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Monday, April 30, 2012

Scenes from my weekend - Las Vegas

Quick tabata circuit

The Space Shuttle Enterprise arrived in NYC on Friday and is hanging out in a hangar at JFK

A quick 36 hour trip to Las Vegas for much needed girls' weekend with my sister, cousin and good friend. The other reason we traveled to Vegas - to see Jon Bon Jovi play Tiger Jams, a benefit for the Tiger Woods Foundation.

We arrived Saturday morning. The sun was warm and skies blue. We lunched by the pool and had a massage. We watched movies in our room and chatted, catching up on life. My sister insisted on working out so we came up with a quick tabata circuit to spike her heart rate. It was kind of fun sitting on the couch yelling out the time intervals while she sweated her way through the exercises.

I have mentioned before that I have been a Bon Jovi fan for pretty much my entire life. His music and songs bring back memories of fifth grade field trips and dances in the school cafeteria when Slippery When Wet topped the charts. His music appears again in my life's soundtrack during high school and a summer spent doing a community service project far from home. While the concert wasn't a typical Bon Jovi show (it was just Jon and a back-up band), it was great fun to rock out and watch Jon dance around on stage and do what he does best.

No, we didn't leave the hotel during the 36 hours that we were there. There was no gambling or over-indulging in food and drink. There really wasn't any reason too. It was perfect just to spend time in the company of these women in my life.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Adieu Knee Brace

I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor last Friday, roughly one month after knee surgery. He checked my range of motion and made sure that my new ACL had settled in and taken hold. He asked me to walk down the hall without my brace or crutches.

I had been practicing for this moment. I had been walking around with one or no crutches most of the week, getting used to the feeling of putting more weight on my right leg. As I hobbled down the hall, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. But he called after me and said, "Stop limping." I scrunched up my face and started walking normally.

"You're still limping."


Despite my failure to not limp, my doctor did give me the good news that I could lose my knee brace. Hooray! I was more than ready to be done with my brace. After a month, it felt like a guest who had overstayed their welcome.

Don't get me wrong. My knee brace has some great qualities that I've come to appreciate:

1. Since it's a locked straight-leg brace, it has forced me to kick my feet up and relax which I don't do nearly enough.

2. I've always wanted to accessorize more.

3. It has forced me to work on my pistol squat form - right leg straight, squat down on the left.

4. It has provided an endless source of entertainment for my kids. "Mommy! You have a robot leg!!!!"

5. Most importantly, it has kept my knee safe.

Adieu knee brace. May we never cross paths again.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Change the Conversation - Kook

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about the lessons that I've learned from surfing. I received incredible support here on this blog and elsewhere. However, the post was also shared by a kind reader on a local surfing forum where it wasn't so well received by those who consider themselves "hard core" surfers. After all, I'm a kook - a new surfer.

But, kook is a pejorative term. It's is often used to describe new surfers who are clueless and have no regard or respect for surfing etiquette, thereby endangering themselves and/or others out in the water. In their eyes, I was an overexcited kook who didn't have the right to be out in the water.

Source: John Robison. Surfing Illustrated: A Visual Guide to Wave Riding

At first, as I read through their responses, I was hurt. I felt attacked. I didn't feel safe in my blogging space anymore. But as I read some more, I realized something. They were attacking the image of a kook that they held in their mind and everything that label encompasses - arrogant, privileged, inexperienced, disrespectful, dumb. But that wasn't me or my story. I'm more than that label.

I am a new surfer who is trying to learn to surf the right way by learning technique and water skills; understanding the ocean, waves and currents; and learning and respecting my own limitations.

I am a new surfer who is so well aware of the unique history and culture that surrounds the sport - a mostly male-dominated culture where women often aren't treated on an equal level.

I'm a new surfer who knows that you have to earn your place in the line-up as well as respect others out in the water.

I am a new surfer who has a long way to go but I am committed to putting in the time to improve and to learn both in and out of the water.

I am also a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend and athlete. I'm a runner, swimmer, yogi, spinner, writer, artist, and the tickle police for my kids.

When I was younger, I hated being a newbie whether it was a new school or sport or instrument. There is truth to the myth of the Tiger Mom and the notion that nothing's fun until you're good at it. I wanted to excel at everything that I did, often barreling my way through and pretending that I didn't need help.

Now, I've learned to embrace my newbie-ness whether in surfing or blogging or any other new experience that crosses my path. I'm not afraid of it anymore - not afraid to ask questions, admit that I'm wrong and just learn. To me, being new isn't about fear or failure. It's about excitement and opportunity. After all, we ALL started off new at some point. 

Labels are everywhere. They help our brains organize and sort information. For a type-A person like me, that's really helpful. We all have labels that we attach to ourselves and others. But labels are not what solely defines us. So let's change the conversation and stop judging based on labels. The conversation NEEDS to be changed.

What are your labels and who are you beyond that? How do you handle being a "newbie"? 

{Linking up with Just.Be.Enough to change the conversation}

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Scenes From My Weekend - Williamsburg

Waves in the East River!

Setting up for Smorgasburg

Saturday was a gorgeous day in New York City, perfect for spending quality time outside. We don't often get a chance to visit Williamsburg so that's where we decided to take the boys in the morning. Plus, it meant that we could visit Smorgasburg, an open-air food market that brings together some of the best local food producers. It's full of yummy deliciousness - baked goods, cheese, sweets and a whole lot of prepared food to eat on the spot like pulled pork sandwiches, pizza, pupusas, lobster rolls and Japanese tacos. It also meant that I could restock on Grady's Cold Brew which I have quickly become addicted to.

The boys got a chance to play on the waterfront and throw rocks and sand into the East River. They had fun spotting the Empire State Building and naming the different bridges that we could see. But, they were also anxious to get home because they were expecting a special visitor - Grandma! My mom is in town for the week to help me with the boys while Ed is out of town for work. Thank goodness for family.

It's officially one month since my knee surgery and I finished my second week of physical therapy last week. It doesn't hurt as much when I get on the bike and it actually feels good. I've started using the Pilates reformer and doing step-ups to build strength. On Friday, I could bend my knee 130 degrees.

I definitely felt a change this past weekend. I feel like I gained a few degrees more in my range of motion. I can sit in a chair with my knees comfortable bent and can almost extend my leg fully straight. I walked around for about two hours on Saturday without crutches. While I was tired towards the end, it felt great to MOVE.

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Friday, April 20, 2012


Last fall, I reluctantly joined Twitter. The reason - the whole Missoni for Target debacle. Following Target on Twitter was one of the few ways to get any information about what was going on with sales and online orders. In between trying to find out the status of my orders that were in limbo, I started poking around Twitter.

I started off following the usual suspects - some athletes and celebrities, news outlets and a couple of local people. Then, I started following some runners and other fitness folks. I started reading their blogs. Before I knew it, my Google Reader was full and I was engrossed in the trials and tribulations of ordinary folks training for races or trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.

They were sharing stories of the challenges they have overcome and their drive, commitment and passion for fitting fitness into their lives and maintaining a healthy balance. They were encouraging regardless of whether you were just starting out or were an ultramarathoner. It didn't matter. These people were part of a community that I was instantly drawn into. Frankly, these blogs encouraged me to get back into running and to think more purposefully about living an active life.

I noticed one other thing about all these engaging and inspiring folks. They were all Fitfluential Ambassadors. Fitfluential is a nationwide network of fitness enthusiasts who are sharing their journey online and offline through multiple social media platforms. As I learned more about Fitfluential and experienced the incredible community that they cultivated, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it.

This week, I learned that I was accepted as a Fitfluential Ambassador. I can't tell you how excited and humbled I am to be a part of this group. I wasn't the best athlete growing up but I worked hard. There's a bit part of me that feels like I just made Varsity.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Case of the Swirly-Whirlys

I was planning on writing a different post today but I can't seem to quiet my mind enough to focus. I've been feeling very scattered lately. Busy with work and head deep in a project that frankly, I'm not that excited about. Don't get me wrong. I'm thankful for the work but I just can't seem to motivate myself to sit and actually do it. I spend most of the day with a genuine intention to work 4-5 solid hours before the boys come home from school but I am inevitably distracted by Twitter, Facebook, blogs, physical therapy name it. I guess one of the downsides of working from home and for yourself is that you are ultimately accountable to yourself. Just. Can't. Do. It.

(By the way, I totally suffer from an involuntary Twitter twitch. Before I'm even conscious of doing it, I'm moving my hand to click and check my Twitter feed...every few minutes.)

Normally, I like having a lot on my plate. I like when my days are packed. It forces me to get organized, pull my shit together and just do it. However, my normal bag of tricks do not seem to be working for me. Part of me wonders if my lethargy and lack of motivation is tied to the fact that I can't workout. Exercise is a huge outlet for me and helps to set my mind straight.

I know that I promised that I was going to stop making excuses and to take things one step at a time. However, lately, my mind feels like it's racing a million miles a minute and I can't even slow down. I feel like my son in these pictures, drawn into the bright swirly lines and compelled to spin on and on until he finally falls down.

How do you manage the case of swirly whirlys?

{Linking up with Pour Your Heart Out at Things I Can't Say}

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Memories Captured: Bag of Tricks

I always wonder and worry that you don't get the same amount of attention as your older brother. Do we take note of all the little things you do and say? Do we capture them? It's different being the younger child. For the most part, the novelty and excitement of having a child is gone. Instead of taking 100 pictures a day, you're lucky if we took a 100 pictures during your first three months. You definitely don't have a baby book.

At two and a half, you sure are spirited little character who has no problem speaking what's on your mind...all the time. You are no doubt the boss of the house. You have a funny set of quirks like reciting the 50 states of the USA in song, creating parking lots in every nook and cranny of the house, and painting elephants.

You are constantly holding something in one or both hands, often multiple items. You insist on carrying these items around in a zip lock bag. You sleep with them clutched in your hands or safely tucked under your bed. At two and a half, these are the things that you hold near and dear to your heart, mostly stuffed into your little bag of tricks and treasure boxes.

{I'm linking up with Alison and Galit for Memories Captured}

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Supposed to be Race Day

Today was supposed to be race day. Today I was supposed to run the MORE Magazine/Fitness Magazine Half Marathon in Central Park. But, we all know how that panned out

However, I did decide to go to the race expo on Saturday. It was going to be an amazing day and we had planned on spending the morning in the city with boys anyways. We made a quick stop at the expo so that I could pick up my goody bag. Call me cheap but I paid $85 to register for the race and they wouldn't allow me to defer until next year even though I needed to have surgery so yes, I wanted my race T-shirt.

The energy and excitement at the expo was palpable. It made me a little sad that I wouldn't be toeing the line with all the other runners on Sunday but I've made peace with my situation. One of the highlights of the expo was that I got to meet Michele aka NYC Running Mama who was helping out at the Sparkly Soul booth. I've been following Michele's blog for a while and she's one of the most inspirational and supportive runners and mothers out there.

The boys had a fun at the expo too, mostly because they got to take home thunder sticks. Yes, I do regret the decision to let them bring those home. Jasper, in particular, was very curious about all the activity at the expo - the booths, the transactions and the race registration pick-up. Lately, he's been playing "store" a lot so this got his imagination churning. As soon as we got home, he started setting up a the women's half marathon store. He posted signs all over the house directing you to the goody bag pick-up area. He even made himself a "staff" badge so he was all official. I loved it.

I will admit that there was a part of me that was glad I wasn't running two laps in Central Park in today's warm and humid conditions which might not have led to the race result I was hoping for. But next year, I really hope to be healthy enough to run the More/Fitness Half. I mean, not just run but race.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Humble Pie

Slow walk home

Recovery is a humbling process. Two weeks after surgery, I was finally cleared to start physical therapy on Monday. Up until this point, I have been hobbling around on crutches with my leg confined in a straight-leg knee brace. Each day, I gently tried to nudge a little more flexibility back into my knee by hanging my leg off the side of the bed and trying to bend it. Ouch. I could bend it maybe 30 degrees. Needless to say, I was ready to start rebuilding strength and regaining mobility in my leg.

The crazy thing about living in New York City is that you don't realize how hard it is to get around when you can't walk on your own two feet. I had to call a car service to drive me 8 blocks to physical therapy. 

During my first session, my therapist took some baseline measurements to see how far I could bend my knee, the goal being to have my heel touch my butt when I'm lying on my back. On my first try, I was able to bend it a whopping 80 degrees. My knee felt so taut. I was afraid my leg was either going to snap or slingshot out and kick my therapist in the face. That would have been a great first impression. Afterwards, she taught me three basic exercises. 

At the start of my second session on Wednesday, my therapist told me to hop on the bike. I looked at her in disbelief. Excuse me? Was she joking? Nope. I hobbled over and managed to get on the bike. I could move my leg back and forth along the bottom path of the pedal stroke, basically from 12 o'clock to 9 o'clock (when you look at the spoke of the pedal). The last quadrant seemed completely out of reach. But each time, I tried to stretch my leg a little more. After about 10 minutes, I finally got my leg all the way around. Whoa. Again, I thought that something was going to snap. I did my exercises and learned a couple of new ones. By the end of my visit, I could bend my leg to 105 degrees! I also walked home since my car service left me behind for running about 10 minutes late. Thanks.

I had my third session on Thursday night. It was by and large the same drill as last time. However, I was able to complete a full revolution on the bike after only 3 minutes and I kept it up for a good 10 minutes. At the end of the session, my range of motion had improved to 125 degrees. 

It feels great to start moving my knee more. But, I'm not going to lie, it HURTS. It's incredibly humbling to see everything - your strength, flexibility, and basic muscle coordination - go to zero. It's humbling to have to relearn how to walk. I know that it's going to be a long road to get back to where I was previously.

I also know that I'm making progress. Going from 80 degrees to 125 degrees is huge! I'm also walking without crutches (for the most part). I'm most excited about this. Jasper gets worried when he sees me walking without my crutches and yells, "MOMMY!! You're not supposed to be doing that." Oh yes I am.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

5 Life Lessons I Learned From Surfing

Photo: Oriana Fowler/Surf Simply

A year ago, I was on a beach in Costa Rica doing something I never dreamed of doing - learning to surf. I'm not exaggerating when I say that surfing changed my life. I never would have thought that I would own two surfboards, surf in NYC, religiously check the surf forecast and obsess about anything and everything surf.

For me, surfing felt like I was coming home. Don't get me wrong. I was terrified and it was hard but there was something about being out on the water, the camaraderie, and yes, the hard work that just fit. When I read this post by MizFit, it all made sense to me.

"I am often surprised at how often the things we don't think we'd ever want to do ignite new passion in us when we simply try them with an open heart and open mind."

Photo: Oriana Fowler/Surf Simply

Though the process, I've learned some important lessons that go beyond the water.

1) Check Your Expectations
I am normally not a braggy braggy person. I believe in the idea of hard work and that if you work hard, you will make progress. At the same time, I do have high expectations for myself. I felt like I should "get" surfing and be good at it. I understood what I needed to do technically but I couldn't manage it. I was extremely frustrated. Only when I adjusted my expectations did I start having fun and, consequently, start surfing better. I learned how to be more forgiving of myself.

2) Slow Down
Learning to surf seemed so overwhelming at first. How was I supposed to paddle, catch a wave, stand up on the board and ride the wave at the same time? There were so many things to think about. My surf coach started from the basics and slowly added one new step at a time. He made learning to surf feel manageable and I learned to slow down. For me, this was such an important lesson. I have a tendency to rush through things in life or become overwhelmed when things start piling up (work, family, etc.). Now, instead of being overwhelmed by the big picture, I try to focus on one thing at a time and breathe.

3) Commitment
One of the most important lessons I learned was about commitment. When you paddle out in the ocean, you have to be committed to make it past the breaking waves. If you're not, you will be continually battered and pushed back to shore, exhausted. When you paddle for a wave, you have to be committed to catching the wave.  If you are wishy-washy, you can get into trouble and potentially hurt yourself or another surfer. Surfing taught me to trust my judgement and instincts and to stop second guessing myself.

Photo: Oriana Fowler/Surf Simply

4) Patience
There's a lot of waiting involved in surfing - waiting for the ocean to calm down so that you can paddle out, waiting for a set of waves to approach, waiting for the right wave. I learned to sit on my board and to appreciate the amazing gift it was to be in the ocean.

5) Learn something new
It was an incredible experience to learn something completely new in my mid-30s. How many opportunities do you have to do that? I was so far out of my comfort zone but I think that was why this experience was so rewarding. Yes, I pushed myself physically and mentally. Yes, I fell countless times, got water up my nose and earned new bruises. But, there's something about learning a new sport that made me feel incredibly alive. It made me happy. This experience has made me more open to try new things and to be uncomfortable because the reward is often so great.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Scenes From My Weekend - Easter

This weekend signaled the start of the boys' spring break. After Ed and I realized that vacation actually started on Friday instead of Saturday, we scrambled to find a babysitter for the boys so that we could work. I guess that's one of the downsides of being a freelancer - you're not as clued in to all the official office holidays. Baseball season also kicked off at the end of last week and the boys were excited to watch the first Yankees game of the season.

The boys busied themselves with preparations for Easter. Jasper cut out paper eggs and diligently decorated them while Everett coordinated numerous egg hunts in the house. He hid the handful of plastic eggs that we have in random and not-so-hidden locations around the living room - like on top of the TV console or next to a lamp. He led us around the room to find the eggs. Once we found them, we had to place them in our "cubby." Needless to say, he was well-prepared for the egg hunt at his Grandparents' house on Sunday morning.

I had a follow-up visit with my doctor on Friday. Everything is healing well and I get to start physical therapy today which I am thankful for. I'm itching to start rebuilding my strength and range of motion so that I can finally bend my knee!! Apparently, I was to have started trying to walk on my own using one or no crutches. Oops. I didn't realize that but there was a part of me that was scared too. When I tried to walk at the doctor's office, I was very shaky and wasn't able to do it without the support of my crutches. Even then, I managed only a slight shuffle forward. But since then, I've started putting more weight on my leg and walking around the house using only one crutch. Progress! Two weeks down in the brace. Two more weeks to go.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Watching Bells Beach

I have a confession. I love watching surf contests. I know that I've mentioned it before but I really do. This week was the 2012 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia, the second of ten events on the ASP World Championship Tour. Since the contest was held in Australia, it didn't usually start until about 5pm EST, which meant that I had most of the day to work. On the flip side, that also meant that I spent many late nights watching heat after heat of the contest.

Yesterday, they ran the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals of the Men's event. The first semifinal, Kelly Slater versus Jeremy Flores, was a bit of a bummer. Jeremy never seemed to get into a groove after Kelly scored a 9.93 out of 10 points on his first wave of the heat. Then, when Jeremy finally gets a great ride, he's called for interference. Kelly had taken off on a wave but was too deep on the wave to really get past the section and make it back on the open face. Jeremy took off on the same wave but further down the line and got a good score. But the interference penalty meant that Jeremy's highest scoring wave in the heat would be cut in half, pretty much making it impossible for him to win. Kelly won the heat 15.10 to Jeremy's 7.83. In the second semifinal, Mick Fanning took on Joel Parkinson

Coming into this event, my pick to win the event was either Taj Burrow or Joel. Unfortunately, Taj was eliminated in the third round. Both Joel and Mick have been the guys to beat. Did you know that since 2009, either Mick or Joel has been in every final at Bells Beach? And, in the 13 times that these two have faced off, Joel has won 10 times? Needless to say, it was a great heat and they battled back and forth. Ultimately, Mick (15.83) defeated Joel (14.43).

By that time, it was somewhere past midnight, probably closer to 1am. They weren't going to start the finals for another hour or so and I knew that I had to go to sleep. I really really wanted to say up and watch what would no doubt be an epic final between Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater. Apparently, they didn't disappoint, exchanging wave after wave during the 35-minute heat.  Despite Kelly's full rotation aerial which resulted in a perfect 10-point score, Mick won with 18.80 to Kelly's 18.07. They say that this final is the best in Bell's history.

What gets me time and time again is what a freak of nature Kelly Slater is. I mean, he turned 40 in February and continues to get better and better. But it's not only his surfing ability, it's the fact that he seems to commune with the ocean and the ocean serves him up gorgeous sets of waves right when he needs it or he lands ridiculous aerials that he seems to throw in just for the heck of it.

My favorite heat of the event was in Round 3 - Kelly vs. Nic Muscroft one of the best local surfers. In the last minutes of the heat, Nic earns a 9.5 to take the lead. Kelly needed a score of 8.07 or better to win. In the last minute, a huge set of waves comes in. Not only does Kelly takes off on one but he actually has time to paddle back out and catch another wave before the buzzer. He crushes the wave and throws a Hail Mary aerial at the end and stomps it on the beach. He wins 17.00 vs. 16.30. Freak of nature. 

You can watch videos of the heats here. Just select the round and heat you want to watch from the drop-down menu. I can't wait for the next event - the Billabong Rio Pro beginning on May 9.

Tell me, are you a sports fan? Do you get riled up watching games/matches/contests like I do?

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

No More Making Excuses

On my way home from my doctor's appointment. No, I'm not putting weight on my right leg. It just looks that way because my knee brace has my leg locked in a straight-leg position so there's no much clearance between my foot and the ground. PS: I love my hot pink sneakers!

Lately, I've been reading a lot about the need to get out of our comfort zones - to abandon the tried and true, to be afraid and to experience something new - and how in doing so, you learn, grow, and become stronger. I've been seeing tweets about someone's latest race and/or PR or describing a great run or spin class or otherwise proving how they are getting out there and going after their goals. As I read these, I have automatically thought, "I would totally do that but I'm injured."

I believe in the importance of being uncomfortable. For me, when I think about challenging myself, I usually think about physical tests - a new workout, a hard interval or strength training session, a race, a new sport. But there are so many other ways that I can challenge myself that do not involve being mobile or active.

I've realized that since my surgery, I've been using my recovery as an excuse. While my injury may hold me back from some of the physical challenges and amazing fitness workouts that I want to do, it doesn't and shouldn't hold me back from stepping outside of my comfort zone. Yes, I do know that I have to give my body time to rest and recover and that it's not the ideal time to test my limits. But I'm not saying that. I just think that I've been cocooning myself in the safety of my recovery, which has enabled me to be content with just feeling meh and being a blob on the couch.

Earlier this year, I said that I was going to make it count. So, I'm going to stop using my injury as an excuse. However, I promise I will still ask for help when I can't reach something.

Professionally, I am working hard to build my consulting business and expand the type of work that I do even though it's hard and scary...and hard and scary.

Personally, I'm trying to let go and embrace change, which is somewhat difficult for this Type-A, micro-manager. But this month is going to be a whirlwind. It's going to be messy but we'll make it through OK, just one day at a time.

And, this blog is definitely moving me beyond my comfort zone. Putting my thoughts, experiences and emotions out there to have them embraced (or not) by readers I don't know is definitely forcing this introvert to be a bit more extroverted.

So tell me, what are you doing to move beyond your comfort zone?

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

I slept in on Sunday morning which for me means 8:30am. 8:30am!! I don't think that I've woken up that late in a long time. I could hear Ed and the boys playing outside of our bedroom door but I kind of lingered in a bed a little bit (partially because it takes me a little while to physically get out of bed these days). But, to tell you the truth, I felt a bit guilty about it - for getting extra sleep when Ed's been up with the boys for 2 hours, for savoring a little extra quiet time, and for feeling like I was choosing me over the boys. Definitely a guilty pleasure.

So I'm confessing to you some of my other guilty pleasures. If I confess, I'll feel less guilty right?

1. Cheesy cheesy dance movies like Center Stage, Step Up, and Bring It On. OK, Bring It On isn't technically a dance movie but it's about cheerleading which is like dancing and gymnastics combined, right. I adore these movies. I will watch them over and over again. I don't even need to watch them really. Just have one on in the background.

Source: via Alicia on Pinterest

2. Magazines, especially surfing, fitness and celebrity magazines. My husband finally got sick of me buying US Weekly every week and made me get a subscription but I kind of love going to the newsstand/drugstore/bookstore to buy an issue. I can't read magazines on my iPad. I need to feel the paper between my fingers.

3. Watching episodes of What Not To Wear. I kind of love Clinton and Stacy. While I know the styling lessons they are going to dispense each week, I still love watching it. In fact, it's on right now.

4. Sneaking ice cream and other treats when the kids are asleep. I'm generally a healthy eater and we feed the kids good, healthy food. While they do get treats, sometimes, Mommy needs more treats. So, that means that sometimes I sneak some ice cream at night after they've gone to bed in order to avoid the battle about why Mommy gets to eat ice cream and they don't. We do teach them that ice cream, cookies, and cake are treats and should be eaten in moderation but this my way of avoiding conflict at the end of the day.

5. Milkshakes from Gott's. Every time we visit San Francisco, one of my favorite things to do is get a black and white milkshake from Gott's at the Ferry Building. Divine. Yes, I let the kids have milkshakes here.

6. Avocados. Avocados are one of my favorite foods but they've been out of my life for the past five year. You see, when Jasper was 5 months old, we fed him avocado as one of his first foods. Guess what? Turns out he's allergic to avocados. As a result, avocados are no longer welcome in our household (the shame!!). So now, whenever we eat out or we are away from the kids, I eat avocados.

7. Espresso Brownies with Dulce de Leche from Whimsy & Spice. Deliciousness in a bar.

8. The feeling of exhilaration and accomplishment after a really good workout. This should not be a guilty pleasure...

9. Bon Jovi. Love Bon Jovi. Always have and always will

10. Hiding in the bathroom to read email/FB/Twitter while supposedly showering. OK, this is along the lines of the staying in bed for a few extra minutes. Ed totally knows that I do this which is what makes me feel guilty but sometimes I just need a few extra minutes of quiet.

So tell me, what are your guilty pleasures? Do you hide in the bathroom too?

{I'm linking up with Stasha at Northwest MommyThis week's Monday Listicles come from Miss Marina Star.}

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Salmon and Quinoa Salad

I used to love cooking. I used to love going to the bookstore and pouring over cookbooks and new issues of Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines (am I totally dating myself here?), scribbling recipes into my notebook (Yes, I am dating myself). I used to love going to the grocery store and farmers market, picking up fresh produce and using them as inspiration for new dishes and meals. I used to love making risotto.

Then, we started a family. Yes, I know. It's the trite and typical story about how cooking goes out the door once kids enter the picture. Kind of. After having Jasper, Ed and I were able to cook a real dinner for us most nights. As a baby and toddler, Jasper went to bed at a respectable time (usually between 7-7:30pm) which meant that Ed and I could sit down and have a civilized meal after he went to sleep. When Everett arrived, things became a bit more complicated, having to manage two meals and two bedtimes.

I always thought that I would feed our children the same food that we would eat, and I didn't want to cook two or three separate meals. Unfortunately, that's become a reality in our house. It's partially due to my kids' picky eating habits (Everett is picky but Jasper is more flexible), but it's mainly due to food allergies. Both boys have them. A lot of them which makes introducing new food and cooking interesting meals hard. However, we manage to feed the kids their daily allotment of veggies, protein and carbs. Ed and I, on the other hand, often end up eating yogurt and granola or cereal for dinner because we're tired and frankly, because it's easy.

Lately, I have been getting a little sick of our dinner routine and I can feel that my body is craving vegetables and a real meal. I finally got around to making this delicious honey glazed salmon and quinoa salad - a recipe that I found on The Post Social.

It was super easy to make and didn't take much time. The salmon was moist and tender with a sweet-savory flavor from the honey and mustard glaze. My favorite part was the quinoa salad. The crisp pears, crumbly feta cheese and quinoa melded together in yummy deliciousness. We didn't add fresh mint leaves because we didn't have any and I didn't feel like going to the store.

While we did manage to eat a proper grown-up meal, it was still amongst the chaos of placemats, sippy cups, markers and maracas, but I'll take it. I'm hoping that we can get back to eating regular meals, and I know that I need to make an effort to eat more vegetables.

Tell me, what are you quick and easy go to meals? How do you get your veggies every day?

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