Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"The List" 2013/2014: Accomplishments - Part 2

This is part 2 of a 2-part post. You can read part 1 here.

I did it! I met my goal! Altogether, I accomplished 26 items from my 2013/2014 List - 25 original items and one "bonus" item. That said, I have been horrible about sharing my accomplishments and adventures here on TwentyTenThirty, so to make up for it, I'm serving up a 2-part snapshot-style write-up to knock them all out. Let's do this!

Part 2

51. Spend the night in a castle: When B and I attended HRL's murder mystery dinner party in January 2013 (also known as #15 on the 2013/2014 list), the location was Spicer Castle Inn. Given the name of the Inn where we stayed, I'm totally counting it as an item completed. Yeah, it's a stretch...I'm ok with that.

60. Go to NYC for fun (NOT as a part of a business trip!): OK, so this trip was actually a work trip to start, but I extended it into the weekend, and B flew out to meet me so we could celebrate his 30th birthday in NYC. Yeah, baby! We had a blast, including a stay at a trendy boutique hotel near Columbus Circle, saw a show (Avenue Q), did some sight seeing (Circle Line, High Line, MoMa, etc), and had some great meals (including a great steak dinner at The Smith). Here's the birthday boy in Times Square while we were waiting in line at TKTS.

Wooo! B turns 30!

71. Get a hot stone massage: B and I did this during our recent 'minimoon' in Traverse City at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Aaaah, luxury!
72. Make a snow angel: B and I did this one on Lake Calhoun, the day we encountered a lake dinosaur!!! Confused? You can read about it here.

76. Travel by Nice Ride: According to, Minneapolis is the #1 bike-friendly city in the US. We've enjoyed several "Nice Rides" around the chain of lakes - a great spring/summer activity. AND, I have to point out, bike sharing came to be in MPLS in 2010, WELL BEFORE it was brought to Chicago, NYC, and SF. See? MPLS can totally lead the trends!

79. Lake Minnetonka boat cruise: In June, 2013, my Mom and Step-dad came to visit B and I here in MPLS. I wanted to take them to the Walker Sculpture Garden and other fun outdoor adventures, but the weather chose not to cooperate. Therefore, we had to stick to indoor activities, like a trip to the Mill City Museum. Thankfully, the weather cleared up toward the end of their stay, and we were able to cash in on my Wayzata Bay Charter Groupon for a champagne boat cruise on Lake Minnetonka. It turned out to be a lovely outing, and here's a photo of my Mom and me on the cruise.

I love my Mom!

81. Send photo Christmas cards: I don't know about you, but the majority of Christmas Cards we now receive are photo cards. This year we were busy getting married and whatnot, and since we're still finishing up our thank you notes (so close!), we opted not to send holiday cards. However, last year, we decided to get in on the photo card action -- but we opted to do New Year's cards instead of Christmas cards (I'm still counting it as meeting this goal). 2014 was an awesome year for me, maybe the best I've ever had. Here's a copy of the card we sent to ring in the new year and kick off the kick ass year. It was fun putting our card together (with the help of VistaPrint), and we'll definitely do it again down the road.

2014 was an incredible year!

87. Host a game night: Completed! We hosted a little game night (including Telestrations, one of my favorite party games) as a part of our Wisco ski adventure, so check-check-cha-check-check it out!

93. See Aziz Live!: Aziz is so fun to see live, I checked off this list item twice. B and I saw Aziz live for the first time in 2013 and again in 2014 here in Minneapolis. What a funny little dude. Did you know Aziz studied business in undergrad? What the Whaaat? So glad he found his true passion as an entertainer and comedian! My write up is here.

95. Pay off my car: I crossed this on off the list in early 2014. This is the first car I've owned outright, completely on my own. My dad bought my first car for me from a police auction when I was in high school. It was beat up Hoopty -- some kind Chevy I think? A Cavalier? that sounds right maybe, I don't know, it was old and kind of rusted. For a while, I was driving around with a loose clamp hanging under the car that my friends and I called "Chucky" because of the awful and terrifying noise it made dragging on the pavement. Anwyay, Hoopty died my during freshman year in college. My next car, also gifted to me by family, was a blue Suzuki Esteem (aka "Suzy Suzuki", or it's lesser known name "The Blueberry", or its even lesser known moniker, courtesy of my friend RH, the "Suzuki Self-Esteem"). Suzy Suzuki survived for ~6 years or so, and died on Thanksgiving day, during my drive home to Thanksgiving dinner in the mid 2000s. I was stranded on the side of the road for about an hour waiting for my dad to pick me up and waiting for the tow truck. Shortly after Suzy's untimely end, I leased my third car -- and I now realize that leasing a car is basically like lighting money on fire -- but it helped me to get into a set of wheels quickly. Car three was a Chevy Cobalt, a great and reliable little car. It had a sun roof, and it was awesome. When my lease ended while I was living in Chicago, I finally decided to purchase a car, with my own money, like an adult. My step-dad is a GM retiree, and I was able to cash in on a nice family discount and selected another reliable Chevy, this time a Malibu. I purchased my Malibu while living in Chicago...and now 5+ years after my purchase, that Malibu has less than 30K miles on it. No joke. In Chicago, I public trans-ed it to work, and in Austin, I worked from a home office, so for about 3 years, I basically only drove on the weekends. I'm so happy to own my Malibu outright, and given its low mileage and my diligent vehicle upkeep and maintenance routine (regular oil changes and such), I'm going to be driving this car for many years to come.

98. No Diet Coke for a month: I knocked this one out of the park, kicking the habit for muuuch longer than a month. That said I've recently back slid, and am currently 'off the wagon', but I don't drink it all that often. I know I'd be better off if I once again did away with diet coke entirely, and I'll likely tackle this goal again in early 2015. I wrote about this one here.

102. BONUS - Visit the Southern Hemisphere: I was kind of dreading my recent work trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was right after my wedding, I didn't have a lot of time to mentally prepare for foreign travel to a country, I was woefully unfamiliar with the language, and I was facing an intimidating client environment (Yeah, let's see how chill YOU are leading up to a presentation to an audience that includes 25 global CEOs, followed up by a presentation to an upwards of 100 industry professionals and see how calm you feel about it!!), Of course, the trip turned out to be awesome, incredible, stellar, badass, etc...and I wrote about it here.

99. Get Hitched!: I'm listing this one "out of order", but I wanted to save the best for last. B and I got married in Ann Arbor on a beautiful fall day this past October, and thew a helluva party to celebrate. This life event deserves so much more than a few quippy sentences, and one of my 2015 goals is to organize our memories from this special day. But, for now, I'll let this photo do the talking. One of the best days of my life!

Photo credit: Jesse D. Green Photography

And, that's a wrap on 2013/2014 list tackling. Tune in on New Year's Day 2015 for the new list!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"The List" 2013/2014: Accomplishments - Part 1

I did it! I met my goal! Altogether, I accomplished 26 items from my 2013/2014 List - 25 original items and one "bonus" item. That said, I have been horrible about sharing my accomplishments and adventures here on TwentyTenThirty, so to make up for it, I'm serving up a 2-part snapshot-style write-up to knock them all out. Let's do this!

Part 1

2. Take a Saxophone lesson: I'd been wanting to tackle this one for YEARS! I originally picked up the Alto Sax in 6th grade (or maybe 7th?) and I played for about 4 years before "retiring." I kept my saxophone over all these years, vowing to one day play again, and in August of 2013, I began taking lessons. I picked it up pretty fast, and enjoyed having a creative outlet and a release from the long and hectic consulting hours I was working at the time. I took lessons for about a year (even started learning Jazz!), a year in which I got engaged and planned a wedding and started a new role at work, and...well...I pretty much got the Saxophone out of my system as other priorities nudged their way to the forefront. Maybe I'll pick it up again someday, but for now I'm no longer "bringing Saxy back" (bahahaa! funny!) and my instrument is once again placed on the back burner.

6. See Book of Mormon: B and I completed this one together (he got tix thru a lottery at work), and it was such rambunctious, politically incorrect fun! I wrote about it here.

9. Visit Italy: B and I enjoyed an unbelievable 2 week vacation in Italy in May 2013. During our trip, we visited Rome, Positano and Florence (including day trips to nearby Pisa and Greve) and had some amazing adventures in each destination. Throughout our trip, I journaled our adventures in great detail - over 75 pages worth. But for purposes of documenting here, I'll spare you the 75 page run down and instead share this photo I took inside the Flavian Amphitheater in Rome, more commonly known as the Colosseum. Our tour gave us access to areas that many people don't get to see, including views from the hypogeum (underground), which is where this photo was taken.

That's me in Rome in 2013, in the hypogeum (underground) of the Colosseum.

15. Participate in a murder mystery dinner party: B and I completed this one in early 2013 for HRLs birthday. Such a fun and unique experience, and the full write up is here.

27. Visit Duluth: OK. Let me set the stage. It's New Year's Eve, leading into 2014. We're Way Up North in Duluth, ready to tackle the slopes with our friends. But, Mother Nature has other plans. It's 30 below -- and that's before factoring in the windchill! So, no skiing for us. Still, we had fun in Duluth in our cabin house right on the water.

28. Rent a cabin “up north”: Technically, I've tackled this one twice -- as a part of the above-mentioned Duluth trip, and previously for our early 2013 Wisco Ski Adventure. You'll find a link to that a few items below - #38 "Go Downhill Skiing."

30. Go ice skating: Turns out, I'm terrible at ice skating. B and I went last winter, and I've promised to go again this coming winter, but boy do I suck. The Depot Ice Rink here in downtown MPLS where we went to skate (and will probably go again this year) is pretty cool though.

32. Get out of credit card debt...once and for all!: I'm VERY proud of this one, and I pulled off this feat in 2013. I really owe this accomplishment a much more in-depth write-up than it's going to get here. But, for now I'll just say I racked up a lot of credit card debt in my early adulthood, a result of a strange combination of true necessity and sheer stupidity. After getting my sh** together and toiling through a long period of of careful budgeting and detailed financial planning, I cleaned up that mess. While I'm not proud of getting into debt, I am very proud of taking responsibility and getting out of it on my own. In the process I've emerged as a master saver, and am all-around much more savvy with my finances. My carefully cultivated financial prowess (combined with B's natural saving savvy) even helped us to pay for our pretty nice (if I do say so myself) fall 2014 wedding outright with no lingering debt.

38. Go downhill skiing: Turns out, B's a natural! It's been fun reconnecting with my downhill skiing roots. We'll stick to the Midwest for one more season, and in 2016 I want to introduce B to some "real" skiing out west! Check out my Wisco Ski Adventure entry for details.

41. Visit wine country: During our 2013 Italy trip, B and I visited one of the ULTIMATE wine countries, drinking our way through the wine region of Chianti in Tuscany, not too far outside of Florence (Firenze). We couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous day for our semi-private tour. Our tour included visits to two incredible (and incredibly different) wineries for lessons and tastings, an impressive lunch (with amazing country views!) at Osteria dell'ignorante, and a stop in Greve, considered the unofficial wine capital of Chianti region. The first winery we visited, Castello di Poppiano, is owned by the famed Guicciardini family, and is located in a real, Medieval castle with breathtaking 360 views. This stop included an olive oil tasting as well. The second winery we visited, Solatione, is much smaller, and family run and its unbeatable Chianti Classico wines are not currently available in the states. Both were amazing, and we picked up several bottles at each location. Here is a photo of me at the Castello.

Castello di Poppiano. Is this heaven?

42. Visit my sister in El Paso: B and I spent Thanksgiving 2013 in El Paso visiting my sister and brother-in-law. One of the highlights of our trip was visiting White Sands in NM. The sands were covered in snow, and we had a blast going sledding down the dunes. Here's a pic from our White Sands adventure!

B and me at White Sands doing our Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles impression. Heroes in a half shell!

44. Practice yoga “consistently” (average one or more class a week for at least  8 weeks): Earlier this year in late February, I decided to get back into a regular yoga practice. I found terrific and inviting little studio, right here in Uptown called Your Yoga, and was going 3-4 times a week for a while. I've attended a handful of studios over the years, and this one is the best I've experienced. I fell out of routine this fall (I was only a little busy with the wedding and whatnot, you know), but am now getting back into the groove once again. Meditation, peace, strength and endurance all rolled into one. What's not to love?

45. Complete 21 Day Sugar Detox: I'm so proud of this accomplishment, and I wrote about my progress daily as I experienced this one. You can read a summary of my detox experience here.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming out tomorrow, 12/31!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Beautiful RIO!

By my blog's count, I have completed 8 items on my list.  But, the reality is...I'm extremely far behind at documenting my adventures. My ACTUAL count is 25 completed -- exactly my goal for the original 100 I shared!

For the record, I have accomplished some MAJOR, ULTRA, HUGE items from my list over the past two years. Spoiler alert, I'm now FREE of credit card debt (checked that off a while ago actually....), FREE from car payments, have a passport stamp to prove I took a kickass trip to ITALY with B where we visited the Wine Country of all Wine Countries, oh and yeah, B & I GOT HITCHED!!!! But, I'm not going to write about these things today. Oh, I will write them up some day, but today is not that day.

Today, I am writing about an event that wasn't on my original list, but the experience was so cool, I had to add it as item #102, a "bonus" item on my list. I recently (as in, I just returned on Thur) had the great pleasure of visiting the Southern Hemisphere for the first time ever, on a business trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I had the incredible opportunity to present at a conference with one of my awesome co-workers (shout out to CB! Who I met for the first time in person on this trip (she's located in a different office)! My new work BFF!). And during the trip, we also managed to squeeze in some sight seeing, including a visit to the famous art deco Christo (where I learned that I do, indeed, have a fear of heights).

Before I visited Brazil, I knew very little (ok, zero) Portuguese, and I didn't believe B when he told me that it's similar to Spanish (turns out...yes, he's right...and yes, I leaned on my broken Spanish from time to time to get me through). I can now speak a few very basic phrases and pleasantries, like Por Favor (please), Obrigado (thank you), Bom Dia (good morning/hello), Tchau! (good bye)  Ate mais Tarde (see you later), Desculpe (I'm sorry)'s incredible how far you can get with "please", "thank you" and sweeping hand gestures...and that many in the hospitality industry in Rio either speak English or Spanish. *ahem.*

My lack of Brazilian knowledge extended beyond the language. Admittedly, I knew very little about Brazil before my visit.  I still know very little...but at least now I know a little bit more.  Here is a little bit of the knowledge I gained during my trip.

I learned that the famous Brazilian bossa nova tune "Girl from Ipanema" was inspired by the beach just down the road from my hotel, and that Barry Manilow's famous "Copacabana", while actually written about a club in NYC, was conceived and initially inspired by a conversation he had at the Copacabana hotel in Rio. Sadly, I had no time to visit either beach (had to settle for our own little slice of beach outside the Sheraton Rio, see images below, including one of me dancing in front of a huge rock in the ocean), but we did get to drive down the and see many incredible sand castles and lots of national pride and Brazil flags flying on our way to and from the Sugar Loaf mountain.

Rio is the home to both the Corcovado and Sugar Loaf mountains, and apparently, visitors often get them confused. Both offer stunning views, but it is the Corcovado is home to the famous Christ the Redeemer Statue. To visit the Christo atop the Corcovado summit requires a journey via the "Trem", an electric powered train that angles up the Corcovado mountain and through the Tijuca forest, a lush jungle of trees, vines, fruits and wildlife.  The day we visited was extremely cloudy, but we risked it anyway ("no money back if you don't see anything," we were told).  I'm so glad we took the risk -- the Christo in the clouds was simultaneously haunting yet calming and peaceful...and every so often the clouds through which we were literally (yes, literally) walking, would part to share with us breathtaking views of Rio below. Imagine if we had heeded the warning and not taken the trek...imagine if we had missed this...

The next morning, we visited the Sugar Loaf mountain, welcomed by clear, blue skies and incredible 360 views.  Again, I overcame my sneaking fear of heights and stepped aboard a swinging gondola to witness the beauty.  See there?  That's the famous Copacabana beach from on top of the Sugar Loaf mountain!

I learned early on during our trip that the national cocktail of Brazil is the famous Caipirinha (does the US have one? I didn't know that having a national cocktail was a thing).  The Caipirinha is my new favorite cocktail, a delightfully dangerous concoction of fermented sugarcane called cachaca, sugar, lemon and lime.  Vodka can substitute the Cachaca...though it's simply not the same.

I learned of the Favelas, the Portuguese term for "slum", and I struggle to reconcile that opulent hotels and wealthy homes and luxury shopping malls exist quite literally across the street from the poorest of the poor. I've seen this very duality exist throughout big cities in the US, especially in Detroit and in some TX border towns I've visited, and I've seen it while volunteering in Mexico. In an experience that was a little close to home during my stay, I learned of the dangers that the people of the Favelas live with each day, where shootings and gang and drug activity are the norm. During my stay, I was delayed in arriving at our conference one morning, due to shootings in Rocinha, the largest Favela in Rio (and, I think, in Brazil). It was through that Favela that my taxi drove each day to get to the hotel hosting our conference. I learned that the hotel where our conference was held was taken hostage by gangs as a part of a turf war just a few years ago before it was rebranded. (I'll take "Things you don't tell your mother about your trip to Rio for $800, Alex!")  I learned that just across the street from my own hotel in the Leblon neighborhood (one of the wealthiest neighborhood in Rio) sits a smaller Favela called Vidigal. The people living in the Favelas risk their lives daily to gang activity, and often have no access to running water, proper sanitation or even regular electricity.  Hey, at least they don't have to pay taxes (yes, apparently, Favela dwellers live tax free, lucky them, huh...) All of this, I learned. I learned that in the midst such an amazing, beautiful, stunning city is a marginalized, forgotten underbelly of people living, struggling, making it through each day in ways that many of us couldn't even begin to imagine....

In contrast to those grittier lessons, I learned that so many Brazilians are extremely friendly, artistic, and love to celebrate life! Every Brazilian we encountered was so extremely kind and open (save for one cabby, who was none-too-pleased that we were questioning his choice of route - and yes, it was the cabby who was right! Stupid Americans...) I was blown away by the incredible street art that covered so many walls, light poles, sidewalks, and corners of the city -- more street art than I've seen in any city -- and I only wish I had something better than my battery-drained iPhone 4 to capture the creativity.  The food in Brazil...oh, the food!  Again, damned my shitty iPhone and its ridiculously brief battery life, or my camera would have feasted on those delicious images!  My colleagues and I enjoyed incredible churrasco (Brazilian Barbecue) and delectable Moqueca (essentially fish stew) and a slew of other mouth watering meats and seafood. At the opening and closing ceremonies of the conference I attended, we were entertained by festive Brazilian dancers, drummers and musicians, showing the vibrant, jubilant heritage and mindset of the people of Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro, a trip I won't soon forget, one that has provided me with so many incredible memories, and given me new perspective, and sparked so much new thinking for me...Oh, Brazil, I hope to visit you again some day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Post-Detox: Day 22 and Beyond

I did it!  I completed the 21 DSD!  Was I 100% perfect and follow the detox to the exact letter?  No, but I came pretty damn  close, and eating some extra beans, a little bit more fruit on a day, a gram of sugar in some salad dressing, that one time with the little bit of hummus, and that one time with the little bit of corn...well psssssh!  This tiny collection of even tinier indiscretions really isn't that big of a deal - especially when considering my incredible results!

Pre-detox, my quality of sleep wasn't great, my mental state was a bit foggy, I felt bloated and sloppy, and I tended toward the cranky, irritable, anxious side of the mood spectrum.  As I worked my way through the detox, the change in all of these areas for the better is absolutely undeniable.  My sleep is great, my mood is improved, my mental state and ability to cope is better...eating gluten-free and low sugar has been well worth the sacrifice.  

And, I lost a whopping 9.5 lbs!  Let me say that again - I lost 9.5 lbs in 3 weeks, and I did it eating real, whole foods that kept me energized and satisfied all day long.  I wasn't starving myself, I was just giving my body the type of fuel it had gone without for so long, and man, did my body respond to it!

Throughout the challenge  I averaged anywhere from 1400 to about 1800 calories a day (based on entering my meals into MyFitnessPal) I worked out a little bit, but nothing crazy - 5 yoga classes and 3 runs over the course of 21 days, so that's a few times a week on average.   My macronutrient (fat, protein, carb) ratio generally speaking was very low carb (25% or less, mostly from veggies) and  high fat and protein, and likely got my body into a ketogenic state or near it (even though the detox is not technically a ketogenic diet), which means operating on depleted glycogen energy storage, which means the body is burning fat for energy instead.  Pretty cool!  (hopefully I've explained that right!)

The favorite new food/recipe I picked up on the detox is hands down, ZOODLES!  I also tried a handful of recipes from the 21DSD book, and look forward to experimenting with many more in the future.  

My plan for "Day 22" and beyond is more or less to stick with it, but allowing for more variety of fruit, alcohol on the weekends (and a glass of wine during the week), and allowing for a little sweet treat on a special occasion...I'm toying with the idea of maybe 1 cheat meal allowed a week.  This weekend is Memorial Day, and I don't plan to go hog wild, but Brian and I may go out for ice cream or something like that, and I'm not going to deprive myself, I'm just going to be smart, and go for a taste rather than a gut-buster.  But, I am planning to stay very low sugar and low to no gluten on most days.   I'd love to try to drop another 15 lbs, if not more.

And finally, here's a walk down memory lane, with links to points on my journey.

Pre-Detox: Unsweetened:  The entry explaining my interest in the 21DSD
Day 1:  It's harder than I thought it would be!
Day 2:  Feeling Apprehensive...can I really do this?
Day 3: 1st  mini milestone - 1/7th of the way!  Resisted temptation when meeting a gf for dinner and a movie.
Day 4: Starting to experience vastly improved sleep (but peeing a lot!)
Day 5: Headaches starting to subside, and energy picking up, though experiencing some digestive challenges.
Day 6: Faced with  more temptation out with friends, but stuck with the program, and proud of it.
Day 7:  Hell yeah - made it through week 1 and feeling amazing!  The 'bad' symptoms have subsided.
Day 8: Dropped a little knowledge on the pitfalls of sugar.
Day 9: Still sleeping well, but felt a little energy dip
Day 10: I know I made the right decision to cut out sugar, but severing the emotional ties is tough.
Day 11: Halfway there!  B and I crave pizza means...we made "meatza" (so wrong, yet so right!)
Day 12:  Energy is picking up again!
Day 13: Stayed on track, but my workout was a little shaky.  Maybe I need to up the carbs just a tad.
Day 14: Two weeks down, one to go!  And...the day we discovered Zoodles!
Day 15:  Kale chips.  Overrated.
Day 16 & 17: Controlling the chaos and managing the stress at work.
Day 18 & 19:  See Day 16 & 17
Day 20:  Almost there!  Put myself in temptation's way one last time...and passed the test!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

21DSD: Day 21 - Mission Accomplished!

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood for SO MANY reasons!  It was a bright, sunny 72 degrees today, it's the end of a lovely weekend, I finished my project this morning, I got in 2 solid workouts today, and....I completed my 21 day detox!

Today marks "day the final", and tomorrow I'll settle into a modified version of the detox, one that allows for a bit more variety of fruit (though keeping to 1-2 helpings), some additional legumes and carb sources, like hummus and sweet potato (though I'll still mostly away from the refined stuff and the gluten), and yes, wine and cocktails, though I will more or less limit those to the weekend.

Tomorrow morning, I'll step on the scale to see how I fared in the weigh loss dept.  I'll share those results, along with my detox recap, a little later in the week, probably Wednesday or Thursday.  Tomorrow I also plan to treat myself to a Starbucks iced venti coffee with agave in the AM and a glass of wine (or 2) for the planned girls night to watch the season opener of the Bachelorette in the evening (don't judge! it's a fun excuse to get together and catch up sans the men in our lives).

And now, here's the DAY 21 Rundown:

Time Went to Bed Last night: 1 am. 
Time got up this morning: 8:30 am
How I felt when I woke up (excellent, good, fair, poor): good
General Mood/Energy throughout the day (excellent, good, fair, poor):  good/good.  put in a few hours of work this morning and finished my work project
Exercise (type/duration):   B and I rented Nice Rides and biked around Lake Calhoun. I also ran 4.2 miles through the Lyndale Gardens and around Lake Harriet.  Not too shabby.
Breakfast:  Coffee with cream.  That's it.  I don't advocate skipping breakfast, but I got into a groove while working and finishing up my project that I didn't stop to prepare anything beyond 2 cups of coffee.
Lunch: Got a chicken salad at chipotle, with beans, pico, onions and peppers, cheese and sour cream
Dinner:  We cooked up some ground beef, onions and peppers, with cheese and salsa (yes, quite similar to lunch....what can I say? Food with a little mex/tex-mex flair works well with the detox)
Snack: Almonds
Water Intake: at least 6 glasses 

21DSD: Day 20

I didn't get a chance to post last night, because last night B and I were out late, first to dinner at a fun, new restaurant here in Uptown that specializes in Southern style cuisine called the Boneyard, followed  by a night at the Orpheum theater to see AZIZ ANSARI!  It's our second time seeing Aziz perform live in Minneapolis, and for the second time, he didn't disappoint.

Of course, the hardest part about today (and weekends in general during the duration of this thing), was no alchohol when we went out to dinner.  That drink menu looked TASTY!  Man, I feel like a lush, that the thing I miss the most, and the thing I keep talking about over and over and over is that I miss being able to have a glass of wine, beer or a cocktail.  Maybe that's a sign I need to cut back, which I've already promised to do.  My rules on this will be limiting drinks to the weekend, and allowing myself a glass once during the work week if out for a happy hour or evening with friends.  There. Concrete, clear, manageable.

Here's the DAY 20 (SO CLOSE NOW!) rundown:

Time Went to Bed Last night: 12:30 am. 
Time got up this morning: 9 am.    weeeee! so much sleeeep!
How I felt when I woke up (excellent, good, fair, poor): good
General Mood/Energy throughout the day (excellent, good, fair, poor):  good/good.  put in a few hours of work in the morning, which was no fun on a Sunny Saturday, but hey, gotta stay in the good graces of my employer and keep earnin' 'em dolla dolla billz. 
Exercise (type/duration):   Low impact today.  Went to the driving range.  Handled the woods pretty well today (heh!  get your mind out of the gutter!  Oh, that wasn't what you were thinking?  Liar.)
Breakfast:  Coffee with cream, bacon and scrambled eggs with onions, peppers and cheese.
Lunch:  Snacked for lunch - apples, cheese, almonds
Dinner:  As I just mentioned, went out to dinner at the Boneyard.  I actually was able to choose a (mostly) detox friendly option, the "sweet tea" brined grilled chicken breast, with succotash, braised kale, creole aioli.  The only "off plan" item was a little bit of corn in the succotash...imho its nbd!
Snack: see: lunch
Water Intake: 6 glasses 

Friday, May 16, 2014

21DSD: Day 18 & 19

TGIMFF!  Man, this was a ROUGH week at work!  Long, difficult hours, and challenges and obstacles to my game plan popped up all week long.  My crazy work life definitely hindered the energy I had leftover to keep up on my daily updates at the end of the day.  So once again this week, I'm writing up these past 2 nights to catch up.

In the midst of the stress and chaos this week, it would have been very easy to slip back into bad eating habits, but I'm proud to say that I've stuck with the program!  Without my usual go-to stress busters to turn to (wine, sweets), I sought healthier options to ease my stress (yoga, reading).  I have had crazy weeks like this in the past (though honestly, the past weeks were even worse), the kind of weeks that would bring me to tears once I got home from work. To be fair, those tears usually came after several weeks in a row of the crazy hours, and my hours are much better on the whole now that I've rotated into a new division, and weeks like the one I just had are no longer the norm. Still, I do think my improved diet helped me with my coping skills and ability to focus this week, even if my work stress today isn't at the same danger-zone level as it has been in the past. No tears, just plowing through and moving on.

Once I end the detox, while I'm definitely going to allow myself to drink wine, I am going to cut way back on the number of nights I week I reach for that glass. This weekend, I'll be plotting out my "day 22 and beyond" plan, and setting some concrete boundaries for myself.  It's easy to say "Oh, I plan to more or less stick to the plan most of the time" -- but that seems wishy washy and leaves far too much room for interpretation.  Let's face it, I like rules, I like process, I like order -- it's just a part of who I am and how I operate.  I've always been one to play by the rules (most of the time, I can get feisty on occasion, step out of bounds and raise a little hell!). Since that's what I know works for me, I'll be writing my personal rule book this weekend to help me continue to navigate down this new path.

All right, let's get to the run down --

Day 19 - Today

Time Went to Bed Last night: 11 pm. 
Time got up this morning: 7 am.    
How I felt when I woke up (excellent, good, fair, poor): good
General Mood/Energy throughout the day (excellent, good, fair,  poor):  fair on mood, good on energy.  Today was another crazy hectic day at work, which admittedly made me a bit cranky..and unfortunately, I'll be working this weekend too, wrapping up a big project that's due on Monday and that blew up a little at the end here. I worked a long day today trying to get things back into order, well into the evening, which sucks since it's Friday.  I am so glad this week is over, even though I have that ~4 hours I'll need to put in this weekend.  
Exercise (type/duration):   I decided to put an end to my work day around 7 this evening so I could make it to 730 yoga class this evening.  I'm so glad I made that judgment call.  Since I can't have wine on the detox, yoga really did the job to soothe and relax me. It was just what I needed.
Breakfast:  Coffee with cream, egg white muffins with spinach, feta, black olives
Lunch:  Leftover Mexican lime chicken with salsa and cheese on top of black beans.
Dinner:  Leftover Mexican lime chicken with cheese on top of black beans.  Yes, I had the same thing for dinner that I had for lunch, and yes, I ate this earlier in the week too, twice. We purposely prepared it to have lots of leftovers, and they have been a lifesaver this week. My long work hours that have left me coming home with very little energy and brain power to put toward cooking. Technically this meal is a bit of a "cheat" since I'm supposed to stick to 1/2 cup of beans/legumes a day, and today, I had a cup. I hardly count eating an extra 1/2 cup of fiber rich black beans as a big deal.  As the kids and their hashtags say #sorrynotsorry
Snack: almonds (clearly my go to snack...), warm apples topped with cinnamon (sliced and sauteed with a little bit of coconut oil) 
Water Intake: At least 8 glasses

Day 18 - Yesterday (Thursday)

Time Went to Bed Last night: 12a
Time got up this morning: 5:30 am.    
How I felt when I woke up (excellent, good, fair, poor): good
General Mood/Energy throughout the day (excellent, good, fair,  poor):  good to fair on both accounts.  Work has kicked my butt this week, and I haven't been getting the 8 hours of sleep that I need to feel super charged.
Exercise (type/duration):   Not today
Breakfast:  Coffee with cream, egg white muffins with spinach, feta, black olives
Lunch:  I was in a hurry, and I haven't had a lot of time to prep at home, so I got a salad at Subway - lettuce and spinach, lots of veggies, chicken and vinegar, oil, salt and pepper
Dinner:  B made dinner - yay!  He made zoodles ("noodles" made ouf of zucchini - my new favorite thing!) with spicy garlic shrimp. So yummy.  I posted a picture below, and while I've shared links to both in the past, I may as well share them again - zoodles, and spicy garlic shrimp
Snack:  Almonds, banana
Water Intake: At least 6 glasses

"Zoodles" with spicy garlic shrimp.  So good!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

21DSD: Days 16 & 17

I've had a busy work week, and the longer hours have made it difficult to keep up with the blog.  More importantly though, I've stayed on track, and I also feel that, even with the heightened work stress, I've been coping with it pretty well - better than I would have in the past.  Could it be that this change in my diet is helping me to concentrate better, stay focused, and keep calm and even keel?  It could be indeed, given that a ride on the sugar roller coaster can make us feel irritable and anxious.  Not me, I'm chill, yo!  Well, maybe I'm feeling a little stressed, but for the most part, I'm feeling pretty good.

It's getting late, and I have to get into the office early again tomorrow for another jam packed day, so here's my recap for yesterday and today 

Day 17 - Today

Time Went to Bed Last night: 11:30 pm. 
Time got up this morning: 6:30 am.    
How I felt when I woke up (excellent, good, fair, poor): good
General Mood/Energy throughout the day (excellent, good, fair,  poor):  Good/good - I felt as though I was very focused today - got a lot done and controlled the chaos at work.
Exercise (type/duration):   Made it to the later yoga class tonight after a nearly 12 hour day at the office. Booyah!
Breakfast:  Coffee with cream, banana, almonds
Lunch:  Made myself a salad at Byerlys - greens, veggies, turkey, eggs, cheese, bacon
Dinner:  Leftover Mexican lime chicken with salsa and cheese on top of black beans.
Snack: More almonds
Water Intake: At least 8 glasses

Day 16 - Yesterday

Time Went to Bed Last night: 12 am. 
Time got up this morning: 6 am.    
How I felt when I woke up (excellent, good, fair, poor): good
General Mood/Energy throughout the day (excellent, good, fair,  poor):  Good/good - busy busy day....
Exercise (type/duration):   Not today
Breakfast:  Coffee with cream, egg white muffins with spinach, feta, sausage
Lunch:  Went to pancheros and had a salad with chicken, veggies and topped with queso...mmmmm!  (yes, it's allowed at level one!! Such a treat!)
Dinner:  Beans with cheese, salsa, sour cream and black olives (lazy person's dinner since neither B or i felt like cooking, but filling, fueling, and felt a little indulgent, like a mexican layer dip)
Snack:  Almonds, banana
Water Intake: At least 6 glasses

Monday, May 12, 2014

21DSD: Day 15

My allergies are still bothering me, and I'm on the tired side today after a busy day at work coupled with the dreary weather, so I'm going to keep it short.  

I did promise to talk about the Kale chips I made yesterday.  I feel like such a health nut!  I made Kale chips!  And....I did NOT like them!  I think Kale is bitter, and even with the spicy blend, I wasn't a fan.  So, perhaps I spoke to soon, and my health nut card will be revoked, because I do not get the obsession with Kale chips. I'm sure it didn't help that I didn't quite get the "consistency" right.  Some of my "chips" tasted burnt, while others seemed fine on the crisp factor, but when I went to give them a second shot today, they were all pretty soggy.  Too much effort for a lackluster return.  I'll stick to seeds and nuts for now.

Anyway, here's my day 15 run down -- 

Time Went to Bed Last night: 12 am.  (reading, and also trouble falling asleep due to allergies
Time got up this morning: 7:00 am.    
How I felt when I woke up (excellent, good, fair, poor):  Fair/poor - sinus issues with my allergies.  At least that means the trees and buds are blooming!
General Mood/Energy throughout the day (excellent, good, fair,  poor):  Good/fair and good.  The weather made me a little moody.
Exercise (type/duration):   Recovery day.  After 2 days in a row of running (which I hadn't done in a while), I'm pretty sore.
Breakfast:  Egg white muffins with feta, spinach, and sausage crumbles.
Lunch:  Steak salad from Chipotle with beans, cheese, onions, peppers, pico and sour cream.
Dinner:  Brian cooked dinner tonight - Mexican lime chicken with broccoli topped with salsa
Snack: Banana, a handful of almonds, cheese & summer sausage
Water Intake: 6 glasses