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TGIF!

12 Sep

I freaking owned this week!

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I am hoping to do a full overview on Monday, so instead of hearing some shit come out of my mouth look at what I put in it this week:

Loaded-Banana-Breakfast

Loaded bananas for breakfast…I’m indecisive so one has sunflower seed butter, raisins, and pecans and the other one has Justin’ Chocolate Hazelnut butter.  I don’t love hazelnut butter, but I had to toss my Mara Natha almond butter after the recall.  First world problems y’all.

Justins-Chocolate-Hazelnut-Butter

I am usually all sweet potato all the time, but this week I was craving russet potatoes.  I grabbed 2 when I was pillaging the sweet potato section at Giant Eagle and I have a ton of frozen broccoli so this made sense for lunch a few times this week:

Broccoli-Cheese-Stuffed-Potato

And you know I had to take advantage of pumpkin spice being back – I allowed myself to get a dairy-based drink one time!  It would be more often, but Starbucks has yet to switch over to organic, GMO-free milk.  Which is a little crazy considering how much they charge per cup…I swear I’m parked and not driving while taking this picture! 😉

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And then I forgot to take pictures of everything else. The end.

Remember that time I convinced myself that I could just workout at home and I would totes be fine?

povich

Since the Crunch Fitness that opened down at the Waterfront has early morning and late night hours, PLUS they now offer a Barre-based class I decided to bit the bullet.  You gotta do what you gotta do, right?  More on this later.

Crunch-Waterfront-Day1

Also, last night for the Steeler game we had a puppy play date with the emojii dog, Miss Vivien Leigh.  She is that ball of white fluff underneath Bea.  I could not get the girl to sit still long enough for a pic!   She is absolutely adorable and I think you should go follow her on Instagram.  Liberty supervised my flip flop and the puppy chaos.

Puppy-Play-Date-Vivi

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My Semicolon

5 Aug

I’m conflicted about this space.  Some days it feels like the purest expression of myself and what I’m thinking.  Some days it feels like a surreal spotlight I’ve thrust myself into where I have to live up to this “healthy living blogger/running blogger/green blogger” stereotype.  I try very hard to find to the balance between my own privacy and the spirit of what this blog was created for.  I NEVER want this space to seem like a brand I’ve attempted to create for myself (about myself?  of myself?) – that feels so very disingenuous.  I try to keep things here very light-hearted, which is why it’s difficult when my life seems bogged down with anything BUT light-hearted stories or anecdotes.  But, I have to get this out.


 

Real talk?  The last 2 weeks have been a real struggle for me – everything about them has been a struggle.  I’ve been sleeping more than I’ve been doing anything else, except maybe loaf around on the couch and watch TV.  I have turned down invitations to hang out with friends, I haven’t done a single thing physically active since TWO Sundays ago, I’ve been scavenging for food, I haven’t so much as walked my dog.  And it’s not because I’m lazy.  I mean, I can be a lazy person.  I’m not denying that.  But this is more than that.  This feels like my depression, my oldest frenemy.

She reared her ugly face right around the time I got PMS a few weeks ago, but now the bitch is trying to rent a room at my house.  My depression isn’t sadness or sorrow, which I think might be more cathartic.  No, I feel like I’m a toy that’s been run down and my battery light has been blinking for awhile now.  My depression is a spectrum of apathy and drowsiness, the kind which turns your whole life into a long chain of arrested development and procrastination. If you just thought:  “Snap out of it, girl!” – you’ve never struggled with depression.  I would give anything for it to be that easy.  Though, my battle with depression no longer feels like I’m a passenger on a train that’s careening down a hill towards a village with no breaks.  I don’t feel like the village anymore either, so there’s that.  Right now it feels like I barely have the energy to type these words, and I just can’t imagine pulling myself up by the bootstraps right now.  My mind whispers to me all day, trying to lure me right back into my bed with promises of sleep.

We are given so very little time on this planet, and I feel like I’ve wasted so much of mine tangled up in varying degrees of depression.  It’s sickening, but it’s out of my control for the most part.  It’s a very real struggle in my every day life – even on days when I feel fine.  I know the only answer is to keep fighting, keep pushing, keep battling through.  If I could just get my running shoes on and get out the door, I feel like I could jump start something inside me.  Anything would be better than this feeling of just being so drained, so tired, so blah.  Sleep, all of the hours of dreamless sleep, reach for me and I let them take me.  I remember the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college where I fell asleep one afternoon and slept for 4 days straight, waking up to go to the bathroom and eat every now and then.  I truly never want to be in that mental space again:  the sleep, followed by the insomnia; the blog which was just cryptic notes and song lyrics, which was really me screaming for help; the broken trail of friendships because I could just never keep it together; the dark place that is always there, just behind my eyelids.

I don’t talk about it much, because frankly, it’s not a place I like to revisit.  10 years ago, a bomb went off inside me and I just couldn’t contain the blast.  Every single thing I had ever buried deep down inside came spilling out and I was drowning in all of it.  I had the choice whether or not to use a semi-colon or to use a period 10 years ago.  I chose not to end the sentence.  I chose to take the long, winding, treacherous journey that is “dealing with all of the things for all of time.”  I can remember very clearly what that moment felt like – the moment I chose to live – and I think about it often.  I think about it most when I’m feeling…well kind of how I’m feeling right now.  I am not a quitter, even though it seems like everyone quits on me.

I’m not writing this for applause or for sympathy.  Honestly, I’m writing it for myself.  Remembering how far I’ve come since then makes my current mental state seem like something I know I can overcome again.  And again.  And again.   I’ve done it before and I will chose that semi-colon every single fucking time I get the opportunity to do so.  I may have written this for me, but I’m posting it as a public blog entry for you.  Yes, for you.  So that if you’re ever feeling like this, you know that you’re not the only one.  It gets better.  It doesn’t always stay better – some moments, hours, days, weeks, or months are damn harder than others.  But it will get better again.  Every single morning you chose to wake up, the sun will greet you and remind you that after a darkness will always come a light.

Memorial Day Weekend Wrap-Up

27 May

So far, this last weekend was the most relaxing weekend of the year for me.  Low key combined with gorgeous weather – you just can’t ask for more.

I was off work on Saturday, so I spent the majority of the day cleaning my house, shopping, and prepping for parties I would be attending Saturday night – Monday.  I just love a good Memorial Day picnic, don’t you?  🙂  My friends had a little gathering at their house on Saturday, which was random and fun.  I actually didn’t take a single picture because I was having too much fun!

On Sunday, I headed up to New Castle to visit my family and ate the best meal in the history of the world.

Memorial-Day-Food-2014

Lamb on the rod absolutely smothered in hot pepper sauce and garlic sauce, Syrian bread, and a kale-Brussels sprouts salad I made.  So good.  Can you tell I like garlic sauce?  YUMMMMMMMMM!  The key is to dip the Syrian bread in all the garlicy pepper oily lamb sauce.  DO IT!  I also made a Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad, but I didn’t snap a pic (it wasn’t very photogenic anyway!).

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my sister and I ♥

On Monday, Christina and I took advantage of some serious Memorial Day savings at the Ross Park Mall and then I ended up back at my friend’s house for some more festivities.

Memorial-Day-Food-2-2014

Grilled Chicken & Veg Kebobs with veg medley, mushrooms, and baked beans.  More yumness!

Bea Arthur had a smashingly good time with 2 new pals, Gus and Lily!  She found a new bestie in Lily because they both loved being chased and chasing each other.  She was so tired that she passed out on the way home and didn’t wake up once – it was a very nice alternative from the vomiting that the car usually induces.

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I hope everyone else had a wonderful Memorial Day – full of food, family, and freedom!  Thank you for your service, vets!!

#MERICA!

Green Is Good But Sustainability Is Systemic

8 Apr

I don’t talk about sustainability enough on this blog.  The rub of having your masters in sustainability and opening a green business in a city brimming with eco-stewards is that you get all talked out at a certain point.  When you finally do sit sit down to blog, you want to talk about anything else.  This space has become an outlet for all the stuff I love but don’t get to talk about all day:  running and food!

“I feel like I need to commit more time to talk about green living.”

I hate that I even typed that.  What I mean is: I need to commit more time to talk about going beyond green living, into real sustainability.  By no means am I looking down on people who are into green living or use that phrase.  Green is good…great even.  I wish everyone would embrace green lifestyle choices and for the most part, people are pretty happy to jump on the good karma band wagon.  BUT.  And I don’t want to sound pompous when I say this, BUT…to me, the phrase green living has very little meaning.  The phrase itself doesn’t demand self-awareness.  It seems so passive, almost implying that we simply go through our lives and buy products labeled “green” or “eco-friendly” and recycle when it’s convenient and then bask in the awesomeness of our green living.  Understanding sustainability requires us to look beyond packaging and promotions and marketing and our own behaviors/attitudes; it requires us to consider things like social equity and our waste streams and broader systemic implications than just our purchases.  It requires us to think and ask questions and demand answers and improve.  It requires us to walk the walk.  In that spirit, I plan on having more of those conversations in this space.  🙂


 

We are smack dab in the middle of what I like to call “crunch time” at the new house.  We’ve got an appraisal coming up so we need to make sure that the remodel is 100% completed by early next week.  It has really been a struggle to find some kind of balance, but with or without balance this train isn’t slowing down!  I have started to think beyond what is happening now, trying to plan how I will tackle my new enormous yard.  I have so many ideas, but it’s challenging for me to figure out which ones are realistic based on my level of experience and the fact that I have 2 oaf-ish dogs.I grew up in a small house nestled smack dab in the middle of an acre of land in the suburbs.  I am used to having air to breathe, trees, and room to wander.  For the last 5 years, I’ve had to leave my house to find any of those things, but that is about to change in a big way (see below)!  I mean, if the zoning requirements were different in this borough I could have an self-sufficient farmette with the yard we are moving into.  They don’t allow that in West Homestead however, and green my thumb is not.

current-tiny-backyard

our yard now..

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our new yard…

Before May, my goal is to have a recycling center set up, an herb garden planted, a vegetable garden prepped, some kind of rain harvesting set up, and I will make a composter.  Ambitious, no?

The sky is really the limit as far as composting options go, but after a series of trails and errors I have a general idea of what I want.

I don’t think I’m ready for something quite this permanent yet, but ideally this is what I would like to work up to once I know how I want the yard set up:

To begin, I think I like the one below because it seems like it would be easy for someone with very little interest in using a shovel, rake, or biceps.

If I’m unable to get any cooperation from Christina, I may end up with something a little less fancy like this:

I’m shocked at how much less garbage we put out each week when our kitchen scraps get diverted to make compost!  It’s a gratifying feeling when you make something productive {fertilizer} from literal garbage without spending much money.  Composting is one of the simplest examples of a feedback loop.  We have an endless supply of food waste, which will eventually become an endless supply of fertilizer, which will eventually become an endless supply of vegetables, which then turn back into food waste.  That simple model is at the core of sustainability:  consider how a system works, analyze factors that effect it, and then find a way to close the loop/act on the process to get a beneficial outcome.

 

Do you compost?

What kind of system works for you?

 

That Time I Surprised Myself With Awesomeness

25 Feb

Between the weather, work being busy, trying to get the house organized and packed (which I was informed that I am failing miserably at), and PMS, I think I have used up all of my excuses for not sticking to my training plan.  Instead, I have been hibernating, sleeping in, and being a lazy slob in general.

Then, I looked at the calender.  I am running a 5K in 11 days and I have yet to log enough mileage to qualify as even “mildly substantial.”  Womp, Womp.

So in the spirit of failure and un-achieved goals, I forced myself to put on warm clothes and go to the park for a run.  When I left the house, it was lightly snowing and it had just started to cover the streets and sidewalks.  The wind chill was measuring in at 19*F and I was dreading everything that was to come.  Except maybe the iced coffee I knew I would buy on my way home.

I wanted to start out nice and slow, since I feel like I always go hard and then burn out too quickly.  This was advantageous for two reasons actually – the beginning of the trail was covered in patches of ice which were disguised by mud!  Yikes!!

Bridle-Trail-Schelney-Park-Pittsburgh-2

I love the Bridle Trail at Schenley Park.  I love the way it slowly wraps around the side of the hill.  I love how surrounded I feel by natural beauty while at the same time being smack dab in the middle of the city.  The Bridle Trail is never crowded nor is it desolate like the rapey trail by my house.

I think it holds a special place in my heart because I have a lot of good memories here.  When I first moved to the city, I was a mess both emotionally and physically.  I remember coming here for a 5K with my roommate and walking it IN FLIP FLOPS while slightly intoxicated.  I had no idea what I was in for.  That’s so funny to me now for some reason!

Several years later, I did another 5K here – the Greenfield Glide – with some of Christina’s immediate family.  There are actually quite a few cousins missing!  Yes, this is only PART of her immediate family.  Yes, everyone is super close and we see each other all the time.  It is amazing.

Pats-Pack-2012-Greenfield-Glide

We all either walked or ran in memory of her Uncle Pat:  a marathon running, Golden Gloves boxing Irishman with the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met.  I will never forget watching his widow cross the finish line last, emotionally flocked by her adoring children and grandchildren.  It brings me to tears just thinking about how powerful that moment was.

I walked that particular race because I was afraid for people to see me struggle.  I was so new to running that I didn’t even know what chip timing was, so I didn’t even have a chip on!   I laugh thinking about how Christina’s dad was breathing down our necks the whole time, power walking right behind us and challenging us not to let him pass us.  At one point I’m pretty sure he was smoking a cigarette and still managed to finish just ahead of us!  I wasn’t laughing about that 20 lbs. ago but it’s humorous now.

I think of these memories almost every time I run at Schenley and it makes my heart happy.  I must’ve spaced out at some point because I ended up missing a turn and making a wider loop than I had intended.  I ended up having to climb a MONSTER hill only to be welcomed by all of the stairs which take me up to Schenley Oval and eventually my car.

Schenley-Park-Oval-Stairs

Miss Negativity (aka the little voice in my head) was bitching HARD the whole time.  She was throwing herself on the ground and kicking her feet and stomping around and sighing and insisting that she just was not going to do the hill or the steps or any of it.  SO THERE.  Hmph.

But…I had to get back to my car.

When I got to the top of the hill, I had survived.  Surprise, surprise.  And so I made it a point to run the Oval as a sort of victory lap/middle finger to show her that I would be the one to determine where we went and how we got there thankyouverymuch.   I actually continued to run the whole way back to my car.  Who knew?  I finished strong on my so very tired legs, with a huge smile on my face, wings in my heart, and an unusual silence where Miss Negativity is usually filling up space.

I chose to become a runner because I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort zone.  I wanted to be active and become a healthier person.  I never could have imagined all of the things that running has given me.  Then again, running hasn’t given me anything really.  Running has proven to me that I am capable of so much more than I can imagine.  Again and again I am surprised at every one of my achievements.  And yet, I continue to improve every day.  So, really I gave this to myself.

I am at a point in my life where I honestly feel like I am the best version of myself that I have ever known – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  And you know what?  That’s a pretty awesome feeling.

Schenley-Selfie

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