I’m Still Here!

Well, hello there.

I didn’t intend to keep taking these long breaks from the blog—it just keeps happening.

I’d like to blame it on all the “summer fun” I’ve been having, but to be honest, I haven’t been doing a whole lot this summer besides working. (Don’t worry—I’m still trying to enjoy myself because the summer months are my favorite!)

I mentioned a while back that I got a new job (sort of…) at work, and that has been keeping me very busy. While I can’t say my mind feels busy/challenged, the job does keep me occupied for the entire day with very little time to stop and breathe (if that makes any sense). I wish I could elaborate more on this, but this is a public blog so there is only so much I can share, ya know?

Anyway, I think my job may have something to do with my lack of blogging. I am pretty much tied to my desk/computer all day, so it’s hard to muster up the energy to sit at the computer again in the evenings. I have had quite a few topic ideas floating around in my mind, I’m just lacking the energy to write them. I’m going to work on changing this, and I’m setting to goal of getting at least one post published during the upcoming work week.

The weekend ahead looks to be a mix of relaxation, fun, and chores—sadly, I can never fully escape the chores! Maybe I’ll even check in tomorrow with a recap? Maybe:-)

In the meantime, enjoy this gratuitous photo of the cutest pug in all the land:

Stewie

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Does your job keep you super busy?

Do you have a job where you are staring at a computer for most of the day?

May Goals Recap

Evening friends!

Who else is happy we’ve made it through the mid-week point?! I’m not going to lie, it is pretty hard to be cooped up at work all day when the weather is warm and the sun is shining! I think it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so maybe that will make work a bit more bearable.

Since we are already four days into June (how?!), I figured I would recap how I did with my May goals (hint: not well).

Get more sleep/wake up earlier in the morning.

Nope, I didn’t do this even a little bit! I mentioned yesterday that I am working in a different location (farther from my house) within the same company, so that is forcing me to get up a little earlier than normal. I just hate feeling rushed in the morning, and I wish it would be easier to get my butt in gear.

Sleepy Pug

Unfortunately, we can’t all sleep the day away like Stewie!

As far as getting more sleep… I think I’d be better off just giving up on this! Why is it so hard for me to get to bed at a decent hour?

Cut back on sugar/sweets.

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Although I don’t think I really “cut back” at all in the month of May, I can’t really recall going super overboard either. So I guess I sort of half-accomplished this, right?

Accomplish one organizational task around the house.

Ughhh… WHY do I feel like I never get anything done?! When I set this goal, the plan was to clean/organize either our basement or the garage. Well, neither of these things happened. Whenever I have a big task to do, I feel like I need to dedicate an entire, uninterrupted day to it. Of course, I didn’t have any of those in May.

I did do one miniscule thing to move in the right direction—I broke down our ginormous “collection” of boxes that was building in our garage. We have a habit of piling up every box that comes into our house without breaking them down. Why? Pure laziness. Now that I’ve got that situation under control, I’m going to make a serious effort not to let boxes pile up anymore.

As far as goals for the month of June, I’m actually not sure what I want to accomplish. Of course the usual list of to-dos around the house is weighing on me; I’m hoping to possibly get out kitchen painted if I get a free weekend.

Otherwise, I’m going to try to relax (not my strong suit) and enjoy the first month of summer. It is my favorite season and it always passes too quickly; I’ve got all winter to worry about our disorganized basement.

Do you have a strategy for managing household tasks? I need help, people.

Who else lives for summer? I could easily move to sunny California and I don’t think I would ever miss the seasons!

Tuesday Thoughts

Hey guys!

Warning: Picture-less post ahead.

Tonight is one of those sit down at the computer and see what comes out kind of nights. You’re welcome in advance for sharing all of my fascinating insights. ;-)

I started a new job this week.

So it’s still with the same company and a very similar position, but now I’m in a different office building. This also means I have a longer commute. I got lost this afternoon trying to take a “shortcut” home… yeah.

I need more than one rest day per week.

I don’t know how people who work out every single day do it! Last week, I worked out Monday-Thursday, and took a rest day on Friday. I’ve been working out every day since Saturday and I have definitely noticed that my body is super tired. Maybe I’m a wuss.

I’m so happy it’s warm outside.

Bring on the summer weather! This time of year really makes me miss my teaching days! Right about now I would be in the home stretch with two months of vacation on the horizon.

I’m officially hooked on The Bachelorette.

Gah, just what I need—another reality TV addiction. I’ve never been a huge Bachelor/Bachelorette watcher; I kind of decide season by season if I’ll be watching. For some reason, I’m hooked on this season, and after dedicating four hours of my life to Bachelorette-watching this week, I’m a little disappointed that there is no episode next Monday!

I’m going to be car shopping! (Eventually…)

So you all know about my (severe) hail damage… Well, my current car (a Mazda CX-7) is a lease. I had originally planned to “buy out” the car, but (in a decision that surprises absolutely no one), I’m not too keen on keeping it, even after it is repaired. I’ll always know how jacked up it once was. Anyway, I’m going to get a new car once the repairs are made and I return it. I’m not quite sure what I’ll be getting, but I need something reasonably priced and good in the snow.

Is anyone else watching The Bachelorette? Who do you like?

Who has an affordable all wheel drive suggestion?

My Biometric Screening

Last week, I had my first ever biometric screening.

The place where I work offers the screening for free—and even provides an incentive for participating—and I was admittedly curious to see what my results would be.

The screening examines 5 metabolic syndrome criteria—body mass index, triglycerides, blood pressure, blood glucose, and HDL cholesterol (HDL is the good kind!). I’m happy to say that I “passed” in all five areas, but I definitely have some room for improvement too.

Here’s a bit more about my results and what a healthy range is for the various screenings:

Triglycerides

The level of triglycerides in your blood indicates how efficiently your body processes the fat in your diet.

Healthy: <150mg/dL

My Results: 129 mg/dL

HDL Cholesterol

This is the good kind of cholesterol! It is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and can be increased with regular exercise.

Healthy: > or = 46mg/dL

My Results: 64mg/dL

LDL Cholesterol

This is the bad kind of cholesterol, and it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. High LDL cholesterol can be hereditary, but it can be decreased through healthy lifestyle choices and medications.

Healthy: <130mg/dL

My Results: 104mg/dL

Glucose

Ah, sugar—my favorite. A high level of glucose can show that the body is not correctly using or producing insulin and could eventually lead to diabetes.

Healthy: 65-99mg/dL

My Results: 92 mg/dL

This was the one test result that really stood out to me, but it wasn’t too shocking. Although my levels are in the healthy range, I’m at the very top of that range.

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure—or hypertension—is associated with a risk for heart attack or stroke.

Healthy: 120/80

My Results: 102/60

This screening gave me a lot of insight into what is going on inside of my body. Even though I’m clearly aware of my sugar addiction, seeing my results creep toward the unhealthy end of the scale was a bit of a wakeup call (never mind the cupcake I ate with lunch today!). I also think the screening was good motivation to keep up with the healthy habits I already have in place!

Have you ever had a biometric screening?

A Day in the Life

I’ve seen a few other bloggers do “day in the life” posts recently, and figured I’d join the crowd. I’m the type of person who is curious about other people’s daily schedules, although I have to admit that mine isn’t all that exciting.

5:00AM-5:40AM – Alarm(s) go off

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I set quite a few alarms to wake me up by 5:40AM. I always sort of hope I’ll feel refreshed and pop out of bed at 5:00AM but that almost never happens. On most days, I stay in bed as long as possible.

5:40AM-6:15AM – Start getting ready

The first thing I do when I get up is brush my teeth and put my contacts in. Then I’ll usually jump in the shower, unless I’ve showered the night before.

6:15AM-6:40AM – Eat breakfast and do some blog reading

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After I shower, I venture downstairs for breakfast (almost always, it’s “the usual”), and I also catch up on some blog reading.

6:45AM-7:15AM – Finish getting ready (hair/makeup/get dressed)

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I usually finish up closer to 7:20AM/7:25AM because I am the slowest mover ever in the morning. Depending on the day, I’ll let Stewie out to go to the bathroom. On most days, Chris comes home from work a few minutes after I leave, so I can usually get away with just getting him in the crate.

7:25AM-7:45AM – Drive to work

I usually listen to “Wake Up With Taylor” for any of you fellow Sirius subscribers.

7:45AM-8:00AM – Get settled into work for the day

I try to fill up my water cup first thing in the AM to make sure I’m drinking enough.

8:00AM-12:15PM – Work

Nothing too exciting to detail here!

12:15PM-12:45PM – Lunch

I usually spend the first 15 minutes eating and the remainder of my break reading a book or magazine.

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12:45PM-4:30PM – More work

4:30PM-4:50PM – Drive home from work

4:50PM-5:10PM – Get ready for the gym

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I’m in a rush to get changed and get to the gym. Tuesdays and Fridays, I usually take off, but I may be running random errands at this time (which usually involves wasting some money at Target!).

5:30PM-6:30PM – Workout time

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6:45PM-7:15PM – Make dinner

Black Bean Enchiladas

Dinner is usually something quick! (This is where meal planning comes in handy!)

7:45PM-8:30PM – Computer time

I usually sit down at the computer in the evening to do some blog writing/reading, pay bills, and catch up on other random items on my to do list.

8:30PM-9:30PM – Get ready for bed

Depending on the night, I’ll shower before going to bed. I’ll also use this time to lounge around and be lazy or read.

10:00PM – Lights out

I try to get to sleep around 10:00PM, but if I’m being honest, it’s usually closer to 10:30PM-10:45PM. I have a (bad?) habit of falling asleep to DVD episodes of Friends.

And there you have it… a day in the life of Erica!

What time do you go to sleep each night and wake up each morning?

Do you set multiple alarms?

How long is your drive to work?

Do you fall asleep with the TV on?

I need these answers, people!

Sunday Snapshots – 1/19

So, I sat down to write this post two hours ago, and then I ended up passing out on the couch! Do you know what I was supposed to do today? I had every intention of finally working on cleaning out my side of the closet and my overflowing, stuffed-to-the-brim drawers, but yeah, that’s not going to happen! Oh well, I guess I needed the sleep.

Also, I can’t believe the last time I blogged was Tuesday—yikes. Last week was a busy one, and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to prioritize this blog, so unfortunately it just didn’t make the cut on my lengthy to do list. I did have some topics floating around my head though, so hopefully I’ll get to them this week!

Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to the past few days…

Chris and I kicked off the weekend with a pizza night at home. While Chris went to pick up the pizza, Stewie sat and stared at the door.

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The pizza was fantastic! We get it from a local place that we love for their pizza.

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Nothing else too exciting happened on Friday. We are always exhausted from the work week, so it’s nice to just relax and catch up on some sleep.

Saturday started my favorite way… spin class, Panera oatmeal, and catching up on this week’s episode of “Courtney Loves Dallas.”

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We live in a house of no paint and no curtains (at least we have blinds).

After lazying around a little bit longer, Chris and I headed out to run errands. We need to go to BJ’s to stock up on some items—paper towels, energy drinks (for Chris), giant bags of Popcorners—plus I had to get some things for a nacho day at work later this week. Let me tell you, I underestimated how embarrassing it would be to check out with 10 party-sized bags of tortilla chips + toppings. We had like three people say, “looks like someone is having a party.” Good one… ;-)

Anyway, we also made our Target/grocery shopping run for the week, and I found this little gem:

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Yum!

Since we are old fogies, we stopped and picked up dinner at about 4:30PM.

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Chris ended up falling asleep early (his sleep schedule on the weekend is all out of whack from working 3rd shift), so I caught up on “The Bachelor” (which has been making me cringe more than usual this season!).

This morning, Chris and I went to an early mass, then out to breakfast. I got the same thing as last week—delicious! Looking back on our weekend, I now realize we spent an obnoxious amount of money on food… gotta work on that!

After doing some cleaning and laundry, I had a bowl of cereal for lunch. (I love the combo of peanut butter Cheerios + blueberries!)

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And that was about it for the weekend! My stomach is starting to grumble a bit, so it’s time to get to cooking (yes, I’m actually going to make dinner instead of buying it tonight!).

Did anyone else have several meals out this weekend? Please tell me I’m not the only one!

Any other Courtney Loves Dallas/The Bachelor fans?

First WIAW of 2014

Happy Wednesday!

I haven’t joined the What I Ate Wednesday link-up in a while—and I managed to photograph my eats yesterday—so I figured, why not?! Here’s a look at What I Ate Wednesday Tuesday.


Breakfast

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Breakfast is the same ol’, same ol’ around here… overnight oats. Every now and then, I add cereal into the rotation, but overnight oats do the best job of keeping me full throughout the entire morning. In case you’re wondering, my overnight oats are a mix of old-fashioned oats, plain Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and low-fat milk. (I don’t have the exact measurements; I just “eyeball” it.) I topped my oats with peanut butter, semisweet chocolate chips, and a drizzle of honey. The cup of coffee goes without saying!

AM Snack

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I love these little Fiber One bars—the brownies, lemon bars, and cinnamon coffee cake are all yummy! They are small and not all that filling, but they make for a good snack with a second cup of coffee in the mid-morning.

Lunch

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I packed leftovers from dinner on Monday (stuffed pepper soup), but I ended up having to order lunch at work and eating a salad. This was a small victory for me as I passed on the pizza that was there. Passing up pizza wasn’t easy, but I just tried to keep in mind that it’s something I can eat any time (like this weekend!), and I didn’t need to have it in that moment. I also had a cup of pineapple Chobani.

Dinner

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Following our meal plan for the week, I made baked Caesar chicken for dinner with green beans and mashed potatoes (this dinner makes for great leftovers, too!). I also enjoyed a small glass of Syrah… I needed something to take the chill off my bones caused by our –15* wind chills and red wine did the trick!

Dessert

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As always, I had to end the day with something sweet. A chocolate-covered pretzel from my Christmas stocking made for a yummy dessert.

How often—if at all—do you order lunch out at work (or go out to eat at a restaurant)?

2014

Hello, and welcome to a brand new year! I love a fresh start!

What better way to kick off the New Year than by sharing some of my resolutions/goals for the month ahead? Some are small and some will take more effort, but all are things I hope to accomplish in 2014.

Eat healthier and lose some weight.

Well isn’t this super cliché? ;-)

The truth is, my clothes are starting to get tight and I’m uncomfortable. I attribute 80% of this to the holiday season, and I know I should be able to shed the extra 5 lbs. by not eating Christmas cookies and chocolates all the time. The other 20% of the problem are habits that I will always have—like eating dessert—but that I usually balance with regular exercise (which has also become quite lax over the past few weeks).

I plan to accomplish this—at first, at least—by tracking what I’m eating and my exercise using the MyFitnessPal app.

MyFitnessPal

If you use the app, let’s be friends—I’m ELukes25.

I know that I need to use this to help keep myself accountable, at least for a few weeks until I get back in my normal swing of things.

Acknowledge “everyone’s” birthday.

This isn’t really a “resolution,” but just something I want to do. This year, I’m making it a point to give all of my family members birthday cards (starting with my Aunt, whose birthday happens to be New Year’s Day!).

Birthday Cards

Obviously, I give cards to Chris/my parents/my sister on their birthdays, but I’m extending it out to aunts/uncles/cousins/etc. this year… just a little something to brighten their day.

Take more pictures.

I make this resolution every year, but I always have trouble following through with it. I’m not talking pictures of food (clearly, I’ve got that under control), but pictures of family events and stuff that I do throughout the year.

Sonoma_5

Our vacation was one exception!

Right now, my only functioning camera is my iPhone, so I made need to work on getting a “real” camera sometime soon.

Keep my priorities straight.

This is the “big” one. Lately, I’ve been thinking about why I left teaching. The #1 reason? I was stressed to the maximum. Why was I stressed? Yes, I did have a lot of work to do for my job—yeah, like the one that actually paid the bills—but I also added all sorts of unnecessary stresses to my life. For example, this blog. Yes, I enjoy writing, but no one lives or dies by one of my blog posts.

The same goes for exercising. It’s okay to miss a workout or choose to do something—like finally decorate our house or tackle one of my many organizational tasks!—instead of getting to the gym one evening.

This year, I want to be focused more on what’s important and less on the stuff that really won’t matter at the end of the day.

I hope you all have a fantastic start to 2014!

Are you making any resolutions this year?

Sunday Snapshots: 12/22

Oh, hey.

Last night, when I told Chris how long it had been since I blogged, he said: “that’s okay, they need a break from you.” LOL Is that true, guys?!

I hope not, because I’m back! I’m sure you can all understand the brief hiatus—the holidays are just so busy. Thankfully, I’m all caught up and finished with my Christmas shopping. All that’s left to do is a little wrapping and I’m good to go.

Let’s take a look at what I’ve been up to…

On Thursday evening, I met my friend Sara for dinner. I got a garden salad (they’re big) with steak skewers. I always need to get salads at this place (Austin’s, for any locals) because I’m obsessed with the strawberry dressing they have.

Of course I needed dessert, too, which came in the form of a delicious brownie.

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I just downloaded the “A Beautiful Mess” app on my iPhone, hence the graffiti and <3

Friday was my long-awaited half day at work + Christmas shopping. Who knew Christmas shopping could be so exhausting? I was out from 12:00PM-5:30PM, and I came home and went to bed immediately. I went to bed at 5:30PM—who does that?

Saturday morning, I was up early (obviously, with a 5:30PM bedtime), and eventually made my way to spin class. Then, Chris and I had some errands to run, followed by lunch back at home. After our lunch (Subway sandwiches), I dug into one of my Christmas gifts from Sara—a piece of chocolate from my “chocolate library.”

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Yum

I spent the rest of the afternoon making cookies, and before I knew it, it was time to get ready for our dinner reservations.

So, funny story…

I mentioned in Tuesday’s post that we had reservations at a restaurant named Lotus. Yeah, no. I didn’t realize until I went to find our gift card on Saturday afternoon that the restaurant was called Nectar. Where did I get the name Lotus from?! It’s one thing to be confused—it’s another to actually book a reservation at the wrong restaurant you came up with off the top of your head. Luckily, I was able to cancel our reservation at the wrong restaurant and set one up at the right place.

I started dinner with a cranberry margarita.

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I told Chris this “tasted like college”—whatever that means (it was a good thing, though)

I went with sushi for my entree—a seasonal pumpkin roll and a tempura shrimp spicy salmon roll. I’m no sushi connoisseur, but this was the best I’ve ever had.

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Tempura shrimp up top, pumpkin below

We also shared some lobster fried rice.

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It had decent-sized chunks of lobster

I never go out to dinner without getting dessert, and even though I was pretty full I couldn’t pass up the mini doughnuts.

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The coffee caramel dipping sauce was my favorite

It was a wonderful dinner and I definitely hope to go back to Lotus Nectar soon!

Today was spent at my parents house, celebrating Christmas Eve a few days early. I somehow managed to take zero pictures. We ate chicken marsala with penne + side salads and rolls. I also consumed enough cookies to last a lifetime… or at least until tomorrow.

Fingers crossed tomorrow passes quickly, although I have a feeling it will be slow with so many people on vacation. My schedule for the next two weeks is work a day, have off two days, work two days, have off two days… not bad. :-)

How often do you order dessert when you go out to eat? 100% of the time for this lady.

Sunday Snapshots – 12/15

*** Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $100 shopping spree to Swanson Vitamins! It’s only open until midnight tonight! ***

Has this weekend totally flown by for anyone else? Happily, I realized that last week was my final full work week for 2013—woohoo! I have a 1/2 day this coming Friday (I plan to use it to finish up last minute Christmas shopping), then I have off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Having some time off on the horizon definitely makes Sunday evening more bearable, don’t you agree?

Here’s my weekend recap in pictures…

Stuffed French toast

Peanut butter, banana, and bacon stuffed French toast… delicious at the time, and kind of disgusting when I thought about it later.

Appetizers

Appetizer spread for dinner last night while it snowed outside—so glad I had this idea!

Moscato

Barefoot Moscato to wash down the apps. (Side note: This wine is delicious and cheap!)

Sleepy Stewie

This is what the rest of our Saturday night looked like… wild.

Peppermint mocha

First Peppermint Mocha of the season was enjoyed post-grocery shopping today.

Yep, that’s about it… the snow kept us in for the majority of the day yesterday, which was perfectly fine by me. I cleaned, wrapped presents, and then ate delicious food. I think appetizers are my new “thing.”

On the workout front, I haven’t done much of anything. My last trip to the gym was Thursday (my gym is officially closed now, so group exercise will be my primary option until mid-March). I couldn’t even bring myself to update my Workout Log with “rest day,” as I wasn’t resting but rather just being lazy… it happens. Tomorrow starts a new week. :-)

Did it snow where you live this weekend?

What’s your favorite appetizer? One pizza bite and I go off the rails.

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