Thursday, July 30, 2009

Building the Abarnment-Prolouge

Do you know anyone on earth who would choose to move back into their parents house (especially after your room has finally been converted into the spare office) and then labor for 6 months to live in a barn? Oh, hi, that's me and yes, I'm crazy. It took a lot of long hard though and a few phone calls crying with my mom to finally decide to take up my Dad's offer of converting the 2nd story of our barn into a studio apartment for me while I work for a few years (I hope!) as a high school science teacher at one of our local (and very rural) schools.

My parents are beyond wonderful to give up their privacy to let me live on their property (not to mention temporarily in their house) and charge me a very minimal rent a month which will really allow me to get ahead financially too. And the icing on the cake is that I will get to learn how to do pretty much all the basic construction work too, especially considering the barn is currently a plywood floor and studs right now! So bring on the plumbing, wiring, insulation, drywall, paint, cabinets and sinks, oh and a shower stall too please. Bring on the stove and fridge, and a dishwasher too...oh going to need a hot water heater too! Bring on the ceiling fans and light fixtures and a tiny A/C too! And just because I love you guys sooo much, you'll get to hear all about my trials and tribulations of: Building the Abarnment!

Here is the floor plan. Dad and I drew it out last night when I was home to sign my teaching contract. It might help to click and enlarge, but basically it is a 30' by 20' rectangle that we are adding a kitchen and bathroom to. I requested to make it a studio so it will feel larger, and since I'm living by myself it won't be a problem...not that I'm a terribly modest person to begin with. I pretty pumped about how much closet space we have worked into this sucker...the closet in the bedroom is 10feet long! Aww, snap! It has a catherial ceiling too, which makes it feel larger.

Next installment will be all about my move! I'm sure you will all be on the edge of your seats for that one! hehe.
Love to all,
~A busting out the blueprints, Jess

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fun Happenings in Blogland!

Hi all,
Hope everyone is having a super Tuesday!
Just wanted to let you guys know about 2 great giveaways going on right now:

Megan of MegaNerdRuns is giving away an entire sample pack of Chobani yogurts! Totally awesome. I know that I would want to win this and thought that perhaps you lovelies would too! You have until Wednesday at 11:59pm to enter!

Joe and Besty are giving away a pair of Gap jeans from the new Gap line, Born to Fit. Contest ends tonight at 10pm, so go check it out!

If I come across anything else today, I'll be sure to let you know.

Have a great afternoon!
Love to all,
~A fingers crossed for some fun freebies, Jess

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wonderous Weekend-part two: Sassy Ladies!

The weekend didn't end with the lovely meal from ZGrille, oh no...that's not how we roll. Bright and Early (and by bright and early, I mean 9:45am! haha) on Sunday morning my animal AND music loving friend and I rolled out of the shambles of my partially packed apartment and on down to Vinoy Park to partake in the festivities of Warped Tour's 15th Anniversary! This was actually my first WT-and yes, that makes me a late bloomer (big surprise!) since most of my friends had been going since high school and trust me, most of the other concert goers were about as old as Warped Tour, but age aside darlings it was a FAB time! I won't bore you guys with all the bad pictures I took, especially since I figure most of you don't care for the same music as moi. Yes, I am the girl next door- Apple Pie all the Way..BUT I love me some Hardcore/Post Hard core/anything driving music! If you guys are looking for some motivating music to workout to check out any of the below (In the order we saw them):

Attack Attack
Devil Wears Prada (such good performers! Love them live!)
Skylit Drive (Love, LOVE!)
Dear and the Headlights (a fun, folksy band)
Chiodos (I actually took out some aggression...on a stupid mosh pit punk! hah-bad Jess)
Saosin (they didn't play well, but are a great band recorded)
A Day to Remember (AWESOME!)
Aiden (totally crazy men!)
Bad Religion (I didn't know I knew so much of their music)-It started pouring rain at this point, so we started a dance party in the rain
3OH!3 (OMG! I'm so smitten with these cats!)- the dance party let loose with these guys. Seriously one of the best nights of this year, thus far! So much fun, just grooving with 2500 of your closest "friends" (and possibly students! haha) in the pouring rain. LOVE.
Bayside (No better way to end the night-my boys!)

And now a photographic progression of the day:Looking Lovely at the start of the dayGetting all hot and sweaty, but still smiley. You can't tell it in this picture, but I was sweating what looked like motor nasty. Only at Warped Tour! I took a nap under a tree after this set
Oh, and did I mention dirty? This is even 1/2 the mess I was!After the wonderful rain dance party with 3OH!3 So hyped up here!

Overall, what a wonderful day. I really wish I could have dance parties in the rain everyday. Anyone with me? We have enough opportunities in the Florida Summers afterall! :D

Oh, but no worries I did eat here and there between sets [including a overly sweet lemon smoothie that I couldn't finish and some pretty tasty chicken tenders-didn't dig the fries though, so they went to the trash] and was lucky to sneak in my reusable aluminum water bottle in, so I was hydrated all day, even if it meant standing in long water fountain lines, until we found the hose behind the food vendor tents! Score!

I also brought a variety of bars for the two of us. I busted into my other KIND bar around 1pm. This one was Almond and Apricot. See my review of the Sesame and Peanut one here.I found this one to be wayyy to sweet for my taste. Especially since I was out at an all day event in the heat and trying to stay well hydrated, but even indoors I don't think I'll get this one again. I think it's the honey in the bar that maybe pushes it over the edge. I did like how crumbly it was though, maybe it would be good mixed in with plain greek yogurt, the tart might balance out the sweet. Still a nice simple ingredients list, but I don't think you will find this in my shopping cart again.

Speaking of food, check out this ginormous salad I just woofed down after 3 hours of muscle shaking, flow tastic, inverted yoga:This started out as a bunch of "end ofs" tossed together (end of BB and SP salad, end of a bag of romaine hearts, end of a tomato- about 3/4 of a medium vine ripened from Publix- and a dollop of dukes and all mixed in the dish that the BB salad was still in) but turned out to be one of the more satisfying salads I've made in a while. Check it out a little closer, ok? It's worth it!
So tasty, you have no idea. Don't you just love it when a bunch of stuff gets tossed together and it fills a craving you didn't know you had. Sigh. Just another great part of what has been some pretty fabby-fab days in a row. Just seems like my life is falling together, instead of apart. Let's hope the rest of my week stays this great.

Love to all,
~A very content Jess

PS. sorry this is posting in the AM. I tried to upload some video I took of Bayside and left my computer on all night, so it could upload with no success. I guess I'll have to be videoless until I get my mac!

Wonderous Weekend-part one: Classy Ladies

Hi Loves,
I hope everyone had a great weekend and is off to a fairly painless Monday! Mine is going swimmingly since I had a huge weight (and unfinishable project) taken of my shoulders this morning. Now I can finish my last week at work doing what makes since-training those individuals taking over my job and of course blogging! haha.

My weekend was so wonderful that I need to make it into 2 posts-well, really three if you count in interrupted and bridged post from Saturday let's pick up where I left you hanging.
As you all found out my darling Animal Luver/UF Vet Student arrived and we hustled off to the Tyrone Square Mall to quickly get an outfit and proper bag for Warped Tour-I must say I have never had so much success in a mall in less than an hour! (we got there just after 8 and the place closes at 9pm...why aren't malls open until 10? Come on-why would I have wasted a lovely sunny afternoon in a mall? No, I wasted it packing in my apartment! haha) Such successful shopping deserves to be rewarded with a wonderful meal, so we cruised over to one of my favorite places in Downtown St. Petersburg: Z Grille! You guys have heard me rave about them before but I remember to take pictures this time! yay-good food blogger (about time, right? haha)

We chose a seat outside to enjoy the humidity? I mean salt air....and started off with some drinkies:
My lovely "date" got a nice cider that had some really refresh floral notes of pear. We both adore ciders, but I knew that a repeat of the 2007 Argentine Malbec- Tila was in my future. I had this glass times 2 as the night lingered on. Please excuse the shiny skin and cruddy hair...despite being a Florida Native me and humidity are not friends! I started my meal with the small portion of the daily deviled egg (I have I mentioned I LOVE a restaurant that has deviled eggs? Hello Heaven!). Saturday night's special was Lobster and Lemon.The photography may not have been great ("romantic" candle light on a street corner may make for great ambiance, but not for this photographer's lighting of choice) but these eggs were Divine! I am on a real lemon kick as of late and these did not disappoint.

We both went the way of the sea for our entrees. Our charming vet student got blackened halibut over a bed of Cesar greens which was unpictured and I got the daily special which was triple tail pan grilled over pea risotto and a roasted red pepper sauce. Can you say come to Momma? Oh yes, I cleaned my (reasonably sized) plate with relish. I probably would have licked it to, but we were sitting outside after all and I didn't want to scare away other potential patrons to such a wonderful dinning establishment! The animal luver and I are bad influences on each other when it comes to dessert. (she is one of the only that I ever order dessert with!) So we had this baby:
A chocolate ganache cupcake! Get it? it's literally a cake in a cup! Too cute and oh so tasty. Now I wish that I could say I just had 2 bites and was satisfied, but let's be honest kids, I scarfed down my share like the chocolate loving piggy I am. And I'm not apologizing one bit! :D

Back to work now, babydolls! Have a great day!
Love to all,
~A ready for 3 hours of yoga tonight, Jess

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Buzy Bee!

Hi Dollys (and Guys! Get it? Guys and Dolls? Cause I'm fairly certain I have no male readers...if so, speak up boys! hehe)

I've been having a busy day filled with packing, yoga and a hot and crampy run (I keep getting stitches in my side, bleh) I need to grab a quick shower before my girlie and fellow animal luver (she's a vet student at UF) gets here.

Added 6hrs later:

Um, she got here! Expect a major post including Warped Tour coming later. For now enjoy my recent eats...they are self explanatory I think:

Love to all,
~ A pumped for Warped Tour, Jess

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You can tell by the smile on my face that I done this before..... let the games begin- Anarbor

Hi All,
Did everyone one catch SYTYCD last night? Holy Moly what an amazing show it was. I balled my eyes out after Melissa and Ade performed the contemporary piece by Tyce Diorio. What a wonderful tribute to all those who are fighting or have lost their battle with breast cancer. And Woman's Work was probably the best choice of song, ever. Oh Tyce. I'm sure my aunt was smiling down watching that performance, since she was a great patron of the arts and was always supportive of my dancing. Beautiful. Check out this great thread on the SYTYCD website where everyone is sharing similar stories.
I also enjoyed the "Battle Ground" number performed by Jeanine and Brandon.

On to the food:
I used the leftover blackbeans from this meal last week with 1/2 a lb of ground turkey rescued from the depths of my freezer to create a few of these bad boys (yes, even my leftovers make more leftovers! haha) that also had some fresh chopped cilantro and Cayenne pepper mixed in.

That burger was one messy beast to eat. I've made this combo before and didn't have the falling apart issue. Oh well, it was a delicious mess that tasted just as good on my last Publix French Hamburger bun (rescued from the back of my fridge and toasted---still yummy beyond belief) that was loaded up with a smear of Dukes, 2 tomato slices, purple onion and a mix of greens. I also made some "steak fries" by cutting up a medium baking potato (skin on) and tossing them with a drizzle of EVOO plus black pepper and seasoned salt. I baked them at 350 while I did my 4 or 5th day of the 30 day shred on level2. [I actually like this level more than 1, even though it kicks my arse.] The fries were tasty, but I think I baked them too long for my taste, since I prefer softer fries. About half of what is on the above plating when to my 4-legged and furry garbage disposal.

In other food news I have a new favorite flavor of Sabra: Luscious Lemon Hummus. Oh. My. Word. So good! Tangy but smooth. Yum in my tum!

Well, I'd best get back to work for a bit and then on to lunch!
I'm going to try and post the first part of my abarnment series this afternoon.
Love to all,
~A getting a little ravenous, Jess

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day!

Hello All,
I hope everyone's week is going swimmingly! Mine has been chugging along in a very low gear...I actually, seriously though yesterday was Wednesday, all. day. long. Imagine my shock and horror then when after going for a hot afternoon run, partaking in a nice cold shower and scarfing down some leftover black bean and sweet potato salad (you'll get to see the original mess in a min...hang on kiddies!) to settle in for some bonding time with my faves on SYTYCD only to realize (finally!) that it was only Tuesday. ahhhh, no! haha, well. Now does my title make sense?

Everything is rather par for the course this week thus far though (well, current and temporary course that is...) I got a bit of organizing/packing done this weekend, but still have loads more to do of course. I've been purging everything though, clothes, books, dishes, etc since I'll be moving into a 650ish sqft studio come December and back into what was my bedroom in my parents house (they had converted into an office this year) but I'm not going into the details on that in this post. I'm actually going to make a miniseries of sorts on my blog that will be all about building the barn studio-or "abarnment" as we have named it! Stay tuned for the "prologue" coming soon....

My parents did get back from Mexico on Monday evening and it sounds like they had a great time. Mom said it was a real fantasy vacation and considering they stayed here, it's no wonder! I'm drooling like whoa and for sure want to check this place out myself one day! Mom said that it was mostly young people-aka, 20's and 30's so that is pretty much our crowd right? Yup! Best of all Mom has agreed to do a guest post about all the food, since she took a lot of pictures of their meals for my benefit. She wants my help, since she's not used to doing hyperlinks and such, but keep your eyes pealed for that post too! Don't you just love it when your blog inspires others to think or act in a new way! I love it!

Ok, a quick update on some wonderful yoga and running days and then we will get back to your normally scheduled of course! I guess I don't really have that much to report in the way of exercise that is new or exciting: As I mentioned I am actually following the C25k plan for the Miracle Miles 5k I've chosen as my first 5k! I'm working on week 1 this week which consists of 60seconds of jogging followed by a 90 second recovery period. They recommend to do this for 20 mins, but I did it around my usual loop which is about 35 mins including a 5 min warm up and cool I did an extra 5 mins of the run/walk cycle. I was relieved that I could do the 60 second runs and found the 90 second recovery to be a bit longer than I really needed, but it wasn't quite a easy as I had hopped...I think I have been essentially doing this part of my plan most of the time. Granted I do run with my dog, and he makes it a bit more challenging as we often have different agendas while on a run. He doesn't understand why I don't want to smell EVERY blade of grass or chase the squirrels, I know I'm crazy right? I know that I run a bit faster and for a longer periods of time when I run at crescent lake sans 100lbs of distracted doggie. So while I love taking the Chubbster with me I am looking forward to living back in the country where he can run free and so can I. haha.
Yoga has been wonderful as always. I have been trying to glean as much from Denise as I can so I can do some home sessions my Mom and I. I am so in love with the inversion class on Monday night. I shake so hard in handstand (walked in against the wall for support-I'm not strong enough to do it free standing yet) but it's amazing. We did headstand though and I can't do it. It freaks me out, I feel like I'm rolling on to my neck, even though I'm not. Hopefully as my shoulders and arms get stronger though I'll be more comfortable. Asana means 'comfortable joyous place where you rest' after all!

Ok, on to food, oh yum have I enjoyed myself the past few days:
This mess is another batch of my homemade babaganoosh. Roasted eggplant (drizzled with EVOO and S&P before hitting the oven) and whole garlic cloves then mushed together. Oh yum! This was originally going to be my lazy man's eggplant parm and I usually saute the eggplant chunks on the stove top, but they tend to absorb a lot of extra oil that way, so I tried it this way, but I think the oven temp was maybe too high since it all cooked down a little too much to turn into parm. I'll make that sometime soon though, so you guys can see my fave lazy man!
Spread on whole grain toast makes for a great post yoga meal! Especially since I don't get home until 9:30ish on Mondays after my 3hrs yoga session! So I've been pulling a Caitlin and doing a 2 part dinner. Pre yoga fuel consisted of trying a new (to me!) Kind Bar:
I really enjoyed this bar. It was really crunchy, but I found the more I ate it the more I liked it. Peanuts and sesame seeds drizzled with chocolate? I mean come on! It was a little high in fat for what is really a "snack" bar clocking in at 15g but I think that comes from the chocolate and sesame. Totally worth it. I also have a Almond and Apricot one waiting in my Bar Jar so I'll let you know my thoughts on that one too. FYI though they are a little pricey: $2.29ea from Publix. Maybe they are cheaper else where? (Part of their proceeds go's to charity though, so it's all good I guess.) I was just excited to see them after a few other bloggers had been talking about them recently. Paired with a cup of CS Peppermint Tea was the perfect pick me up after a long day of work and what would be a long, but wonderful night of yoga. Yum, for real!

This was my "brunch" on Sunday. It really could have been just breakfast since I ate around 10:30am but I figured by siding up some green beans that took it out of the traditional bfast realm. Scrambled eggs-1 whole egg and 1 part egg whites, I've been really digging this combo. Makes for super fluffy eggs- with ham and Catbot 1.5% Jalapeno Cheddar. Really yummy. The ham and beans were leftovers my grandparents sent home with me after I had dinner with them on Friday night. A variation of one of my favorite meals-quesadilla with black beans, but I did this dinner a bit more deconstructed. Black Bean and Sweet Potato Salad and with romiane lettle and yogurt, marinated (garlic, lime juice, EVOO, sea salt and Cayenne pepper) and pan grilled pork-oh so tender. Side of toasted WW tortillas for scooping everything up with. It was a mexican-indian style meals! (eating with the hands and all)Side of not so pretty quac. This avocado was on it's way out unfortunately. And don't worry kids, I didn't finish any of the above plating. My eye's were wayyyy to big for my stomach.

The funny thing is I realized this was a pretty meaty post. Especially if you consider the ham dinner I ate on Friday (unphotographed) as well as the also unphotoed graphed leftovers of pork tacos too. Everytime I start thinking I could really go veggie-I would still eat seafood and eggs of course- I end up having meat and remembering why I do enjoy the extra varitey it brings to my diet. You will be seeing more meat in my meals the next few weeks too, as I clean out my freezer before the move on Aug 7th. I have quite a bit stocked up in there that I just haven't been interested in eating the past few months. I got though phases with my eating, just like anything else in life, and while it's been more convenient to go meatless as of late, I don't feel bad for indulging in some now and then.

Happy Groundhogs, I mean Hump Day, Everyone!
Love to all,
~A dazed and apparently confused, Jess

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I'm not your lion or your tiger....

Caution: For those of you just here for the food (Ever After, anyone? anyone?) please look elsewhere this evening for your entertainment sources. Why you may ask? Well, several reasons. 1-My posts get wayyyy too long when I try to talk about food, fitness, music and life all in one post. Something had to go. I know you guys love reading long posts (you do, don't you? haha) but the longer the post the more scatter brained I get. It's about self preservation, my loves.
2-I haven't been making the healthiest of choices lately in the realm of food. I try to follow the 90/10 rule, you know healthy 90% of the time with 10% room for some indulgence...well, mines been a bit more long the lines of 60/40 and I can feel it, so there is no need to relieve in it online too.

Top that off with a serious lack of cardio work this week (I've been yoging like mad though-no worries sooths my soul and my spine) and I was feeling pretty crappy about it all earlier today. So, what has brought on all this "bad behavior" you might ask? Well, as much as I hate to admit it, I'm super tweaked out about my move back to Gilchrist Co and the start of my teaching position. I AM really excited for a fresh start and a new challenge in my professional life, but add how much I LOVE living in St. Pete and LOVE my little condo rental and pretty much LOVE everything about my life, aside from work-obviously, to the fact that I am concrete sequential to the core and don't handle change well? yeah, I think you get the point. Oh and the cherry on the top-my parents are out of the country enjoying a week long stay at a beautiful resort in Cancun where they only have sketchy Internet service. [For those of you who don't know me as well, my mom is not only my rock, sounding board and biggest cheerleader she is also my best-best friend] So, not being able to talk to Mom at all this week has been beyond rough but they will be back on Monday, so all is nearly well on that front! Oh, but the point of all that rambling is when I'm a little off I tend to turn to food for comfort, and unfortunately it's not the carrot and spinach variety but carbo loading instead.

BUT enough self pitying on my part. I kicked myself in the arse and busted about a little shred time with JM and now feel a bit more like myself. I also have a run planed in the AM-which will be my first run in over a week-parity because of the heat, my lack of sleep and the fact that I'm still trying to figure out what the eff is making my knee hurt 24/7. I thought taking a week off running/shredding and tackling random hills on the kickback bike (or basically cutting out everything in my weekly fitness regiment BUT yoga) would possibly elevate it, but no. Both of my knees still hurt (the right is much worse though), especially doing lunges and climbing stairs. Seriously what gives? I know I have some alignment issues that Denise, my yoga instructor has been helping me with, but this is ridiculous. Speaking of yoga, the fact that I totally busted my right knee when I face planted it out of crow in yoga class on Thursday night didn't help-it's going all purple and green now-but man what a high for the 2.5 seconds I was holding myself up on my forearms! Ahhhh, I love it!

In addition to taking this mini break from running (which is kind of a joke right? since I can't even run a bloody mile straight yet?) I'm trying to approach my training from a different mindset. After reading Caitlin's guest post on Angela's site for the SGBC about motivation issues to get out there and get moving I realized I've definitely hit the "De-motivation" phase (which comes after the "gun-ho" period according to Miss Cait and I totally agree!). What hit home with me most was Angela's comments after the guest portion. She said,"I became more patient and kind to my body and in return my body responded better than I could ever dreamed it would." I think I've been comparing everyone else's success to my slow start and have been being pretty hard on myself. Also, I admit I haven't been following a great plan either. I've been doing the run as far as you can and then go a few steps more. Well that's all fine and dandy, but then it takes me about 5 mins to recover and in that time I've lost my stamina. (I think anyways, I'm new to this, obviously. Suggestions are more than appreciated!) So, I'm actually going to follow the C25k plan. It is just the right lenght to get me ready to run the 5k portion of Miracle Miles which is in the end of September. Cross your fingers for me please? Thanks!

Ok, let's get off the fitness ramble too... see what happens when I hold things in for too long? I'm not even going to dive into my housing issues just now....let's just leave it at my above comment that I LOVE my current digs and well, there isn't anything like that in Bell, damn it!

In much more exciting news, Warped Tour is coming to St. Pete this Sunday (a week from tomorrow!) and I am PUMPED. I got my specially collectors/skip the lines ticket this week that came with a 2disk preview of some of the bands that will be playing. Oh psyched and yes, it has been playing non stop in my car since it arrived. In a somewhat order here is who I can't wait to see:

Bayside (my boys!)
A Day to Remember
Monty Are I (great Canadian band!)
The Devil Wears Prada
Attack, Attack
A Skylit Drive
Breathe Carolina
3OH!3 (yes, I was pleasantly surprised by these cats)
I Set My Friends on Fire
Senses Fail

And I'm sure I'm leaving out a bunch more...Don't worry you will probably end up hearing more than you want to come next week! Sadly I couldn't add Dance Gavin Dance to the above list, since they would have been coming in second, but they are done with the tour THREE days before the St. Pete show...serious bummer. But I've seen them before so, its ok-sorta. :D

I think this post has gotten monsterouly out of hand. If you made it to the end, congrats. I wish I could send you a Super Charge Me Cookie right now.... Seriously though, thanks. I needed to get a lot of that off my chest, if even to leave it out there for me to look back on later in life.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend,
Love to all,
~A coping and nearly back on track, Jess

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It ain't easy.....

being green, you know ~Kermit the Frog.

But my meals this week have been, green that is!

First up, a spinach salad drizzled with Ken's Lite Honey Mustard and topped with Morning Star Chikn Tenders, hard boiled egg with a side of tomato. So good, it needs a close up. All doused liberally with sea salt and PEPPER. I love me some black pepper!
Next up, a homemade green pea soup (this would be a split pea soup, but mine weren't split! ha) inspirited by Jenna's the other day. Mine contained turkey bacon, onion, a chopped up sweet potato, 1/2 a bag of organic carrot chips that had been in the crisper drawer for a bit too long an of course dried peas! I didn't have any broth on hand, so plain ol' agua made this lovely mess. I got a little carried away with my blender, but I like my soups in puree form, so it's all good.
And, lordy was it GOOD. Split pea is one of my faves, but I had never thought to make it myself. So easy, so satisfying. You can be expecting to see this one again! And speaking of satisfying, check out my "comfort meal"....So saw right. Onion and green pepper 'dilla with black beans (topped with Greek yogurt, of course!) plus a wonderful mess that is my beloved guac. (sans black pepper and cilantro? WTF did this really come from my kitchen? Sadly, yes. Some how in one day I ran out of both the spice of the gods and my fave herb. It was a mournful moment when I realized this fact, prepping my dinner-but I had big plans of So You Think You Can Dance and rolling all my spare change so trip to Publix was not in the works! Tomorrow!). Still oh so wonderful.

Other green things consumed this week, but not photographed, green monsters galore and a wonderful egg white spinach omelet. Just call me "green goddess"...on second thought no, I'm not sure I want my nickname to be a salad dressing! haha.

Well, my darlings I had a lot more to talk about tonight, but it's rapidly approaching 11pm and I am aiming to be in bed by then...for the first time this week! ahhhh. (keep in mind I read for at least 30mins after going to bed, so my sleep has been lacking these last few days, and so has my motivation to go for morning runs. I must get out of this rut soon...ahhhhhhhhhh).

Love to all,
~A sleep deprived, Jess

Monday, July 13, 2009

NOT me.....Moday.

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I did NOT want to use a do-over this morning, since I did NOT turn off my 6am running alarm and certainly did NOT fall back asleep until 8:15 -and I was NOT trying to leave the house at 8:30am today, instead of my normal 8:45am, since I did NOT have an early tech meeting. So, I have NOT been sitting at my desk all day, with hairy legs and am NOT sporting a greasy ponytail.

I did NOT have to throw out my breakfast of muesli (after picking off the cherries first of course) which I toted to work since I literally did not have time to eat at my house, because I did NOT just try to make it on a whim without looking up directions and did NOT use both Vanilla Almond Breeze and Greek yogurt overnight which did NOT end up tasting and smelling a bit like baby vomit. Bletch.

I have NOT be neglecting the files I need to organize and have NOT been using the excuse that I'm waiting on the paper I requested from the library last week to come in to finish my data analysis. And I certainly have NOT been reading blogs all, day, long. NOT me! In the same line of thought I have NOT been looking at the clock every 5 mins longing for my double dose of yoga tonight; I did NOT consider putting my head down and taking a nap at my desk (I really did consider it, but no, I didn't do this).

Lastly I did not let my co-workers 1 year baby play "author" on my computer (which is the most expensive computer in our department) in which he did NOT break the "x" key. Whoops. It was pretty damn cute though, I mean, NOT NOT at all!

Hope everyone else is having a great Monday!
Love to all,
~A NOT so sunny, funny girl-Jess

PS. I am NOT snacking on Tomato and Tabasco flavored kettle chips because I think the flavor the Cliff bar in my snack drawer is yuck.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend Wonders......

Hi Loves,
I hope everyone has been having a great weekend. Mine has been, without a doubt. I've had the perfect mix of some down time and a really LATE wake-up call yesterday morning (nice!), a deep cleaning of my condo (hopefully the last one I'll have to do before I move on Aug 7!) some nice sweaty workouts (thanks JM!) and a decent run with the pupster, wine time with my bestie, Jenna, a fun blogger lunch-Indian Style, and now some classic bonding time with my boy, Harry P! Alrighty, have a great week......ttyl!

Haha, jk, you think I would leave you guys with a silly little summary like that? Ok, ok, you are right, I've done it before. But I actually took some pictures this weekend, so here it goes!

First of some yummy munchies from Friday night and Saturday.
Friday was my "fast food night." I usually get cravings for fast food by the end the week, but I've found a combo that satisfies that craving, and isn't quite as unhealthy.Enter a fish stick sandwich with cheese and japs on a Publix French Hamburger bun (I know they aren't whole grain, but I LOVE these rolls!) with a side of decimated baked potato. Yum o!

Saturday morning brought the last "repurposing" of the Chicken Apple Sausage. A yummy scramble with chopped sausage, onion and pepper with one egg and one egg white. No need for cheese in this baby...but I smother it in hot sauce and a drizzle of ketchup...some habits die hard! hehe.I later munched on a snack of a under-ripe apricot with Abu-the fantastic creation of a certain Curly Top which is a mixture of almond butter with almond milk. It was so yummy, I also toasted a whole grain tortilla and dipped it in the Abu too :D
Saturday evening had me rolling my way towards O-town-through some nasty rain on I4 none the less for a fun girls night out in Winter Park. Jenna, myself and a few other lovely ladies headed to one of my favorite spots: The Wine Room. I'm finally back on my red streak (after a few not so good nights with the lovely red vintages in the last year) and enjoyed a few tasting sized pours in addition to several glasses of my favorites, one being "the sweet blood of Judas" and then finishing out the night with a sweet dessert red, that had a wonderful brandy essence to it, called Desiree. These lovelies were also ordered and consumed by all with great delight.
Sorry the picture is such a soddy quality, using no flash you couldn't even tell that was a platter of decedent cheeses! The back is a goat cheese that was marinated in sun dried tomatoes and olive oil, with 2 different bleu cheese in the front. So wonderful creamy and pungent and when you add a drizzle of honey, oh my word...I was in heaven.

Today was very excited, as I got to meet up with some of my favorite bloggers at Woodlands Indian Restaurant, which was also an adventure since I've not had that great of an experience with Indian food before...I've determined now that what I had just wasn't great quality curry, because today's lunch was so good! I got to gab with these lovely ladies, which included meeting basically all of them for the first time.

Caitlin, Amanda, Megan, Me, Gloria, Lindsey, Meghann, Kelly, Ashley and Ryan

While gabbing about food, exercise, thrifty shopping and all the other things we fabulous ladies have in common I noshed on a chickpea dish called chana masala that came with rice plus mango chutney and a thin yogurt sauce. I had this portion times too and then gladly finished my leftovers for dinner tonight. I'm wondering if this would be a easy meal to make at home...I'll have to browse some recipes, but that will have to be for another night, since this post is taking me much longer than I expected! oy! Gloria made a batch of Super Charge Me cookies, which was another first for me, getting to sample vegan baking...I saved the lovingly made bake good for my ride back to St. Pete, and since I don't condone blog photo shooting while driving, well, this is all I have to show for myself:
Obviously I didn't like it. haha. I'm not much of a baker, kids, but this cookie was so great that I might have to try and whip up a batch myself...that or find a reason to go visit Miss Gloria in SoFLA, ASAP! haha.

Phew...that was a lot of eating this weekend. I have a lot more to tell you guys, but I'll save it for later, because my bed is calling me, Run planned for the morning, yay.

Love to all,
~A rested and refreshed, Jess

Friday, July 10, 2009

Overdue Reviews!

Hi Kids!
So, I've been teasing you guys for weeks about doing a couple reviews: one on "Pilate's Wife" and another on some of the LUSH products I got samples of. Sorry that I ended up putting these reviews on the shelf, but in case you haven't notice I've been a little busy dumping my life upside down.....which seems to have become a yearly ritual come July, hoping that stops this year! haha. We will leave the real world outside tonight and jump in with a review of a wonderful book by Antoinette May.This is the second book I've read in the past year that tells the story of Jesus from a female's point of view and while it was very different from "The Secret Magdalene" by Li Longfellow, they did have quite a few overlapping concepts. Both have young, strong willed women as the narrator which is always a hit in my book, since I feel that girls (and women!) can always use a positive, strong female influence in their lives, even if it's a fictional character. What I loved even more about both of these books was they portrayed Jesus as a light hearted, attractive but determined young man. I have often felt that other portrayals, including those in the Gospels have shown him to be reserved and aloof, so both of these books have a wonderful image of a lovable, jovial man, which is the kind of lord I would want, right? Anyways, back to the book review: "Pilate's Wife" skillful weaves the world of Egyptian gods with a world of Roman tyranny and how Pontious Pilate came to be the man to hand down the death sentence to the Son of God. I don't want to give the story away, but trust me it is a wonderful mix of adventure, romance, heartbreak and the fight to do what is right. I'm not a lit major, so I have a hard time really giving a good review, but trust me I know a good book, and this one is superb. Please go read it.

Now on the the skin care. I was recently in the International Plaza, killing time before dinner with some friends when I wandered into a little shop called LUSH. To my delight I discovered that I had just walked into a earth friendly skin Nirvana. Or so I thought. All of LUSH's products are handmade and most are vegan friendly. I had been looking for some skin care products that are more natural and another source of handmade soap, since the goat's milk soap I currently have leaves you smelling-well like a goat. :( Lush has pretty much every thing a earth friendly gal would need-bar soaps by weight, butter bars, solid shampoos, bath frizzy things (I'm not a bath girl...but for those of you that are, you might enjoy their "bath bombs") lotions, potions, etc. The clerk spent a long time with me explaining products, looking at my combo face, and then sent me home with 2 samples of face cleanser- both Angels on Bare Skin and the Dark Angels, which is better for oil skin (oh, oh...pick me!) and the Imperials Facial Moisturizer. I also purchased a 1/4lb of their MudFlats soap, because it has real mud in it and reminded me initially of when I used to play in the riverbank clay and how good that made my skin feel.
So, you may have noticed how I've said "initially" a few times in this review. Let's just say, while I've not given up on LUSH yet, I'm not a convert yet either. I've actually thrown the soap away. Once wet it had a very strong sent that reminded me of the boy's dorm bathrooms...not the fragrance I want lingering on any part of my body. I wish I had gotten the Porridge Soap but that is another con about LUSH, their products are a bit pricey, so I didn't get to go crazy in the shop and was SO thankful that the clerk gave some the face care samples. But I'm not a convert on them either. The facial cleansers are in a grit form (sorry, I don't know how else to describe it) so you wet your face and then get a pinch of the solid and then make a paste out of them and the finally wash your face. Also, the main ingredient of Dark Angels is charcoal, which makes a mess in the sink. They made my skin feel very soft and exfoliated, but again had a very strong, lingering smell. I haven't even been able to put the moisturizer on, because it smells so strong. So, overall I would say Lush is a great idea, and I might order a few more of their soaps, but I guess I'm still a drugstore products kind of girl!

Phew! Hope you guys enjoyed those reviews. I can get them off my "to do" list...which is pretty packed-with laundry, packing, a weekend jaunt to Orlando! (Yay, for blogger lunches!) and figuring out my housing situation come August. Big changes, big changes.

Enjoy your weekend, my beauts.
Love to all,
~A slightly freaked out, but still upbeat Jess

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Repurposing is't just.....

for furniture anymore!

Hello Loves! I hope everyone is having a great nearly Friday-day! As usual I've got quite a few themes and thoughts bouncing around the brain, so hang on tight.

First up, FOOD!
I just wanted to show how one pack of Chicken Sausages and a wilted peach can become several meals throughout the week. You already saw my "loaded dog" on Tuesday. Last night I butterflied (or cut in half...I just wanted to sound fancy!) and reheated another link of sausage with onions and peppers.

You may be wondering what that pile of lovely mush is on the side; well, I am so glad you asked. I had a cut up peach in my fridge that had started to turn on the counter, but was still quite bitter...I hate it when that happens! I hope once I watch Food, Inc. I will understand what they are doing to our produce...or maybe I just got a weirdo peach! Anywho, I caramelized these babies in a little pat of unsalted butter (yes, I cook with butter. And no, I do not plan on stopping, that or giving up my Dukes. I'm a southern girl, just with a healthier edge!) and then sprinkled a little organic brown sugar on the top-which melted like caramel. Oh heaven. Tastes like the pancakes I used to order from Cracker Barrel when I was a little girl.This morning I used them to top a Kashi Go Lean waffle and my last smear of WCW. Sigh. So good, but I'm bummed I'm out of my crack, I mean White Chocolate Wonderful PB. I'm going to wait til I move to get more though, just to reduce how much of my pantry I have to pack.
Ok, enough about food. Not that I couldn't go on and on...but I have some other things to tell ya'll about. Like that "ya'll"? Plan to see more coun-tra speak as I prepare to return to my hometown, which has more cows than people. I am very excited about my new teaching position, but I won't lie saying that I am going to miss St. Pete IMMENSELY. There is so much to do here, and even more in Tampa and so much I haven't had a chance to explore in the very lean year I lived here...but perhaps returning to this bay area will be back in my cards soon. I said "this" because I had a dream I was moving to San Fran with my ex last night. The city is temping, the ex not as much. haha.
But back on the missing St. Pete bit, I decided to splurge for a lunch out (or rather taken out and back to the lab) from my favorite Thai joint down here called Bankcok Thai. So amazing. I usually get the NamSod salad and Nep Jeep rolls, but they have a great lunch special that includes an entrée, steamed rice (now, I'm not a rice lover, guys BUT this rice is so good!) a tiny spring roll and house soup. Sadly I don't have a picture, but my Panang curry was off the hook! They put a lot more ginger in it than a traditional panang, but so tasty. Oh and the soup, a light bowl of veggie broth loaded with chopped garlic, sprouts, spring onions and what I think may have just been frozen mixed veggies. Hit the spot though...but whoops I said I was done talking about food!

I usually would be in yoga right now on a typical Thursday night, but it's pouring outside again and after driving home in the monsoon I'm just not feeling up fighting the flooded roads and overly cautious drivers. So, I busted out the 30 day shred and decided to tackle Level 2. I've not been doing it everyday, so frankly I'm not sure if I've done the whole 10 days at Level 1 but I was getting bored with it. Holy cow is Level 2 a challenge, but I really enjoyed it, even if I just did the "beginner" modifications today, I was panting and sweating up a storm. [Warning: those with an aversion to sweat should scroll down quickly]
Me! post Jillian. Granted, I wouldn't have wanted anyone taking a picture of me during the workout, but I don't mind showing a little post-shred glow! Can I fuss about Jillian for a minute though? does it bother anyone that for all her "warm up circles" she only goes in one direction? WTF mate? I switch 1/2 though, but I think it's wrong...but maybe that's all my years of dance and cheerleading speaking.
But now for any of you who we traumatized by my sweaty mug, here are a few shots of the gorgeous hunk I live with:How can you say no to a face like that? Well, I couldn't but for some reason all the landlords back home are. I want to start asking people when they tell me "no pets" "no large dogs" if they have dogs and would they be willing to live without them? No? Well, that's my theory loosen up people! It looks like the abarnment (that's what my parents and I have named the future upstairs barn apartment) is not only my cheapest opinion but possibly my ONLY option...oh well, it will be nice to be so close to my Mom (like, in the backyard close!) and all the money I will be saving will be AMAZING. Lord knows I need it! I just hope I can survive living in my old room for 6months while we build the abarnment, since it's just studs and plywood floors right now. Speaking of housing I'd best call my mum and see what today's developments are.

Enjoy your night, kiddos!
Love to all,
~A sweaty, but satisfied Jess

PS. Anyone have a good suggestion as to getting hummus out of a keyboard? Because I was NOT just eating hummus out of the tub after I ran out of pita chips and I certianly did NOT drop a whole glob of it on my function keys. Nope, NOT this spaz. :D