Hi there! I'm Paula and I live in Orlando. I like to run and watch too much TV. I'm a lover of cupcakes and hater of chia seeds, even though I've never tried them. I eat peanut butter out of the jar and think Aaron Paul is my boyfriend.
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My lovely friend Melissa sent me this post and I really, really liked it. So I’m going to take a break from being a complaining jerkface and reflect on a few things I’m grateful for. (For one day only. Jerkfacing continues tomorrow.)
1. Something about your body
This year, I’m most grateful for how strong my body is because of Crossfit. I love that my trainer uses hubs and I as guinea pigs for new workouts and bases the intensity of his other client’s workouts on what we can do. That makes me feel pretty badass.
2. The people who help you without even knowing it
This year, I’m most grateful for Michelle. I know for a hard, cold fact that I would not still be training and running races if she didn’t run them with me. Her excitement for running keeps me excited.
3. Something that has changed in the past year
This year, I’m grateful that I took a chance and left my higher paying, comfortable job for a lower paying job where I have less experience. Even though I’m working more, it’s made me so much happier.
4. Something you have enough of
This year, I’m grateful that I have one job that gives me enough income to pay bills on time, to put food in the fridge, and to buy gifts for my friends and family when I know that others out there work three jobs to try and do the same.
5. Something about your friends and family
This year, I’m so grateful that I got to spend Thanksgiving with my best friend, her mom (my second mom), her family, and friends for the first time since we were teenagers. And of course, my hubs. The BFF and her hubs made an amazing dinner and we laughed all night. It was definitely the best Thanksgiving I’ve had in years and years.
I don’t normally talk about eating. Well, that’s not true. I do talk about eating a lot of crap. Like the fried ice cream that hubs and I shared.
Or my suggestive-looking German dinner. (I had a friend tell me it looks like a demented muppet, which is better than what I was thinking…)
Or giant beers on a Monday night.
I don’t talk about when I’m trying to eat well, which is basically all of the time except when I give in to things like desserts and drinks on the weekend. Anyway, I’m going to talk about that other eating. The non-crappy kind where I try to decline desserts and not spend evenings on intimate dates with the fridge.
About five years ago, I started Weight Watchers (WW). WW showed me this complete new way of eating and I was really successful on it. I lost 26lbs in a little over four months and kept it off for a good three years until I started gaining some back. (Some of that weight gain was from muscle I gained in Crossfit and some of it was from big fat cupcakes I shoved into my mouth.)
Anyway, when you’re on WW, you count points. So everything you put in your mouth has a point value and you have a certain amount of points you can eat each day. I kept a food log so I wouldn’t go over my points. This is where it started. Instead of seeing food as food, I saw everything as a point value. If it was too many points, I wouldn’t eat it.
Fast forward three years and I got soooo tired of counting points. I got to the point where I would look at someone else’s meal, calculate the points in my mind, and think, “omg, do they know that meal is 32 points? That’s more than you should eat in a day!” So, I quit WW and decided to use MyFitnessPal to count calories, because there was no way I was going to quit keeping a food diary. MyFitnessPal was different enough that I kept logging my food - every single day – for another two years. Which brings me to today. Big surprise! I’m soooo tired of counting calories.
I was talking to my friend, Kate, last week about how I’ve wanted to lose 10 lbs for the past 80 years and how the four pieces of cake I just ate at work weren’t helping with that. (There were a lot of flavors, had to try them all!) She asked me if I ever kept a food diary. When I told her that I’ve done that every day for the past five years, she said, “that sounds exhausting.”
Yep. It is. Now I’m at the point where the thought of food just stresses me out. I mean, once I’m eating it, I’m fine. Obviously. You can look at my ba-donk-a-donk and see that. I just hate accepting dinner plans because it’s out of my comfort zone of the five meals I eat regularly at home. Am I going to eat too much when I’m out? Am I going to eat just right? <—thats where the stress comes from
Later that day, I told hubs how sick I am of logging my food and how I wished I didn’t have to anymore. I tried to rationalize it by saying that it helps me know when I should stop eating for the day. He then lovingly told me I eat whatever I want anyway, but I just write all the crap I eat down.
So here I am on day three of not logging my food for the first time in five years. It’s one of those habits that is so engrained in me that I’m still counting calories mentally but I’m hoping that will go away soon. I’m also hoping that not seeing how many calories I have left in the day will change my eating. When I see I have a certain amount left, I think I talk myself into being hungry even though I might not be. Then I eat those calories just to be hungry later and eat again anyway. I’ve never heard of keeping a food diary as being a bad thing, but I think it is for me. Maybe. We’ll see how this goes.
Long story short: I’m gonna eat when I feel like it and not write that shit down.
I’m seeing a lot these “things about me” posts going around Facebook. People are writing novels about themselves in status updates. Get a blog people! Ain’t nobody got time for that. Still, it sounds like fun, so I’m going to do 10 things you may not know about me. But on a blog. Where it belongs.
1. I had an entire wedding planned in Orlando – chapel, venue, photographer, caterer, all of it - and then cancelled everything six months prior and went to Vegas instead.
Totally worth it.
2. I had never heard of brown recluse spiders until hubs told me about them a few years ago. Now I think every brown spider I see is a brown recluse and it freaks.me.out. He often says he wishes he never said anything. That’s how bad it is. So, whatever you do, don’t Google brown recluse spider bites. *shudder*
3. I’ve never been out of the United States unless you cound the Bahamas, which I don’t, because the Bahamas is just sub-Florida.
4. I’ve known my best friend for 30 years and we still talk and hang out all the time.
We had to fight them off with a stick back then.
5. If I could move anywhere in the U.S., I would move to Reno, Nevada. I love it there. It’s the perfect mix of big city and small town life. Plus, mountains. Mountains, people!
Almost broke my ass snowboarding that day, so that won’t happen again. I will look at the mountains instead of falling down them.
6. I own at least 50 bottles of nail polish.
7. My first job was at a small movie theatre in McHenry, IL. My dad parked across the street, pointed at the Now Hiring sign, and told me to go get a job. When I mentioned that I was 15 years old, he told me, “Well then tell them you’re 16!” So I did, got the job within 10 minutes, and worked there the whole summer.
8. The first time I shaved my legs was for a Belinda Carlise concert, even though my step-mom tried to talk me out of it. Belinda is worth shaving legs for. #fact
9. I shower by candlelight in the morning because turning on lights right after I wake up makes me angry. I have a much better morning if I turn on the lights after I shower and brush my teeth.
10. Whenever I take a personality test, I always rate as an introvert, which no one that’s met me seems to believe because I never stop talking.
What is something people might not know about you?
I registered for another half marathon.
Actually, I have four half marathons coming up. I can’t remember what I’ve mentioned on the blog, so here’s my schedule:
- 11/10 — Baldwin Park Half Marathon
- 12/7 — OUC Half Marathon
- 1/26 — Celebration Half Marathon
- 3/1 — Best Damn Race
To say I have not been training would be…well, that would be correct. I haven’t. I’ve been doing two 3-mile weekly runs but I haven’t been running long on the weekends like I should be. I have a really good excuse and I think that’s what counts.
I knew the not running had to stop at some point. So last weekend I promised myself I would get back to long runs. About a month ago, I ran/walked 7.5 miles, which made nine miles sound reasonable without dying, so that was my goal. Good news. I lived.
I did those miles alone and I woke up early for them, thank you. Also, I was expecting a 10:30 pace, so it was way faster than I expected.
Besides a stop to take off my long-sleeved shirt because I thought it was cool enough for one of those (ha!), a stop to poop (you’re welcome), a stop to fix my crappy Garmin, and a stop at a water fountain, I ran the whole thing. Soooo I guess I didn’t run the whole thing. My point here is I did it and I have no idea how people train alone.
Two miles into our run, Michelle took a nose-dive into the sidewalk. I’m not exaggerating when I say she hit the ground hard and there was a lot of blood. (She got some pretty good scrapes including four stitches and some sore ribs. I’m sure she’ll tell you guys all about it in her next blog.) Because I’m a horrible person, I did quickly weigh the options of helping her up first or pausing my Garmin. Sometimes my decisions even surprise me.
That’s right. I helped her up first for all of you who think I’m a monster. See? I do nice things sometimes. I even offered her CPR several times but she declined.
Anyway, Michelle’s husband picked her up. Since he had all the kids with him, I thought it would be easier to run the two miles back to her house instead of cramming in the car. I got back to her house, made sure she was ok, leveled up on caring points for the day, and headed to the gym to finish the last seven miles of the run.
I’m feeling ok on my long runs but I’m not ready to race yet so Michelle and I are using the Baldwin Park half this weekend as a training run. Tweet Michelle some good vibes so that her ribs feel well enough to run by next weekend!
So, I need to back up a little. I already talked about all the good food during my weekend in DC but I didn’t talk about the fun. Because there was fun, even though Melissa hates fun. < — true statement
I landed in DC on Friday. Melissa met me at the airport and we took the metro back to her place. If there is one thing I don’t understand, it’s public transportation. So thankfully I have friends that are smarter than me.
Once we arrived at her apartment, someone there was very excited to see me.
I mean, really excited.
Roo has no clue that she weighs 50 lbs, that is for damn sure. She likes to drape herself all over you and get comfortable. I’m going to start doing that to my friends and see how it goes.
Friday we had a pretty big night planned, if I do say so myself: eat dinner in, have a few drinks, and watch Scandal. That’s how us old ladies do. But somehow, we still ended up at a bar around the corner from Melissa’s place where I had some hot whiskey/cider/cinnamon drink that was delicious.
Shortly after said drink, I found out that Pendulum was playing across the street at a place called the 9:30 Club. It hurt my soul that Melissa did not care that there is a concert venue, with big named artists, just steps from her place. I would make that place my second home.
We decided to go to the show if it didn’t start too late. Of course, it was sold out, which worked out just as well, because I was wearing capris and I can’t be seen at a concert in capris. (Don’t ask.) We went for a much more capri-friendly giant frozen yogurt which somehow made me just as happy.
Saturday morning, we got up early and took Roo for a hike on a really pretty trail in Georgetown.
That picture there is the closest I’ll ever get to fall here in the land of perpetual Summer. Anyway, the hike was an actual hike where we had to climb up and down things and hold on to tree branches so we didn’t fall. So, it was legit.
After our hike, Melissa and I stopped by my one DC request of the weekend. The film nerd in me had to see the Exorcist Stairs.
Yeah, they’re just stairs but it still made me ridiculously happy (and tired) to run up them. See? I’m easy to entertain. Just show me some stairs and make sure I don’t wear capris to a concert. Close to the stop of the stairs is the bar that was used in the movie St. Elmo’s Fire, so I nerded out on that for a minute or two and then we headed back home.
I’d love to tell you about Saturday night, but we didn’t take any pictures. Very unlike me. The night included about three different bars and way too many drinks. I’m sure it was a good time from my Foursquare check-in.
So that was the rest of my weekend in DC. The visit was too short but it’s nice to get away for a little bit and forget about work and being an adult.
I hope you all have a safe Halloween! Did anyone dress up at work today?
Yesterday, Michelle and I were lucky enough to be invited to race Challenge Nation Orlando.
Challenge Nation is a scavenger hunt race where you have to complete 11 out of 12 clues by finding the clue and taking a picture with it according to the instructions. I’ve never done a race like this, but I really liked that the clues were tailored to the area and what was going on in downtown Orlando that day.
The race started at Wall Street Plaza. We got there in the middle of packet pick up and even so, there was no line and we got our bibs and t-shirts easily.
We waited around for awhile with our friends, Cheyanne and Ricky, who were also running the race. We were on separate teams but we ended up running the whole thing together and helping each other with the clues and took each others pictures.
Speaking of clues, if you like the Challenge Nation Facebook page, they post hints to a few of the clues the night before the race. Maybe we’re just dense, but the hints did not help AT ALL.
Even after completing the race, I still only get two of them.
Anyway, eventually we lined up to receive our clues just before the race started.
Each team had a captain that was responsible for getting the clues and getting the pictures verified at the end of the race. That was Michelle because she was willing and I was lazy. Such a trooper.
Michelle is holding out our paper with the clues to prove we weren’t opening them early. Finally, the race started and we were able to check out our clues, which basically meant we read about 5 of them and headed in their general direction and hoped for the best. Here are the 11 we completed:
1. Snap a pic with at least one teammate standing in a fountain or lake.
2. Find the Disney-donated spot and another challenge team and pose like rock stars.
3. Take a photo with one of the following: a clown, a traditional barber pole, a tricycle, a person wearing overalls, or any live pet animal other than a dog. Give a thumbs up in the picture.
This is the part where I have to admit we spotted the bunny and asked for a picture before we knew it was a clue. The lady was like, “it doesn’t count if your thumbs aren’t up.” See? My love of bunnies paid off TEN FOLD.
4. Re-enact a wedding ceremony at a romantic spot along the waterfront. Include at least 2 strangers and a physical creative prop as part of your ceremony (we had a flower).
Aww. We’ve never been more in love.
5. Pose like fearsome pirates near a bust of Mahatma and force one of your teammates to “walk the plank.”
Apparently Ricky and I are the only one that got the “fearsome” pirates memo.
6. Take a photo with any of the presidents that appear on Mount Rushmore. (You can’t use currency, change, smartphone pictures, or draw the image.)
7. Find an out-of-towner (not from Florida) wearing non-sports related garb.
I just realized that guy looks like Chuck Norris. We should have gotten extra points for that.
8. Find the artwork paid for by Universal Studios and “do the obvious” activity with the rings in front of it.
That’s also how we look when dancing.
9. Buy/find a postcard, address it to someone on the team, write your favorite clue on it, and pretend to mail in any old style blue mailbox.
Our picture was super blurry so I won’t post that one. Michelle told me I had to write her a note on the postcard, so I did.
That was not part of the instructions and Challenge Nation collected those. Thanks, M.
On a side note, they do say that you don’t need anything for the race except a digital camera. We needed money to buy the postcard. I have no idea where you would “find” one and you are able to skip one clue, but I think having anything for purchase in the clues is a bad idea.
10. Find the building that was blown up in Lethal Weapon 3 (that’s City Hall) and then mimic the pose with the soccer player out front.
11. Find a certain intersection (we had to Google the clues to figure out the intersection) and draw your favorite thing about living in Florida with the chalk at that intersection.
Those are two people running. Most people drew the sun or water. *snore*
We came in 68 out of 178 teams. (Our team name was Fleetwood Mac Sex Pants ( <— name that reference), but Michelle doesn’t know how to write.)
I want to thank Challenge Nation for giving me the opportunity to run this race. I’ve never done anything like it and I loved it. It was silly and a lot of fun. Even Michelle, the Grinch of all “novelty” races, liked it.
I’ll definitely do this one next year and I might try to sweet talk the hubby into joining because I think he’ll like this one too.
I had a crazy fun and exhausting weekend in DC with my love, Melissa. You may already know Melissa used to blog and that’s how we met. We were like strangers across a crowded interwebz that knew it was meant to be.
Before I tell you about the fun, I want to tell you about the food. Melissa asked me if I wanted to eat in (she cooks!) or go out to eat. In these economic times, I opted to save all my money for booze and dessert like the responsible adult I am and eat in.
Melissa likes to eat vegan as much as possible and I like to eat anything whatsoever, so it worked out perfectly. The first night, we had Vegan Thai Curry with chickpeas and rice.
I took five pictures of that until Melissa said, “no picture will every make that look good.” Noted. But it was delicious and I swear it took her 10 minutes to make. Girl knows what she’s doing in the kitchen.
On Saturday, we stopped for cupcakes at Baked and Wired in Georgetown.
These were some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had, though I still think Sweet! is the best. I’m willing to continue eating cupcakes from Baked and Wired if they want to try to change my mind. I will sacrifice myself for the greater cupcake good.
From the left, that’s lemon with raspberry filling, pumpkin, and coconut. The pumpkin was the best but the lemon came in at a close second. The coconut was good, but less sweet than the others, therefore it gets a sad, lonely, third place.
Saturday night, Melissa made vegan paninis.
So delicious. That panini has grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers, spinach, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and vegan mayonnaise. It had some serious kick. My lips were saying “Hello!” by the time I was finished.
On Sunday, we went for our only meal out: brunch at Ulah (a last minute decision after our reservation at Founding Fathers was cancelled because of a power outtage). We may have had an extremely late night on Saturday, so we ordered an appetizer to get food to the table as fast as possible. We shared the smoked Gouda mac and cheese (and Melissa didn’t fight me when I wanted bacon on it. Best “vegan” ever, that girl.).
We’ll just call that appetizer the alcohol soaker-upper. I’m pretty sure I chewed it but I can’t be sure.
For brunch, I ordered my first ever eggs benedict – with smoked salmon instead of ham.
Since I don’t believe in eggs that are not scrambled or hard-boiled, this is a milestone for me. Runny eggs freak me out but I always think it looks so good when Melissa #2 gets it so I thought I’d try something new. I liked it! Cover food in enough hollandaise and I’ll eat it apparently.
I left for the airport about an hour after brunch and was still hungry somehow. (Damn you, alcohol!) So I picked up this tomato caprese panini at the airport.
It sucked, but I ate it all because some people in the world don’t get shitty paninis. I washed it down with a giant peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, which did not suck thankfully. Then I proceeded to sit on my ass the rest of the day. So it was the perfect day basically. Lots of food and lots of laziness, the way I like it.
That covers everything minus some froyo thrown in for good measure. Thanks to Melissa for being an amazing host and cooking for me all weekend. I feel all special when I get to eat food that’s not microwaved.
Love you, Melissa!
I just added another race to my fall schedule.
We will look amazing during the race. Just like that.
We were provided our registrations for the promotion but we also received two extra entries. So, we decided to do a JOINT giveaway. A blog crossover, if you will. Just like that very special Buffy/Angel episode you were excited about in 1999.
One winner will win TWO entries so that you can form your own team. If you live in or near Orlando… enter below. You just need to comment on one of our blogs. (We could use some team name suggestions!) You get extra entries for tweeting about it, or liking us on FB/Twitter.
Giveaway winner will be contacted on Friday. Good luck!
I’m running the U Can Finish 5-miler again this year. The race is Sunday.
The course is through the campus of the University of Central Florida, where I graduated from college. I loved running through campus and remembering where all my classes were last year so I’m looking forward to that again. So much so that I’m going to do the same giveaway I did last year.
Be the first to guess my correct finish time and win a $15.00 gift card to Target or Amazon.com (your choice).
- The first person that comes closest to guessing my finish time (without going over) wins. So if you guess the winning time but someone else also guessed that time before you, no dice.
- Need help guessing? Feel free to look at my Races page to check out my past finish times. Or my race review from last year. < — I’m not that fast anymore.
- Open to U.S. and Puerto Rico residents only (unless you have use for a U.S. dollar gift certificate elsewhere).
- Comments will close sometime Saturday morning, so leave a comment with your guess before then.
I will email the winner on Monday.
UPDATED: Comments are closed. 10/12/13, 9:30am
I did a whole lot of nothing this weekend. By the time Sunday rolled around, hubs and I were dying to get out of the house so we went to lunch. We had one criteria for said lunch: it had to be outside since we couldn’t remember what daylight was like.
After staring at each other for 10 minutes with no ideas, hubs remembered this little cafe called the Relax Grill on Lake Eola that we’ve wanted to try for years but can never remember we want to go there when it’s time to think of a new restaurant (so we end up at Chilis).
It was a beautiful day.
We had to walk around the lake to get to the restaurant from the parking garage, so we inadvertently walked through the farmer’s market that goes on every weekend. I’ve never been but it was super cute. How have I missed out on this for so long? There were also tons of people out and about walking dogs, exercising, or laying on blankets chilling in the shade. When I saw all the people enjoying their day, I realized I can’t remember ever going on a picnic or spending a day in the park. That seems weird to me but maybe it’s because I’m so fidgety. In my mind I want to relax but when I try, I get bored and impatient. < — also why I hate yoga. I need someone to teach me to relax.
Anyway, here was our view from the restaurant. Nice and shady with good people watching.
The menu was American/Mediterranean, so they had a little bit of everything. I started with the Spicy Asian peel and eat shrimp and hubs ordered the loaded tater tots.
The shrimp were grilled, which I didn’t expect. They were good even though there was a bit too much sauce on them. I guess I’m more of a cocktail sauce dipping girl than a Spicy Asian girl (sounds naughty) but I just like shrimp in general so they all made their way into my belly. Hubs ate half his tots and planned to take the rest home until Hurricane Paula came through and took care of that too.
My main dish was the gyro salad platter.
I always feel bad when I eat lamb and have to apologize to my food before I eat it. They are so adorable but it is their fault for also being so delicious. The tzatziki sauce was a little bland but everything else was amazing so I didn’t mind.
Hubs ordered the chicken and shrimp plate.
He gave everything a thumbs up as well. The service was so good and there were so many things we wanted to try on the menu that we’ll have to go back soon. I didn’t drink but there were Happy Hour specials every day including $2 off all drinks when it’s raining. (?!) I’m going to need to make this place a habit because we loved it and the view is amazing. If you’re in Orlando, definitely check it out.
After lunch, we walked back around the lake and checked out all the ducks and swans that had no problem getting up in our biz.
Don’t mind me.
We walked back through the farmer’s market where a vanilla bean cupcake was whispering sweet nothings as I passed by. We like to support local business and expanding waistlines.
The frosting was amazing but the cupcake was a little dry. I still ate it all because that would just be rude to the cupcake not to.
Afterwards, we were so full we had to take a two hour nap and then only had enough energy to sit on the couch and watch Parks and Rec the rest of the night. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I’m all caught up (we’re almost done with season 5). I might have to find a hobby and do something useful with my life. < — just kidding, I would never do that.