Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On the Road Again ted

We just can't seem to stay home on the weekends. We're always somewhere, and the past two weekends in a row have brought us down to the area where we went to college, and where my husband grew up.

A few weekends ago (has it really been that long?), we hit up the first annual DC VegFest.

Lots of vegan vendors, and lots of vegan food. We both, obviously, had to have dessert. Our own desserts. I had already been to Vegan Treats and Sticky Fingers, so we hit up Emily's Desserts. Nick had the chocolate cheesecake, which was to die for.

I was boring, and had my default dessert, carrot cake. If ever there is carrot cake available, that is what I will be having! And this was one of the most adorable carrot cakes ever.

After all that sweet, I needed some more substantial food. Nick had a falafel which was gone way before there was an inkling of picture time. I had a house made mini veggie burger from Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant.
Does anyone else not like sandwiches? I didn't eat the bun, just the burger, and the little cup of chili. It was pretty good, although I wasn't a fan of the service...the person taking orders was a little intense.

When we head down to either the DC or Baltimore area, we stay with my in-laws. My sister in law is gluten-free, so even though she is away at college now, my mother in law is constantly searching for places that she can go to when she is home. In doing this she found Great Sage, which is all vegetarian, almost all vegan, often gluten free restaurant in Clarksville, MD. We went there one weekend with my in-laws, and I forgot my camera. But we liked it so much that we went back by ourselves the next weekend.

This didn't quite capture it, but the atmosphere is really nice. Very calm, and that art on the back wall is actually a water feature. I think I stared at it for 75% of the time we were there the first visit.

We were really hungry, so Nick dug into the bread right away.

He was nice enough to let me snap a quick pic of his vegetable terrine before he dug into that.

I had the special which was grilled polenta with white truffle, on roasted garlic puree, topped with vegan parmesan (Daiya - not a fan, I took it off), and garlic sauteed spinach, garnished with roasted pearl onions. This was totally as good as it sounds, even though the picture is kind of dark.

If you ever find yourself in Clarksville, or are driving from Baltimore to DC, or are just going south on 95 and want to stop for some really good veg food, you should most definitely go there.

We also visited St. Michaels on Maryland's Eastern Shore. While there was no fun food, I did see flowers that looked just like the head flower from Alice in Wonderland.

Is anyone else really looking forward to the new version of this coming out? Looks trippy. Alice in Wonderland was always one of my favorite movies. Its one of the few movies I actually own.

We walked by the water too, and saw some jellyfish. I watched them for far longer than was probably considered normal, but I think they are so cool. Plus, I've never seen them in the "wild" before, just in aquariums.

I have the hardest time going away on the weekends because I miss Zoe! She is a really good girl while we're gone, but I like to think that she really misses me. So when we came home, we cuddled a little.
So that is where I have been, and what I have been doing. Now that school is in full swing, I don't know how often I will be able to post, but we are canceling our cable tomorrow, so hopefully I will have more time to dedicate to blogging instead of feeling like I have to catch up on television!

But I wouldn't expect to hear from me this weekend. Now we're heading up north to my family!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Beating the Boredom Back to School Workout

Every once in awhile I realize that I have neglected the "Strong" portion of the blog. Fear not, it is still happening!

Yes, this is me (okay, its not).

The start of school, and for me, work, means that my workout routine needs to drastically change. If I learned one thing from student teaching earlier this year, it is that, when I am stressed out, I don't work out. I know, working out should be a stress reliever, but if it is piled on too high, I lose motivation. So I have been working out in the morning. I don't know about you, but here, school starts pretty early, and honestly, I'm lucky that I can get up at 5 and have time to work out, shower, and be at school on time.

Additionally, I've been working out in our building's basement gym. I love it because there is rarely anyone there (regardless of the time of day), so I can walk around and sing to my iPod like an idiot. I don't like it, because I am dealing with limited resources. I pretty much have dumbbells, a bench, and a few machines.

Yes, this is from my building's website

Plus, I do really only have half an hour. If you are short on time, or just want a quick workout, this is the way to go.

Su: 1 hr cardio
M: leg workout
T: 30 min cardio
W: chest workout
Th: 30 min cardio
F: back workout
Sa: 1 hr cardio

Simple. And versatile. I pick 5 workouts that work a range of muscles in the targeted area for the day, and do it for 5 reps, circuit style, for 5 sets.

Confusing? It's not, I swear. Here's an example for today, which was the back workout:

5 reps of Dumbbell Rows
5 reps of Dumbbell Curls
5 reps of Rear Lat Raises
5 reps of Seated Cable Row
5 reps of Hyperextensions

Do all of these in a fairly quick succession, and repeat 4 more times.

You don't have to do these exercises. You just want to be sure that you are hitting all the muscles, which to me are the upper back, lower back, and rear shoulders. If you are unsure of what exercises correspond with which muscles, this is a really great website that I have been using for years.

For chest day this week I did:

5 reps of Dumbbell Chest Press
5 reps of Front Raises
5 reps of Dumbbell Kickbacks
5 reps of Pushups
5 reps of Dips
*I also did 20 situps between each circuit*

I like working out like this because it goes by VERY quickly, and you work up a sweat if you keep it moving. You'll also notice that instead of dedicating a day to arms and/or shoulders, I add triceps in with chest day, and biceps in with back day. I do shoulders every time I lift.

Leg days usually look something like this:
5 reps of Dumbbell Squats
5 reps of Straight Leg Deadlifts
5 reps of Calf Raises
5 reps of Leg Extensions
5 reps of Shoulder Presses

I never do the same workout twice, I am always changing up what I do, using variations on exercises from books, online, magazines, etc. Its important to change things up because it keeps your muscles guessing, and it beats gym boredom. I always joke that I have gym ADD, but I really am way more likely to work out if I know it isn't going to be plodding through the same old routine.

Another way to beat boredom? Plug in the iPod! Some of my favorites on my current "Gym" playlist:

Here in Your Bedroom - Goldfinger
Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
Redeeming a Monster - Broadway
Scattered - Green Day
I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor - Arctic Monkeys
Let's Dance to Joy Division - The Wombats*
The Magnificent Seven - The Clash

*I have suggested this song before. That is because it is REALLY good, and fun, and there is almost never an inappropriate time to listen to it.

After my cardio tomorrow, we will be heading to the beach with a bunch of friends and family.

Sadly, not this beach, this picture is from when we were in Hawaii. But we do have a busy weekend planned at a beach, and it is supposed to be a perfect weekend. Hopefully you all have the weekend off and will be able to get outside, feel healthy, and enjoy the beautiful weather!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Time to pick a winner for the Love Force giveaway! I used a random number generator and the winner is...

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-09-01 22:48:34 UTC

Commenter number 2, aka Gina from The Candid RD! Congrats Gina! Send me an email with some of your top choices.

Didn't win and still want some Love Force bars? I've been sampling them every few days (I found another store near the beach that has them), and I thought I'd give you my two cents.

Chocolate Vanilla: YUM. The vanilla intensifies the chocolately flavor of the raw cacao and raw carob. Very yummy.

Fig Ginger: Not my favorite, in fact, I didn't finish it. But I think I just might only have loved the figs in Fig Newtons. If you know you're a big fig fan, go for it. The flavor is good, I just wasn't a fan of all the little fig seeds in it.

Goji Lemon: Really really yummy, especially if you are a big lemon fan.

Granola Cacao: One of the tops! It is so yummy, with chewy raisins and little crunchy cacao nibs. Totally delicious.

I already reviewed the bliss that was Chocolate Orange, and I'd say it is still probably my favorite!!

If you didn't win and want to get creative with bars or some raw yumminess, try out my Pumpkin Ginger Granola Bars or Raw Banana Bread Cookies!