Saturday, February 28, 2015

San Diego, Day 1: Travel Mess

Yikes, what an adventure it was to get to San Diego today.  Dad and I headed to the airport so that I could meet Meg at the ticketing counter at 5:30 AM.  Early start!  Because it was so early, we hung out in the gate area for 2 hours.  Then the gate agent said that there was a weather delay in Dallas (snow/ice) and they weren't letting anyone in or out of Dallas.  Then the weather delay got cancelled, but enough time had elapsed that we missed our connecting flight to San Diego. 

We finally got to Dallas and sure enough, there was snow on the ground.  Texas gets snow?  I didn't know such a thing was possible!  We went to look at the departure boards and lots of flights were cancelled, including many to San Diego.  Uh oh.  We were able to get on the 6 PM flight out to San Diego, but it was 1:30ish PM when we landed in Dallas which meant lots of time hanging out at the Dallas airport today!  Meg read on her Kindle and I put on a podcast and walked around the airport to get my Fitbit steps in.  One of the benefits of traveling with a friend = no need to carry around stuff with you at all times.

Finally, we got to San Diego and got our bags.  Next step was to wait for the rental car bus to take us to the rental car place.  We waited for 45 minutes and it never came.  Meg was on the phone, trying get a hold of them.  I looked up reviews of the place and it didn't get good reviews so a part of me was not surprised that a bus didn't show up.  We ended up catching the hotel shuttle, eating a late dinner (I got sliders) and calling it a night.  BLAH.  Hey, at least we're here.

Oh, and I wanted to go to San Diego to escape the cold DC weather.  And all I got was snow in Dallas and rain in San Diego. Ok, well, we'll make the best of it!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Happy Birthday, Julie!

My sister Julie got a rude awakening this morning with RJ wanting breakfast.  Meanwhile, I was able to sleep in because a) RJ didn't wake me up and b) OPM announced a 2-hour delay for the federal government, woot
I had a shopping victory this afternoon.  Not that I bought anything or found a good deal, but it's that I didn't buy anything!  I went to Ulta after my last conference call of the day, armed with coupons and I could get double points because it's my birthday month.  They were having a buy 2 get 1 free deal on Loreal products. I've been wanting to try their foundation, concealer and eyeliner, so I had all 3 items in my hands when I went to the checkout line.  The cashier was busy helping someone else, and in that moment of waiting, I was looking at the makeup and didn't feel confident enough that it'd be yellow enough for my skin tone, so I took everything back.  There was a lady in the high end makeup section who pointed out some Stila yellow based foundations and concealers, but they were definitely not at drugstore price.  Blah, no thanks.  I'm not that desperate yet.  I'll make do with what I have.

After spin class, I went to Giant to pick up an apple pie and ice cream for Julie's birthday.  Dad carried out from That's Amore for Julie's birthday dinner.  Good thing I got some exercise in, whew!  I gave Julie a bag of Starbursts and gummy bears (she's more into fruit candy whereas I go for anything chocolate).  I told her I'd get her a zoo shirt to add to my collection while I'm in San Diego.

Here's the card that I made for Julie's birthday.  I was really lucky to have cherry stickers to go with the sentiment.

Card Specs:
Ink: Colorbox chalk ink in Charcoal
Paper: Die Cuts with a View
Stamp: Stampin' Up- A Word for You
Other: Stickles
Stickers: Martha Stewart- Stitched Fruit Stickers
Punch: We R Memory Keepers Corner Chomper
White Gel Pen: Uni-Ball Signo Broad White Gel Pen

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

RJ the Mischievous Guest

Because of my upcoming trip to San Diego, I dropped RJ off at my parents' house tonight.  He wasn't even there for 30 minutes before he started to get into mischief.  He went to the basement and found where Mom was keeping the cat food for Harry the Homeless Cat.  He promptly chewed a hole in the paper bag and then when Mom put it in a plastic bag, thinking it would fool him, he chewed through that one too.  She had to put the bag in a plastic container to keep him out. 

There were 2 servings left of the beef noodle soup that Mom made for my birthday last week, so while I was there, I ate that for dinner and Mom had the other share. RJ got a few nibbles of beef that Mom gave him.  I'm looking forward to not having him wake me up for breakfast for the next few days!

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Productive Day Off

I usually take the day off for my birthday but I didn't since I had a committee call that day.  Because my boss was traveling today and I had work things under control, I decided to take today off instead. It was a really productive morning:
  • Went to the library to return some books 
  • Went to the ATM and gassed my car
  • I got to the mall around 9:45 AM.  Costco doesn't open until 10 AM, so I went to Panera to get my free birthday pastry (I got a cinnamon roll).  That took just enough time that once I left Panera, Costco was open.  No crowd.  No lines.  It was awesome.  So much better than yesterday!  I bought 2 containers of strawberries and 1 container of blackberries, yum!  Once I checked that errand off my to-do list, I went to Target, where there's an in-store Starbucks and I cashed in on my free birthday drink (caramel flan latte). 
Time to get some steps in.  I walked to the other end of the mall to JCPenney and perused the in-store Sephora.  On my way back to Target, I noticed two ladies walking into Macy's and as I walked closer, I realize that it was my mom and my aunt doing some last-minute shopping before my aunt leaves for Taiwan tonight.  My aunt wanted to buy a necklace and she couldn't decided between gold and a multi-colored one, so she bought both.  Hah, awesome.

Because of the steps that I did at the mall, at home, at the grocery store to get oatmeal, spin class, a quick treadmill cooldown, and a Fitness Blender video, I managed to get over 17,000 steps today.  The last time I was able to reach anywhere near this level was back in November 2014 with 18,422 steps.  The Fitness Blender workout that I did today was "Cardio, Abs, Butt Workout - Fitness Blender's Red Light Green Light Workout."  This one was tough, but I was able to do the whole workout (not like last time where I had to just stop halfway...).  Also, I've been able to reach 10,000 steps every day this month.  Woot! :)

All this effort today was to balance out the cinnamon roll and latte I had today...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Happy Lunar New Year!

The weather was quite snowy yesterday.  The roads were pretty bad so I was thankful that my aunt postponed the Lunar New Year dinner to this afternoon.  Otherwise, no one would have made it.  There was a good balance of food in today's spread: chicken, beef, pork, fish, duck, veggies, yum!
After dinner, I went to Costco to see if I could get some fruit for the next few days. Nope, bad decision. I had a box of strawberries and a box of blackberries in my hands and went to the checkout line, only to see that it spanned almost half of the warehouse. Yikes, no thanks!  I'll come back another time...

I did get about 4,000 steps in though, so the trip to the mall wasn't a bust.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Secret Admirer?

Today was the first day I've been back to the office since last Thursday.  I found this valentine on my desk.  o_0 I asked 3 people that I thought it might be from, but none of them fessed up.  What the heck?  This is a little weird, right?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me!

OPM had optional telework or leave today, so I decided to work from home since I only had 1 important call today.  After wrapping stuff up at home, I went to my parents' house.  I requested beef noodle soup for my birthday dinner and Mom was nice enough to grant that wish.  My birthday also fell on the Lunar New Year's Eve, so other relatives came to the house and brought more food with them.  
Julie made this birthday card for me.  Over the past few months, I joked that I wanted to get another black and white cat and name it Stella (who actually happens to be another character from Over the Hedge, where RJ was named from).  Julie drew in my hypothetical cat as well as my real cat.  Ha ha.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Homemade Sweetgreen Salad

OPM closed the government today, but since I had my work computer at home, I was a good worker bee and did some work today.

There's a Sweetgreen salad place near my office, and I really love their Avocabbo salad, but the downside is that it costs a little over $12 after tax.  Ugh, $12 for a salad?  Julie was like "Is there anything special in the salad?"  Um, no.  "Then can't you make it yourself?"  Um, yes.

So I got all the ingredients for the salad over the weekend and yep, tastes just about the same and I made $12 go further with the homemade version. Go me, I guess.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sephora Birthday Gift

After work on Friday I picked up my Sephora birthday gift: two mini Nars lip pencils, one in Cruella and one in Rikugien. I have never had anything by Nars so I was excited to try it out (and for free so I can still follow the beauty resolutions that I set for myself a few months back). I can't say that for a high end brand they are better then anything that I've bought at the drugstore (for example, my Maybelline creamy matte lipsticks).  While the colors are pretty, the staying power of these guys is not very good.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Celebrating My Birthday Early

A few days ago, Meg sent me and Robyn a text message asking when we were going to celebrate my birthday.

Oh yeah.  My birthday.

It kinda snuck up on me!  We arranged to meet up at my house for dinner and cake and presents today since next Saturday, I have a family dinner and the Saturday after that, Meg and I are headed to San Diego.  I asked them to make some of my favorite dishes that I know they can make: Robyn- broccoli salad and Meg- meatloaf.  Meg texted later today saying that the ground beef that she bought for the meatloaf had spoiled.  Yikes!  Ok, I'd much rather have a Plan B dinner than us all getting sick from spoiled meat.  We ended up getting some food from Pacci's instead.  The chocolate cheesecake turned out to be a big success and perfect for the chocolate lover in me.  I'm glad that both of them had some to take home and I have some leftovers for my family as well.
Robyn got me baking themed present with some cookie cutters, cookie stampers, sprinkles, and a cakelette pan. Meg got me an assortment of goodies: candy, cute socks, nail polish, lip balm, and a Starbucks gift card. Yay! :)
I was able to hit 10,000 steps every day this week, second week in a row! :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day Nails and Chocolate Cheesecake

Valentine's Day is tomorrow, so of course I needed to have Valentine's Day nails!

This is Bundle Monster Plate #317 with Sally Hansen in White On nail polish for a base coat and Sally Hansen InstaDri nail polish in Racey Rouge for stamping.
Robyn and Meg are coming over to celebrate my birthday tomorrow and I said that I would make dessert. I wanted to try something other than plain or pumpkin cheesecake so I found a chocolate cheesecake recipe. I didn't make any of the melted chocolate topping because there's enough chocolate and sugariness in the cake and I also used regular graham crackers instead of chocolate cookies because that's what I had on hand.  I can't wait to try it tomorrow!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Mail

My blogger friend Louise sent me this beautiful Valentine's Day card!  How pretty, right?  :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kitty Not Interested in TV

Clearly RJ was not that interested in tonight's episodes of Arrow and Law and Order: SVU.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Work Blog Post

Whew, 4 meeting in a row this morning and then 1 in the afternoon.  It's been a busy day!

At work today, after a staff meeting, I went over to one of the new staff members and introduced myself.  I came to find out that she already knew who I was, "Oh, I was told to contact you to learn more about getting an MPH. I'm interested in UMD. I read your staff blog post."  Ah, she had read a blog post I wrote for work regarding this University of Maryland MPH event that I went to last fall. It's nice to hear that a) people at work actually read the blog post and that b) it perked someone's interest in getting an MPH!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Recipe #4 of 2015

Ok, so I didn't make it to both spin classes today, but I did make it to the 1-hour one and then walked a mile on the treadmill afterwards.  Then I went to get some ingredients for this spinach lasagna roll recipe that I found online.  The directions say to chop the spinach.  Yeahumno.  I did that for a little bit and then decided to take out my food processor.  A few pushes of a button and everything's chopped!  This dish was very easy and simple to put together.  I didn't have any Asiago cheese, so I omitted that in mine, and I also added baby bella mushrooms because they were on sale.  I ate 2 rolls when it came out of the oven and they were delicious!  I would totally make this again.
I sent Julie this picture and asked if she was interested in some.  She said that it looked like a pile of tomato sauce.  :P  Ok, ok.  I promise it tastes much better than what the picture is showing.  Sheesh, everyone's a critic.  She came over to eat some for dinner and then took 2 rolls with her, so I guess it was a hit! :)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Running Day and FitnessBlender

Today was shaping up to be a lazy day, but I turned it around at 5 PM when I looked at my Fitbit step numbers. I was doing so good this week by hitting at least 10,000 steps every day that it would have been a shame to slack off today. I told myself that all I needed to do was go to the gym for 30 minutes. 30 minutes. That's not bad. It'll be over before I know it. So, I went to the gym and cranked out 2.12 miles on the treadmill and I was able to hit 10,000 by the time I wrote this blog post

In an effort to try something new while incorporating some weight training into my exercise routine, I went to YouTube for some inspiration. I had heard about FitnessBlender (FREE fitness videos!) from another YouTuber and didn't feel motivated to try anything until today (read: I was intimidated). I chose a 30 minute-ish video "Bodyweight Only Fat Burning HIIT Cardio Workout + Total Body Toning" because I thought I could multi-task with doing this workout and laundry at the same time. OMG. I got through about 15 minutes and had to stop because, whew, it was tough! 

For starting the day as lazy as RJ, I was a sweaty mess by the end of today. YAY!

By the way, I got an email about my 10 year college reunion in October. It makes me excited, but anxious at the same time. Nothing like a class reunion to motivate me to kick my workouts up a notch. And true to my 30 Day Shred journey in 2013, I took a starting picture to hold me accountable. Ithinkicanithinkicanithinkican.
Next goal: make it to both spin classes tomorrow morning.

Next adventure: Meg is going to San Diego at the end of the month for work and asked Robyn and me if we wanted to tag along if she tacked on a few extra days.  In true Katniss Everdeen form: I VOLUNTEER! Robyn will already be in CA during this time, piggybacking on another friend's work trip.  I booked my ticket on Thursday, so the countdown begins.  Mom is excited to have RJ visit again. Everybody wins.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

I made it to 4 spin classes this week, which is better than the twice a week routine in recent previous weeks.  I went to the mall this afternoon to get in the rest of my steps (Costco for some fruit, Giant for additional groceries, and Victoria's Secret to use a birthday month coupon).

I was tempted to buy some limited edition Red Velvet Oreos at Giant, but I knew my self control would have been limited.  Robyn texted me and Meg last night to give them a thumbs up.  I went by the bakery section and almost bought some pie.  No no no.  I'm trying to be good.  Maybe there's something I could make at home that I wouldn't be tempted to eat a large quantity of.  I've been searching for a good chocolate mug cake, and I've tried 2 recipes already (first one, second one). However, I would say that the one that I tried today surpassed those two. I liked that the serving size was large and it was less dry than the other recipes. Good thing I went to spin class this morning!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Happy Birthday, Aunt Kang!

We celebrated my aunt's birthday tonight, complete with a sushi dinner and Mom's carrot cake.  :)
My office card order design got approved, so after dinner, I went home to crank out 13 cards. 11 more to go!

Monday, February 2, 2015

New Office Order

Well, I'm glad that the Human Resources department didn't count me out completely for cards that are given out to staff for their birthdays and anniversaries (like they did for Employee Appreciation Week...).  I got an email this morning asking for 24 anniversary cards, and here's the sample that I created.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Recipe #3 of 2015

After a 1-hour spin class this morning, I did some grocery shopping to ingredients for aloo matar (Recipe #3 of 2015), an Indian pea and potato stew, so that I'd have something to eat for this upcoming week. I liked that people added some extra tips in the reviews: use 3 potatoes instead of 4 and use 2 cups of peas instead of 1. I also used tomato paste instead of tomato puree and 1 tablespoon of garam masala instead of 1.5 teaspoons. I'm currently eating some over rice as I watch the Super Bowl.  It's good, but I'm not sure that this will be a frequent repeat recipe.
P.S. People boo-ing during the national anthem- shame on you.  I don't think they were boo-ing Idina Menzel...I think it was when the New England Patriots coach showed up on the Jumbotron, but couldn't you have put that whole deflategate scandal aside for the duration of the song?  Sheesh.