Six things I’m loving right now

I’m baaaaack (for now)!  I’ve had a million and fifty things I want to share this summer, but I’ve been so busy living that I haven’t made time to write it all down.  It’s great, but I’m finding that I get a little overwhelmed when I just keep powering through, so I’m trying to take more time to breathe and reflect.  I’ve got some more updates coming your way, but to ease us back into the thick of it, here are six things I’m loving right now.
I raced one earlier this month and it was AWESOME.  That shit is STOOPID HARD, but somehow never feels impossible.  Also, I completely lost all sense of self conscious-ness mid race.  Is my ass hanging out?  Do my thighs look enormous?  Do I have spit running down my face?  DON’T CARE, I just feel STRONG right now.
2) The Angry/Sad Run
Feeling like the world is a terrible place and everything is awful?  Go for an angry/sad run.  No one can tell if you’re crying or sweating to death, and you’ll go super fast because ALL THE EMOTIONS.  You may even feel better when it’s over – or at least too tired to care anymore.
Ugh, I hate that I love it, but I do.  I assume I was brainwashed by all those episodes of The Hills I watched in college.
4) Sarah Fit (surprise! another blog – and yes I do have a problem)
Sarah is great (I know, I say it like we’re besties – I’ve been following her for a long time).  Sometimes her syntax gets on my nerves, but once you get past the “sorority girl” of it all (who am I kidding, if you’re still reading my writing you obviously don’t have a problem with bad grammar and a valley girl tendency), she is a straight-up-smart health and wellness pro with an accessible platform.  Her workouts are pretty good, but her articles on food and healthy habits are the best.  Basically she gets it – you have a life - and you want to feel good and look good.  Check her out, you’re welcome.
5) Kacy Catanzaro
This one is supes obvious right now – I mean hell-O, do you have the internet? This woman is amazing. Thanks for being one bas ass role model Kacy – go kick some booty in Vegas!
6) Eating in
Here’s the thing, your girl over here just had her monthly student loan payment jump a couple hundos… #thrilled.  It’s not ideal, but it’s forcing me to be more resourceful with my budget, and it is a STARK reminder that a lot of people are dealing with a fraction of my income.  Check out this eye-opening article from National Geographic about the disturbing prevalence of food insecurity in this country.  I eat most of my meals at home, but I’m definitely prone to the mid-afternoon purchase of a KIND bar and a fancy iced tea.  I’m trying to cut out the unnecessary spending in my life, and I might be concocting a September challenge for myself…
Alright beautiful people, get on with your bad selves.
Thanks for reading!
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Down with Negative Thinking!

Whew! Is anyone else feeling like time just needs to SLOOOOOOOW DOOOOOOOWN?  I can’t believe it’s already March (even though it still feels like January, brrrr). I sort of feel like I’m constantly waiting for life to slow down, but it never does.  Busy is the new normal?

Let’s get through the housekeeping first! We’re about halfway through the DOU Pinterest Challenge, so follow the board and I’ll invite you to start pinning the recipes you’ve tested!  (C’mon, we need each other for quality control – sure those recipes look good, but are they? Here’s our chance to join forces and find out!)

Mardi Gras 2012

Mardi Gras 2012

Next up – Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!  Today is Mardi Gras! Fat Tuesday! Faschnaut Day! Pancake Day! Carnivale!  Whatever you call it, and whatever you do to celebrate, I hope you were able to indulge today!  (I know I’ve had one too many snacks to honor the occasion.)  I think it’s my duty as a good Catholic to be either gluttonous, drunk, or lecherous on Fat Tuesday.

Alas, with the indulgence of Fat Tuesday comes the asceticism of Lent.  When I was a kid, I was taught that you should keep your Lenten sacrifices to yourself – you know, “don’t let your left hand know, what your right hand is dong” – because if your making yourself a martyr it kind of defeats the purpose.  People aren’t supposed to tell you how wonderful you are for the sacrifices you’re making.  That said, a solid 80% of my Facebook newsfeed today is an announcement of what will be abstained from for the next 40 days – and yes, I’m amused by all of it. Best of luck to you all, and for the love of life, if you are giving up cheese or chocolate, stay away from me until Easter!

I haven’t decided if I’ll “give anything up” for Lent (I’d like to give up cold weather, but ya know), but I will definitely be conscious of squashing negative thinking during this mindful time of year, and I challenge you to join me!

So, when the person in front of me is walking sooooooo sloooooow as I’m scurrying to catch my train, I’m going to remind myself that contrary to my initial thoughts, they’re not the worst person on the entire planet, take a freaking breath and patiently make my way to work. There is probably a very good reason why they are moving so slowly, and it’s not helping anyone for me to shoot the evil eye into their skull as I stew silently.

And when I catch a glimpse of my larger than average thighs in the mirror, I’m not going to think about how terrible I am for eating dessert six days last week.  I have a healthy, capable body, and though it doesn’t look exactly the way I want it to, there isn’t anything wrong with it.

I’m going to try and be more mindful of the times when senseless negativity takes over my thoughts, and squash that beast.  I won’t be suffering, but I think I’ll learn something, and I’m pretty sure that by Easter I’ll be a happier, more centered individual.

What did you do to celebrate Fat Tuesday?

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Scenes from my weekend

Hi friends – Happy Valentine’s Day/President’s Day hangover week!

I’m a little under the weather, so I don’t have much to say today – except down with the cold virus!  Anyhow, I wanted to pop a quick reminder that the Pinterest recipe challenge started on Monday, and you can still join!  Just follow the board on Pinterest and I’ll send you an invite to start posting on it.  You’ll be sharing amazing recipes you’ve tried out in no time :)  I already made these delicious Paleo Chicken Jalapeño Burgers for the challenge -yum!

I had a fantastic weekend with friends, family, food and adventure – but I think I may have overextended myself since I picked up a cold somewhere along the way.  I trekked down to Red Hook on V-Day and ate some INCREDIBLE meat at Hometown BBQ with my love and some friends.  I went on a spa day expedition with some fabulous ladies on Saturday. (We ended up at a Russian Bath in Coney Island called Mermaid Spa because every other place was full.  It was…an experience, but I totally loved it!)  Sunday was a day for getting sh*t done – like buying a much needed new set of sheets and a bathmat (my life is SO glamorous) – and family dinner (MEATBALLS!!!!).  Monday was the cherry on top of a fabulous weekend because I went out to New Jersey to see my brother rock out on stage.  He’s in the NATIONAL TOUR of American Idiot, so I don’t get to see much of him, and seeing him in his element on stage was just awesome.  It didn’t hurt that one of my best friends and a ton of family and family-friends were there too – love my people!

I’m definitely feeling the effects of a go-go-go weekend, but it was amazing.  Here’s a glimpse of the goods:

Snow-weary travelers head to the Russian Baths...

Snow-weary travelers head to the Russian Baths…

I loved this simple and creative centerpiece at the restaurant where we caught brunch!

I loved this simple and creative centerpiece at the restaurant where we caught brunch!

Literally, nothing is better than homemade meatballs - this is one of my favorite things about dating an Italian :)

Literally, nothing is better than homemade meatballs – this is one of my favorite things about dating an Italian :)

Tulips from the corner deli - that MUST mean spring is coming soon…right?

Tulips from the corner deli – that MUST mean spring is coming soon…right?

Hope you had a great long weekend – and that your back to work week hasn’t been too bad!

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Olympic Inspiration and a PINTEREST CHALLENGE!!

I am so excited to launch my very first CHALLENGE on this blog, but since I want to talk about the Olympics one more time, you’ll have to read through my three quick notes about why I’m excited about them before you get to the challenge rules.

1) The Olympics are the only major network-televised sporting event that features women’s sports.  I mean, aside from maybe women’s tennis, all of the sporting events that are covered on the major networks during prime time are men’s sports.  I’m annoyed about this. I vote for more women’s sports in prime time.

2) Olympians are WAY better role models than celebrities.  No exposition needed.

3) I want to be able to do ALL the things the Olympians do – particularly when they are training in Visa commercials.  Specifically I want to be able to hop over hurdles like it’s nothing as Bill Demong does HERE.  Anyone got a training program that will turn me into a kangaroo?

Ok, so now you’ve put up with me.  Here’s the good stuff!

The Drunk On Opportunity Pinterest Recipe Challenge

pinterest_logo_0The challenge will begin on President’s Day, next Monday, February 17, and will end on Monday, March 17.

Your challenge (and mine), is to actually make 10 recipes that you found on Pinterest in one month.  They can be ANY kind of recipes (extra points if they’re healthy), drinks, apps, desserts, main courses, snacks, etc.  Once you try a recipe, pin it on the DOU Recipe Challenge board with your verdict (good or bad).

I know I pin a million things I never try, so this is my effort to get all of us to ACTUALLY TRY THE DAMN RECIPES, and also, to compile a kick-ass recipe board where a trusted source (like you!) lets us know whether the recipe was any good.

Everyone who meets the challenge goal of trying and posting 10 recipes in one month will be entered to win a GRAND PRIZE (spoiler alert – GRAND maybe is too strong of a word, but it will definitely be kind of a cool prize).

So are you ready to join the Drunk on Opportunity Pinterest Recipe Challenge? 

Send me an email with the subject line “RECIPE CHALLENGE” and include your name and email in the body.  I’ll send you an invitation to the challenge board on Pinterest and you can start testing and pinning away!

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The Rockstar Series Returns – Seven in Heaven-style!

Ok friends, I know I have been DYING to put up a post by another Rockstar, and now I that I have one for you, I hope you’re excited too!

Today’s post is super special to me, because I’m actually RELATED to this Rockstar (yea, you should be jealous)!  It’s my cousin Carly, who (among other amazing things) works with kids who have autism, was brave enough to move halfway across the world to Hawaii for the experience of it, and while working AND going to school – she manages to look like a fitness model – no big deal.  In the wake of all this awesomeness, she’s still a totally chill, fun person who knows how to have a good time (I mean, she shares genes with someone who calls a blog Drunk on Opportunity)!  Without further ado, meet Carly!

Meet Carly!

Your rockstar on race day!

Living a healthy lifestyle means being around for my great-grandchildren, means being able to move my body well when I’m older, means setting an example for younger generations. I believe that feeling strong translates to every aspect of your life. Overall, I want to stay as healthy and feel as good as I can for as long as I can.

Have you always been a health guru?  Where did you pick up your healthy habits?

My parents certainly engrained in me small healthy habits that I’ve built upon over the years, always playing sports, just being active in general. And always ensuring that there were vegetables with our meals. I picked up a health studies minor in undergrad to continue learning about health and nutrition, and I follow a bunch of different health podcasts that I listen to on my way to work every day. They keep me motivated and are a great reminder of why I want to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s really become more than just a hobby for me at this point, I love learning about new recipes, supplements, and workouts. I’m just entering the running world and starting gently with 5ks and 10ks!

What’s a day in the life for you?  How do you fit healthy foods and exercise into your busy day?

Well it all really starts on Sunday night. We make all of our meals for the week, which is lame because this means that we eat the same thing every day of the work week. Right now my husband Kevin and I are both in school. He for ultrasound, and me for behavior analysis. We have literally never been this busy in our lives. We wake up together, make a green smoothie, hit the road, and I drive an hour to work with little kiddos with autism in their homes. I bring a small cooler with plenty of water and snacks- I do this because I know that if I bring them, that I will eat them, and not some other junk. I bring fruit, nuts, cut up veggies, veggie straws, popcorn, anything that’s easy to munch in the car, where I spend most of my day when I’m not in session chasing 3 year olds! Then I come home, and hit the gym or go for a run. This is crucial- it reminds me that I need to make time for myself even in the midst of the craziness! When I’m done my head is clearer, I feel productive, and my body feels awesome. We got bikes this Christmas, and are excited to get riding! Kevin doesn’t love going to the gym, so riding bikes together will be a perfect opportunity for us to cruise around our beach town while burning some calories and spending time together. Then we eat dinner, do some schoolwork, make our lunches and snacks for the next day, and go to sleep. Sleep is another high priority for us. Being tired leads us to be hungrier and not getting the most out of our days.

What are your favorite forms of exercise?  Have they changed over time, or are you a life long lover of something?

I have always found solace in running, but since I decided last year to really change my diet and exercise habits, I have loved HIIT- high intensity interval training. I discovered HIIT training from Jillian Michael’s podcast. It is a super fast-paced method of working out, I barely have time to look at the clock so workouts fly by and I like that I am able to push myself a little bit more every time. I alternate different modalities of cardio with strength exercises. I also wear a fitness tracker armband which tracks the calories I burn throughout the day as well as my sleep patterns. It’s so motivating to see those numbers go up and just by virtue of wearing it, I am reminded to move more.

Do you follow any specific diets or avoid certain foods?  Why or why not?

My philosophy keeps changing with the newest available scientific research, but my main idea of diet is to just eat real, whole foods. We stay far away from fast food, processed foods, foods with added sugars or chemicals, and now, gluten as well. We don’t have celiac disease, but when Kevin started developing digestive and skin problems (which are often related) we started trying new diets to help him improve. It was a chiropractor who suggested removing gluten from our diets to help with inflammation in my neck, and TA DA! His symptoms magically disappeared! We are not really following a Paleo diet, but after removing gluten, we both feel better and so we continued with it. We try to do these things at least 80% of the time. It’s all about balance.

What are some specific challenges you have faced on your healthy journey?

Eating out or at other people’s houses is always tough. We try to always bring something with us to share, but we usually wind up eating food we wouldn’t otherwise eat. We are more than ok with that though, we don’t think it’s healthy to deprive ourselves from things we love. Everything in moderation. Exercising can be a challenge too, when there is so much else to get done, sometimes it takes a back seat to schoolwork or work for our jobs. There will be good days and healthy days, and there will be days where I haven’t made decisions that align with my overall health mentality. I think the key is to always get back up.

Carly and KevI’m in a rut.  What would you advise to help me integrate healthy habits back into my life?

Sometimes completely overhauling your diet and/or life to one that is healthier can be a daunting task. What works for one person may not work for someone else, so try new things and see what works for you. Start small, make small goals for yourself, ones that you know you are capable of reaching, and then keep building upon them. You will start to feel stronger and more in control of your life. Forgive yourself when you make bad choices, and start each day brand new.

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