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catching up: job news, running, food

How is it already Thursday???

It seems like we were just chillin’ in Tulsa yesterday, and it’s already been almost a week.  While I kind of feel like my head is spinning, I really wouldn’t mind if all of the next 12 weeks (until our house is done) go just as fast.

This morning I woke up in serious need of a run.  I was just itching to get out there!  It was a welcome change from yesterday’s wake up after which I did not want to go out in the freezing cold and run.   I also was on a deadline with a job application and having some stomach problems, so I didn’t go.  I wonder if maybe the break was just what I needed.  Anyway, I sailed through five miles, happy as a lark (seriously).

Upon arriving back home I did some stretching and downed half a coconut water.  Hydration, hydration.  And a yogurt bowl.

plain greek yogurt, blueberries, 1/2 banana, raw oats and chia seeds

Catching up….our weekend in Tulsa was just as glorious as expected.  Really, one for the books.  While I truly thought there would be a lot of exploring of Tulsa going on…we actually explored very little.  Much of our time was blissfully spent at the house eating, reading by the fire, watching Lost, and sleeping.  We were so happy to have little O by our side – and she was the sweetest little thing all weekend; our family was complete again for 2 whole days.

We weren’t completely lazy the entire time, though.  On Saturday we tried a new restaurant called Cafe Samana that the husband discovered while perfecting his Googling skills.  A little hole in the wall nestled in the center of a plaza on Peoria Street, this restaurant was our match made in Heaven.  We walked in to find that everything in the store was recycled or recyclable – from the papery thin tablecloths to the mismatched vintage glasses.

The vegetarian/vegan options were nearly endless, and everything on the menu sounded delicious.  I ordered the day’s special – the Falafel Sally.

A crisp bed of lettuce served as a base for carrots, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, spicy sprouts, and feta with a cucumber dill dressing, hummus, pita crisps and the star of the show – seasoned chickpea balls.

A last minute mango Kombucha rounded out my meal perfectly.  Meals like this make me happy, from the quaint atmosphere to the eclectic mix of people dining there….it was all good.  And the food was really really delicious.  If we went back I’d actually have a really hard time not getting the same thing again.

Our other non lazy activity was our seven mile run by the river on Sunday morning; I absolutely adored this running path.  We started on a park trail which soon transitioned to the path that runs down Riverside and ends on a two lane road, leading to our weekend home.  Little traffic, nice trail, light breeze, cold temps.  Perfect formula for a successful run.

Lately I’ve been concerned about the husband because his training has been a bit….sketchy.  With his work transition, plus carrying two jobs on the side, he just hasn’t had the time to put in the weekly mileage.  On Sunday, about a mile in, I was trying to think of a way to entertain him, which I’m sure he really appreciated (sarcasm).  So I just started talking.  Telling stories of my youth – from riding my mini bike in the woods beside our old house to how many Accelerated Reader (do you remember this?) points I got in the 5th grade.  What can I say?  I’m an interesting gal.

Anyway, once I started chatting I couldn’t shut up, and I ended up talking his ear off the entire 7 miles.  It was like a dam was broken and I couldn’t hold back the flood of words. heh.  Turns out the husband had an insanely happy run, finishing it out at a sprint (yeah husband!).  I’m pretty sure it was because of my mad entertaining skills.  Either way we finished 7 miles in about an hour and 15 minutes including walk breaks.  Not a time we’d qualify for Boston with by any means, but we were satisfied.

This week has been pretty crazy.  I’ve still been filling out applications like it’s my job, and I got two interviews this week!  Both interviews were for the same position just at different places.  Same job responsibilities, same hours…but a decent amount of difference in pay and 20 minutes apart in location.  For both I would be teaching English classes to international students, which I am so thrilled about; you know how I am about international students.  One of them is a stone’s throw away from the husband’s office, which would be a huge plus (meet for lunch, ride to work together etc), but it’s also the one that pays about $350 a month less.  The other one is about 20 minutes from his office, but only about 10-15 minutes away from our new house.  I’m supposed to go in this afternoon to talk to the latter one a little bit more and meet some of the other instructors.  I’m pretty excited!  I was afraid I’d have to get a random job like Gap or something that I don’t really care about, so I’m just happy to have the chance to do something I love.

We’re also busy this week trying to get our Mini fixed (from getting rear-ended) and back on the market to sell, which is harder than one might think. Blah.  Crazy times, crazy times.  People keep telling me that one day I’ll look back on this time and miss the craziness.  People love to say things like that when your life is turned upside down.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll have some more good (and more definite) news to report on the job front later today.  I hope you’re all having a fanstastic week!

Do you have spring weather where you are?
Our weather seems to be confused, thinking this is November instead of March – it’s freezing!

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nothing sweeter

Happy Friday!

This morning what started out as a bad attitude ended up as an amazing run.  Lately, the husband and I have been trying to do our short runs together before he goes to work in the morning, which works out great because he doesn’t have to do his at lunch, and I can get my workday started extra early.  But this morning, as soon as I opened my eyes I knew it was later than it should be.  We overslept by a good 45 minutes and had to rush just to get ready in time.  I really didn’t feel like driving down to the park to do my run, and I debated between that and just running on the street.  I don’t like to run on the streets by myself out here because there are a lot of loose dogs…but I also really don’t love doing laps where one time around equals less than 1 mile.  But alas I decided to get my butt down to the park and get it done.


I played a little trick by telling myself that I could walk as much as I wanted, but I had to get in the four miles.  Worked like a charm. I ended up not walking at all and finished in record time (for this race training anyway).


I actually started off a bit slow and the first mile was a bit uncomfortable – about 10:30 pace – but I steadily increased my pace throughout and then kicked it into high gear, running the last mile at 8:30.

The whole time I just kept chanting to myself “it’s okay to be uncomfortable!”  One thing I’ve learned about running is that there is a difference between pain and discomfort.  If I’m experiencing pain, I stop.  Because nothing is worth sacrificing my body.  But if I’m just feeling uncomfortable, I take that as a sign to push harder and get through it.  Pushing through discomfort always garners the best results.  Running (at least training for longer distances) isn’t necessarily supposed to easy.  If it was easy, then everyone would do it, right?  If it was easy, then crossing the finish line wouldn’t feel like someone just handed over all you’ve ever wanted wrapped up with a little bow on top.  Hard is worth it.  Uncomfortable is worth it.

I am so excited about this weekend because my BIL and SIL who live in Tulsa are out of town, and they offered to let us (me+husband+Olive) stay at their house.  We miss our furry baby so much it hurts, and nothing could make this weekend better than getting to spend the whole thing with her (and each other). I’m thinking there will be lots of exploring Tulsa, Lost marathons (we’re re-watching all the seasons), naps, photo taking and a long run on Sunday (followed by another nap:).

This past week hasn’t been an easy one.  I’ve been pretty stressed about all the job stuff (read: I don’t have one), and I’ve really been struggling with wishing away time.  I just want to get to June so we can move into our house and feel like we’ve officially transitioned to our new life; this in-between stage doesn’t suit me very well.  I know there is goodness and joy to be found in every stage of life we experience, and I’m trying to step back and focus on all the blessings in my life.  I think the more I try to seek out happiness despite my circumstances, the harder it is to find.  Happiness has to be felt inside, and it stems from contentment and finding joy in the little things – breathing in fresh air, the intense flavor of dark chocolate on the tongue, having the ability to see all the bright colors emerging with the new season. The more I remind myself of how wonderful it is to be able to see, feel, smell and experience every moment of life, the more it becomes ingrained as a natural part of my day.  Moving from the negative to the positive.

And speaking of the positive – this family that I told you about a few months ago is finally getting their sweet little girl this weekend.  I can’t imagine many things that could be sweeter.

Takes a deep breath, wonders at the air rushing out of her lungs and steeps in the peace found in this moment of being alive.

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pink lady

Yesterday I was really feeling the fruits and veggies all day.  Maybe it’s the onset of spring and all the flowery, warm goodness it brings that brought the longing for fresh produce.

It started off in the morning when I woke up craving a strawberry smoothie.  I have no idea where it came from…I haven’t even had a strawberry smoothie in months.  But I could just envision the creamy pink coldness coating my throat as it went down.  I had to have it.

While I normally like to keep things simple, I decided to doctor this lady up a bit by adding a little homemade coconut butter and a half a banana.  I was feeling a little tropical I suppose.

1/2 banana, 1 cup almond milk, 1 handful frozen strawberries, chia seeds and ice

All day long I worked on a cover letter and resume for a job I found the other day.  I’ve been applying for a lot of jobs as of late, all of them jobs I’d be satisfied doing.  But this job is one that I would LOVE to do.  It fits in line with things I really care about, and I know I could be really successful at it.  Needless to say I have a lot invested.  A degree in nutrition is not required, but it is preferred, so I’m trying not to get my hopes up.  But it’s kind of hard to keep them down.  I’ve done all that I can do, so now I’ll just wait.  And keep applying for jobs of course.  The plus to all of it is that I’m getting pretty good at the art of writing cover letters, a task I used to absolutely despise.

Continuing to feed my craving at lunchtime, I pulled out leftovers of a meal I made the other night.  You guys know I love a good stir-fry, and I found this awesome sauce at our local food store the other day.  I always find it really difficult to find a pre-made stir-fry sauce that doesn’t have added sugar, so I nearly jumped up and down in the aisle when I discovered it!

Love teriyaki.  Love pineapple.  That’s all.

At least I thought.  Unfortunately later in the evening, the husband was checking out the ingredients and informed me that it has fish sauce.  FAIL.  I have to be honest – I’ll still continue to eat it until the jar is gone (hello $4), but obviously won’t buy it again.  The search continues.

The sauce really was just as perfect as I thought it would be for my stir-fry, though.  I chopped up a green bell pepper, three carrots, an onion, frozen broccoli and some asparagus, stir-frying it in a bit of olive oil until the veggies were tender.  Then I added about a cup of edamame (protein!) and some raw cashews just for kicks. All served over brown rice.

hi!

One of my absolute favorite meals.  And the husband’s too.  Darn that fish sauce.

————————–

In other news, for those of you who read my post last Friday, you know that I am having a bit of a problem with my blogging workflow right now, and I’m in the market for a new plan.  Yesterday I clicked over to my old blog for a second and happened to notice a post title of a blogger on my old blogroll.  I don’t read Kath’s blog normally, but the title “House Neat Home: Blogging Behind the Scenes” caught my eye, so I clicked on over.

And discovered the coolest little gadget that I didn’t even know existed.

Yes, that would be a wireless SD card.  Aka my dream card.  Am I the only one who thinks it is a huge hassle to constantly be unplugging and plugging in my card? (rhetorical question)  And as you all know, my adapter broke last week, which meant that I couldn’t plug it in at all.  I am so excited about this.

Basically with the wifi card you can take pictures, and if you’re within range of your wireless network (you can program in multiple networks), then the photos will automatically upload to your computer in a folder that you designate.  If you’re outside your network when you take the photos, then it will wirelessly upload them the next time you turn your camera on in your network range.

The only thing I’m still trying to figure out is if it uploads raw images, or just JPEGs.  I need raw, so that could be a deal breaker.  I’ll update as soon as I find out…fingers crossed.

Have any of your heard of this before?  I was so surprised when I found out about it, and I just thought I’d pass it on!

Anyway, this afternoon the husband and I have an appointment with a small business consultation company to talk about some Outbox logistics, so I’m picking him up from work in about a half hour.  There may be a cupcake stop involved later.  Just maybe.

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when in doubt…

Last Friday I got an email from my sweet friend, Amber saying that there would be live music at one of the quaintest little coffee shops in town located in Full Circle Bookstore.  I didn’t know what our evening plans were yet, but the husband and I are always down for live music!  We arrived about an hour late and finally found a seat in the far back corner.  And when I say a seat I really mean a seat.  We shared it.  I never mind having an excuse to get a little closer to the husband anyway ;)

I was so excited to meet Amber for the first time!  She was exactly like I had pictured her, which I think is such a great thing.  I love it when people are so real on their blogs that when you meet them IRL they are exactly as you imagined them.  Amber also had her two cute kiddos and her husband with her, and I loved getting to meet the whole family.  Sadly, the picture of us must have been eaten by my camera because it is no where to be found.

The music was great too – a group of violinists called The Stringents who covered all kinds of old and new songs.  We love groups like that!  Anyway, I got so caught up in talking about our time with Olive over the weekend, and I totally forgot to mention our epic Friday night!

——————–

This morning the husband and I got our mojo back by heading out for our four miler before the sun had even shown its face.  We both had a great run despite the hills, crazy strong wind and a short bout of stomach troubles for me.  It sure felt good to have a great workout already done by 7am.  Love it when we drag ourselves out of bed that early!

After sending the husband off to work and taking a quick shower, I decided to make some breakfast.  After browsing a few recipes online, I finally settled on Angela’s spelt pancake recipe.

It was super easy – just a matter of mixing the dry ingredients and then adding milk!  I actually had to add in more milk after mixing it up because it was a little too thick; other than that I followed the recipe exactly.

plus

equals

These were pretty tasty.  They were maybe a little too dense for my “loving”, but overall not bad.

Also making its debut in my kitchen this morning: coconut butter.  For the last couple of weeks I have not been able to get the smooth, tropical white goodness out of my head.  Last spring I bought my first and only jar because it was on sale at our local health food store.  It was Artisana Cacao Bliss Raw Chocolate Coconut Butter, and it was divine.  Considering I really didn’t want to go spend $10+ on a jar today, I decided to try my hand at making my own.

Unfortunately it turned out to be a little bit harder than I thought, and I ended up looking like this:

Coconut in my hair.  coconut in my eyelashes.  coconut everywhere really.  I didn’t even know it was there until about an hour later, too.  Glad I work from home currently.

Anyway.  I started out by adding 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut to the Vitamix and setting it on variable speed at about 5 or 6.

It seemed to work at first, but then I couldn’t get it to stop sticking to the sides, and I began to feel like I wasn’t making any progress at all.  So I added another 1/2 cup, thinking that it might help to have more, but also hoping I wasn’t just wasting even more of my precious shredded coconut.  This helped for another minute or so, but then the same thing kept happening.

At this point I was getting really frustrated (read: hungry) , so I just slathered some of the coconut chunks (and apple butter!) on my piping hot pancakes and called it breakfast.

But a little while later, I was back at it.  At this point, I was just so mad that it wasn’t working that I probably would have done just about anything to salvage it…so I added more coconut.  One whole cup more.  Desperate times people….

Hallelujah, it worked!  In fact, it worked amazingly well.  Within minutes the mess in my Vitamix had turned into a creamy pool of white just ready to be poured out in one smooth stream.  Beauty.

Lesson learned.  When in doubt, add more coconut. I think that might become my life motto actually…kind of has a nice ring to it.

Now I’m ready to start practicing with add-ins, namely cocoa.  Perfect in a green monster, on an Ezekiel english muffin, as an oatmeal topper and much more!

I definitely think this would also work in a regular food processor as well.

I’m off to work on more job applications.  I’m quickly learning that applying for jobs could be it’s own full-time job, and honestly I wouldn’t really mind it.  Does that exist?

What’s your dream job?  If you could restart at age 18 and do anything you wanted to, what would it be?
I would either go to school for a combination of nutrition and writing or just a degree in writing – like journalism maybe.  With an English Education degree I was somewhat close to that, but it seems maybe not quite close enough.

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weekend photo overload

Another successful weekend in the great OKC.  The husband and I ate and explored until our hearts were content…and we did most of it with the little baby in tow, which made it all the bettter.

We started off Saturday afternoon at Panda Express because it was the only veggie friendly restaurant that had a nice outdoor patio just begging for us to relax on it.

One of my not so healthy loves is lo mein noodles and spring rolls.  mmmm….Asian food.

After lunch we headed down to the Plaza District, a quaint little area in the heart of OKC dotted with vintage shops.  One of our friends from college opened up her own handmade boutique a few years ago, and I’ve been itching to stop by and check it out.  It was just as cute as I’d imagined.

One of the best parts about this little shop is that it’s pet friendly.  We carried O around for awhile, but eventually let her down to make friends with the shop dog.  She wasn’t toooo excited.

And she was a good little baby while her mama tried on some clothes.

After shopping for a bit, we decided to hit up the much talked about little cupcake shop just a couple of miles way.

Cutest little cupcake shop ever!  Even counting the ones in Old Town Alexandria that I fell in love with last fall.  Very quickly I’m finding out that OKC has more than a few things going for it.

I ordered the highly recommended iced coconut latte with soy.  yum!  And the husband and I split this little gem – chocolate cupcake with a mocha chocolate icing.

We liked.

After letting our little snack settle, we were off to our next destination – the Paseo District – for a little walking and sightseeing.

She still loves me:)

And then the long drive back home.  She was tuckered out.

After we picked up Olive at my grandma’s, we were cruising along toward the city when we suddenly looked at each other and we knew exactly what each other was thinking.  Our little family was finally together again, and it felt like everything was right in the world.  I still have moments of weakness when I think to myself “why did we decide to give her up?”  “What were we thinking?”

We’re now 3 weeks down and 13 to go.  Just trying to keep whittling it down.

I spent most of yesterday on the search for a job.  I’m having a bit of a hard time with it.  Sometimes I think I just analyze things too much…and it gets me all stressed out.  I’m hoping to be able to find something this week, but so far I’ve kind of struck out.  Hopefully I’ll have better luck today!

Is there something in your life that you’re having to make an effort to stay positive about?  What do you do to help yourself stay focused on the bright side?


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