Sleep

Growing up, there were seven people in my family. (Six Tals, plus the nanny). Because it fit so perfectly, we each got assigned as one of the seven dwarves, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. As a kid, I was Bashful. (Seriously, I cried if you looked at me wrong. If there had been a “Sensitive” dwarf, that would have been me.)  Now that I’m a “grown up”, I’ve come out of my shell a bit. But, I am my mother’s daughter, through and through.

What does this have to do with sleep, you ask?

Momma was Sleepy. Was and is. And as it turns out, I am too. I can sleep anywhere – in cars, on planes, on couches, through movies… you name it.

While sleeping is great, I really hate waking up to an alarm. I might wake up naturally at 6:30 am, but if my alarm goes off before I’m ready, I’m grouchy all day long. And what is worse than taking a nap that isn’t quite long enough? Nothing, that’s what. It’s a recipe for a grumpy disaster.

So I got to thinking, how much sleep does my body need? I want to know when to go to bed, and when I’ll wake up and feel my best.

(As a side note, whenever I talk about sleep I think of Eric Whitacre’s SleepIt is one of my favorite pieces of his, and it’s definitely worth a listen. But only if you’re not driving… it tends to make me, well, sleepy.)

I am extremely fortunate in that my start time at work is pretty flexible. I can be at work any time between 8 and 10 am, unless I have a meeting or appointment scheduled. For the last week or so, I’ve been experimenting a bit with my sleep patterns. I haven’t set an alarm, and I’ve just gone to bed and woken up when it feels natural.

You guys. Do this. It’s awesome.

I don’t know if it’s the change of weather (FINALLY it’s warm!) or the fact that I’m just letting my body do what it naturally wants to do, but I feel so much better. I’m less cranky, waking up is actually easy (and I am not typically a coffee drinker so it’s never easy), and I’m learning so much about what my body and mind need to be successful throughout the day.

I’m still working on finding the exact balance, but what I’ve found is this: I go upstairs and start unwinding between 9:15 and 9:30 pm. This means teeth brushing, face washing, catching up on the interwebs, playing with the dog, putting on PJs, etc. I’m usually in bed by 10, and asleep by 10:30. It turns out, my sleep patterns (when they’re not interrupted by Jameson) are pretty typical – a solid 8 hours. (Every few nights I’ll sleep 9, which is sort of surprising. This morning, I woke up at 7:20 and was shocked at how late it was.) Most days, I am awake pretty consistently by 6:30 or so, if not earlier.

Like I said before, I’m extremely lucky that I don’t have to rush in the morning most of the time to be at work at 8 on the dot. However, my goal is to figure out my sleep patterns so that even when I DO have an early appointment, I’ll just need to alter my bed time in order to make it happen naturally. I’d love to phase my alarm out 100%.

How do you keep track of your sleep? Does waking up to an alarm stress you out or motivate you?

 

 

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Spring Time! Start Fresh!

Back in January, I made huge proclamations that I was going to be better about New Year’s Resolutions by not calling them that, and making monthly/quarterly goals, and sticking to them because I have a blog goddammit and it will keep me accountable!

Fast forward to now. I haven’t written much about my goals, and to be honest it’s because I haven’t been super focused on them. BUT! I’m not really that upset about it. While it would have been nice to say I met all my goals, (I DID meet some of them), I’ve really just been having fun, keeping busy, and not dwelling on what I should be doing.

And the weird part?

Through doing what feels natural and good in my life, I’ve done a pretty good job of sticking to my initial Q1 goals. Let’s recap:

1. Get serious about training my dog, and learning more about dog training in general – admittedly, I didn’t spend a ton of time on this in the past few months, and Jameson can always use more training, but we have gotten serious about doggy time-outs when he misbehaves (read: barks out the window), and it’s not perfect, but it seems to be working! I also met a girl that rides at my barn who trains dogs, and she is coming over on Sunday to see if she can help us with his barking problem, and his “go nuts when someone comes to the door” problem.

2. Take more (and better) pictures for my blog – Okay, full disclosure: pretty much immediately after I made this goal, I talked to Dan and sort of decided that he will be my photographer. I enjoy photography, and with more time to focus on it, I think I could get pretty good at it. But really, he already has an interest in it, is good at it, and wants to help. By involving him this way, it gets us both interested and involved in each others’ hobbies, which is a great way to have separate hobbies but still stay connected.  So, I didn’t acquire a new skill, but I’m still calling this one a win. And for the record, I finally backed up my iPhone photos onto my Mac last weekend! Finally I have space on my phone for music and apps!

3. Get in shape (for my life and my wedding) – this is one of the areas where I’m pretty pleased with how I’ve naturally moved forward, without obsessing and really focusing in on the details. In the past few weeks, I have been admittedly crazy busy, and haven’t made it into an actual gym recently. But with that said, my eating habits have improved greatly (I actually look forward to my salads, fruits and veggies – more on that later), and I’ve been exercising fairly regularly. I’ve been horseback riding at least twice a week, and now that the weather is getting nicer (seriously, Spring, get your act together) I’ve been taking Jameson on longer walks in the evenings. I feel better, have more energy, and when the dog is tired, I sleep better. 🙂

4. Plan for the future – I started some of the things I mentioned in my last post about this, like making a 2 year plan in Excel and creating a business plan. While I’ve sort of got these things under wraps, what I’ve really got are a lot of hopes and dreams that involve not sitting at a desk for 9-10 hours a day. Things are slowly coming together into a solid plan, though, and I’m confident that after the wedding (!!) I’ll have more time, energy, and money to focus on them.

So, now that I’ve word vomited all over the place, here’s what I’m going to focus on for the next few months:

  • Katie’s Wedding! It’s so soon! I’m so stoked!
  • Getting my sleep schedule/patterns more consistent.
  • My garden – I can’t wait to start it this year!
  • My pup and pony – training, exercising, and spending quality time.
  • Planning my wedding 🙂

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Shower Time!

Happy Monday Everybody!

I have been a very busy bee. So busy, in fact, that this little blog of mine has taken a backseat in the priorities wagon. Sad but true. I could try to recount the last two weeks with an epic play by play of my oh-so-exciting life… but to be honest you’d be bored to tears. It’s been a lot of calorie counting, boring meals, and work work work. But there is one thing that’s been keeping me busy that I can finally spill the beans about, because it finally happened this weekend! Katie’s bridal shower!

4some

I was honored to put together a shower for Katie along with the help of her mom (the wonderful hostess!) and many of the other bridesmaids. I got super lucky, because Kristin (bridesmaid and mutual best friend) had to work in Rockville, MD for the week, so she was able to come to VA on Wednesday and Thursday to help me cook and prepare. I don’t think the shower would have been half as successful without her :).

kristin bags

I don’t really know what to say, but there are lots of pictures to tell the story.

First up: the food. Oh, the food.

Food spread

We have: Savory: Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts, Deviled Eggs, Spinach and Onion Dip with Hawaiian Sweet Bread, Baked Brie, Veggie Platter, and Cheese and Crackers.

Sweet: Fruit and Marshmallow Fluff Dip, Whiskey Fudge, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Merlot Cupcakes, and Cake Balls!

The fun:

Toilet Paper Dress Contest. Everybody won!

Toilet Paper Dress Contest. Everybody won!

The Presents!

The haul

The haul

Even Patrick got some goodies.

for patrick

But most importantly, we learned (as if we didn’t already know), that you can dress her up…The sistersBut you really can’t take her anywhere.

KB mustache

Sisters mustaches

Congrats again Katie!! I can’t wait for your day!

 

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Wedding Chores Weekend

Hello friends! I apologize for my week-long hiatus last week. I have been a busy, busy lady both at work and at home, and that is my only excuse.

But this past weekend, Dan and I accomplished so much awesome! We had a meeting set up with the wonderful girl who has agreed to make cupcakes for us AT COST for the wedding, so we decided to just make a weekend of it.

Of course, we did have time for some non-wedding related things too. On Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and went to take my first lesson on Tulsa, the new horse I’m riding. I am so excited to have found her – her owner is fantastic and she’s such a fun horse. We both have a lot to learn, and I have my work cut out for me (I uh, can’t walk today from soreness, but this too shall pass).

After my pony ride, we went to Dominion Jewelers to look at/pick out wedding bands! Wheee! It was SO MUCH FUN. I really didn’t know what I wanted going in, but I think I made a pretty awesome choice. Of course it’s awesome… my band will match my engagement ring which is more than awesome, so yeah, it’ll rock. Dan’s choice looks pretty cool too but it’s too hard to explain so I’ll wait until we have pictures of it, and then the pictures can speak for themselves. :). While we were there, my ring got resized (it was almost a full size too big! oops…) and polished, and it is SO SHINY!! I want to get it polished every day. Or just, you know, not let it get so dirty.

This is where things got a little rushed. We were going to go register at Crate & Barrel, but by the time we got there, got our scanner and listened to the woman babble for 20 minutes, we only had about 20 minutes to “shop.” We did  little bit of shopping, but decided to just come back the next day. On Sunday we went back to C&B, and also started a Macy’s registry. We’re not sure if we’ll keep both… we will keep everyone posted. Registering is an interesting experience. Neither of us are super into shopping, so this activity, while fun, tired us out quickly. I’m so grateful that we can finish up and modify things online… I really don’t know how people did all this stuff without the interwebz.

And now, the main event. CUPCAKES! The focal point of my weekend! Seriously, I can’t thank Rachel enough. She is fantastic and HER CUPCAKES ARE DELICIOUS. I think I said at least 10 times, “I can’t leave them behind. They are too good.” I’m not going to post details here because I know some people want to keep this little detail a surprise, so I’ll just leave this link here to Rachel’s blog, where she tells you alllll about the deliciousness. If you don’t want to know, DON’T CLICK!

I’ve been busy with some other things too, which I’ll try and update about this week. If there’s time. Oy vey.

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Getting Committed

Happy February! The shortest month filled with the most love. Or something.

You guys. I won a contest! I’ve never won anything before, but I won a blog contest! Cassie from Back To Her Roots had a giveaway for 10 free days of “Accountability Coaching” from Krissie over at Commited Coaching. Krissie is a certified running coach (whatever that means), but she also focuses on helping people meet their fitness, food, and lifestyle goals. I’ve only had one phone call with her once so far, but I’m excited for what the next 10 days will bring!

I told Krissie my goals (get in shape for wedding, form healthier eating and workout habits, etc.) and she’s already been super helpful, just giving me tips on how I can be more efficient and more effective. For the first ten days of February, the plan is for me to tell her my plan day to day in the way of food and exercise, and she’ll text, call, or email me once a day to see how I’m doing. If for some reason I’m not hitting my goals, she’s not there to “punish” or “shame” me, she’s just there to help me figure out what’s going on and see if from an outside perspective she has any insight on how I could change my habits for the better.

You guys. I’m stoked.

I don’t really know what to expect. I don’t know if I’ll be successful or if I’ll want to continue on with Krissie after my ten free days. But I do know she has some  really good ideas up her sleeve that I’m excited to hear.

I’ll keep you posted!

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The Dumps

I am officially down in them.

This post was supposed to be about how excited I am to jump on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon. Look at these cool new apps I found by following healthy living blogs! I can track my water intake! I can track my caloric intake! I can track my exercise goals! I’m gonna be healthy and skinny and fit in no time! And I’m going to ENJOY doing it!

But, that’s not how I feel. Instead, I feel sad. And a little mad. And kind of frustrated.

Now, just as a general disclaimer – I know I’m not immensely overweight. I know I don’t have to lose any weight to be a healthy, happy person. But I want to. I want to look and feel great and I want to do it the right way. Not the crash diet, lose 20 pounds but gain it all back after my first cupcake in 6 months way.

So why am I so sad? Because I feel like life’s not fair. (Cry me a river, I know.)

By counting calories I know my eating habits aren’t terrible. I’m always around the 1500 a day mark, sometimes more, some times less, which is pretty average for someone my size.  I actually enjoy eating vegetables, and eating a salad isn’t a chore for me. My exercise habits, while admittedly could be better, aren’t terrible. But at the end of the day, I know I still have changing and growing to do. I need to monitor my portion sizes, and I need to be more cognitive of what I eat, not just how much of it.

The reason this makes me sad, mad, frustrated, etc is because, if you hadn’t gathered, I love food. I love cooking and baking and EATING; and while I enjoy healthy meals, I also enjoy unhealthy ones. White rice? Sign me up. Pasta? For days. Don’t even talk to me about cookies and cake and CHOCOLATE.

I know there are healthy alternatives for all these things. Cognitively, in my little brain, I know it. But emotionally and realistically? I don’t want alternatives. I like these things that are bad for me, and it makes me mad that I have to make sacrifices. I know this sounds completely unreasonable. I’m aware. But them’s the facts.

So, what am I going to do about it? Well, I am going to track my water intake. I am going to track my calories, and my exercise, and I am going to make sacrifices. But, cold turkey’s never the way for me, so while I make some changes and some sacrifices, I’ll allow myself a few indulgences, too. Not too many. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to the point where I like the “healthy” stuff more than the “good” stuff. Fingers crossed… wish me luck.

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Tiny Things are Better

Mostly. The only time this sentiment is untrue is with dogs. Big dogs are better.

Okay, maybe tiny things aren’t always better, but when it comes to food… they usually are.

Cupcakes > Cake

Mini quiches > Regular quiches

Chicken fingers > Chicken breast

Red Onion Close UP

They taste better. They’re more fun. There’s less clean-up. You have an excuse to lick your fingers. The tiny serving size means you don’t have to share. And usually, they mean less calories. (That last one might be a stretch.)

ingredients

Enter: Tiny Pizzas! This is a really fun, fast meal that you can make with ingredients you have on-hand. It’s great for busy work nights or lazy Saturdays. We make ours on pocket-less Pitas, which provide just enough crust, with enough density to support allllll that cheesy, saucy, vegetably goodness. Load it up! If your pita can’t support it, you can use a fork. I won’t tell the other tiny foods you needed a hand with this one.

pre-bake 1

  • Enough pitas for each person to have (at least) one. I use whole wheat.
  • Marinara or pizza sauce – you can go home made here, but for a quick meal I use store bought
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Bleu Cheese
  • Feta Cheese (are you catching on? CHEEEEESE!)
  • Onion
  • Green pepper
  • Turkey sausage
  • Whatever you want! Tiny pizza doesn’t discriminate.

What You Do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Put 2-3 tablespoons of sauce on each pita.
  3. Load up with toppings!
  4. Bake at 350 until cheese is melty, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Switch your oven from bake to broil (high) and broil for 2-4 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly.
  6. Cut into quarters and enjoy!

baked

 

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