfast anyways {I’m not much of a morning person}.

My goal right now is to have one green smoothie a day for 14 days…so day 3 is down, 11 more to go!

Green Smoothie Experiment

March 11, 2010

Lately, I’ve been searching for a way to fit more fruits and green vegetables into my everyday diet and I think I’ve found a solution…green smoothies! It just makes perfect sense to me, I love fresh fruit smoothies so why not throw in a handful of leafy greens and make it even better?

After a little research I found that drinking green smoothies has a TON of healthy benefits including increased energy, regular digestion, healthier skin & hair, reduced appetite and not to mention it makes you feel good! I know that when I eat healthy I feel more motivated to exercise and vice versa; but that goes the other way too, when I eat crappy food I feel like being a slug. Of course this is all a challenge that we each face everyday, such is the omnivore’s dilemma {great book so far}.

My thought process is this: the more raw foods I consume, the more steps I’m taking out of the trip our food’s energy makes from the sun into my system. For example, with spinach {or any plant}, the sun’s energy is harvested through photosynthesis and then we eat the spinach…two steps. Then there’s the everyday breakfast cereal; sun to the grain, grain is dried and ground to a flour, then its mixed with things like sweeteners, flavoring agents, vitamins & minerals {that must be added because the natural ones are lost in the process}, that all gets cooked, then pressed and dyed into some shape attractive to children, which is then stored in plastic bags……you get the point, I don’t know how many steps to call that but the point is the more our food is messed with, the less natural nutrients remain in the final product.

…sorry, I tend to get up on my little soap box when I blog because it feels more like I’m just thinking and not typing something that someone actually might read, haha….ANYWAYS, on to the experiment!

I decided to start out with something simple, a strawberry banana smoothie. Ingredients included one ripe banana, 4 or 5 strawberries, a handful of spinach, water and a dash of cinnamon.

The first step was to cut up the fruit into chunks and place in the blender with about 1/4 cup of water and blend until smooth; I added a few ice cubes too. At this point the smoothie still looked normal and it tasted great.

Then came the spinach…

I added the cinnamon last after everything was already nice and creamy. It definitely looked like Nickelodeon slime, except with little flecks of spinach leaves. To my surprise it really didn’t taste that different after adding the spinach, just a tiny bit more “healthy” but nowhere near “grassy.”

This particular smoothie did turn out rather thick, I think I’ll add more water next time or maybe I’ll run by a smoothie shop and steal some of their huge, 1/2″ diameter straws. I’m looking forward to experimenting with creating some new recipes using different fruits and vegetables, should be fun!

It’s Camping Time!

March 5, 2010

Spring is slowly beginning to show its lovely face around here; highs in the upper 60’s, lows in the 40’s and sunshine abound. It’s cool enough at night to merit huddling around a campfire and warm enough during the day for hiking and biking in shorts…perfect CAMPING weather if you ask me!

Growing up, our family along with 5-7 other families from our church held a bi-annual camp out every April and October. Some of my most cherished memories were created during those times with good friends and family. We have probably 6 giant photo albums filled with packing lists and pictures from every single outing and I love to pull those out and reminisce about all the hilarious happenings that made each camping trip so special.

This group shot of all of us back in 1997 makes me laugh so hard, I wonder what humorous comment JK made to make all the adults smile like that. For me, this photo is a reminder of how meaningful this little tradition was for all of us. Sadly, all good things must come to an end…kids grew up, went off to college, some people left the church and the camping no longer happens.

But now, I think I’m more thankful to have all those memories of the past than I am upset that they no longer continue. I’ve come to a new place in my life, one in which I have the joy of creating new traditions with my husband. Of course I enjoy looking back on those fun times but I’m sure looking forward to what is yet to come. Hopefully it will involve lots and lots of camping!

1st V-day with my hubby

March 3, 2010

Our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple was a great one for the memory books. Mark bought me some beautiful, inexpensive flowers {I hate roses} a bag of mini Reese’s {which we both enjoyed} and he rented Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs for us to watch. I had mentioned a few times before that I wanted to see the movie because I loved the book as a kid. As is most of the times true, I still think the book is better, mainly because of the great illustrations, but the movie was pretty entertaining.

The next evening we had a very nice Valentine’s Day dinner at Perry’s Steakhouse downtown. Their fried asparagus is ridiculously good and their fillet literally melted in my mouth…it…was…heaven.

It was a great weekend with my wonderful hubby!

St. Louis & the Gateway Arch

March 3, 2010

Over Thanksgiving last year Mark and I flew up to St. Louis to spend the holiday with his step-mom’s family. Every year they have this big family tradition of competing in their own rendition of the Amazing Race where the entire family is divided up into teams of 4 or 5 and they participate in various events with a point system determining a winner. Apparently this year was toned down big time from previous years due to some reckless driving {more like the real Amazing Race} but it was still a lot of fun. One of the events included bowling…left-handed; it was pretty hilarious and our team won that event only because we were the first to figure out that traditional bowling methods simply didn’t cut it for the non-dominant hand. We devised a system of standing at the top of the lane, swinging the ball like a pendulum a few times and then releasing; the results were far more accurate than the many gutter balls our competitors were scoring. All in all it was a fun time with new family.

The highlight of the trip, for me, was going to see the famous Arch. I vaguely remember cramming in a few facts about the structure before an architecture history test but there wasn’t much that stuck so it was great to walk around the museum and learn all about it. We watched the documentary video “Monument to the Dream” in which the entire construction played out; it just blows my mind how amazing architecture is, I can’t even describe it. One thing I remember from the video is that during construction, to ensure the constructed legs would meet up correctly at the top, the margin of error for failure was 1/64th of an inch!

Funny story…as we are walking up to the Arch we spot some little rectangular specs in the structure up at the top and Mark inquired as to what they could be. “They’re windows,” I said, “I’m pretty sure you can ride to the top and look out.” Again, keep in mind that my memory of the structural facts of this monument were pretty vague so I wasn’t 100% sure of myself. Throughout the morning both Mark and his dad kept making little comments about how they did’t believe visitors are allowed up in the Arch, all the while chipping away at the little confidence I had in my memory. Finally they revealed that they had bought tickets to ride the tram up, to which I said “See! I knew you could!” To which they both just laughed and I finally got that they had been messing with me the whole time…ugh, thanks guys.

So we stand in line for what felt like an eternity, waiting for our turn to take the ride up. The tram consisted of 8 little egg-shaped compartments, each seating 5 people; they looked like something out of an old Star Wars episode. As we ascended, each pod individually retained the appropriate level by periodically rotating every 5 degrees or so, keeping the correct orientation while we went along the curved tracks inside the Arch. Once we made it to the top we could look out the observation windows; the Mississippi River on the east side and the city of St. Louis to the west. Since the whole Arch is formed from an equilateral triangle, the sides with the windows were angled downward and if you leaned over far enough you can see the Arch’s shadow directly beneath itself on the ground {it was around noon}. Kinda scary looking straight down from 630 feet up!

On our way back down, Mark and I shared a pod with a nice man and his two young daughters who lived in St. Louis. We started chatting and both got on the subject of where to eat for lunch. He suggested a little hole-in-the-wall pizza place that the locals swear by so we took his suggestion and had ourselves some Joanie’s pizza afterwards. The weather was nice enough for us to sit outside in their patio area, it made for a great experience…the pizza and the atmosphere.

It was a great trip, we both can’t wait to go back!