Colorado

I’ve learned a few things since moving to Colorado.

My skin type is not combination. It is, in fact, dry to normal. It just took me awhile to figure out why my bb cream was making my skin look all flaky.

After weather cold enough to freeze the pipes of the sprinkler system at work (even with antifreeze that should work to -18 degrees), 19 degrees and sunny feels downright comfortable. I’m expecting sunny 30 degree weather to only require a sweatshirt.

Even after 6 months to adjust to the altitude, I really should stop at 2 drinks if they include whisky.

Body oil, hot shower, lotion is the magic formula.

As ridiculous as you might find people who put their dogs in shoes, out of consideration for your apartment floors you become one of them.

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And she swims too…

Yup, I swam today! I took a swim class as one of my college PEs but I haven’t swum laps since.

I finally caved and joined UGA’s gym after hearing about how skank the pool near my house seems and after finding out that the nicer public pool is only open on weekends. I also checked to make sure that UGA has kickboards a pull buoys you can borrow while there. They do! I freaking love using the buoy, even though it’s supposed to make it harder (since it puts all the focus on your arms). My flutter kick has always been my weakest point (assuming we don’t factor something like butterfly into the equation) and I’m actually best at breast stroke. My legs got pretty tired doing it, but it was so much easier than freestyle. I don’t trust myself to do backstroke while swimming in a straight line, and I was sharing a lane, so I didn’t even try…

Today’s workout called for a 30 minute swim and a 25 minute run. I reversed those a little and ran 18 minutes to the gym, enrolled, swam for 30ish minutes (might have been a few short) and ran 7 more minutes, and finished the way home with a walk.

The swim included lots of rests and I’m embarrassed to say that I came up sputtering a few times. I was stopping for 15-20 seconds after each lap for awhile and even when I decided to not really rest, I would still stand and turn around. As I get stronger I’ll have to stop that. I’ll admit I wanted to quit after 5 minutes, and then 10, but I told myself that I should do at least 15 to not look like a total loser. And after that I figured I could do another 10 minutes… I think I started a few minutes before 5:30 and was marking my time by the 5 minute marks, so I’m rounding up to a full 30 🙂 As soon as I walked out of the gym my arms were hurting though. I’m not looking forward to handling books at work tomorrow!

Even with resting as much as I did I think I probably covered 15-20 laps (I really should have kept count) which is about the triathlon distance of 400 meters. As long as I can do 16 laps without stopping I’ll be good to go… Now can I accomplish that in seven weeks? We’ll see.

I’m sorry about another pictureless post, but I wanted to share my swim experience and now I’m happily fed (sushi and miso soup) but exhausted… Good night!

See Cat Bike?

Hey! It’s been awhile, eh?

My second summer class started on my birthday and didn’t end till this past Thursday. I would have done a lot better in the class had I not forgotten about two of the online reading quizzes. I’m pretty annoyed with myself for that.

In any case, I promise I’ll recap my birthday soon, but it deserves it’s own post. It was great, I’ll tell you that much!

I don’t really have any pictures for you, but I thought I’d share my latest obsession, other than Burn to Run.

About a week and a half ago I was getting really frustrated with my lack of time to exercise so I got the idea into my head that I should pump up my bicycle tires and dig out our saddle bags and started biking to work. I’m loving it! I take wipes with me and a chance of clothes for once I get to work and love the feeling I get from knowing I’ve already gotten in a workout.

What’s even better, though, is that I really feel like I am getting a workout. With running I’m constantly fighting to breathe and it is always, always my lungs that slow me down or cause me to quit early. With biking I can make my quads burn as much or as little as I want and I may be breathing heavily at the top of a hill, but I can still breathe. I don’t know, I just really love being able to push myself like that. Hubs still calls me slow though.

I love it so much that I made Hubs bike to the farmer’s market with me this morning, about 10 miles round trip, and I want to go on another ride tomorrow! I’m going to give my legs a break tomorrow though, or maybe go on a run. We’ll see!

I just wanted to share my new exercise interest! I’ve also joined Daily Mile, if anyone wants to find me!

In other news, I start training for that triathlon that I haven’t signed up for yet… I’m still too chicken about the swim, but I’ll be going for my first pool workout on Thursday! I’ll let you know how that goes!

Farmer love

Happy Saturday! I finally have pictures for you!

I managed not to sleep till 10:30 today (actually woke up soon after 8) and after rousing Hubs and a shower, we headed out for many adventures.

First off, breakfast, was Dunkin Donuts. I know Tina loves their iced coffee, and it was only 99 cents, so I figured I’d try one, without milk (you know, being lactose intolerant and all). As you can see, I got some sugar though! It was pretty good! The first few sips definitely had some crunch to them… I haven’t consumed raw sugar in awhile, so it was a bit surprising, but I got over it 🙂

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(Athenians, hazard a guess as to which intersection this is?)

I also finally got to try their veggie egg white flat bread and definitely should have asked for no cheese (it all melted to the back end and I definitely didn’t miss it). It was actually pretty tasty, if a bit disconcerting to have this perfectly formed triangle with bits of color mixed in. I could still taste some of the vegetables though, I like me some veggies though.

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Yes, I drive a stick, and yes, the gear shift comes horizontally out of the center consol. I ❤ my car.

Next stop was the Farmer’s Market! We slept through it last weekend but made a point of going to day. It was busy!!! And there were some new farmers who weren’t there last fall. (I have no idea who any of these people are, but I bought from both of the vendors pictured, tomatoes and basil from the guy on the right edge and squash from the left most man (in the background). Both were very friendly, helpful, knowledgeable. There’s one guy that I won’t buy from because he spoke to me like I was an idiot at some point last year…

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We came home with spring onions, baby potatoes, tomatoes, a bunch of basil, red butter lettuce (a huge head!), squash, and sugar snap peas for $19.

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Funny story about the sugar snap peas… Hubs and I were talking while still scouting out the selection, he about how last time he had some they didn’t sit well with him and I was just saying how I don’t like them when one of the farmers that we like a lot came around his table and offered us a sample of some. These are so sweet! I’ve only ever bought them from the grocery store before and they never have any flavor. Now I see where they get their name… We continued our walk and then went right back to him, he asked whether he sold me and I said yup! (also bought the lettuce from him). See kids? It pays to buy local and organic, the flavor is so much richer!

The green squash is called clarimore and I’ve forgotten what he called the yellow zucchini. I can’t seem to find the name online.

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Each tomato is a different variety, which to some extent is a shame because I won’t know what to look for next week.

Everything but the lettuce is smaller than you would find at the grocery store but the flavor is so much more intense because it hasn’t been dulled with super plant food or pesticides, it all has the chance to soak up the real flavor of the earth. And the smaller, the sweeter, as the tomato guy and various websites as I was trying to find the squash names. You want them young and sweet. Seriously guys, check out your local farmers market. The food probably won’t officially be labeled organic because the certification is often too expensive for small farmers to obtain, but just talk to them. The guy who sold me the sugar snap peas told me last year that everything is definitely organic at ours. Plus once something has come into season, the prices will be comparable to your big chain grocery store but the flavors will be twice as intense. You won’t be disappointed.

*steps down from soapbox*

Later, after Hubs cleaned the bathroom and I wrestled with trying to connect my computer to the cable modem (our wireless hub seems to have died), I bribed Hubs with lunch at Chickfila (not my best decision) because he had a coupon for a free sandwich (last time we went my wrap took forever to be made so the manager offered us two free sandwiches). The desire for better contact solution at the nearby CVS might have played a part in his willingness.

We’ve kind of been go-go-go all day. We came straight home and took the dogs on a walk! We kept it a lot shorter (still a good half hour probably) so other than getting tired, Gypsy stayed healthy (she’s the grey one). I never realize how small she is until I see her in photos or am around other dogs.

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Ignore my pointy hair, when I wear my bangs down I part it on the side it’s not used to (does that make sense?) to hide a cowlick on the right side of my forehead (my right). I guess I didn’t specifically smooth it down while I was blow drying it this morning.

Ollie! So excited! (Sorry about the camera string, blame Hubs!)

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(As a side note, the little bugger peed on me twice today. The first time I happened to be sitting on the floor when he was let out of the crate so it was an unfortunately typical I’ve-been-locked-up-and-I’m-so-excited-to-see-you sprinkle. We usually rush him straight out the door to avoid this. The second time he was quietly resting on my lap when he shifted and it suddenly got very warm. That one was unusual. Good news is, most of my jeans are now clean.)

A Gypsy glare (a nice change from her typical depressed though!)

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After the walk, I got in touch with my mom and she tried to help me with the internet, to no avail. We ended up driving up to Best Buy to buy a new router (which works sooooo much better than the old one, hello streaming video!) and stopped by Target to buy Ollie a new leash. His old one was once Rose’s (sigh) and technically pink. The clasp was also broken so he could wriggle away from me at times. Now he has a nice, manly blue.

I snacked on some hummus and Wheat Thins at some point (if you must know) and then Hubs and I made a farmers market dinner! Seriously, everything but the salad dressing, hummus, craisins, and the okra were bought this morning, meaning it was all picked within the last 48 hours. So, so fresh and flavorful!

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For the dressing I made Ange’s Better Than Bottled Balsamic vinaigrette but you know, I had to work with what we had, so I used red wine vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar, yellow mustard, and (I’m ashamed to say) Eggo syrup instead of real maple. It was still really good though! I doubled the recipe so I can have it on salads at lunch this week.

My salad had butter lettuce, a few pieces of onion, some sliced basil (this added so much!) a wonderfully fresh tomato, some red pepper hummus, and craisins. Basil is definitely my favorite herb. Please expect to see a vegan caprese salad sometime this week!

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Hubs also roasted up two of our potatoes, one yellow zucchini, one clarimore squash, two onions, and some frozen okra (what can I say, he’s obsessed). Seasoned with salt and oregano, I believe. The potatoes were softer and almost creamier than any I’ve had before (and free of pesticides! Very important as anyone who’s read In Defense of Food will agree). The texture was smoother… I don’t think of potatoes as being grainy, but they almost seem so in comparison with these.

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Look at that beautiful yellow ring of flesh in the zucchini! Hubs and I both agreed that the flavor reminded us of tea! It was interesting, in a good way!

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The squash was sweeter, and maybe just slightly nuttier? than regular squash. I couldn’t quite decide what was different. I absolutely love summer squash though and I’m so excited that the season is arriving!

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One disappointment was finding a much better option for breakfast when we arrived. There’s a restaurant called Farm 255 who’s mission statement begins with the lines:  Farm 255 is a restaurant that seeks to reconnect food to its roots & people to their food. We serve local, seasonal, & sustainable food for supper nightly. In addition to the Farm we manage Full Moon Farms, an organic/biodynamic animal and vegetable production farm in Athens.

Their menu changes daily, depending on what crops they are able to bring in from the farm. I love, love, love their food philosophy but they are quite out of our price range so I have yet to eat there. Maybe for my birthday! Hubs asked me what I wanted and I told him a nice dinner out…

But to get on with the story… at lunch time they have a small cart (called Farm Cart, of course) out of which they serve sandwiches (haven’t had one of those either). As we were walking up to the farmer’s market today I squealed with excitement “Farm Cart is here!”, which quickly turned to disappointment when I realized that we’d just eaten (as in, had to sit for an extra minute in the car for me to finish eating). They weren’t ever there last fall when we went, but I found them on Twitter and hopefully they will make it a regular thing. They had a good line today!

Okay, I know this has been a monster of a post, but I want to add one more thing. I can’t wait until we move! Currently our options for walking the dogs is a 3/4 mile loop around the block or having to walk them under the highway. Neither of which is very appealing for anyone involved so we walk them a lot less than we should. Jack Russells are known for being hyper dogs, but Ollie has been so much better behaved today. He never sleeps in the middle of the day anymore, but he sat with me for a good half hour while I read (before watering my lap) and now he’s lying on the couch beside me, hiding under a pillow (they’re also diggers):

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But once we move across town at the end of July we’ll have sidewalks galore and new neighborhoods to explore. Plus the apartment complex has a dog play area, which will hopefully be fenced in by the time we move!

Today has been a really good day and I just had to share it with you! I know this has been terribly long, but I hope you enjoyed it!

My inspirations

Howdy friends! My apologies for the absence. I’m really into my books right now and not so much cooking, studying or blogging. My Google reader has been extremely neglected too. But I have not forgotten about you, friends!

My last attempt at food creativity was a good two weeks ago, when I attempted to modify and make Post Punk Kitchen’s snobby joes. I remembered that I needed a can of tomato paste for it, but other than that it was loosely based.

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These were still tasty, but not quite what the creator meant for them to be I would imagine. The biggest difference was subbing some of a bag of a frozen pepper and onion mix for the yellow onion and green pepper. It would have been so much better with fresh onion. That and my oregano expired. Oh and I forgot I was halving the recipe so it was a tad heavy on the tomato paste. More lycopene for me!

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In other news, after almost following the spring training plan I picked up for a week, I then took the weekend and next week off. Of course. Silly book. I blame Diana Gabaldon, though this is what broke the weekend:

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Hubs’s new toy. (Looks kinda like a bug, doesn’t it?) Also known as death mobile. Notice the lack of back rest or even handles for the second rider. Yeah….

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If ever you are looking for an inner thigh workout, my friends, get your mate a crotch rocket. Or a jet ski. Either one will work.

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In any case, I’m back on the training wagon: pounded out a three mile run (without music! so refreshing) followed by level one of the Jillian’s 30 Day Shred. I’m finally able to do all of the reps! Not saying I’m not making some rather unfeminine noises as I do so, but I’m doing it!

I’m done with my evening lab, so I’m going to see how it works as written. Tomorrow’s the last day of class! Then I have a week and a half till the final… Can’t I just get it over with?

I also really, really want to do this: Tri to Beat Cancer.

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It’s local and it would be my first! And since I’m taking classes I can use the school’s pool for free to train for the 400 m swim. I just need to get another one piece and get my bike tuned up. And scrounge up $80 for the entrance fee…

And, its only two weeks after fall semester begins and my schedule gets insane. Can we say taper period? 😀

I’m pretty stoked.

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I’m also pretty stoked that my buddy Julie (whose blog Julie vs. Vegetables you should all be reading) gave me my very first blog award!

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Here are the rules:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. List who gave the award to you and use a link to her/his blog.
3. List 10 things that make you happy.

  • Date nights with Hubs
  • My silly puppy (currently wet on my lap, he was playing peeping tom to my shower so got pulled in)
  • A fast, easy run that makes me feel like I can do anything
  • Cuddling on the couch with said puppy and a really good book (been spending too much time on this lately!
  • A good sweat (assuming I’m seeking one out, not just from a walk across campus)
  • Drinks with my running buddy (who I haven’t seen in weeks and is about to graduate)
  • Girl talk with bff Alex
  • My ‘stories’: Glee and Vampire Diaries
  • That perfect 68 degrees and sunny which is so elusive in the south
  • A new semester or race that gives me a new direction to head in, a new goal to meet, new drive in life.

4. Pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blog to let them know about the award.

  • Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point: One of my most favorite healthy living bloggers. I love her sense of humor. I wish we could be real life friends! (I’d say that about everyone here though.) Plus its her birthday!!!
  • Lo of Honey Nut Lo: For always makin’ me crack a smile with her outrageous weekend recaps. Keep them coming, lady!
  • Ashley of Health Ashley: Officially a vegan ultra-runner. Totally an inspiration and someone I hope to actually meet in person this summer! (Come on Bondi Band, send her to Atlanta!) She’s so sweet and I could really learn a lot from her.
  • Frayed Laces: What can I say, another inspiration. Both grad student and ultra-athlete, training to complete her first half Ironman in two months. Seriously makes me think that my beginning foray into athleticism while working full time and taking classes just might be possible.

An awesome weekend, all around!

I could have put up half of this post yesterday, but I was having much too grand a time lounging on the couch with the puppies and Drums of Autumn.

I mean really, who can deny this:

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(Yes, my shirt says Born to Knit and the skull has a ball of yarn with knitting needles sticking out of its head/eyes 😀 )

But this is what Hubs and I have been eating all weekend long:

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Looks yummy right? Well I can actually share the recipe today, but just a warning, it makes a ton:

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Hubs was browsing around for dinner ideas Thursday night and found one on Epicurious for vegetarian couscous.

We pretty much followed the recipe but left out the chickpeas (he’s allergic and I just don’t like them), subbed craisins for dried currants, and only had one bunch of scallions because I just assumed it only called for one. No cilantro either, for the same reasons as the chickpeas.

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It was pretty good! Next time I would definitely double the amount of spices used because I couldn’t taste them at all. But we literally both had good sized portions and then filled 5 tupperware containers with the rest!

Other than eating lots of couscous, my weekend was pretty awesome (and the food was pretty good too!). I got pretty much all of my reading done Saturday (because honestly, reading a chapter on Darwin in a bio textbook just isn’t the same as reading the actual Origin of Species which I did about this time last year. kids stuff.), we took the dogs to the dog park, gave them a bath, and I hiked some trails at the state botanical gardens with Sarah. So pretty!

Sunday I cleaned the tub and grocery shopped and basically lay on the couch reading until Alex got off work after which we ran/walked the mile and a half up to five points for some ice cream. She’s trying to get back into running, and I needed the extra motivation!

Dinner tonight was pretty good too. I’m reading up on everyone’s blogs from over the weekend (its a process, you know!) and came across Angela’s Protein Power Bowl recipe

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This one require a few more substitutions since we didn’t have everything on hand. Hubs sauteed a zucchini, summer squash, frozen okra, one small onion, and some canned mixed vegetables in some evoo and I cooked 1 1/3 cup quinoa in 2 2/3 cup water. After the quinoa was cooked I mixed in some Trader Joes sesame ginger dressing (because it the lid is broken so I figured we should use it up) and served the veggies on top with a handful of cashews.

(confession: I always forget to rinse quinoa before cooking it. I’ve never rinsed it, it just never occurs to me and we don’t have a fine enough strainer anyway. Maybe the next bag we buy of it I will)

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Yum yum yummy! I went light with the dressing and Hubs added more to his, but I honestly was happy with out being able to taste it! Next time I’ll just leave it as an option for him.

I loooooooove zucchini, summer squash, and okra. This dish made me very happy!

And as a side note, these things are much to accessible:

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I won the ‘guess how many jelly beans in the water bottle’ game on Easter (guessed: 337, actual: 296). Hubs decided he was going to use the water bottle so pour the jelly beans in a coffee mug where they call to you anytime you walk through the kitchen. They’re nearly gone too. That means I’ve eaten over 100 jelly beans this week. That seems like a lot!

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Whether or not I’ve mentioned it on the blog, I’ve been lacking all inspiration to run since the second half marathon. I completely blame the weather too, 80 degree weather in April is not appreciated, it’s supposed to still be in the 70s! But today I read Andrea’s blog post about starting Hal Higdon’s spring training plan and found my inspiration!

His spring training plans are meant to fill the 12 weeks between Chicago’s LaSalle Bank Shamrock Shuffle and the start of his 18 week training plan for the Chicago LaSalle Bank marathon. No real goal in mind other than improving your running fitness. Sounds perfect to me!

I’ve decided to try the intermediate level plan which might be a tad ambitious after having taken a full month off of running. It has a person running 6 days a week which is way more than I’ve ever done, so I may drop a few days off the plan, but I started strong today with a three mile run (in 31 minutes) followed by level one of the 30 Day Shred for the strength component of the day. My arms are le tired (link not for the delicate of ear) and I’m pleasantly drowsy after such a hot workout and filling dinner. I’m not sure I’ll even bother staying awake to read for a bit!

Goodnight y’all!

Thoughts on labels

Well I’m afraid I really don’t have much to share today. This has been a pretty mundane week, but I’m caught up in my bio class! This is particularly exciting since I have a test on Tuesday…

Monday I took Ollie out on our first attempt at a run. We did two miles with a run/walk of somewhere around 30 seconds for each interval. He loved it once he got over how scary traffic is. He’s quite the chicken. Anytime we approach a human or a dog he stops to let them pass. And big dogs, off their leash? “Pick me up! pick me up! pick me up! Save me!” He gets over it eventually though, he opened up a lot at the dog park today.

I tried to take him out again on Thursday but the weather has hit the 80s here in the south and I quickly began dripping sweat, so we just went for a long walk and ran the downhills. I didn’t want to risk his over heating!

I tried another recipe out of The Vegetarian Bible today, an asparagus and pea fricassee with eggs. The shallot and white wine gravy is the only thing that took awhile, and I probably should have cooked it even longer than I did. It could have stood to be a tad thicker. I had no idea what I was looking for though. I think the eggs are only there for protein and perhaps a different texture.

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The book recommends serving this with new potatoes and dark greens, but we had fries earlier and had it as is for dinner 🙂

I really like the lay-out and how informative this cookbook is but a lot of the recipes involve dairy, which I’m trying to avoid (I swear its helping my skin clear up a bit!). I’d really like to get my hand on Veganomicon to take a peek inside. I looked for vegan cookbooks on UGA library’s website and they only have a book about vegan cupcakes. Tasty, but not quite life-sustaining. My library account is currently blocked (overdue book, oooops…) but as soon as I get that turned back in I’ll probably see if I can find it through the statewide university library system.

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Thoughts on Veganism…

At the Orlando meet-up there was brief conversation between some non-vegans about what would hold them back from going full-on. Most said ice cream, I said eggs I was totally in love with eggs before that weekend, and then we were out. But since then, I really haven’t had any interest in them lately, just like I haven’t had any interest in meat in the last few weeks. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks, how my instincts change. I’ve lost my taste for fast food (except Arby’s fries, though I was satisfied after 2-3 today), so that’s good. The most difficult part for me, if I were to try to go vegan, would be avoiding the dairy used to bake breads. Or the animal products used in bottling beer (except Guinness!) and clarifying wine. Or the gelatin in gum and hard candies, though really I never buy gum.

I’ve been avoiding dairy because I’m somewhat lactose intolerant. I can handle pizza cheese and I love a good goat cheese, plus I’ll eat yogurt on occasion, but the after affects of yogurt, cream cheese, and such aren’t really worth it to me. My skin has been very uncooperative since I changed birth control back in November, breaking out like it never did during puberty. During the weeks before my half marathons when I made the effort to eat cleaner, I also tried to eliminate dairy and I feel like my skin cleared up because of it. Some would say its because of how acidifying dairy is to the body, but I’m not sure how much I believe all of that. If it works, that’s good enough for me 🙂 Now I should probably cut back to alcohol just a few times a week, instead of every night.

Basically, just like I haven’t gone so far to call myself a vegetarian, I doubt I’ll label myself a vegan (unless it helps a waiter understand why I’m making special requests or gets me out of dissections in lab 🙂 ). I don’t want to label myself and then feel like I’ve failed or let myself down when do eat meat or cheese (I do love pizza after all). There are times, like the evening after Disney, when something will jump off a menu at me and sound like the most amazing thing in the world. Like a good pulled pork sandwich. Without a label I have no one to let down, not even myself. Sounds like a happy plan.

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And now, here’s a silly picture of my baby boy:

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This is kind of staged, he does carry the toy around like a frame occasionally, but as soon as I grabbed the camera he dropped it. I love that it looks like a frame.

He also has a squeeky toy that he’s started squeeking at us and it reminds me of the Blue Man Group skit with the Cap’n Crunch

Cereal crunch

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I’m off to watch Harry Potter in bed, goodnight!