Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Post Vacation Blues

Ugh. That's how I feel today. Just UGH.

I woke up this morning at 5 and could not for the life of me figure out what day of the week it was. It wasn't until I got to Pure Barre and saw which instructor was there that I realized it was only Tuesday. UGH. (Is it sad that I can tell the day of the week based on the Pure Barre instructor?!)

I got home around 6:45, grabbed some breakfast and started to get ready for work. And then my hair straightener crapped out. UGH. I gave up trying to make my hair look good and just pulled it up.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal made me feel a little better...
When I got to work, I stared at my mile-long to-do list and almost-full inbox and felt totally overwhelmed. UGH.

I think I always go through a letdown period after vacation, but this time it's pretty extreme. I feel downright depressed about being back to reality (and away from the mountains). UGH. Maybe I'm more dissatisfied and unfulfilled that I realized? Maybe I'll just always want what I don't have?

I'm dealing with my post vacation blues the best way I know how - channeling my negative energy into my running. My training schedule called for a 5-miler tonight. I wasn't sure I'd be up to it, since I just about fell asleep at the wheel on the way to work and also fell asleep in the rocking chair tonight, but I used those bummed out thoughts and feelings to push myself, and ended up having a pretty good run.

Here's hoping a good night's sleep will help me snap out of it...

Any suggestions to boost my mood?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Busy Living Life: Kid-Free Vacation Recap

Hey, hey hey! Long time, no blog! File the past week under "Busy Living Life (and Loving It)."

The hubby and I just returned from a 5(ish)-day vacation in Colorado - one of our favorite places! We lived in Colorado Springs for exactly 1 year to the day back in 2008/2009. We fell in love with the mountains, fresh air and 300 days a year of sunshine. Of the 5 states we've lived in (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Colorado and Georgia), Colorado is hands-down our favorite. Why did we leave, you ask? We panicked - I got laid off when our daughter was just 4 months old. With our primary income gone and our family thousands of miles away, we high-tailed it back to New England. Staring at Pikes Peak this week, I had to remind myself of the reasons why we left such a beautiful, active place...

Anyway...our vacation was the perfect mix of physical activity, delicious food, and fabulous beer and wine. The days look like this:

11:00 am ET - depart Atlanta
12:30 pm MT - arrive in Denver, pick up rental car, drive to Broomfield (we stayed the first 2 nights with the hubby's cousin
3:00 pm MT - run 5 miles through the gorgeous neighborhood and then walk 15 minutes to cool down and take in even more of the scenery

6:00 pm MT - head to Boulder and have dinner at Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant (I had the Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai and 2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc #heaven)
10:00 pm MT - collapse into bed and sleep like a baby

8:30 am MT - class at Pure Barre Broomfield (it was fun to check out a different studio!)
10:30 am MT - head into Denver to walk, eat and drink our way around the city. We had lunch at City, O City, where we had the most AMAZING Seitan Buffalo Wings, and moved on to the outdoor bar at Pizzeria Republica for a drink.
2:30 pm MT - arrive at the Pepsi Center to pick up our tickets for the Pearl Jam concert. While we were waiting in line, the Denver Nuggets basketball team showed up in the lobby!
3:30 pm MT - arrive at Wynkoop Brewing Company where we spent about 3 hours tasting beer, chatting and dining. I had a baby kale/roasted cauliflower/barley salad that was SOOOO good!
7:00 pm MT - arrive back at the Pepsi Center for the Pearl Jam concert! This concert was the main reason we booked this trip. It was our 13th show and probably the best one we've seen yet! We had incredible seats and PJ played for 3 and a half hours!

12:30 am MT - arrive back in Broomfield completely exhausted from the show; collapse into bed
7:30 am MT - up and at 'em! Despite the late night, we couldn't sleep in so we got up and made some breakfast
9:30 am MT - drive to Colorado Springs (we even did a drive-by of our old townhouse)
11:30 am MT - more breakfast for lunch at The Egg & I
12:30 - 2:30 pm MT - a little hiking at Palmer Park, more driving around the old stomping grounds
3:30 pm MT - after checking into our hotel, we head to Garden of the Gods for a run. I nearly passed out from the altitude! Colorado Springs is even higher than Denver and it definitely took a toll on my running (and breathing!). I had planned to do 6 miles but barely made it through 4.

5:45 pm MT - we headed downtown for dinner and drinks. First stop, Nosh. Edamame and some spicy tofu with kale. Vegetarian heaven! (Of course there was wine too!) After walking around downtown for a bit, our second stop was Trinity Brewing, one of our old faves from our time in the Springs.
9:30 pm MT - collapsed into bed yet again after another busy day!

7:00 am MT - head to a park for a run. We scoped a trail online, and I planned to do my 10-mile run on Friday instead of Saturday since we'd be travelling home on Saturday. The trail was kind of a bust, so we literally ran back and forth on a small section of the trail several times until we racked up about 5 miles and then we decided it was breakfast time.
8:15 am MT - breakfast at the hotel, followed by more running on the treadmill. Had to finish out my 10 miles! Even running indoors on the treadmill is more difficult at high altitude!
10:30 am MT - arrive in Manitou Springs to hang out for the afternoon. We walked a lot, shopped a little, and stumbled upon Manitou Brewing Company where we sampled great beer and had amazing french fries! I had a pretty incredible quinoa and black bean burger too! We also did a little wine tasting at D'vine Wine.

2:00 pm MT - check into the resort for the night. We walked all over the resort checking it out and are already thinking about a possible family vacation there...

4:00 pm MT - kicked off our last kid-less night with happy hour at Sonterra Grill. This is the first restaurant we ever took our older daughter to. She was about 4 or 5 weeks old the last time we were there. I got very sentimental (the wine accelerated that...)
6:00 pm MT - back to the resort for a couple more drinks and tapas.
9:30 pm MT - off to bed

7:00 am MT - drive out of the Springs and head to the airport in Denver. I pouted as I watched Pikes Peak get further and further away in the rearview mirror.
10:15 am MT - board our flight
3:15 pm ET - arrive in Atlanta
4:30 pm ET - pull into the driveway, get out of the car and run straight toward the kiddos for big hugs!

To sum it all up, we had a FANTASTIC time! I missed my little ladies, but actually found it easier than expected to be away, knowing that they were having fun at home with Gramma. I love being mommy, but it was nice to just be Emily for a few days.

And now, it's back to the grind. I already spent half my Sunday catching up on work, and I'll admit that I'm a little depressed about getting back to reality. I will daydream about getting back to the mountains, and hope that gets me through the week...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pure Barre: Class #60!

Happy Friday!

I hit up my 6th Pure Barre class of the week at 5:30 this morning. While I was grabbing my weights, ball and tube, I was looking at the chalkboard with all the names of clients who were almost at their 100th class, which will make them members of the "prestigious" 100 Club. My goal is to get to the 100 Club before the end of the year.

I later realized after looking through my attendance history that today was my 60th class! 60 classes in just 12 weeks - crazy! It's fun to go back and look at what I wrote after my 10th class. I've stopped taking measurements because I don't feel the need to anymore. I go by how my clothes fit (and I'm wearing clothes I hadn't worn in 6+ months!), and I step on the scale maybe once a week for accountability. A far cry from the obsessive weighing myself everyday.

60 classes strong!
(horrible, horrible picture)
In addition to the physical transformation, I've also transformed my attitude and my self esteem. Since I've been starting my weekdays at the barre at 5:30 am, I've been going off to work with a much more positive attitude, feeling ready to tackle my work (even when I have more of it that is humanly possible to complete!). And I'd like to think I'm much calmer now too, which helps me be a better mommy! I'm also incredibly confident now in every aspect of life. I don't feel self-conscious about how I look or about my abilities.To sum it up - I'm a much better role model for my girls.

Off for an early bedtime now. Tackling a 10-miler early in the morning. My next half marathon is just 6 short weeks away! Eeeeek!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Crock Pot Oatmeal

Warning: If you love oatmeal and you love pumpkin, this recipe might just blow your mind! ;-)

My absolute favorite thing about fall is pumpkin and pumpkin-flavored things. And I have been enjoying a lot of them lately!

Last night, I decided to concoct a Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal in the crock pot to cook overnight. 

- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 cups canned pumpkin (I used Trader Joe's organic)
- 1/4 cup + 2T maple syrup
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- pumpkin pie spice (I rarely measure spices; I always go by taste. If I had to guess, I probably used 1T)
- 4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

My crock pot tends to run hot, so I used the "keep warm" setting rather than low and cooked this for about 10 hours.

I threw some walnuts on top after I took this picture which only added to the deliciousness!
I'm not sure there are even words to describe how amazing this oatmeal was! I really didn't think I could love an oatmeal dish more than I love my banana crock pot oatmeal, but I proved myself wrong. This has it beat! So creamy and delicious! Tasted just like pumpkin pie - and it's healthier! The kids love it too. I think my 2-year-old ate more than the rest of us!

Here's a glimpse of some other yummy pumpkin things I've been enjoying:

Pumpkin: love it or hate it?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Vertigo, Scones, and Running - Oh My!

Once again, the weekend completely got away from me! And now it's Sunday night and I have to go back to work tomorrow while daddy and the girls hang out at home on Columbus Day. Booo.

Backing up to Friday... Friday was just plan weird. It started with a random meltdown from Baby Girl when I dropped her off at daycare. She rarely ever cries when I drop her off. I should have taken this as a sign to just turn around and go home.

I got to the office, made some coffee, and got down to business as usual. Around 10:45, I went to use the ladies room and when I came out, I felt like the room was spinning. I walked past my boss's desk on the way back to my desk and kind of mumbled, "Wow, I just got really dizzy. I think I need to sit down." I started to fall sideways as I tried to sit but managed to catch myself and land in my chair. WTH?! Definitely the first time I have ever had vertigo like that. I took a few deep breaths and some sips of water and pulled myself together.

Almost as soon as the vertigo was gone, I felt a splitting headache coming on. Apparently vertigo can be an early symptom of a headache. Who knew?! Not me. At least not until I Googled it.

Again - should have known something bad was looming.

3pm rolled around and I got a call with some really awful news that threw me for a loop. I left the office, knowing that I wouldn't be able to focus for the rest of the day. I drove around for a bit and ended up at Starbucks where I sat and reflected for a bit before picking the kids up.

Later that evening, I needed a distraction so I did the only sensible thing I could think to do - I baked. More specifically, I baked pumpkin scones.

I used this recipe but subbed in brown sugar instead of white and pumpkin pie spice instead of straight ginger.
I went to bed around 9 - mentally exhausted and needing to rest up before my early morning run.

Daddy had to leave for work at 6:45am, so I was up and at 'em at 4:40. I changed into my running gear, ate a scone and a half, did a little stretching and was out the door at 5:14. I can usually tell within the first 2-3 minutes how well my run is going to go. I felt great when I started out - almost unusually great. And I could tell it was going to be a good one (despite the humidity and fairly warm temperature).

The moon was really bright, which was great considering I was out there more than 2 hours before the sun was due to come up.

Crushed it. I credit the pumpkin scones.

It sounds crazy, but I really enjoyed being up and out so early in the morning. There is a huge sense of accomplishment that comes along with completing a long run before the rest of the family (and the sun!) are up.

I spent the rest of the day hanging with my girls.

Donuts at the farmers market!
Swim class + Trader Joe's = total exhaustion

We also had some friends over for vegan takeout, wine and conversation. Very fun and very much my speed!

To close out the weekend, I did a 3.5-mile recovery run, a trip to Sam's Club ($$$$!!!), and an afternoon Pure Barre class.

My mind is in a little bit better spot than when I left the office on Friday. I am focusing on this thought:

Not every potential health condition is in my control, but I can and will keep myself in fighting shape to face whatever may come my way in the future.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Extra Sleep, Breakfast Pics & Day Dating

Can you even believe this week is almost over already?! It flew by - probably because I've spent the entire week trying to dig myself out from under the mountain of work that piled up while I was out of the office at our sales conference last week.

I fully intended to blog last night, but I was so exhausted. When forced to choose between staying up to blog or getting some extra sleep, sleep will win every time! I still had a hard time getting out of bed at 5 am for Pure Barre this morning, but as the day went on, I definitely felt more rested than yesterday. It certainly paid off during my run. 5 miles in 46:47. Not bad!


I've said it before and I'll say it again - breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! And I've eaten some very yummy breakfasts this week!

Vegan pumpkin bread w/ organic Smart Balance and a protein shake on the side.

Crock pot banana oatmeal with coconut oil. All time favorite!


The hubby and I went on a day date today at lunchtime! We sat on the patio at one of my favorite places:

I ordered a salad (hold the cheese) with a side of black beans and some guacamole to throw on top. The salad had jicama, pickled red onions and a light chili lime vinaigrette on it. With the black beans and guacamole on top, it was delicious and filling! And of course I couldn't help but munch on the complimentary tortilla chips while chatting with the hubby. It was such a nice day, but a little odd because it looks like fall but it felt like summer.

NO FILTER! This was the view from my seat on the patio.

I'm gearing up for a very early morning long run on Saturday, so Friday night is going to be pretty uneventful! I plan to be in bed shortly after the kiddos.

What is your favorite meal of the day?

What do you have planned this weekend?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Featured Client!

Happy Monday! Normally I'd say the words "happy" and "Monday" don't go together, but I'm feeling pretty happy this Monday - happy to be feeling healthy and rested again! Also, happy and honored to be this month's featured client at my Pure Barre studio!

Last month, I received the studio's newsletter which included a call to all clients to share their stories for a chance to be featured in the next newsletter. If you read this blog (or know me at all!), you know I could go on and on about how much I love Pure Barre. So naturally, I immediately typed up a little something on my phone and sent it in.

I was so excited when I received an email a couple weeks back letting me know that I'd been chosen to be the client feature! Below is what I wrote:

 As a busy working mom of 2, I turned to running a few years ago for both mental and physical fitness. I was sidelined earlier this year with an injury that left me a few pounds heavier and sluggish by the time I was healed and back in my sneakers.

In an effort to lose those pounds and feel good about myself, I added lots of high-impact circuit training workouts to my half marathon training schedule. Not only did I not lose weight this way, but I was left feeling even more sluggish and perpetually exhausted. I knew I needed something lower impact.

I saw a sign advertising the new client special so I decided to give Pure Barre a try. It was love at first tuck! After 2 1/2 weeks, with 10 classes under my belt, my clothes felt looser and I could really see the changes in the mirror.

By the end of my one month of unlimited classes, I was wearing jeans I hadn't fit into for 6 months and my confidence was through the roof.

Though I was hesitant about the cost, I signed up for 3 months unlimited following my new client special. I'm now a regular at the 5:30am classes, and typically attend 5-6 days per week. Not only have I achieved truly amazing physical results, I have also reaped many mental benefits! Class is calming - 55 minutes of zen! I leave class feeling strong, confident and happy - ready to take on the day and perhaps even the world! I have completely stopped the negative self talk and have a completely different attitude when I look in the mirror. Instead of focusing on flaws, I'm feeling proud of the progress. And I have broken the bad habit of weighing myself everyday. Who needs to weigh in when you can see the positive physical transformation in the mirror?! I no longer care about those numbers on the scale.

Thank you Pure Barre for giving me physical and mental strength! I hope to be able to share my love of Pure Barre professionally one day.

What I love most about this piece is that it was 100% real - pure stream of consciousness, written out of true enthusiasm. It took all of 5 minutes to type on my phone and I didn't edit a thing before I sent it. It's 100% me.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Working, Running, Baking & Buying

What's up?! I've been away from the blog for a whole week - and away from my family for a lot of that time too!

I just returned from a work conference/ retreat that was held here:

Yeah, definitely could've been worse! The 3+ day retreat involved learning, team building, some drinking and some dancing. Overall it was great, with the exception of Tuesday night when I nearly ended up in the emergency room... I was still feeling the effects of that horrible reaction I had last weekend, and more specifically, experiencing a lot of pain an ulcer-like symptoms. I actually called the on-call doctor who suggested I go to the emergency room. In my typically fashion, I stayed in bed and closed my eyes instead. Perhaps not the smartest idea... But thankfully I'm finally feeling much better! I'm on another antibiotic for the original infection, and I probably lost a good 2-3 lbs from lack of appetite, but definitely much closer to my normal self now.

From the work costume party - me in my derby best!
I'm back in action with my half marathon training too! I was up well before the sun this morning eating this:

And I headed out the door around 6 am to squeeze in an 8-mile run before the kiddos' swim class, and before daddy had to leave for work for the rest of the day/night.

I had a tough time settling into a steady pace, but all in all, a pretty good run. Especially since it was so cool outside! 50 degrees felt pretty amazing after logging so many hot and humid miles over the summer.

To me, cool fall weather means time for pumpkin everything! I spent the afternoon baking Happy Herbivore vegan pumpkin bread (YUM!!!!!) and drinking pumpkin beer.

The Traveler Beer Company
I also bought the hubby a new car today! And I did it from the comfort of my living room! Ever heard of Carvana.com? I hear their ads quite frequently (on Pandora, I think?), and the hubby really needed a new car, so I thought I'd check it out. I buy pretty much everything else online, why not a car?! My Facebook post pretty much sums up my experience (which took less than an hour I might add!!):

Seriously, if you're looking for a new-to-you car, check it out!

Pumpkin: love it or hate it?

Are you an online shopper?