Lazy Sunday

 Posted by
May 282012
 

Happy Memorial Day!  I hope everyone had a lovely and fun weekend.

I’ll recap a small part of our Saturday before I share our “Lazy Sunday” = )

Saturday we started our day with a very healthy breakfast:  scramble eggs, turkey bacon and thin bread (can’t remember the real name)

Compared that to eating pizza (more on the pizza below) on  Sunday for breakfast = )

We also took the dogs out to play off-leash, and they had a blast.  The one who got to go off-leash were Alli, Shelby, Tommy and Maddie.  I forgot to take my camera, so I don’t have pictures = (  I have to remember to always have it with me.  Anyway, the gals and the little man had a great time, but because it was a bit hot, didn’t stay out long.  These dogs of ours do not like the heat, they much prefer cold weather, just like me and Carlos.  The only bad thing about this outing is that Tommy ended up hurting his rear left leg.  I hope, not to long from now, we can go ahead and afford the surgery he needs.

After taking the other 4 dogs home, we took Sasha and Argus for a short stroll.  We actually drove to our neighborhood park, but we ended up parking at the elementary school.  We talked in an area that’s between the school and the park its a lovely area and often people take their dogs to play there for a little while.  Argus gets tired pretty fast, and Sasha, being a tripawd, struggles to walk like she used to.  It was a nice walk and both were very happy.  Sasha kept running, then she’d pause for a minute, then she’d run again.  We walked around a jungle gym and these dogs started acting as kids would!  They both slid down the sliding boar, yes, even Sasha.  She seemed unsure at first, but I encouraged her and down she went.  When Sasha and Argus were little, we used to go to a park behind a supermarket called Clemen’s in Trappe, PA.  The jungle gym at this park had a bridge, and for some reason, Sasha always claimed it.  That was her bridge.  Because they grew up playing in jungle gyms, they love them.  I used to want to get one for our yard, but we just never looked for one.  But maybe its still not to late.

Something else I did on Sunday.  Detergent.  I ran out a few days ago, so I went to Walmart to buys Fels Naptha, but the store I went to didn’t carry it.  Carlos had told me he read that some people used ZOTE, so I purcahsed a bar.  A ZOTE pink bar.

I grabbed the other ingredients (borax and washing soda) and got to working.

The process and the end result is the same as when using Fels Naptha, its just pink instead of yellow.  However, we much prefer to use the yellow bar.  The ZOTE was very sticky, and I didn’t like that.  It’s definitely a good alternative if Fels Naptha can’t be found, but I’ll be buying more of the yellow bar for future laundry detergents.

I had not mentioned.  After eating as clean as we could, on Saturday we decided to have a pizza from Roma’s Pizza, the best pizza we’ve had here in Raleigh.  We also shared a small “Philly Cheesesteak.”    On top of this, I cooked Octopus pasta for lunch on Sunday, which made me bloat big time – yummy, but no fun!  And, to end the string of bad eating, for dinner, we had a Chipotle bowl.  We had not been there in about 3 months, and this is a place we used to go to at least once a week.  I must say, I was craving a bowl, and even though I did enjoy it, it was not as special as I remember it.  I guess its because my taste buds are changing and I’m getting used to eating fresh, clean home cooked meals.  Also, this morning my stomach hurt, just like every time I eat Chipotle.  This is one reason we were not going there, I always get sick the after I eat it.  I used to think it was the salsa, so I stopped adding it, but I would still get sick.  Then I reduced the amount of sour cream and cheese, and at time, I would go without both, but I would still get sick.  I really have no idea what it could be, so it was best to stop eating there.  Now I can go for another 3 months (or more) without it.  I plan on making our own bowls.  I prepared some a while back and they were GOOD.  I’ll be sure to share details when I make them again.

Tommy resting last night:

~ Lili

May 282012
 

Carlos and I are eating clean, and we are limited on what sweet treats we can eat.  Not having these ‘treats’, so to speak, can make it difficult to stay on track with eating clean.  And of course, veering off track will have negative effects on the results we want to accomplish in the gym.  So, I made some Ice Pops with chocolate and banana protein powder.

T hey taste pretty good, especially because I used BSN Syntha-6 protein powder, one of the best tasting powders on the market, and our favorite.  It’s a staple in our house.

I even took the time to write down the nutrition information for all three ingredients.

And figured out the nutrition for each ice pop.  Not bad, not bad at all.

I say ice pops are definitely a must in every clean eater’s diet.  They are quick and easy to make, and they are a great treat after dinner or after being outdoors on a hot day.

Next time I plan on adding cocoa powder to make them even more chocolatey.  And I have other recipes I’d like to try.  I’ll share these as I make them = )

~ L.

May 272012
 

Thursday’s dinner should have looked like this:

My attempt came out like this:

And we had side salad.  Carlos’ salad had spinach, mixed greens, cranberries, thinly sliced almonds, feta cheese, evoo and pomegranate vinegar.

My salad was the same minus the almonds and I used rice vinegar.

 

I did a few things differently than the original recipe.  For one, I used skinless, boneless chicken thighs.  I added a few broccoli florets, I didn’t use fresh cilantro, and I forgot to use lime juice.  Even with the changes, both my Carlos and I loved the dish.  I’m definitely making this again and I will make to add fresh cilantro, lime, and I will be adding more broccoli.

For the original recipe, you can click the 1st picture.

~ Liliana

May 252012
 

For the past several days, I have been trying to figure out the best way to write this update.  I am also trying to figure out how I should write my fitness related posts (training, daily eats, body composition changes, etc.)  Honestly, I still don’t know if I will do daily or weekly updates or how I will set-up the posts.  Should I take a picture of my training log or should I create an Excel spreadsheet?  Maybe I should use Google Docs?  I know there are easy ways I could share a screen shot of a spreadsheet or Word table.  Regardless of what I use, I face a bit of a learning curve as I have not shared screen shots online nor used Google Docs.  I’m sure neither of those is hard to learn, it is just a matter of setting time aside, specifically to learn this.

Google Docs vs. Excel Spreadsheet vs. Table on Word?

A few weeks ago, I wrote that I was experiencing lower back pain.  After some thought, I realized that both the bike classes I was participating in and the Arc Trainer were aggravating the issue, so I decided to stop doing as much cardio.  A couple other reasons that helped me arrive at my decision were that I had not been losing any weight, and the bike classes were exhausting.  While feeling tired after a workout is not bad thing – it just means that I pushed myself hard – it is something entirely different if that tiredness never goes away.  I was not allowing myself to sufficiently recuperate after training sessions.  If I want to push myself hard in training, then I must allow my body, and mind, to sufficiently recuperate.  As much as I enjoy the bike classes, they can be physically exhausting and mentally taxing.  Being mentally tired is not at all how I want to feel nor is it healthy.  Additionally, to attain the physique I would like to have, I need to train with weights, heavy weights.  So, it was important that I make a change.

With that said, I have been weight training with heavy weights for the last two months.

Carlos and I started going to the gym together, and it has been fun.  When I go on my own, I have fun and enjoy the workout, but I don’t push myself as much as I should.  Carlos knows I’m strong, whereas I do not believe I am as strong as I actually am.  I have been surprising myself = )

In March, when we started the heavy weight training plan, I could only squat about 90 lbs. on the free standing squat rack.  Now, I’ve squatted 225 lbs. for 2 sets of 5 reps.  They were not deep squats, but it was 225 lbs. nonetheless.  It felt amazing to lift that much; I never imagined being able to do that, I never even thought about it for that matter.  Even though I have gotten strong on squats, leg press and dead-lifts, I am weaker on bench press and pull-ups.  I have always had lack of confidence with these two last exercises.  The most I have recently benched is 90 lbs. for a couple of sets of 3-4 reps.  While 90 lbs. is a great weight, it is not close to what I want to bench.  My goal is to bench 135 lbs. and to do pull-ups off the assisted machine.  To reach both of these goals I need to get stronger, but most importantly, I need to improve my self-confidence.  I also need to learn to visualize myself the way I would like to be.  Like my husband tells me, results are happening; they are just taking a little longer to show than I like.

Patience is not my forte.  But…

For arms and a back like this, weight training is the way to go!

I do love weight training.  Even though training with heavy weights can be draining, it is only physically draining, not mentally draining, like cardio exercise.  In combination with weight training, we are doing our best to eat as clean as possible, and to eat every 3 hours.

In upcoming posts, in addition to sharing the ups and downs of my training, I will share photos of some of our meals and recipes that I attempt to either replicate or create.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll have the courage to take and post training videos = )

~ L.

 

 

May 222012
 

City of Raleigh

Last week and this week I had a few interviews to prepare for, so I was MIA. I was excited about having the opportunity to interview and felt that the interviews went well.  Even though one position would mean a 35-45 minute commute, I was excited and the position sounded very interesting.  The people I met with were very nice and they mention the diversity of the team.  Not only was I happy about the possibility of working, but I was looking forward to learning new skills and learning about an area of companies not many people are familiar with, Human Resources.  Another position was in Recruiting, but this position was less than 2 miles from home.  As you can imagine, I was excited about the short commute.  Ah, the peace of mind that would be, and being used to working in a therapeutic area, its exciting to learn about a different area of a company.

Unfortunately, I was informed today I was not selected for the jobs.  I have been feeling down about how difficult it has been to find employment.  I know the best thing I can do is continue applying for positions, and if I am lucky to be selected for an interview, do my best.  I don’t think I do well during interviews, and a career coach told me that, “interviewing is an acquired skill.” While I know that is true, it is still frustrating to genuinely do your best, and yet your best is not quite cutting it.  I believe in continuous improvement, but at this point I am not sure how to further improve my interviewing skills.

I keep hearing that due to lack of experience I was not selected.  I am not sure what exactly that means.  I have over 10 years’ experience as an Administrative Assistant.  It is a shame companies are not able (or willing) to be specific; it would be so helpful for candidates to do so.  Just like when one’s position is made redundant.

So today, I sit here wondering where I could find a job.  At this point, I’m thinking of working on a cover letter noting that I am willing to relocate at my own expense.  I am disheartened, trying to figure out what else I can do and trying not to think that I am not good enough.  It’s difficult, however, to have a (very) positive outlook.  I am not a pessimist, it takes so much energy to be that negative, but I am just SO disappointed and it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Where are they?!

Fortunately, there are a couple of positions I applied for, and I am waiting to hear back (not to mention all the ones I applied for today!).  Both in the same company, and they are local to the city of Raleigh.  When I commuted to RTP, it took a minimum of 35 minutes, one-way, and with bad traffic it could take between 45-60 minutes, so 1.5-2 hours.  While 35 min. is not too bad of a commute -it certainly could be worse- it adds up and takes a toll in one’s health, in our pockets due to the increasing costs of gasoline, and on the car’s wear and tear.  Finding employment closer to home would be great.  I’ll post an update when I have more to share.

~ Lili

Lazy Sunday

 Posted by
May 132012
 

It’s been a little rainy today, but it has been a nice day.  I prepared some clean meals (lentil soup, protein bars, and I’m marinating chicken) for the week, and a few of the dogs are tired because we took them out for some much needed exercise.  Alli got to go to walk around behind baseball fields and around a high school.  Then we took her home and picked up Shelby and Tommy.  We went to a nice park that we had not been to in a while, and I had forgotten how lovely it is there.  The park is called Blue Jay Point, and Falls Lake is there.  One nice thing about it is that very close to where we park, there is a lake access with beach area, which makes is easy for the dogs to get in and out of the water to swim.  As you can now tell, that’s what the dogs did, they went swimming.  Unfortunately, however, it’ll be the last time we take them there – at least for swimming.  A ranger stopped by and mentioned they are getting strict on their rules no swimming and no off-leash allowed, because people have gotten bitten, twice, in a one-week period.  It is really a shame, its a great spot for dogs to go swimming.  The ranger was really nice; he pet our dogs before he left and even apologized.  He seemed to genuinely feel bad that dogs can no longer swim.

Now for some lazy Sunday pictures (a video coming soon):

Arriving at the baseball fields

 

Gorgeous Alli

 

Carlos and Alli on one of the stairs landing

 

Alli, on our way back home - don't mind the dirty mirror

 

Shelby on the way to Blue Jay Point

 

Tommy on the way to Blue Jay Point

He was ecstatic!

 

Shelby going for a stick

 

S and T both brought it together

A passing boat brought some big wakes to shore.  Here you can see Tommy fighting the wakes.  It was funny to see him get knocked down and pushed inland, but he would not give up, he kept on getting up and trying to swim.

Tommy fighting the waves

 

Shelby taking a break from swimming

 

Tommy, wet, happy and tired, ready to go home (I like this picture, I think C came out nice)

 

After we got home, I prepared some Greek yogurt w/Kashi cereal, blueberries (for me) and a bit of protein powder for taste.

 

Later in the week I’ll share pictures and videos of Sasha and Argus swimming; they also got to go swimming this week = )

 

XO,

~ L.

May 122012
 

Last Sunday I mentioned I was looking forward to Tuesday and Thursday this week.  The reasons were:

  1. On Tuesday, Carlos and planned on a day trip to the beach, with the pack.
  2. Thursday it was Sasha’s 3rd chemo treatment.

We did go to the beach.  We headed to Topsail beach because there we dogs are allowed off-leash thru May 15th.  Our plans were to leave no later than 7 am, but unfortunately, we left much later than we wanted and ended up arriving at the beach around 1 pm.  The ride there was smooth; the dogs behaved really well in the car.  I was concerned Sasha would have a hard time with the car so full, but she was great, no struggle at all!  The pack seemed to know we had arrived; they were taking in all the smells from the ocean.  We had a car full of excited and happy dogs = )  We went straight to the south side of the beach, where is where we can they can go off leash. We parked and Carlos and I went to take a quick view to see how everything looked (few people, clear patch, etc).  It was an amazing view.  The sand was SO soft.  I was anxious and excited to see the fur-ones running around and swimming.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of people.  They were all spread out along the beach, as far out as we could see.  I immediately knew this trip would not work out.  It was OK though, we knew we might not be able to go on the beach with all six dogs.  We didn’t give up right then and there.  We drove to another area and it seemed very promising.  The ocean side had less people, a few had off-leashed dogs, which made us happy to see.  We saw where we could go, but unfortunately, it was a long walk.  Carlos and I and most of the dogs can do the walk, that’s not a problem, but Sasha cannot.  Walking 5 overly-excited dogs who would likely pull on us quite a bit and then walking with our tripwad Sasha, would be difficult.  Sasha can run much easier than she can walk.  When we take her on short walks, she makes quite a few stops before proceeding.  We have a harness to help her out, but it would still be difficult with so many dogs, not to mention we would have had to walk abut a mile to get to a nice uncrowded spot.  It was disappointing to say the least.  And even though the dogs don’t know what was going on, we felt really bad that the trip didn’t work out.  I really wanted all 5 of our dogs in the ocean to get a picture of all of them…it could be Sasha’s last trip, but I have faith that it will not be.

I had thought we could attempt going to the beach again on Monday the 14th, and we could leave a few dogs at our vet’s office, but we won’t be able to.  Hence we are planning on renting a house in October, once Chris picks up his baby girl Maddie.  Renting a house will be convenient because we can take all of them at the same time and also take turns by taking a 2-3 at a time.  Its so peaceful out and I’m looking forward to the fall.

Last Thursday, Sasha was scheduled to have her 3rd chemo treatment.  She has been doing so well after each treatment.  However, for this 3rd treatment, her white blood count was too low to proceed with the treatment.  If we went ahead, she could potentially get an infection, which would not be good.  Instead, the oncologist rescheduled her for this coming Tuesday, and she was sent home with antibiotics. At home she has been doing great and has not lost her appetite.  We have even started giving all of our dogs fish oil.  There are many benefits to giving our pets this beneficial supplement.  You can read information on it here.

I was excited for Thursday because it would be her 3rd and almost last treatment.  We can then get her re-checked to ensure her cancer has not spread.  Please cross your fingers that when we do re-check her, she is clear.   Sasha is a super girl = )

~ L.

May 112012
 

We are almost half way through the year, and I thought it was a good time to check in and see how we are doing with our New Year’s goals.

No matter the goal, it can be hard to stay the course, I know.  If you took a detour, it’s OK,  as long as you get back on the track and don’t give up.  Take little steps if you need to.  I read recently that as long as we keeps moving forward, we are making progress.

With that said, here are my original goals, and ext to each goal I’ve added some ‘updates’ in red.

  1. Post on the blog 2-3 times a week.  As of Monday, May 7, 2012, I have made 35 posts.  Not as many as I should have, had I stuck with my goal.  I am posting more now though, and will continue to do so.
  2. Learn WordPress!  I plan on checking online tutorials and maybe buying a book.  Even though I could find everything there is to learn online, I like to have a book as a reference.  I have not been very good about learning…for some, it overwhelms me.  Enough with the excuse reasons, I have to do it, but there is so much to learn, its frustrating.  Ugh!
  3. Read at least 6 books (fiction, non-fiction, business, and self-help/motivational).  Yeah, not so good on the reading either.  One weekend I felt great and read 2 chapters!  I will get on it though, I know I can, I just have to do it.  Maybe I should reduce the amount?! 
  4. Walk our dogs at least 3 days per week, once a day, around the neighborhood or a nearby park.  Take them to the larger parks at least once over the weekend.  This in addition to all their play time in our yard.  We have been pretty good about taking the dogs out.   While we have not gone on walks as much as I stated in my goal, we do take them to run off-leash, which is actually better exercise for them.  I do plan on walking them though, even for short walks, except on the weekends when we like to take them for longer hikes.
  5. Loose at least 3o lbs by cleaning up my diet and exercising 5-6 days a week.  More to come on this journey.   I’ve lost 4 lbs!  Not much, I know.  However, I have been more consistent with my weight training, which is what I love, and I have been getting stronger.  I also do notice a few differences in body composition, but I am not shrinking, yet.  My diet has not been 100%.  It has been OK, but I can do better, I have to do better.  I’ve been getting very excited and motivated for the strength I’m gaining, sometimes its invigorating.  Today I saw a trainer at my gym, and I like how she looks.  I noticed she had more definition than before, which means two things, she started lifting heavier and cleaned up her diet.  That goes to show that in order to get the results I want, I need to tighten up my diet 100% and stay consistent.  As Napoleon Hill said, “Patience, Persistence, and Perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”  Stay tuned as I do my best to document my daily activities in regards to my training and daily eats.
  6. Start new traditions!  Carlos and I are very easy going and laid back people.  We don’t do many things for our anniversary, birthdays, etc.  It’s never too late to start traditions, so after being married almost 14 years, I would like to start.  However, because we don’t have dog sitters and boarding them would be so expensive, we need to figure out local and inexpensive traditions as well as ones to include the fury gang.  Any ideas are welcome!  Have not come up with traditions I’d like to start.  I also have not looked for any ideas online, so not much effort into this one goal, yet.  I would still like to do something though.
  7. Visit my family in AZ.  We visited them back on June 2010, and had intentions of going again this past summer, but due to our job situation it was not possible.  My plan was to visit them either in the Spring or after the Spring semester at school is over, which would be the end of May.  However, my mom mentioned she’d like to spend another Christmas with the whole family, we might not go until December, to spend the holidays with them – hopefully in Mount Lemon.  This one is dependent on getting employment, and I do not have job prospects..  The job situation is pretty tough out there.  Hopefully soon I am able to find something.  
  8. To not procrastinate!  We have a things (lists) we need to get done around the house, and I think it would be best to tackle them – if possible – before we start new jobs.  This would allow us to have the weekends to do fun projects, relax, and do things we enjoy, such as spending time with our dogs.  I am not going to lie, we have not been very active about house or fun projects.  We are starting to do more about this goal though, so I hope soon I will have some home updates and a fun project or two.

How is everyone else doing with their goals/resolutions?

~L.

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