Gym Talk

Y’know how I’ve been posting a lot about working out since I started going to the gym back in March? I’ve been pretty good/diligent so far about going regularly. (Even if, by “regular”, I mean twice weekly – thrice if I’ve been good.) All this exercise has had a marked impact on not only my physical appearance (I’ve been regularly getting comments about how I lost weight – which is another post for another time) but also my health, in particular my digestion issues. Last month, I even signed up to work out with a personal trainer once a week. It’s been lovely and I’m so glad that I’ve made exercise a part of my life.

But a couple weeks ago, I got into a car accident and while everything is currently being sorted out through the insurance company, I’ve completely fallen off my gym routine. Aside from my once a week sessions with my personal trainer, I actually haven’t hit the gym at all. Yes, of course there’s lots of paperwork to sort out and lots of questions about what to do about the car and money and all those things to keep me from the gym.

In reality though, I know the real reason I haven’t been working out is that I’m sad. When I’m finally done work, I just want to crawl into bed and sleep and/or cry. The last thing I’ve wanted to do is hit the treadmill or bust my ass stair climber. It doesn’t logically add up because I know that if I’m feeling sad and stressed out, then working a good sweat will actually make me feel better both physically and mentally. But I just haven’t been able to bring myself to go and I’ve been racked with guilt about it.

Today marks two weeks of not working out regularly. And inside, I know that if I put this off s’more, I’ll never head back to the gym and my damn membership will go to waste. So this morning I finally dragged myself down to my condo’s gym. Fifteen minutes on the elliptical (ugh, I seriously hate that machine) and 45 minutes strength training, I feel infinitely better! Of course I would; I knew that I would. But damn, I never realized how much of a mental game it all is. Even just putting on the workout gear to go. I always knew that half the battle is just getting down to the gym, but now I’d say that’s the biggest battle of the whole thing. I can do a lot of stuff, even if it hurts and my body is crying for me to rest (damn you burpees!) and I enjoy the challenge. But I hate hate hate the five minutes just before getting to the gym.

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Thanksgiving Live (ish) Blogging

6:45am: Wake up early because you didn’t prep anything the night before. Make some coffee.
7:00am: Begin making scalloped potatoes. Take out all ingredients needed for scalloped potatoes. Frantically look around kitchen for slow cooker. Double check cupboards, den, secret hiding places.
7:03am: Wake up husband to ask if he knows where slow cooker is. Husband is first panicked to be woken up, then visibly annoyed.
7:04am: Husband points to slow cooker hidden in deep recesses of cupboard beside sink. Husband goes back to bed muttering un-Thanksgiving appropriate curses under his breath.
7:05am: Actually begin making scalloped potatoes.

Scalloped Potatoes Recipe*

  • 9 medium potatoes, peeled & sliced very thin
  • 2.5 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups grated cheddar
  • 3 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2-1/2 cups milk
Grease slow cooker and spread about 1/3 of the potato slices in the bottom as evenly as possible. Sprinkle with about half of each of the flour, salt, pepper, and cheese. Cover this with another 1/3 of the potato slices, then sprinkle with the rest of the flour, salt, pepper, and cheese. Finally, cover with the rest of the potato slices, dot the top with butter & pour milk over everything. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Makes approx 8-10 servings

7:14am: Remember that there’s coffee in the pot! Pour a cup and relax, reading up on latest Kim Kardashian gossip. Realize that her dress ain’t all that bad. Check out Revolve Clothing to see if there’s anything similar to it for sale.
7:18am: Finish coffee and have to tear self away from computer to go back to scalloped potatoes.
8:15am: Turn on slow cooker and relax knowing that the most time-sensitive dish is cooking. Begin cleaning up kitchen.

Only 6 hours and 59 minutes more to go!

Only 6 hours and 59 minutes more to go!

8:22am: Fill up dishwasher, proud of how awesome the timing has been this morning. Suddenly realize that husband may not appreciate the noisy dishwasher sounds this early in the morning.
8:23am: Close bedroom door of your 1 bedroom & den 700 sq ft condo, hoping to drown out as much noise as possible.

8:30am: After washing the rest of not-dishwasher-safe stuff, settle down to computer and relax.
9:04am: Begrudgingly start on Chocolate Truffle Torte dessert.

Chocolate Truffle Torte*
Cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 5 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate melted and cooled
  • 1-1/2 cups whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

First, make the cake part. With al electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar on high speed until thick and light in colour, about 5 minutes.

Gradually add the flour, cornstarch, and cocoa powder. Pour into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan, and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool, run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen, and remove cake from the pan. Slice a thin layer from the top of the cake to flatten the surface. Chop the slice up into crumbs and set it aside. (Try not to eat it.) Put the rest of the cake back into the pan.

Spread the raspberry jam over the naked top of the cake layer in the pan. Pour the cold whipping cream into a large-ish bowl, and beat with al electric mixer until thick. Don’t keep beating it after it’s already whipped because you will end up with butter, which is very nice, but not what you want. Very carefully, fold the melted and cooled chocolate with the whipped cream, mixing gently but thoroughly. A few streaky parts are OK. Spread this over the raspberry layer. Sprinkle the crumbled cake bits over top of the chocolate whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours.

Just before serving, remove the sides of the springform pan and place the cake on a plate. You can sprinkle the top with icing sugar if you feel like it. But you don’t have to.

Makes 8 to 10 spectacular servings.

*Taken from Evelyn Raab’s Basic Cooking (see above for link)

9:05am: Looking up how to flour a cake pan. Thank God for google and wikiHow.

9:12am: Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric beater for 5 mins.
9:13am Realize exactly how long 5 minutes of holding an electric beater really is. Arm is getting sore.
9:14am: Still beating. Good God! Arm feels like it is going to fall off.
9:15am: Only 2 more mins to go. No longer have feeling in left arm.
9:16am: 1 more minute and have no resorted to holding beater with both hands.
9:17am: Done! Proceed with recipe.

9:25am: Put cake into oven and set timer. Sit back and relax while looking up best way to melt chocolate squares.

9:52am: Oven timer goes off waking you up from your cloudy state of mind. Where did the time go? Realize you’ve spent 27 mins clicking around on Facebook rather than being productive. So what else is new?

10:14am: Spread jam on to cake.
10:15am: Only manage to spread jam onto half the cake before jam runs out. Uses a different jam. Different flavour, different texture. Wonder if anyone will notice. Convince self that even if family members do notice, it is (practically) illegal for family members to point it out. Instead, family must smile and pretend it tastes good. Please see following instructional video.

10:30am: Finish making filling for torte. Feel like culinary master. Neglect to mention use of Cool Whip rather than real whipping cream on blog.

10:31am: ‘Fess up to Cool Whip on blog. Rationalize that Cool Whip is lactose free and therefore the smarter choice. Smooth out filling on torte.

10:40am: Plastic wrap torte and place in fridge. Reminder to self: remember to bring to Thanksgiving Dinner at Brother’s place tonight. Clean up.

10:52am: Relax because next dish should take approximately 30 mins to finish… maybe?

10:53am: Runs to check recipe for yams.

11:10am: Take off old chipped nail polish. Remind self to try out new Wicked nail polish from Sephora.

11:15am: Take shower.
11:17am: Lather shampoo. Remember that you haven’t exercised since Friday. Briefly consider going for quick run later.
11:18am: Decide that quick run is a sucky idea as who wants to shower again? Keep lathering shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.
11:21am: Finish shower and towel off. Feel pang of guilt about exercise. Lie to self about exercising tomorrow.

12:00pm: Husband offers to make lunch.

12:30pm: Make smoothie to hold off hunger pangs while waiting for lunch.
12:35pm: Finish smoothie. Contemplate chips.
12:36pm: Start painting nails to keep from digging into chips.

12:50pm: Wait for polish to dry.
12:55pm: Still waiting for polish to dry. Still waiting for lunch. Put on “Wizard of Oz” movie to distract self.

1:14pm: Husband finishes making lunch. Am famished and lunch smells good. Husband suggests you wait until nail polish is fully dry before eating. Laugh off suggestion since you’ve been painting nails for how long? You can certainly handle holding a sandwich.

1:20pm: Smudge three nails on left hand. Husband refrains from saying, “I told you so”.

1:35pm: Finish lunch. Remove smudged polish. Remind self to apply quick drying top coat before continuing.

Nail polish accident

Nail polish accident. Gangster pose.

2:11pm: Finish manicure fix up. Finish procrastinating. Begin Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes  (Yams).

Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes (Yams)*

  • 3 pounds (about 6 medium sized) red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Peel & cube sweet potatoes.  Bring to a boil, approximately 20 mins. Once potatoes are cooked (easily pierced with a fork), drain and place into large bowl.

Add brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, grated orange peel, ground cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to sweet potato pulp. Using a potatoe masher, mash until mixture is smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Can be made a day ahead.

*Modified from Elise Bauer’s Simply Recipes.

2:15pm: Realize you’ve bought white sweet potatoes instead of orange. Go with it. Theme of day: “Oh Well”.

2:59pm: Potatoes not fully cooked. Add 5 more minutes. Hope to be done soon.

3:15pm: Made world’s ugliest potatoes. See evidence below:

 

World's Ugliest Potatoes. Note to self: Buy orange sweet potatoes next time.

World’s Ugliest Potatoes. Note to self: Buy orange sweet potatoes next time.

 

3:46pm: Must. Nap.

4:15pm: Wake up from awesome nap. Considering skipping dinner altogether to continue awesome nap. Reconsider.

4:45pm: Frantically organize food and face. Leave home for Surrey.

5:20pm: Make it to Surrey in one piece. Own father cuts you off in traffic and proceeds to drive like an old man. Because he is an old man.
5:21pm: Mom begins lecture you about your life and what you could do better. Realize you were better off staying in bed.

5:45pm: Start dinner.

5:55pm: Finish dinner.
5:59pm: Go back for 2nds.
6:00pm: Slip into food coma.

7:00pm: Eat dessert. Realize it’s too sweet and all of that effort was for naught.

7:33pm: Attempt to start a round of karaoke. Thwarted by Wheel of Fortune. Night is still young.

7:45pm: Play Hungry Hungry Hippos while waiting for software updates.

7:54pm: End up doing Karaoke! Night is starting to look up.

9:27pm: Heading back home. Have a good night everyone!

 

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Food coma

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Pet Peeve

What’s up with people who insult you and then go “I was just teasing you” or “It’s just a joke”? How does that excuse the fact that you’re being a dick? And actually it makes me angrier because not only did you insult me but are now trying to make me seem like I can’t take a “joke”.

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My Top Three Board Games

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I love board games, particularly with a small group of friends. It’s usually my activity of choice when people get together because it’s such an easy way to bond with people. Also, it takes pressure off what we can talk about as we’re all focused on the game at hand. I haven’t played a ton of different board games but here are the ones that have caught my fancy (in no particular order):

  1. Ticket to Ride: Europe
    Admittedly, half the fun of this board game is mispronouncing the names as we build track to and from various destinations (c’mon – Munchen Wien anyone?). I also love that while this game is competitive (meaning you play against other players), you’re never really taking points away from them and they’re never really taking points away from you. You’re just collecting your own points. So there’s never really a sense of hopelessness and frustration.
  2. Mice & Mystics
    Apparently this game is for children but I’ve found it quite complicated so I’m surprised that seven year olds can readily play this with all the rules given. We’ve been playing the campaign mode which is multiple chapters long. It’s been fun finding out how to story progresses, particularly if you play 1 character most of the time. You end up having a vested interest in how it all turns out. It’s a cooperative game too so you’re all working towards a common goal which I find takes the pressure off winning. Plus, the figures are super cute!
  3. 7 Wonders
    Just played this tonight but it’s really caught my attention. It’s a competitive game, again where you collect points to win. What I like about it is that it’s easy to learn and fast to play. But there’s so many different strategies you can take to win and there’s not necessarily one right way. Plus, I enjoyed that you can’t outright ignore the other players’ cards on the board and concentrate on your own game (which is easy to do in other games). You have to consider them for your own advancement.Honourable Mentions (also in no particular order)
  4. If Wishes Were Fishes! (my intro into fun board games)
  5. Betrayal at House on the Hill (my intro to cooperative board games)
  6. Apples to Apples (easy to play and generates lots of laughs, great for parties)
  7. Wooly Bully (super cute pictures and an easy game to learn)
  8. Carnival (another fun card game – also easy to learn)
  9. Ingenious (a puzzle game)
  10. ???
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Secret (Not So Secret) Introvert

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Many people don’t believe me when I insist I’m an introvert. Growing up I was painfully shy. As I got older, I learned how to disguise it to the point where I sometimes believe I’m an extrovert. I certainly exhibit some extrovert personality traits. But for me, it take a bit of energy to exert myself and be more outgoing.

Did you know…

… I experience a lot of anxiety when someone invites me to a party where I don’t know anyone else but the hostess. I know she can’t hang out with me the whole night as she has to meet and greet everyone else too, which means I’ll need to meet new people. I’ll need to mingle and make small talk. And for some reason, I just can’t do small talk. I’m no good at it. I can vaguely chat about the weather, the news, etc but I can’t sustain it. And inevitably, the small talk eventually turns into an awkward pause. And what’s when everyone else decides to turn away from the horrible accident scene which is me and talk to each other instead.  And then I get all weird and feel like a loser.

… I even hate meeting up with friends one on one unless I know them really well. I’m always worried we’ll have nothing to say to each other. And then we’ll be stuck at the dinner table, loudly sipping our soups and crunching our salads to fill in the void created by our lack of anything to say to each other. For this reason, I always want another friend there. To act as a buffer: to take the pressure off me to keep the conversation going.

… Thank God cell phones have become so ubiquitous. I’d much rather text someone than people to them on the phone. And I’d much rather talk on the phone than meet in person. God, why can’t the world just function in a way whereby I just “like” stuff on Facebook/Instagram?

… While I love dressing up and I love the idea of going out to a club, bar or party. I get all excited planning out what to wear and dream up different scenarios of what will happen that night. But once I get there, I realize that I hate vapid conversations with strangers and being put into situations which highlight my social ineptitude. (Thank God for liquor.) I’d much rather being at home cuddled up to my favourite pillow with a warm cup of tea and a good book.

Random Thoughts While Working Out: August Edition

1) The guy on the treadmill beside me today smelled like pine sol. I don’t think he quite grasps the different between deodorant and air fresheners yet. Regardless, it was kinda nice to have the pine fresh smell beside me while I ran. It was just as if I was running through a nice wood.

2) I’m not 100% sure if I have a small waist or just big hips. Usually I convince myself it’s the former, especially when I dress myself in the mornings. But other times like today when I was doing my lunges, I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. (Note: this is not written with the intention of fishing for compliments.)

3) I wear Lululemon tops frequently when I go to the gym. It’s easier because they have the built in bra and I just can’t be bothered to find a sports bra in the morning when I’m late and headed out the door. After reading some comments in some blogs (about the recent “controversy” of the company’s refusal to make clothes bigger than a size 12), I wonder if people read me as a label snob because of the brand name?

4) I know people aren’t supposed to judge others at the gym. You’re there to focus on yourself and your own improvement. But how do you keep from doing so? I find myself constantly judging everyone at the gym! The girl with perfectly coifed hair who wears only a sports bra and running shorts to work out (attention whore). The confused looking old guy on the elliptical with jeans, polo shirt and loafers on (how is he allowed on the machines like that?). The overly enthusiastic lady who’s sweating buckets and is in everyday giving 150% on the stairmaster (she needs to calm down).

Review: Wedding Night

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It’s been so long since I last read a book – I think it was winter? I was in the middle of reading Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman which just couldn’t capture my attention and it turned me off of reading for a while. I think I subconsciously wanted to finish it before I started another book so I just put off reading altogether rather than plow through the damned thing.

Anyway, after a bit of encouragement from my husband, I downloaded a couple books onto my Kobo to do some summer reading. I started off with Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella because I wanted something light and airy to dip my toes into. Turns out this novel was the perfect palate cleanser from Moran’s book.

Wedding Night is similar to all of Sophie Kinsella’s books, especially with regards to her protagonist. Lottie is apparently smart but actually seems flighty, air-headed and illogical. But she’s also funny and has a good heart. (Hmmm, Becky Bloomwood much?) Unlike Kinsella’s other novels, this one actually tells the story from two points of view: Lottie, who’s impulsively married her teenage summer fling, and Fliss, Lottie’s big sister who tries to talk some sense into her. The alternating of narrators made the novel more interesting than it would have been otherwise. I liked reading Lottie’s conflicted feelings about her new husband and her ex-boyfriend. And I really liked reading and relating to Fliss’s madwoman thoughts, even forgetting at some points that she was talking crazy-talk.

I also enjoyed that the novel was set mainly in Greece. I’ve been hankering to go to Greece in the last few years and this novel’s setting makes me want to go even more. Kinsella usually doesn’t write descriptions in a particularly remarkable way – perhaps because the majority of her novels take place in London? – but her descriptions of Greece really took me there. When Lottie describes her love of guest house there, I feel like I’m right there too. 

I did find myself bored with Kinsella’s tired old protagonists who are all essentially the same woman with different names and settings. The set-up of each of her novels seem to be, “What would Becky Bloomwood do?” and the plots sets out to answer that question. Yes, I knew that when I bought the book but I wish Kinsella would surprise her readers once in a while.

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Random Thoughts While Working Out: July Edition

Today I finally had a good workout (where I didn’t feel crappy and horrible and couldn’t wait to stop). Anyway, a few miscellaneous thoughts while I was on the treadmill this morning:

1) Most people seem to run for approximately 7-10 minutes on the treadmill. It takes me at least 7 minutes of running before I start to break a sweat so this confuses me. Maybe people just do it to warm up.

2) The number one reason I hate working out: laziness. And it’s a very convincing reason some (read: most) days.

3) The number two reason I hate working out: breakouts. I’ve been getting a lot of acne on my neck and between my boobs. TMI?

4) Motivations to go work out:

  • Cute workout clothes that need to be shown off
  • Opportunity to people-watch
  • Opportunity to look at myself in the mirror and think about how cute I look
  • Good music (usually 80s and 90s tunes)
  • How small my hips look and how perky my bum looks

5) I’ve come a long way already with this whole working out thing. When I started, I was running for 15 minutes. Today I ran for 35 minutes. Yes, it’s taken me since March to get here but still!

Reflections on Hot Yoga part 2

Apparently there are female instructors at Bikram’s in the West End. They’re just harder to find.

Also is it me or do people seem to sweat more the more hot yoga they do? Like the girl who seemed the most hardcore was the one sweating literally streams of sweat. And I’m sweating more than I did my last class. Which was more than I did my first class.

Apparently by your third class you’re no longer singled out as a beginner. Which is a blessing in that I’m blending in more. But sucks because I could use some extra attention to correct my postures.

After a session of hot yoga.

After a session of hot yoga.

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Reflections on Hot Yoga

I did my second Bikrams yoga this evening. Some thoughts:

Why is the teacher always a skinny hairy white guy? No issue with that. Just curious. Ps: why do their shorts have to be so short?

What’s up with the stinky cheese feet smell? Must be all the sweat that’s dropped into the carpet. Wtf do they have a CARPETED hot yoga studio?

I didn’t realize I could sweat from my chin and my lower lip. And they were big drops too. Ew.

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