Archive | April, 2014

Lazy Girl Fitness — We [Tr]eat You Right

24 Apr

About two months into my plan, and things are creeping along at a snail’s pace. I now weigh in at:


118 pounds. But considering I fell utterly off the gym wagon for two weeks and we just had Easter, I call it a win.

I continue to feel completely unmotivated when it comes to dieting. But that’s because I feel like I already eat pretty well.

Besides my 478 rules internal guidelines, there’s the fact that I really don’t eat much junk food, nor do I eat out very often. I actually just got rid of my Eat This, Not That books because I didn’t eat any of the “this’s” in the first place. Of course there’s always exceptions, like the bag of potato chips I inhaled at Mellow Mushroom on tech Sunday when my main dish was late in coming.

I don’t even like kettle chips. But…hungry!

Still, there’s [a giant, ballroom-sized] room for improvement. Back when I was seeing the acupuncturist, she advised me to always eat protein and fiber at each meal and snack. I’m pretty sure she meant like, green beans and unsalted almonds, or at best apples and peanut butter. But my interpretation is usually something along the lines of Triscuits and cheddar, or avocado (oh, who am I kidding– straight up guacamole) and those seedy Crunchmaster things.

Fact: Gluten-free does not mean “healthy.” It means “no gluten.”

It seems all in all, my daily diet isn’t the worst. But I wanted to put it to the test, so I took the Eat Pretty Quiz. If you don’t mind registering for yet another username and password, and painstakingly entering the food you ate for a whole day, you can take it too. The quiz is supposed to analyze what you eat to see how it impacts physical traits other than weight, such as hair, skin, and nails. My thought was that it would be a good measurement of micronutrition (vitamins, minerals) if nothing else.

I was a little annoyed to find that some of my foods were not even an option, so in those instances I had to choose an approximation. But in the end it was pretty close. Here is what I put:

Disclaimer: although this is accurate in terms of foods I eat often, it would be what I call a Halo Day, and one where I’m not consuming any alcohol, which I do 2-4 days a week.


whole wheat english muffin with cream cheese

hard boiled egg w/ salt and pepper

coffee with half and half and Truvia


can of vegetarian chili

Triscuits (7? 8?)


turkey burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato, dijon

sweet potato fries

steamed broccoli with butter, salt & pepper

2 squares of dark chocolate

 So my score was *drumroll*…..61 out of 100.

The overall calorie count was really low, which made me think I was definitely lowballing the portions.  They said my fat content was high, but I already told you why I’m not concerned with that. My sodium intake was through the roof, probably because of the canned soup (although for the record, I usually eat Amy’s low sodium version, which was not a choice on this quiz). But one neat thing this quiz provides is a chart of what nutrients you’re getting and where they’re coming from. This is my nutrient breakdown, according to what I entered that day:


Not too shabby.


My worst nutrient is vitamin D, but that’s kind of #DUH. It doesn’t occur naturally in many foods, which is why dairy products usually have it added. Living in the South, I think I get plenty from sunshine.

So that’s great and all; in terms of health, I seem to be getting what I need. But of course, most Americans are not vitamin and mineral deficient, yet many of those same Americans are still struggling with weight. I might enjoy shiny hair, but my waistband isn’t budging*.

*BTW, this was a fun twenty minutes: One day I was feeling really skinny after rehearsal so I decided to take my waist measurement. And it was a whole inch less! I was congratulating myself all the way to work when, PSYCH. Turns out I just forgot my prior measurement. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I had written it down and discovered it was in fact the same. However, I can say with authenticity that it is a much looser 28″…really almost 27 3/4″! That counts as something, yes?

Here is another fairly typical weekday of eating:


pack of instant oatmeal with some frozen berries

hard boiled egg (yes, I love eggs)

coffee with Truvia and half & half


whole wheat english muffin with hummus, tomato, and avocado (yes, I love english muffins)


tilapia, broiled with mayo and breadcrumbs

brown rice

steam-in-a-bag mixed vegetables

Yes, the kind with the probably-very-bad-for-you seasoning mixed in. But still,vegetables.

1 glass of wine

chocolate frozen yogurt


mixed nuts


Aaaand….This is me right now:


Of course, weekends look totally different, and totally not as good.


two eggs scrambled with cream cheese and basil

whole wheat toast with butter

two pieces of bacon or turkey bacon

small Starbucks or McDonalds latte. No whip cream, but not because I’m virtuous–I hate the stuff due to an Expired Reddi-Wip Incident.


When breakfast is big, I usually end up scarfing something like pita chips and hummus or tuna fish around 3:00. Maybe with some cut fruit or an applesauce thrown in as a nod to vitamins. But probably not.


Homemade pizza: thin crust premade from Aldi, with marinara sauce, cheese, mushrooms, green peppers, and ground beef or turkey sausage. Probably a whole quarter of a 12″ pizza.

1 or 2 beers


Sneaky bites from T’s Easter bunny

So as you can see, not too much junk food. But as I was taking the Eat Pretty quiz, I recognized one of my big pitfalls: quantity. The quiz wanted you to enter exactly how much you ate. Not just how many crackers and fries, but measurements like tablespoons, cups, etc. of things like butter and the weight of things like burger patties, whereas I usually just eyeball them. I feel like my portions are decently sized, but how can I be sure without measuring? Other factors are at play here too, like how I often forget to take my thyroid medication, and the fact that metabolic rate decreases by about 1% a year after you turn 30 (some sources paint an even dark picture: this one says its starts at age 25!) .

So what do you think? Is it time for me to break down and buy a food scale, or start measuring my meals? One thing’s for sure, I’ve got figurative and physical miles to go before I sleep.






Peanut Butter Cup and Pretzel Terrine

11 Apr

This recipe combines two of mom’s favorite treats: peanut butter cups and pretzels (or as my brother used to say as a tot: prentzels). I don’t know what a Terrine is, but I loosely translate it as “ice cream treat.”

original recipe here

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Three pints of vanilla ice cream*

*Have you ever noticed that recipes never include the cookware you’ll need to make it? It’s like they assume everyone has a fully stocked gourmet kitchen. That was one thing I loved about these two American Girl Cookbooks I had–they always listed the cookware with the ingredients. I mean, is there anything more annoying that starting a recipe, only to find out you don’t own the required materials? (Dammit, I need a lemon zester?!)

A bag of pretzels

Reese’s cups (or D-Tree brand, no judgement), any size

wax paper and a loaf pan* (the original called for parchment paper, but you really can live without it, or at the very least use cheaper wax paper since it’s not going in the oven)

*You can tell this is a Real Snobby Simple recipe by the fact that it’s measured in pints: as you know, all the FANCY SCHMANCY ice cream comes in pints. I used not even quite one plain jane carton. 

Step 1:

Pull the ice cream out of the freezer to soften.

Step 2:

I recommend pretzels that are on the thin side. Mash up some of the pretzels (I didn’t even use half the bag), using whatever method you prefer.

I prefer the toddler stomping method.

I prefer the toddler stomping method.

Or you could be civilized and use a rolling pin. Either way, be sure to put your pretzels in a thick freezer bag to prevent holes and spillage.

Step 3:

Chop the peanut butter cups. I had a 12-pack of standard-size Reese’s, plus maybe four extras leftover from the Sweet Sixty Jar. You could do more or less, according to your taste.

Try not to eat them all.

Try not to eat them all.

Step 4:

Press half the ice cream into the loaf pan. Sprinkle on some of each of the peanut butter cup and pretzel pieces.

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Step 5:

Press the other half of the ice cream on top

Tip for softening ice cream: if you happen to be making something in the oven beforehand, set the ice cream carton on top of the stove. The heat from the oven melts it to the perfect consistency (soft but not a puddle). But learn from my mistakes: put a paper towel under it. #HowNotTo

Tip for softening ice cream: if you happen to be making something in the oven beforehand, set the ice cream carton on top of the stove. The heat from the oven melts it to the perfect consistency (soft but not a puddle). But learn from my mistakes: put a paper towel under it. #HowNotTo

Step 6:

Sprinkle on the rest of the peanut butter cups and pretzels

Step 7:

Freeze anywhere from one hour to two days (to make it slice-able).

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In the end, I recommend not using a foil pan like this. Although it meant that I didn’t need parchment or wax paper, when I went to slice around the terrine to pull it out, the knife went right through the pan.

It didn't slice as well as I'd hoped...but...Look at this deliciousness!

It didn’t slice as well as I’d hoped…but…top notch deliciousness!

DIY Memory Banner Tutorial

10 Apr

Hey, nobody ever said I was good at decorating. Or photography. But I promise, this will be a big hit!

We ended up with TONS of contributions for the jar project, more than double the 60 we needed. I didn’t want to exclude anybody’s memories–they were all so wonderful! By combining several memories that were similar or related, I was able to curate them down to 120–exactly sixty times two! Magic! So I decided to make this supplemental craft. It’s super easy, even for the lazy and disorganized (imagine how easy it would be if you aren’t!).

How to make a Memory Banner

a spin off of this tutorial

You will need:

old greeting cards (or new ones I guess, whatever, I’m cheap)


more labels or a nice pen if you are having a good-handwriting day

Step 1:

If you are interested in upcycling, this is a great use for old greeting cards. I went through a period where I saved ALL of them. I’ve been throwing all but the most special away lately in an attempt to get more organized…I thought more than one box like this was too much. But as you can see, I still had a lot to work with.

I can’t be the only person with a box like this hanging around.

Step 2:

Pick folded cards that are blank on one side of the inside. You’ll be writing or labeling the blank side, and this way you can still save any special notes written in the card (that’s the most important part of cards anyway, right?). Those little thank-you notes that people are always writing on pretty notecards are great for this, and if you’re like me, you probably have one or five cards in there from people and events you don’t even quite remember (or care to remember). Try not to be like me and start reading all the cards or you’ll be at this for hours. Just pick what will look pretty hanging up in a banner, and maybe not too seasonal (unless this project is for a specific holiday). I used about 45 cards to get 60 squares.

Step 3:

Cut a bunch of quadrilaterals out of the cards. The original tutorial used beautiful, even squares, but I didn’t worry too much about the size or shape as long as it was big enough to fit the label (variety is the spice of life). If you’re going to handwrite, you don’t have to worry about even that.

My stack of cut cards

It took exactly one episode of Snapped On-Demand to cut the greeting cards and affix the labels to them and the candy. It would have taken even less time had I been organized with the labels and not have to keep counting to sixty.

Step 4:

Apply the memory labels (leftover from the Sweet Sixty Jar, or if you’re doing only this project you’ll want to make them first) or write your memories on the back of the cards.

Step 5:

Punch holes in the top two corners of each card.

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The cards were all different colors and designs. I didn’t want the banner to be too discordant looking, so after the punching was done I sorted the card pieces, just very generally and vaguely, into a spectrum based on color.

Wreath o’ Cards

Step 6:

Trim a ribbon or string to size, depending on how close or far apart you want the cards. With as many as sixty, you could do a double banner. I ended up doing this on accident because my first spool of ribbon wasn’t long enough.

Craftin’ at rehearsal #likeWHOA

Step 7:

Thread the ribbon or string through the holes. I had two kinds of ribbon: a thin sparkly grosgrain and a wider, satiny ribbon. Just FYI, the thin ribbon was much easier to thread. The wide one kept getting corkscrewed, causing the cards to twist awkwardly instead of hang straight. It took some finessing to get those soldiers back in line. (Again, #HowNotTo)

The thinner ribbon fit perfectly through the punched holes.



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Seems like nothing special, but it makes a great keepsake!

Once, Twice, Sixty Times a Lady

8 Apr

Have your parents turned sixty yet? My dad’s sixtieth is next year, and my mom’s was on Saturday.

I wanted to do something special for her, something requiring forethought, planning, and maybe even some elbow grease. I thought about rigging up one of those personalized, town-wide scavenger hunts, but that sounds like more work than I — and frankly she — are up to (you know I had to get the #lazy from somewhere). I also thought about trying to gift her some kind of experience…sky diving came up (HA)…but nothing suitable came to mind. I mean, we’ve already been to paint-and-drank like four times.


I love my mom so much, I would actually attempt arts & crafts for her.

The problem is that mom and I, although a lot alike personality-wise, don’t really like to do the same kind of things. I mean, she likes to hike to waterfalls and caves and stuff, while I’d rather get brunch and a pedicure. She likes to go to concerts, while Music Midtown made me kind of nauseous. You get the idea.

So eventually, my brother and I put our heads together and came up with an idea that is pure mom: rocks. Lots of people’s mothers garden, but I’m pretty sure mine is the only one who gets home every day, grabs a beer, and arranges rocks in the backyard till sundown. So we pooled our money to take her to the landscape outlet and let her pick out the half-ton of her dreams.


Hmmm...a two ton boulder, perhaps?

Hmmm…a two ton boulder, perhaps?

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Sixty is the new forty, right mom?

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“I love rocks. I love rocks. I love rocks.” – Baby T.


And we have a winner! This Tennessee flagstone with the pink marbling is super cool.

And we have a winner! This Tennessee flagstone with the pink marbling is super-cool.

But I still think it’s nice to have something fun to open and something sugary to eat on your birthday. So I want to share what I all I did with you, complete with tutorials. I feel like these are toeing the line of a how-not-to, but just in case some other unartistic person needs some inspiration and motivation, I just want to show it can be done!

Hooray! It’s Sixty “things we love about mom” presented on chocolate, because, well, chocolate (that’s at least one thing mom and I agree on).

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I dubbed it the Sweet Sixty Jar. I also made a memory garland and a poor man’s ice cream cake, along with a little gag snack.

That doesn’t sound right.

Here are links to the tutorials (will be posted throughout this week):

Sweet Sixty Jar

Memory Garland

Peanut Butter Cup and Pretzel Terrine

Apple Dentures

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Happy 60th to the best mom around!

Apple Dentures

8 Apr

I couldn’t resist adding this bit of goofballiness to mom’s birthday spread. I couldn’t track down the source of the original Pin, but I still wanted to share a quick break down of how it’s done.

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You will need:

Red apples in accordance with how large a party you are serving (the above was made from one gala apple)

Peanut Butter

Mini Marshmallows

Lemon juice

utensils: chef’s knife, pastry brush

Step 1:

Core and chop the apples into rather thin wedges.

This was P's contribution. He's a chopper extraordinaire.

This was P’s contribution. He’s a chopper extraordinaire.

Step 2:

Brush wedges with lemon juice to slow browning.

Shh..don't tell: I used a regular paint brush (brand new, stop judging.)

Shh..don’t tell: I used a regular paint brush (brand new, stop judging.)

Step 3:

Spread peanut butter on a wedge.

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This is a messier recipe than you might think. Pretty sure I ate like ten fingerfuls of PB. But I was just serving these to my mom. If you’re making these for a party, maybe keep some paper towels handy for swiping instead.


Step 4:

Line up mini marshmallows across the widest part of the wedge for the “teeth.”

2014-04-05 00.00.59Step 5:

Spread peanut butter on one side of another wedge, and place on top of the marshmallows.

Peel side out of course.

Peel side out of course.


Tee hee! Snort Snort Chuckle!

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Luckily my mom has a great sense of humor. And these are quite delicious too. I don’t even care for marshmallows much, but it’s a pretty good combo.


Sweet Sixty Jar: Step by Step Tutorial

8 Apr

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My brother and I could have come up with sixty “things we love about mom” between us easily, but I thought it would be more special if her whole family contributed. So we put out a call to the clan for memories. We tried to keep it light because we didn’t want mom to feel like she was witnessing her own funeral (but at the same time…who doesn’t secretly sort of want to do that?).

I’m really upset because I took pictures at every step of the way, and like half of them disappeared into the no man’s land of my phone. So you’ll have to use your imagination.

Sweet Sixty Jar: Step by Step Tutorial

You will need:

sixty candies

a glass container large enough to hold sixty candies

etching cream

letter stickers, stencils, or a really steady hand

duck or masking tape

paint brush or palette knife

self-stick address labels (and a computer and printer, do I really have to say that?)

ribbon and a small note card


The stuff you need, plus some other stuff (I call it cozy clutter).

Step 1:

Start by cleaning your glass jar. I just Windex-ed it down but if there are stubborn stickers or other assorted gunk you might want to dab on some Goo Gone. A note about the jar: I think something with flat sides is preferable to something round, because it’s easier to make the stickers totally flush. You’ll see.

Step 2:

Arrange your stickers on your jar. You can spell out whatever you want: the person’s name or monogram, “Mom,” “Happy Birthday,” whatever. Just be sure your letters are the appropriate size. I spent a really long time in Michael’s scrapbook aisle measuring letters. In the end I picked LOVE because it’s a jar of love, right? The letters I picked were slightly raised–I was worried about that, but it was fine. However, you do want to make sure that you press down really firmly. You do NOT want the etching cream to seep under.

Step 3:

Apply a slice of tape to the jar on either side of your letters, in order to make a sort of column around the word. Again, make sure it’s really stuck down good on the edge. I so wish I had the picture of this step, but you can see it illustrated in the original tutorial here.

Step 4:

Generously blob the etching cream over the letters with a paint brush or palette knife. Me and T used a heavy hand. You don’t want it to seep under the letters or the tape.

Be sure to have someone shake the bottle reeel good.

Step 5:

Wait twenty minutes. The bottle says to wait for one minute, but reviews advised longer. Note: the etching cream won’t dry, so don’t be looking for that.

Step 6:

Rinse off the etching cream in the sink. You can use your hand to scrub it a bit, but I wouldn’t like, buff it or anything.

Step 7:

Peel up the tape and letters. Finally, a picture!


If you look closely you can see the rough edges. That’s from seepage.

Yay! All done with the crafty part!

If you’re very artistic or have a lot of time, you can use stencils or make your own to etch patterns/designs. In theory you can also do this free hand with paint brushes and the etching cream, but it’s all way too ambitious for me. I did plan to use these pretty bird and branch stencils, but it turned out they were silk screens–will not work. (Again, How Not to Do Things).

All Done!

Now it’s time to get your list of memories and thoughts together.

Step 1B:

Get the memories onto the labels. I compiled everyone’s contributions into an excel file and then did a mail merge, but if you aren’t friends with the Office Suite you can always type them directly onto the label template. I used Avery 5160, which is a pretty standard size. You can use whatever size label fits your candy (or choose whatever size candy fits your labels). It might take a little playing with font size and type to make the text fit the way you want it.

Step 2B:

Print the labels out and stick one on each piece of candy. I got a giant bag of fun size chocolate bars on Amazon for–get this–.44 cents! I had a bunch of gift cards from Crowdtap and a free trial of Prime. But the joke’s on me, because the package arrived on the warmest day of the year so far and sat on the stoop for two hours. I think you can imagine what happened.

But even misshapen, it still tastes fine.


My sixty candies just BARELY fit! Whew!

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Step 3B:

If you want, you can slip a background behind the etched part. I used a slice of scrapbook paper. The contrast make the etching more visible.

Secure the scrapbook paper (wrapping paper also works) with a couple of pieces of tape. It doesn't have to live there forever.

Secure the scrapbook paper (wrapping paper also works) with a couple of pieces of tape. It doesn’t have to live there forever.

Tie a ribbon, twine, raffia, or whatever around the top for cuteness, and attach the card. The ribbon is store-bought brand new but I cut this little tag out of some blank stationary I had hanging around.



I wrote this poem my own self (Hallmark, call me).

I'll let you steal my poem if you send cheese dip.

I’ll let you steal my poem if you send cheese dip.

Lazy Girl Fitness — Progress?

3 Apr

You may have noted earlier that I’ve actually been at this since late February. And I’m here to tell you there’s been a lot of road blocks.

On evenings and weekends, the time-suck that is rehearsing a show was compounded by social obligations like spending time with a good friend moving across the country and planning for my mom’s 60th birthday (really good things of course! Which is why I chose to do them instead of exercise). Then, a goodly portion of my precious lunch breaks were taken up by assorted crap: errands that couldn’t be avoided, work hours that had to be made up, lunch meetings…. Also, first me and then T were down with strep throat for a week, and then I had to go to the chiropractor twice a week for three weeks to treat a hairography injury (getting old sucks). And in case you were wondering, my plan to do mini workouts during downtime at rehearsals has happened approximately never.

But on most weeks I’ve been able to fit in about three or four workouts. So, not the ideal 5 or 6 times a week, but it’s a decided improvement over the once or twice (or none) a week of yore. Am I ready for a bikini? [Hell] no. But a few days ago, someone mentioned they can’t believe I had a baby, a compliment I haven’t heard in more than a year. Guys, seriously–I was weirdly slim n’ trim from about months 9 to 18 after T was born. Trimmer than I’d been on my wedding day.


Circa Labor Day 2012. Thank you, nursing and choreographing two back-to-back shows.

That’s really what I’d like to get down to again, but I’m giving myself until September (the date of my friend’s wedding) to reach that goal. One step at a time!

As for now, the difference really is only noticeable to me (P says he can see a difference, but I think he’s just being really supportive. He’s always loved an athletic lady–have you seen his island?).

OK. So, I keep screaming that I hate scales, and I really do. But even though I think the fit of your clothes is a more accurate benchmark than weight (and speaks more to my specific goal), I still need to see if anything is happening in that direction. So I have in fact weighed in a total of three times so far. The second time, and definitely the most depressing, was when I went to the doc for strep (why they need your weight for that in the first place: boggled). Not only had I been working out for a while at that point, but I had barely eaten or drunk in like 60 hours, due to throat fire. And I was still 120* lbs, same as when I started.

Although I’m not focusing on losing weight per se, I estimate my weight (again, thanks to a doctor visit around that time) to be about 109 lbs in the picture above, so clearly some weight droppage, measured or no, is in order.

Flash forward to last week, and the needle has budged downward exactly *drumroll* ….. one and a half pounds *insert kazoo sound*. But nonetheless, I am reaping some benefits. I don’t feel quite as vaguely gross now, and I have noticed increased energy. (Translation: on days when I’m tired I’m still able to function). Here’s a progress shot taken on that day last week.

And as a free bonus, #nomakeup #WHAT

And as a free bonus, #nomakeup #WHAT

Still have quite a ways to go of course. I haven’t noticed any pants falling off yet. (I got excited for five seconds when a size 26 jeans at GAP fit loosely–until I read a review online that they run large. WOMP WOMP).

I also seem to have a pesky deflated baby belly problem.

Oh, T. Good thing you were worth it.

Oh, T. Good thing you were worth it.

I’m not sure that I’m any stronger yet ….I attempted this and almost died.

Seriously, I had to skip 4 the second time around.

I had to skip 4 the second time around.

But I do hope to get a  few more muskles eventually. According to 8th grade health class, muscles are denser but more compact than fat, plus they burn calories even when you’re sitting around writing blog posts. Which fits right in with my smaller dress/ignore the weight rhetoric. So this month I am attempting both of these daily plans simultaneously, even on days when I don’t do anything else workout-wise. I mean, if I can’t manage six tricep dips a day I might as well get off the pot.

*Editor’s Note: 120 lbs has always been some kind of weird line in the sand. The last time I hit that number I was a sophomore in high school, and careened off into a/b land shortly thereafter. Obviously I plan to avoid that now. But still, seeing that number on the scale again fifteen years later started all this. Wouldn’t you avoid scales too?

P.S. I’m the editor. 

Coming up next…

More on my favorite subject: food. And the results of the Eat Pretty Quiz.