Wednesday, May 29, 2013

.:green(ish) thumb:.

i finally got my garden put together last night! i felt like it has been a long time coming, but i have been waiting to make sure the weather was going to cooperate.

even though we joined a veggie CSA, i have (slowly) fallen in love with gardening. last year, i had a small, easy garden filled with zucchini, tomatoes and peppers. it was pretty awesome to be able to cook with the zucchini that i actually grew or fill my salad with tomatoes i had just picked. remembering that feeling, i had been half-heartedly trying to plan what to harvest this year. here's the deal, i want it to be easy, but i also want it be worthwhile and fill it with things that we eat on a regular basis.

alas, here is the set up that i created last night:.

as i mentioned before, my planning was half-hearted - with the weather we have been having in MN, i feel like everything related to being outside is half-hearted.....
anyway, i drug drew to Menards to help me create on a plan on a whim. the only thing i knew was that i wanted to plant mostly starter plants since it was late in the season. i ended up doing 12 pepper plants, 6 brussel sprouts, 2 strawberries and planted some seeds for spinach and cucumbers. yes, i do realize they are planted close together, but i was trying to maxmize the space that i had. i also think this image appears smaller in this picture than in real life. fingers crossed they don't suffocate each other.
i wanted to do a quick how-to plant a garden - dummy edition. me, being the dummy gardener and learning things as i go, researching them worked last year and i sure hope it will work this year.
1. preparing the soil - you can get really scientific with this, but i don't have time for that and my brain is still burnt out from college physics. so, with a hand rake (yes, hand, i did not want to spend money on a full sized one), i 'tilled' the soil. it was pretty packed down from the LOOONG winter and has a lot of weeds and remnants from last year's garden, so i turned over the soil and tried to get as many stick and leaves out of the way as possible. there were SEVERAL worms and centipedes which are good for the soil, bad for my anxiety - i tried to avoid them. also, i have been battling with this wildfire-like ivy that likes to wrap around my vegetables and suffocates them, so i tried my hardest to dig up the roots which were deep and stronger than i thought a plant could be - i would have skipped my pull-ups at the gym had i known the battle i was in for. anyway, once the soil was turned over and loosened up, i added a layer of "seed starting" soil - i used this last year just to give the natural soil an extra boost and it seemed to work well (i also had 1/2 bag left over from last year, another reason why it was perfect). i also tried to level out the soil as much as possible - it would be a nightmare to plant an entire side of your garden and realize 3/4 of your soil is piled up on the other half.
2. planning - again, who really plans? i looked to see how much space and sun each plant needed (these are printed on the little plastic sticks that label the plant). lucky for me, all of them needed full sun - sarcasm, my front spot is about the only 'full' sun place. oh well, it should do. i laid out the starter plants before i dug holes to make sure i gave them as much space as my little city-garden allowed.
3. planting - make holes big enough to COVER the roots of the starter plants and fill in around it. it is a good idea to 'firm' up the soil around the plant, by pressing the soil down. seeds are slightly different - on the package it will say how deep they need to be, typically around 1/2 - 1 inch. i just dig a little trench that depth, spread out the seeds and cover them.
4. WATER!!! one thing that i noticed last year was that my plants were almost always thirsty especially if it is really sunny or hot. try to water every other day or every day...although with the predicted forecast around here i probably won't need to water until August...
5. weeding - weeding is also important to make sure your plants get enough room and nutrients. i try to pick weeds a couple times a week. be careful of weeds that wrap around your plants, they will suffocate them! take the time to unravel the weed from your precious plant. also, try to pull out the weed's entire root, it will prevent the weed from coming back right away.
and you have a garden! easy peasy - i am probably making avid gardeners cringe, but i will be honest, i don't have the time or desire to spend weeks planning and researching gardening. sorry, not sorry.
last night, i also took my gardening indoors. i have always wanted a plant inside for decoration and oxygen benefits, but we have 2 furry toddlers to worry about, so i bought a big turquoise antique clay pot that (hopefully) they can't tip over and a plant that seemed durable enough to handle a few nibbles. again, i bought it based off its looks and researched it later. this here, friends, is a coleus plant widely known for its colorful leaves and a low maintenance plant which can thrive in the most basic environment.
here is my indoor creation (note: the furry toddler hanging out on the couch already eyeing it):.
i am excited for this to grow in height and volume with hopes that it will fill a particular corner of our house....
this post may be boring to many of you if you are not into gardening, but if you want to give it a shot, it's a cheap hobby to take on. last night i bought the big turquoise pot, 2 - 6 packs of peppers, 1 - 6 pack of brussel sprouts, bag of cucumber seeds, bag of spinach seeds, 2 strawberry plants, another pot for garlic (more on that later), a bag of potting mix and a new pair of gardening gloves for $38.  i didn't even have a coupon - that's less than what i spend per week on vegetables! and seriously, it is pretty darn cool to see these things grow over time.
i am hoping that i will have a lush garden to show you in a few weeks....
always striving for more,
dee b. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

.: i am :.

i am...

these three letters, two words are extremely powerful. what follows these two words can either be empowering or destructive.

how many times a day do you end 'i am' with something destructive? how about empowering?

last night on my way home from work, i stopped at target to get a few things. as i was walking around target, i instantly felt exhausted. the workout that i had carefully constructed for the evening seemed insurmountable. how could that be when i was just so antsy and energetic at my desk? through the exhaustion, i got annoyed with myself. here is how my mind works - i had an open evening with NO plans, if i didn't make it to the gym, then it would be a waste of an evening, right? well, what if i went home, rested for awhile and then went to a late night class? but that would most likely ruin my plans of getting up for a 6 am class (i am having friends over after work and don't have time to workout). heaven forbid that i don't work out tonight, accidentally oversleep tomorrow morning and NOT WORKOUT for 2 whole days. then come saturday, i have the Heart Walk all morning for work which will definitely end in appetizers and drinks which may eliminate any type of motivation to work out on saturday. I CANNOT TAKE 3 DAYS OFF. why didn't i get more sleep this week so i had more energy to workout tonight?!?!

i am lazy. i am unorganized. i am unmotivated. i need to do better.

this is literally how my brain works. on my way home from target, i texted drew to see how his day went and to let him know how TIRED i was and that i needed him to keep me motivated to make it to the gym. his response, less than minute later "whatever you want. i just wanna live life...with you"

simple as that. he clearly did not put himself through the entire thinking process that i had - i spent the rest of the drive home wondering why i put myself through this? when i got home instead of running around the house and cleaning (which i typically do until drew gets home from work), i sat down. yes, SAT DOWN and decided to flip through the archives of my blog. i don't know what i was hoping to find by reading about the past, but i was hoping for some perspective - something that would stop my brain from rationalizing not going to the gym or only working 8 hours at the office when i had an open night and could have worked longer. perspective is exactly what i got.

here is a copy and paste of my goals from my VERY first blog post:.

•**run the boston marathon-which means i must qualify, which means i must run another marathon, which means my knees have to cooperate for training (at the rightful age of 22, i have expensive knees that still suck, more on that later....i suppose)
 •get up tomorrow morning at 6:15 and go for a run.
 •start practicing yoga at least 3 times/week
 •figure out what the heck i want to do with my life (career-wise), more on that later as well....i suppose.
 •clean my room
 •be a good momma and tame my kitten somehow.....
 •become a certified yoga instructor

going through that list, i have almost accomplished all of those goals. running, let alone running the Boston marathon isn't in my cards anymore. in ways, i am pained by that fact, but in other ways, i feel grateful. grateful to have given up running to allow my body and knees to heal. grateful that i can remain extremely active and that i only had to give up running. yoga has become 'my thing', i practice at least 2 times a week. clean my room - drew and i do a pretty good job with keeping our place organized and clean (with 2 cats, it is absolutely necessary to vacuum several times a week). speaking of the cats, i believe i have done a good job 'taming my kitten' who is now 2 years old and a big brother. yes, i know he is just a cat, but i am really glad that he has Helen now - they are complete besties and take care of each other (see recent Instagram picture on the right). become a certified yoga instructor - wow, looking back when i wrote this post, i always thought that was going to be something further down the road. today, i have been a certified yoga instructor for over a year. volunteer - this one isn't as impressive, but i am volunteering tomorrow at the American Heart Association Heart Walk and i plan to continue volunteering at several events hosted through St. Jude.

i realized that i missed one, but i purposely left it for the end:. figure out what the heck i want to do with my life (career-wise). reading this just about brought me tears. the couple posts that followed overviewed my new job as a temp on the phones at UCare and how i was extremely motivated to work hard and earn full-time status. speechless. in a year and a half, i got hired on full-time, was promoted to a quality advocate and made a life-changing career move into my dream job. could i seriously be any luckier?

i was instantly humbled. here i was, beating myself up about not working out that night (especially after eating Blue Door chicken strips and an Izzy's ice cream cone 2 days before), when really i have so much to be thankful for.

i will never be the type to 'settle' for anything, so i realize that i may never give myself the opportunity to relish in my accomplishments, but i can help myself along the way with three letters, two words...

i am hard working. i am healthy. i am motivated. i am safe. i am fed. i am strong. i am talented. i am supported. i am happy. i am blessed.

don't be destructive, empower yourself.

always striving for more,
dee b.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

now what?

many people have asked me if i will continue any of the 'habits' that i have learned through .:get balanced:. my answer to that is, ABSOLUTELY! i would be stupid not!

my first day off .:get balanced:. happened to be the day that drew took the GMAT, so we decided to go out toThe Blue Door Pub followed by ice cream at Izzy's icream - it was unbelievably good!

there were a few reasons why i decided to DIVE back into 'conventional' eating:.

1. i could not take any more hives - even though i drastically cut down on my coconut intake, i was still suffering from hives. couldn't do it any more.

2. i kind of wanted to test how it would feel to go from one end of the spectrum to the complete opposite. before .:get balanced:. i typically ate healthy - which meant i ate mainly veggies and lean protein, but i also treated myself plenty to lots of sugar whether it was desserts, fried food or carbs (bad carbs).

3. my cravings had gone away for the first week and a half of .:GB:. but they were back in full-swing. i really struggled the last few days between the hives and feeling sluggish and unmotivated to complete the full 15 days. i felt like i 'deserved' the splurge.

4. i wanted to celebrate with drew - not only had i been completely disciplined for 15 days, but he had been incredibly discplined studying for the GMAT - he did well and i wanted to treat him to a dinner where he wasn't forced to eat something vegan or gluten-free. we both deserved it.

maybe these rationales sound like excuses, but i really don't care.

throughout the 15 days, a lot of people to me 'i could NEVER give up bread' or 'i could NEVER give up my daily cookie'. well, people, i thought that too. i used to think - 'no matter what
i do, i never lose or gain weight' (yay and nay), 'i workout plenty and am fine with the way i look, so these workshops weren't made for people like me'. WRONG - there are so many physiological
responses to what you eat! it doesn't matter if you can eat whatever you want and stay stick thin or if you look at a cookie and gain 5 lbs. food goes way beyond the physical realm!

going foward for ME:.

i kicked my sugar cravings, so i fully intend to not let myself indulge back into sugars, so i can keep it that way! i am going to be more mindful of gluten and cut it out where i can. i don't believe i need to go completely gluten-free at this point in my life, but i do see and understand the benefits of monitoring it. i am definitely going to continue making a lot of the recipes that were shared and try to expand my recipe repertoire. lastly, supplements. the .:GB:. ladies suggested several supplements to help with digestive health, blood sugar regulation and adrenal health which i plan to try a few out. i actually already bought a probiotic from Whole Foods and am excited to see what benefits it can provide.

for you:.

most people don't do these type of nutrition workshops because they either think they know enough about food and nutrition or they are afraid to figure out truly how bad their diet is. there's always more to learn and knowledge is power! whether you are looking for a complete lifestyle change, want some new recipe ideas or are just curious to learn more about a hollistic approach towards health - check out Prescribe Nutrition either on Facebook or click here for their blog. i could not say enough good things about these ladies - they are sweet, extremely supportive and they meet you where you are in your journey! they make everything accessible and understandable regardless if you are a youthful and running marathons, a health nut or have 4 kids needing to lose 60 lbs. do yourself a favor and check them out - you truly have nothing to lose.

i am off to drink some newfound (and tasty) aloe vera juice - happy almost weekend!

always striving for more,
dee b.