Thursday, January 31, 2013

Electric Wine Glasses Make Drinking Even More Fun.

It's day number two of my commitment to drink one glass of red wine every day. I was planning on going home and starting to scrub the filth out of my house so I didn't have to spend the entire weekend doing it, but along came a call from my friend Erika wanting to know if I would meet her for happy hour after work. Since I am a sucker for happy hour, and the place we went was right on my way home from work, I agreed. Normally I would have screwed up everything by going out to a restaurant where I don't seem to have control over my calorie consumption, but I was actually good today. The restaurant had the amount of calories in each dish listed on the menu so it was pretty easy to keep track. We opted to share the Thai shrimp lettuce wraps (420 calories divided by two) and a small deep dish pizza with whole wheat crust (150 cals a slice). Of course I had my glass of wine, and even had a pint of berry flavored hard cider. When I got home (by 7pm, mind you) I logged my calories in MFP and saw that I went a mere 15 calories over my daily limit. That's easy enough to fix. I did my stretching video and burned another 243 calories. So technically I can go eat something else right now for 228 calories, but I'm not going to. I'm going to bed early. Nite!

No it's not really electric but it sure looked that way.

PS did you know a plate of nachos has something like 2300 calories? Yeesh.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm going to embrace the theory that one glass of red wine every day is good for your health.

Boy, have I been cranky lately. I'll admit it, it's hormonal, but it just happens to be coinciding with a couple of crappy days. I was especially crabby last night, but luckily a very good friend of mine put a glass of wine in my hand and once I drank it I felt so much better! It also might have had something to do with my hour long bitch fest I threw his way before the wine, but regardless I was all better afterward.

Fast forward to today. I was doing much better was actually a pleasant day. I went grocery shopping after work because I needed food for the dogs, so I figured I'd go to the place with the good produce and get some healthy food while I was there. I bought enough produce to feed a small army, but it all looked so good. I got enough for juicing, salads, eggplant parm, cabbage rolls and probably another meal or two. I came home, put it all away, ate dinner, and whipped up some apple crisp. Then I realized that something I've been working really hard for slipped farther out of my grasp. I won't get into what it is, exactly, but it annoyed me and rattled my already fragile and cranky mood.

I got to thinking about the glass of wine I had yesterday and how it made me feel so much better. Should I do the same thing today? I've read over and over again how one 4 oz glass of wine per day is supposed to be like a health food. That fits in perfectly with my new, healthy lifestyle! According to this article from Food and Wine, one glass a day will do all of this stuff!

Promotes Longevity

Reduces Heart-Attack Risk

Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Lowers Risk of Stroke

Cuts Risk of Cataracts

Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer

Slows Brain Decline

So as long as I stick to 4 oz, I'll be okay, right? That's more than enough because I can usually feel it go straight to my head after the first few sips. In fact, I have been sipping it while writing this and I already forgot what I was so cranky about. I think I'm going to like this plan.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Can't Type in My Sleep.

Sadly I don't have much to say today because I spent most of it sleeping. The drunken craft-a-thon on Friday really kind of wore me out. I did manage to eat well and do my stretching video which is something. Oh, and I found my new favorite breakfast. Sliced Hebrew National 97% fat free franks, which are only 45 calories each (!), sauteed with tri colored potatoes and onions, topped with two over easy eggs. At only about 500 calories with a slice of lightly buttered toast, you can't beat it! Purple potatoes are extra fun to eat. And these hot dogs....well, sodium and preservatives never tasted so good! I wish every meal could be breakfast.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cupcake Avoidance....Exercises in Willpower.

Needless to say, after last night's festivities, functioning properly today was a little bit of a challenge. I got up in enough time to show off my new Valentines at the event, but my overindulgence of alcohol and nasty Del Taco at 2 am left me feeling less than stellar. I couldn't even think about eating anything for awhile after I got up, but as I was on my way to show my goodies, I realized that I was ridiculously thirsty and thought a Sprite would be just the thing to make me feel better. So I swung by the McDonald's drive through and got one, and figured while I was there I'd get something to eat too. I opted for a double cheeseburger with no onions. No fries with that, either, I might add. The funny thing is that I didn't even like it. I used to love them, but this time for some reason it was just nasty. Maybe my taste in food is changing and I'm starting to like the healthier stuff more? Yeah right, it must have just been a bad burger...

I still managed to have a 700 calorie breakfast with the burger and the full sugar Sprite, and I'm now feeling gross and ashamed of myself. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A few lights actually. The first one is that later in the day, my friend Alexa and I walked past a homemade cupcake bakery that I had never seen before and she asked whether I wanted to go in for one. I actually declined! I couldn't believe it myself. I have yet to experience one of these delicious creations from ANY cupcake boutique, even though they have been around for years. So for me to come across my first opportunity to indulge and say no is nothing short of a small miracle!

Dinner time rolled around and I was thinking it would be nice to get take out from somewhere. I contemplated getting Chinese food, pizza, a sandwich from Whole Foods....but I talked myself into going home and eating some of the leftover healthy meal I had made the night before. Once I got home, though, I was overwhelmed again with the desire to have a pizza delivered and started looking at options online. I was about to make the call and then from out of nowhere came a sudden burst of willpower that I didn't even know I had. I got up, ate the healthy meal and forgot all about the pizza.

Sound too good to be true? It was. I had ice cream for dessert which combined with my McBreakfast put me way over my calorie allowance for the day. I did top it with fresh blackberries instead of hot fudge, so that's encouraging. Plus it is the weekend, and calories don't count on weekends. Right?

Painting, Zumba and Alcohol

I had plans to hang with my favorite Fresno friend Erika after work for Happy Hour, but earlier that day I remembered that I had a artsy crafty mixer to go to the next day where I had the opportunity to make some extra cash. I had the bright idea to make what I call 'Socially Awkward Valentines' at the last minute, so I bought all the supplies I needed to make them. The only problem was that I got off of work at 5 pm, the event was at 12 pm the following day, and I had happy hour and sleep scheduled in during this time as well. I wasn't sure how I was going to pull it all off, but I was determined. After enjoying a deep fried platter of deliciousness and a beer or two at happy hour, I invited Erika and another friend of ours to my house for an after happy hour cocktail. While I was waiting for them to show up, I strategically got out the supplies I needed for the Valentines and started painting. At first, it was just me painting while Erika was obsessing over her new iPhone. As time went on and our other friend arrived, we were all painting and having a blast. We had paint all over us, were drinking disgusting concoctions consisting cake flavored vodka mixed with Bud Light Limaritas (after the first one they start tasting kinda good), and even turned on the Wii to do some drunken Zumba for exercise. It was a great night! I stayed awake long after my guests left and finished up my projects so that I had plenty of items to sell at my event.

So, this whole experience may sound like it may have derailed my resolution, but believe it or not there were a few things I squeezed into this day that were actually good for me. I had a mere banana and a Greek yogurt for lunch, which freed up some calories for my deep fried dinner (which I, by the way, not only shared, but left a significant amount left on the plate). That strategy served me well until the second cake limarita, when my calorie count for the day started going off the charts...not to mention the taco and fries I ate at about 2 am.

I also made art that is always good for my spirit, spent some time with friends (also good for the spirit), and burned at least a few calories doing drunken Zumba. Grasping for straws? I don't think so!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Me? A Morning Person? Nah.

I'm so jealous of the people who get up at the crack of butt in the morning and get on with their day. I suck at waking up. Actually I'm okay at waking's the getting up part that I have a problem with. I absolutely hate it. No matter how early I go to sleep and how many hours I get, I still hate getting up the next morning just as much. I used to sleep until noon when I was a teenager and people would always tell me that I would eventually grow out of it when I got a job and had to be up early every morning. It never happened. I love sleep more than most things. Taking naps is my favorite extracurricular activity.

I've gone to the doctor to try and find out why I am so lazy, but nothing was ever determined. My thyroid levels are fine, vitamin levels are good...I buy First for Women magazine every time I see an article about what to do when you're always tired, then subsequently purchase stupid quantities of supplements or foods I'm supposed to be eating...but it never works (although the supplement companies are happy with me). So anyway, I pretty much have concluded that this is the way it's going to be and I'm going to have to live with it. It makes me sad, though, because there's so many other things I want to do in my free time and spending it sleeping makes me feel like a big, fat loser.

For some reason, this morning I woke up an hour earlier than usual and was wide awake. I couldn't believe it. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn't, then decided that I was going to get up, get ready and get to work early because it would be funny to freak everyone out. All my co-workers get to work at least an hour before me (except for my boss, who comes in around the same time I do which is why I can get away with it), and they are always making fun of me for coming in so late. They also make fun of me when they get to leave an hour or more earlier than I do every afternoon.

So I got up, did some little chores around the house and got to work about 40 minutes early. I got the reaction I was expecting from my coworkers and it was pretty amusing. I'd like to think that it has been the healthy eating and little bit of exercise I've been getting that is making me feel better, so I'm going to keep it up to see if I'm right.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Butt Monkeys and Marathons

Today I weighed myself and realized that by eating healthy and walking a little I was able to lose two of the four pounds I gained when I was in Vegas last weekend. You may have noticed that I didn't post anything for the 3 days I was there...that's because I am ashamed of what I did. I know they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and I'm hoping that is true for the eating habits I adopted while I was there. People were feeding me left and right. And the food was delicious. I should have just strapped one of those horse feeding bag things around my neck. But hopefully that is all behind me and I can go back to concentrating on my resolution. I will say, though, considering that I was in Vegas for work and I had very little free time, I managed to enjoy myself. I got to go to Serendipity 3 the first night we were there (that's where it all started to go downhill), I enjoyed sipping free Bloody Mary's while gambling at the bar (and by free I mean they ended up costing me about $80 with all the money I lost), and spent some quality time with my friend and co-worker Madi.

Now back to today. I was so excited to see that I was down 2 pounds that I resolved to try even harder. I came home and made dinner which consisted of boneless, skinless chicken breast, zucchini, whole wheat pasta, green beans and Provencal simmer sauce from my favorite store, Fresh & Easy. Here's the exciting part....while I was waiting for it to cook, I popped my Zumba Core DVD (which I had been using as a coaster until now) into the Wii and actually did some of it! I say some of it because I didn't do an entire workout. I wasn't in the mood to do anything but pushed myself to give it a shot. I did about 4 songs which is around 15-20 minutes. Not much, but I figure I am more likely to do 4 songs a day than a whole workout several times a week with the level of motivation I've been having lately. So I'll start small and build on it as I start feeling more energetic. I can tell I am having more energy just by eating better. If I keep it up and do my Zumba everyday, I'll be running marathons in no time. And monkeys might fly out of my butt.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Off to a Good Start...Now Don't Blow It.

I may actually be getting into a groove! I ate a healthy breakfast and lunch, logged all my calories into MyFitnessPal for both meals, and took a 15 minute power walk at lunch...all before 2 pm! I'd be happy with myself if that's all I did today that was good for me, but I know there will be more to come later. I know for a fact that dinner is going to be healthy because I am going to eat what was leftover from last night (chicken sausage, onions, peppers and potatoes). There's always the possibility that I will pop in my stretching DVD, but I say that everyday and it rarely happens (I even brought it to Las Vegas with me thinking I might do it in my room, but I was so busy eating, drinking and gambling in my free time that I never even gave it a second thought. Oh well, I'll just have to try harder next time). I may even fit in an art project or two, which is always therapeutic and therefore good for my soul. The possibilities are endless!

Monday, January 21, 2013

I'm Retiring From Being a Human Garbage Can.

According to my calculations, I gained about 4 pounds in the 3 days that I was in Las Vegas. That is disgusting, but I can't say I am surprised. I actually thought it would have been more. The sad thing is that it will probably take me 4 weeks to lose them! That is so not fair! I just added an extra month to my diet and exercise program because of a measly 3 days of making bad choices. Why can't it ever be the other way around? Why can't I eat like that for a month and lose it in only 3 days? This sucks!

Considering there's not much I can do about it, I made sure to bring healthy food with me to work for the week. I brought my leftover soup, Greek yogurt, apples and oranges. I know I pledged to eat nothing but air sandwiches for the next week, but I got hungry.

I was craving sausage and peppers for dinner so I stopped at Fresh and Easy to get some groceries. I love Fresh and Easy. They have great food (tons of healthy and easy to prepare choices) and great prices. They even issue a coupon every few weeks which is even more enticing. I like going here because it's a smaller store and it doesn't take all day like it would if I went to a real supermarket. Plus they have the best hummus in the whole entire world. Unfortunately, their parent company, the UK's Tesco, is probably going to shut them down because they aren't as profitable as they had hoped. I will cry if that happens.

I settled on some mild chicken sausage, bought a container of already chopped up onions and peppers, a package of mushrooms and some little tiny tri colored potatoes, then sauteed them in olive oil. It was really good! I even have enough for 1 or 2 more meals.

After entering all of my caloric intake into MyFitnessPal for the day, I was only at 1266 which is pretty damn good if I do say so myself. I was also still hungry and was craving something sweet. Real shocking, I know. After carefully pondering what I should eat to solve this problem (normally I would do something like eat a plethora of marshmallows or enough chocolate chips and almonds to double the amount of calories I had already eaten), I opted for a bowl of Rice Krispies with organic chocolate soy milk and some fresh blueberries. It totally hit the spot and I was still under my calories for the day. Who needs marshmallows when you have chocolate soy milk? Not me!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Detoxing With Butter and Sugar

For reasons that I still don't completely understand, I was booked on a 7:30 am flight to Fresno this morning which means I had to be up at 4:45 to get to the airport in time. Las Vegas airport is not user friendly and my co-worker and I wanted to make sure we got there in plenty of time so we could get out of there. Even though I went to sleep at about 9:30 pm the night before, I woke up still in a food and bloody mary induced fog. The thought of eating anything ever again wasn't the slightest bit appealing, but a nice cold green tea Frappucino from Starbucks seemed like the perfect thing to drink to help soothe my extremely pissed off digestive system. I love those things. They taste just like green tea ice cream, you know the kind you get at a sushi restaurant. So I got one.

I passed out on the plane and by the time I got home and woke up from my 3 hour nap I was hungry again.I opted for a couple pieces of toast. Cracked wheat sourdough toast. With real butter. What? I don't want to completely shock my body! I have to wean myself off the crap slowly.

Later I decided to go through my fridge and kitchen cabinets and cook up a big pot of soup. The ingredients consisted of rotisserie chicken, refried beans, cheddar cheese soup, chicken broth, salsa, corn, lemon juice and spinach. It was actually pretty good! I love making these kinds of soups...I usually throw in any meat in the freezer that is on the verge of getting freezer burn, any vegetables in the fridge that are about to decompose, and whatever cans of stuff and spices I can find in the cabinet that might make it all taste better. Some are more successful than others. This one was a winner. I ate it with a sprinkle of cheese on top and some tortilla chips. I made enough for three more lunches this week, some to freeze to eat at a later time, and to give the dogs a ladle full each on their dinner.

Let the detox begin!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Baby Steps and Chocolate.

Today, after eating my rather large half sandwich for lunch, I sat at my desk trying to overcome the overwhelming desire for potato chips and chocolate. I would have settled for anything sweet and/or salty and/or crunchy. I couldn't stop thinking about carbs, which really bothered me because the reason why my half sandwich was rather large was because it was on this super thick, rosemary infused, super fluffy and delicious bread. Give me some of that and a tub of butter and I could eat it all day, every day for the rest of my life (just kidding. Please don't because I really will). Then I remembered reading something a while back about how you should go for a walk when you're craving something unhealthy and by the time you get back the craving will have subsided. Being that it's a nice, cool, sunny day here in Fresno, I really didn't have any excuses not to give this theory a try.

Although I didn't time myself, I think I walked for about 20 minutes. Not great, but not bad considering it was on my lunch break at work where I usually do absolutely nothing but eat lunch. I didn't speed walk, but I walked fast enough to elevate my heart rate slightly, become a tiny bit short of breath, and to create a cramp in my calf that felt like it was being stabbed with a knife. It's all good though because if there's no pain, there's no gain, right? Although I'm not trying to gain, I'm trying to lose. I'm hoping it helps with that, too.

As an added bonus, they say that it's good for you to get a small amount of sun everyday sans sunblock because it's supposed to fight depression and increase vitamin D levels (which, according to my doctor I have unbelievably low levels of). Unfortunately, I haven't been out in the sun in what seems like months. The warmth did feel good on my face. I may even do it again tomorrow.

After my walk I came back to my desk and ate an apple. I can live with that choice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Relax and Become a Pretzel.

A few years ago, I signed up to take a class called Stretching and Relaxation at the local community college. Twice a week we went in, laid on a mat on the floor and twisted ourselves into unusual positions. It was great. It was very relaxing because we never really got up off the floor, and let's face it....stretching feels wonderful.

In a quest to duplicate that feeling in my own home, especially since I live 500 miles away from the college now and taking it again isn't an option, I bought 3 stretching DVDs off of The first one is disturbing because it's a guy who is wearing not nearly enough clothes to cover up his hairy self, and most of the video is another guy flapping his gums about back pain. I'm pretty sure I am going to return that one.

The next one is okay, but the lady doing the exercises is very ambitious and it is anything but relaxing. Maybe I have to work my way up to it, so I'll probably hang on to it to use at a later date.

The last one is exactly what I was looking for! I have had back spasms for a really long time and considering everything I do involves me being able to hunch over and slouch (sit at a computer at work, look down to paint and draw at home....) I need something that is going to make it feel better. This video is perfect. Within the first 5 minutes of it my back already feels good, and by the end of the hour I am standing up straight and walking tall. The video has 4 different for the back, one for the hips and legs, one for neck and shoulders, and one for more difficult poses. So not only does it help my back, it helps the rest of my body too!

Today, I locked the dogs out of the spare bedroom, lit a scented candle and put on a dim light while I did the video. According to My Fitness Pal, I burned 265 calories while I was doing it, too. Not too shabby!

Deep Stretch/ Yin Yoga with Mimi Solaire

Monday, January 14, 2013

Who Does This Cart Belong To?


So, after eating my way through Phoenix, I was feeling a little disgusting. I made a pit stop at the grocery store on my way home and loaded up on fresh fruits and veggies, a rotisserie chicken, cottage cheese and low calorie Greek yogurt. I was determined to eat nothing but salads and drink juice for at least a few days to compensate for the eat fest I had just embarked on.

I even talked myself out of buying beverages at the store. I could have gotten seltzer, diet soda or low calorie iced tea but decided to make a big pitcher of essence water instead using filtered water from the Brita, a few orange slices and a sprig or two of fresh mint. 'Twas quite tasty!

 My intent was good, but when I got home it was really cold in my house! You can't eat salad when it's freezing! So I opted for a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup. At least the healthy food will be there tomorrow....

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Deep Fried Alligator and Rock Smuggling

During my trip to Phoenix, I was lucky enough to sneak away from my work obligations for a road trip to the Gem and Mineral Show in Quartzsite, AZ with my friend Jane. If you have not heard of this event (which I'm sure you haven't), basically everyone in the free world loads bunches of beads, rocks, and other various into their RV, heads to Quartzsite and spends about 4 months peddling their goods out of a big tent. It's fabulous. And it wreaked havoc on my resolution!

We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and each got a sandwich and a donut. After eating them I said, 'Why didn't we get a dozen donuts? One just ain't cutting it'. Keep in mind that I love DD and there aren't any in Fresno so I have to get my fill on trips such as these. Her reply was 'I don't know, why didn't we?' We drove for a little while longer and the freeway sign said we were about to pass another one. What did we do? We stopped at that one and got another dozen.

We had the best intentions of eating every last one by the time we got to our destination, but thankfully after we each had one more we started feeling slightly ill and couldn't eat any more. That freed us up to walk around the dusty desert hunting for beads that cost next to nothing.

I found plenty, and when you add up a lot of beads that cost next to nothing, they end up costing quite a bit. I bought about 20-30 pounds of them and hauled them around the event for a couple of hours, which I'm sure helped to develop the buff biceps I've been wanting.

Soon, our donuts were digested and were getting hungry for lunch. Choices are limited at the Quartzsite Gem and Mineral Show and pretty much anything you find that is edible is deep fried fair food.

Hmm, what shall I choose?

Certainly not these....

Sadly, these sounded fantastic and it is what I chose. I gigantic brick of curly fries drenched in cheese sauce. After adding some salt and ketchup, they were perfect!

As you can imagine, I didn't feel great about my food choices that day but it sure was fun! Although the day was horrible for my body, it was great for my spirit. Getting to hang out with my good pal Jane after not seeing her since August, and spending the day shopping for and making art...well it just doesn't get much better than that.

PS I had to take my beads on the plane with my carry on because my suitcase would have greatly exceeded the 50 pound limit if I put them in there. I was a little nervous about going through security with 30 pounds of beads in my bag but they went through just fine. Who knew!?!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Epic Fail, Unless Sleeping Counts

Today I can't think of anything I intentionally did that was good for me, but I think it happened by accident. I was exhausted after working today and couldn't wait to get back to the hotel to take a nap. My plan was to sleep from 7:30 until about 9:30 or so, then get up and do something. That never happened. I woke up at around 9 with the TV and the lights blaring and I tried to stay awake, but just couldn't. I was so tired. So I turned the lights and TV off and went to sleep for good. And it was glorious. A king size bed, nice fluffy pillows, no dogs with their butts in my face or trying to push me onto the floor...I guess I needed it. The lack of sleep and overabundance of beer from the night before caught up with me. Oh well...tomorrow's another day.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Freaky Horoscope...

More often than not, the horoscope that comes to me every day is freakishly accurate. I just read mine for today, January 10th, 2013. Talk about sums up the whole point of this blog! Guess I'd better stick with it.

There will be many things for you to focus on in the coming year, Aquarius - but none will be more important than your health. And not just your physical health, but also your mental, emotional, and spiritual health. This is not to imply that there is something to worry about; that's not the purpose of this message. But if you place a loving and self-nurturing focus on improving and caring for all areas of your well-being, every wonderful thing that happens to you this year will be so much better. Take care of yourself.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Get Healthy With Chocolate Covered Strawberries? Sign me up!

I came across this great article today about 20 simple ways to improve your health. Although they are minor changes, apparently they can add up to big results. I was thrilled to see that playing the drums was #1 on the list, considering I've always wanted to do that. I think I'd be pretty good at it, plus I always imagined that it would be extremely stress relieving. This just confirms it. Now I have to get me a drumset and an extra noise insulated room added on to the house so that my neighbors don't evict me from the neighborhood.

The other thing on the list that I always wanted to do was become a morning person. I am queen of the snooze button and can sleep until noon every day if I was able to. And I get 8 hours of sleep every night! I have the best intentions to get up early and face the day, but when the alarm goes off I want to throw it out the window. One of these days I need to buckle down and try it. But I highly doubt it will be anytime real soon.

Today I am choosing 2 things from this list to do....actually it's really only one thing but it covers two of the ways at the same time. I will be waving off the unrealistic goal of avoiding sweets at every turn while I am taking care of my skin by eating dark chocolate covered strawberries! This is something I can do every day without even trying. I'm going to have the nicest skin in the whole wide world!

Oh, and I also opted for this delicious and satisfying lunch instead of heading to roach coach for a chicken burrito. Yes, that was intended to be sarcastic, but in reality these things aren't that bad. I like the mint and lemon ones the best.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blog, Resurrected.

Today I announced to the world (or at least to the people who read my other blog, The Peculiar Palette) that I will be completing a new 52 piece art project this year. Not only will making more art be good for my spirit, it will also be good for my body since if I'm keeping my hands busy they won't be able to stuff my face with junk food. Plus, ever since I started working again full time I have been slacking off on posting to The Peculiar Palette, so this project will motivate me to post at least once a week and get it back up and running. Here's my first post of the year, and a sample of what you can expect to see if you become a regular reader (which I hope you do):

Ceramic Painting + Art Journaling = Bliss!

As you probably already have figured out, I am obsessed with anything and everything art related. I am an artist, but when people ask me what kind of artist I am I have a hard time answering. I am a painter, a scupltor, a potter, a ceramicist, a woodworker, a maker of mosaics, a furniture refinisher, an art journalist, a polymer clay artist, an interior decorator, an art quilter, a jewelry maker, a Zentangler....I'm sure I forgot to mention at least a few things. But, what I love to do the most is to combine any and every one of the above art forms into something new and different.

I love 'being into' so many different things because I never get bored or run out of ideas for projects. And it seems like I come across something new that I want to try on a daily basis. For instance, a year ago I had never really worked with low fire ceramics or painting with commercial glazes on bisque. Since I got my job at iLoveToCreate®, though, this is a huge part of what I do. My head is exploding with design ideas and product combinations I want to try at any given moment. Any unpainted bisque pieces I come across at work don't stand a chance against me and my paint brush. In fact, my boss has to calm me down quite regularly and remind me that my job here is to be a ceramic product salesperson, not a painter (although to my delight he has been letting me work on some non-sales related creative projects with my new BFF in Fresno, David Hoff, Duncan® product expert and ceramic painter extraordinaire. I may even be travelling around the country to teach!). But I just love it. And I'm hoping that my excitement about all of this ceramic painting will inspire other people to want to try it, which will in turn increase sales....therefore I really am doing my job! But I digress....

The other art form that I have been obsessing over is art journaling. I have always been an admirer, but I have a hard time keeping up with it. I'll do a few pages and misplace my journal. I'll find it a year later and do a few more pages then forget about it. But that all changed during a recent trip to NJ for a work trip. I got stranded in the Chicago airport for several hours and went to the bookstore to kill some time. I happened to come across a Moleskine blank journal with watercolor paper pages in it, which was great because I had just recently bought a pack of Peerless Watercolors which I happened to have with me. I bought it, headed to the bar for a glass of wine, and journaled for hours until my flight finally left. I went from being miserable about being stranded at the airport to as content as could be, doodling all my cares away.

I am so glad I found this journal. I travel quite a bit for work which means I spend a lot of time in airports. I always bring my watercolors, journal, Micron markers and a aqua brush pen with me and pass the time making art. It's pretty fantastic. that the new year has rolled around, I decided to give myself a little bit of a challenge. Since painting ceramics and art journaling are my new favorite things to do, I am going to start combining the two. I'm going to make a series of 52 plates, one for each week in 2013, as a way to document what happens in my life this year. Of course I will share each one on my blog for you to see. I'm really excited about this project and can't wait to get started on the second one!
Here is my debut piece which states my New Year's resolution for 2013...'I resolve to do one thing every day that is good for either my body, mind, or spirit'. It will hang in a prominent place in my house so I am constantly reminded of it. Now I should have no excuses not to keep this resolution instead of abandoning it in the first week like I did all of the others I've ever made. It has been 8 days and I've stuck to it, so things are looking good!


This project was made with a Duncan® OhFour® Bisque plate, Cover Coats®, French Dimensions™ and Pure Brilliance®.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I Should Have Served Cheese with that Whine.

Wow, apparently I was in a funk yesterday when I wrote that post. The good news is that after it posted, I cranked up some happy tunes, grabbed my paint roller and painted the hallway while dancing around, causing three dogs to stare at me as if I had lost my mind. That's okay though, it's not the first time they've looked at me like that. Not only did I finish the entire hallway, I also put 3 coats of primer on the hutch I am refinishing and prepped my mosaic for grouting, which I will be doing today. It's amazing what a little music can do. I didn't play my Zumba game, but between the dancing, moving furniture, paint rolling and all the other things I did, I broke a decent sweat and my thigh muscles are burning today. That's a very good feeling.

An even better feeling, though, is being able to cross the hallway off of my to do list. Now I can hang all of the pictures that have been leaning up against random walls and stuffed in closets for the last 8 months since I moved in, and eliminate the stress I feel every time I have to step over them. Score!

PS... Today is this blog's one week anniversary and I posted ever day as promised. This is the first New Year's resolution I ever made that lasted this long. Yay!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Crazy Lazy

Today is a cold and rainy day. I don't know if that's why I feel the way I do or if it's something else. I woke up with my back and head all achy and the four Advil I took don't seem to be doing anything for me. I'm attempting to be productive but I sit back down every 5 minutes or so to check Facebook (which actually is nothing new but it seems worse today). I ate a healthy breakfast consisting of 2 eggs, spinach, reduced fat crumbled sausage and wheat sourdough toast. I even made enough to bring tomorrow to work. I showered, started prepping a piece of furniture I am planning on refinishing, and made a big glass of apple, pluot, kale and ginger root juice. But I'm having a hard time motivating myself to do anything else.

These kinds of days bug me. I spend all week thinking about things I want to make and projects I want to start (and hopefully eventually finish), but when the weekend finally comes I mess around and procrastinate by doing other things that are much less meaningful. People say it's because my body is telling me I need a break, but I don't buy it. It's not like I'm lacking in the sleep department. I get 8 hours, if not more every night. My job isn't exactly overly strenuous. I sit at my computer all day and once in a while I paint something. I really think it has to do with the fact that I haven't been exercising.

Exercising is a catch 22. They say the more you exercise, the more energy you'll have, but you need energy to start exercising in the first place! I wish I could get artificial energy from coffee or 5 Hour Energy Shots, but they have little to no effect on me. I could drink a pot of coffee at 11 pm and fall right to sleep. I get so jealous of these people who wake up at the crack of dawn and go non-stop the entire day. Just once I'd like to experience that. I have to hit snooze 12 times before I actually get up in the morning, which actually adds stress to my day right off the bat because I'm always afraid that I'm going to turn off the alarm by mistake and oversleep. I look forward to weekends mostly just so I can sleep in for two days. It's pretty pathetic.

Maybe I set too many goals for myself. This weekend I had planned on finishing my mosaic project, painting the hallway in my house and starting to refinish that piece of furniture. While I worked on some of it, I am far from finished with any of it. Plus now the house looks like a bomb went off in it. The solution is easy enough. I need to step away from the computer and just start going at it. But that's easier said than done, for me, anyway.

My goal for today is to get some exercise before the day is over. Not only will that be good for my body, it will also be good for my spirit because I'll be so glad I did it. I'm leaning towards putting in the Wii Zumba game I've been using as a coaster since it came in the mail before Christmas. I should be able to handle it....put one foot in front of the other until I reach the Wii, pop in the disc and turn it on. I know once it starts playing it will be fun, so the only really difficult part is making it play. I'd like to think I can handle it, though. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bad Lighting and Healthy Food

Today has been a nice, relaxing Saturday. I slept in then took a nap, caught up with my cousin on the phone, took the dogs for a ride to Harbor Freight for some painting supplies, and worked on my latest mosaic project. All of this activity has made me work up an appetite, so I decided to make a healthy dinner of baked cod with broccoli, carrots and sauteed mushrooms on the side.

Although my intentions were good, my cooking skills...not so much. The veggies came out great. I didn't even have to smother them in butter. But I really don't know what in the begeezus I did to the fish. All I did was brush a little olive oil on it and season it with a little sea salt and pepper and broil it for about 15 minutes. Apparently that is the perfect recipe for rubberized fish.

I can't remember ever having cod before that wasn't chopped up and turned into a fish stick, so for all I know this is the way it's supposed to be. If that's the case, I can guarantee I will never be having it again! I was hoping it would be nice and flaky and delicious, not hard, chewy and tasteless. I'm thinking that I probably cooked it too long but fish kind of freaks me out so I wanted to make sure it was nice and done (although I love sushi... go figure). I think next time I will try a sauce or something to cook it in because the way I made it plus an additional squirt of lemon juice just didn't cut it.

Oh well, I tried. I still did my one thing today that was good for me by choosing to eat healthy. And the good (meaning bad) news is that I have leftovers for tomorrow. Yippee! Can't wait!

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Pal, Fitness.

There is this amazing website called My Fitness Pal that you can join for free and keep track of your diet and exercise. You take a short assessment and tell them your weight loss goal, then they calculate how many calories you should be eating per day to attain that goal. They have a huge database of foods including restaurant dishes so you can keep track of every single little thing you eat. You can log your exercise too and it will keep track of how many calories you burn. It's a really great tool. They even have a smartphone app so there should be no excuses as to why you didn't log something.  I have been a member of this website for years, but my use has been intermittent at best. I do pretty well for a week or two, then have a day where I consume everything in sight and I don't want to see the total calories I ate that day. Then I'll do the same thing the next day, and the get the picture.

So today I decided I would start tracking my progress again. I logged into my MyFitnessPal page and it remembered even greeted me by telling me how long it has been since I logged in and that I might need some encouragement. It also told me that I should make some friends on the website because people who partner up with others tend to stay on track better and lose more. I don't think I'm ready to share every detail about my weight and what I am eating with other people, though. It would seem too much like a competition and if I'm not in the lead I'll probably start starving myself or fudging the truth about the progress I'm making. That seems counterproductive to me. I'm just going to start small...if I just remember to log everything for a week straight I'll be happy.

I have yet to finish logging for today. I did great until lunch time, but when I got home I was so hungry that I started picking at everything in my fridge and now I have to try to remember it all. I'm hoping it is so difficult to remember everything that I'll make sure to eat fewer things tomorrow so I don't have to spend so much time doing this. If it's not easy I'm probably not going to do it, so I have to make sure it's easy.

I'm off to see how many extra calories I consumed today. Until tomorrow....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Something's Fishy....

By now I'm sure that everyone is familiar with the multitude of benefits you get by taking fish oil supplements. Talk about a miracle pill! By taking one or two gigantic horse pills full of the stuff per day, I can ward off cancer, depression, the effects of aging, arthritis, heart disease, inflammation, AND improve my eye sight (check out the complete list here). The only problem is that I can never remember to take them.

I started off by taking them in the morning. I'm better at taking pills in the morning because I just make it part of my routine. Then one day, a few hours after I took them I drank something carbonated and started burping up fish. It was so totally, disgustingly gross. It was like I ate a couple of cans of the nastiest seafood flavor of Fancy Feast you can buy. Obviously this was not going to work. I even tried the odorless ones and they are far from odorless.

Then I got the bright idea to take them before bed. It was genius! They are completely digested by the time I wake up and I don't have to deal with any of the unpleasant side effects. The only issue I had with this idea was remembering to take them so I hardly ever did. I'm not going to fight off any diseases that way!

Today I made it a point to move the bottle of pills AND a bottle of water to a convenient place on the night stand next to my bed. That way there's no way I'll forget since they will be right in my face. I'm even going to start giving them to my dogs, since back in the day my vet recommended giving them to Dora to help with her bad hip joints. Which I did for a while, but eventually forgot about that too.

I'm really hoping that one of the benefits turns out to be improved memory. Apparently I can use it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Three Days...So Proud of Myself.

How sad....I posted three times about my progress then stopped. I should be ashamed of myself. It's not that I haven't been trying to do things every day that are either good for my mind, body and/or spirit, but it has been hit or miss and I certainly haven't been blogging about it. Today I am going to change that. It's a new year and time for a new start. I've already resolved to make this happen so I won't call it a New Year's resolution, but I will resolve to blog about it more often so I (and you, hopefully) can keep myself accountable.

I bought myself a juicer for Christmas. I actually got it about a week before Christmas and have been using it quite regularly ever since then. Well, until my friend and her husband came to town from Phoenix, who are currently staying in their RV that is parked in my back yard. It has been great having them here, and since I have company to go out with and cook for I have been eating like a fiend since they arrived. Plus she shares my passion for sugar, so when we go out to eat we don't even try to skip over the dessert. I've had deep fried ice cream, cheesecake from the Factory itself, and German chocolate cake all in the last 3 days. And it was delicious. But now it has to stop.

This morning I got up a few minutes early to make sure I had time to make juice, figuring that would be a good way to get back on the bandwagon. I juiced my regular orange, apple, carrots and kale leaves and decided to add a little bit of ginger root. I hear it's good for you, so figured I'd give it a shot. I sliced off a little nub and threw it in there, wondering if that was going to be enough to even notice it was in there. I took a sip and holy crap. My throat was on fire! Who knew that a few measly drops of ginger juice could be so potent? It was crazy. I started getting used to it and managed to drink the whole thing, but next time I'll definitely be using about half that amount. Which means a small piece of ginger root will last me about a month. At least it's cost effective.

The day got off to a relatively good start. I'm hoping to go home and do one of my new stretching videos that are supposed to help me get my back *back* into shape.  Tune in tomorrow and see if I was successful! I hope you can stand the suspense.

Until tomorrow!