Meet My Owl: Smartypants

In this week’s Meet My Owl, I am pleased to introduce you to Mr. Smartypants.  He’s an owl that sits on my bookshelf at home.  Kevin got him for me a couple of years ago from Starbucks (I think).  Isn’t he cute with his corduroy fabric and glasses?

He’s one of the first owls that Kevin got me when he realized that my owl obsession wasn’t temporary.  🙂



Wednesday Weigh-In

It’s Wednesday weigh-in day!

I was pretty nervous when I stepped on the scale this morning, but thankfully, I lost some weight this week. 

Today, I weighed in at 161.2.  That’s a loss of .8 pounds for the week.  It’s almost what I gained last week, but not all of it.  Either way, I’m happy to be on the downswing again.  Kevin lost 2 pounds this week- I’m so proud of him!

Things I did well this week:  I was really good about my exercise and got in 5 days (not perfect) of cardio and stretching.  I also am eating more vegetables and plant-based proteins. 

Things I did that may have been detrimental to my weight loss:  I ate ALL of my activity points and weekly extra points.  I had a really naughty meal on both Saturday and Sunday night, which blew through my points.  If I had not eating these “extras”, I may have lost more.

My goal for this upcoming week: try not to eat ALL of my extra points.  Continue exercising at least 5 days a week.

Meet My Owl: Bronzed

In this week’s Meet My Owl, I am sharing a recent gift from my sister, Beth.  She knows my owl obsession, so of course she got me this cute bronze owl for Christmas!  He’s currently on a small shelf in my dining room.  I think he may actually be a paperweight, but that’s okay.  He’s happy on the wall for now.

I love that he looks so substantial even though he’s small.  Plus, it’s pretty rare that you see metal owls.  Usually, they’re wood or ceramic.

Couldn’t you envision him atop a stack of old books in a dusty library somewhere?

Recipe: Quinoa Tabouli

My dear childhood friend, Mae, send me a message asking about how I make my quinoa tabouli, so I thought I’d create a blog post to answer that question.

First of all, I get my quinoa from Trader Joe’s.  It is the cheapest I’ve seen.  That is, until I went to Costco last week.  You can get a big bag of quinoa there for much cheaper (by volume comparison)!  Go, Mae, get some Costco quinoa- post haste!!!

I like to make my tabouli in a huge bowl and divide it into smaller containers for lunch or snacks.  It can feed me for a week if I restrain myself.    Here’s what a normal serving looks like for me- my big batch makes almost a dozen of these:

Here’s the recipe (I probably need to figure out how to do those fancy “print” features)…


Rinse 1 cup of quinoa well.   Quinoa has a coating on it that will taste very bitter if you don’t rinse it off.  Dump it into a pot filled with 2 cups of water.  Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 13 minutes or so.  You want it to soak up the water like rice, so you may have to give it some more time.

In the meanwhile, I start prepping my extras into the big bowl.  I can’t stress how big of a bowl you need for this.  Use your biggest mixing bowl.  I have a big plastic bowl I got at Walmart or someplace for chips and I use that.

In the bowl goes:

1/2 fresh lemon juice and the zest of two lemons

1/3 C olive oil

1 can of chick peas (garbanzo beans) rinsed well

1 cucumber, deseeded and cubed

A LOT of parsley.  I usually put in around 2 cups, chopped well.  I’ve experimented with curly or flat leaf, and I like the flat leaf better.

2 cloves finely chopped garlic

A LOT of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved.  I have tried romas or other larger tomatoes and it just makes it too watery, even when I tried to deseed them.  I’ll use one of those plastic pints up pretty quick for this recipe.

In the summer, I like to put in some fresh mint too.  If I’m feeling adventuresome, I may even put in some red onion, but rather sparingly.  The garlic is enough.

By the time you’ve gotten through all of the chopping, the quinoa has probably finished.  Just take it off the heat and stir it up.  You’ll have made a hot mess by this point of your kitchen with all of the chopping and parsley everywhere.  It’s a good 45 minute fiasco when I make my tabouli, but it’s so worth it!

After my counter is all cleaned off, I spoon my cooked quinoa into the big bowl of stuff and start stirring it up.  Give it a taste before you add any salt.  I like pink Himalayan salt from Trader Joe’s.  It comes in a grinder and is inexpensive.  To me, it tastes like it has a buttery flavor.  Usually, I give a few twists of salt, stir, and taste.  You’ll really need to do some stirring to get everything mixed.

I know that this is a little different than a traditional tabouli recipe, but the extras really make the ingredients go a little longer and provide some interesting flavor combinations.

Be prepared…  It’s addictive!

Wednesday Weigh-In: Week 2

Well, my fear was realized this morning when I weighed in. A weekend in D.C. was bad for my weight loss. I gained this week and weighed in at 162. It wasn’t like I gained a lot, but it’s still a gain anyway. Kevin lost a pound, so I’m happy for him!

In thinking about why I gained this week, I came up with a few ideas:
1) lack of consistent exercise. Although I walked a lot on Saturday and Sunday, I still was off track with my exercise routine. I just need to move every day and get my heart rate up. Of course, the tattoo makes things difficult this week because I can’t wear shoes.
2) not drinking enough water over the weekend. I probably only drank a third of what I would normally drink. I’ve noticed that when I don’t drink my water, I really feel bloated.
3) although I was in my points over the weekend, I still had a couple of issues that may have contributed to a gain. First, I packed snacks, but they were mostly crackers, which are high in carbs. Secondly, I probably ate more salty foods than normal, and since I wasn’t drinking a lot of water, I probably retained some water weight.

So, this week is a new week. I’m a little frustrated but I understand that this is a process. I just need to put in 100% every day.

I’m home this week grading papers for class, so I am challenged by boredom snacking. I have some low point and zero point things I can eat, which should help.

Meet My Owl: Inked!

In a special edition of Meet My Owl, I am pleased to introduce “Owliver”.  He’s my newest owl.  And he’s permanent.

I love him!!!


(excuse the fading pedicure)


As some of you know, my first irresponsible thing I planned to do after finishing my dissertation was to get a tattoo.  You all thought I was joking.  Ha!  I just needed to wait for a week when I could go barefoot.   It’s spring break and I have the week off, so yesterday morning I headed to Rock Steady Tattoo in Hampton for my owl.

Unfortunately, the visit on Friday did not allow me to schedule an appointment and I was told to come first thing on Monday.  When I got there, only one person was there and he said he couldn’t get me in until Wednesday.  Well, I was willing to wait until then because I had heard such great things about the place.  I scheduled the appointment and headed home.  On the way, I got this weird feeling like I needed to do the tattoo now, so I called a couple of other places that I’d been looking at and one was open at lunch for walk-ins.

So, Mom (yes, my mom went and now she wants one too) and I headed to Virginia Beach Ink on Laskin Road.  I was a little apprehensive because I knew I was getting into a situation that may end badly, depending on who was at the shop when I got there.  Happily, Dwayne was there and able to get me in right away.  He was awesome!!!

I don’t know what everyone was talking about.  It did not hurt at all, not even a little.  I think it hurts worse to get flu shots than it did to get a tattoo.  It sort of felt like someone was scraping at my foot with something like a fingernail.  Maybe I have a high pain threshold.  Maybe Dwayne was the bomb.I was in and out in less than an hour.  I had a wrap over it for about three hours and then I removed it and washed it with mild soap.   I was expecting for it to get scabby or crusty.  Not a bit of bleeding, scabbing, or crusting.  It looks perfect.  The lines are a little raised up, which you can see in the photo, but I am to start putting Lubriderm on it four times a day now so it should smooth out.

I was instructed to avoid wearing shoes and socks for a few days, so I did my stretching DVD this morning.  That was fine with me because I did more than enough walking on Saturday and Sunday around D.C.

I’m 100% pleased with my new owl.  I had to get him a little bigger and a little more on the top of my foot because of the design and scarring from a surgery, but he’s exactly what I wanted.   Now I really feel like the dissertation is done!

How to stay on track

Tomorrow afternoon, Kevin and I are driving to D.C. for the weekend. I’m super excited because my weekends for the past year have been mostly dissertation-filled, mind-numbing, letmedrinkabottleofwinetomakeitgoaway crazy. This will be the first time in a LONG time that neither of us have something going on. The bathroom reno can wait.

Of course, when Mr. Hall suggested we hit up IKEA and make a weekend of it, I flipped out in my head. How am I going to track my points in restaurants? What about my activity- is there a way to track walking all over D.C.? More importantly, how can I eat and have a good time without coming to you next Wednesday, crying because I gained back the three pounds I lost??

I think I may have it figured out:

  1. Keep track of the amount of minutes I spend walking. Maybe I’ll use my notes function on my iPhone. At the end of the day, I’ll use the activity tracker and track my points accordingly. I know I’ll be earning points, so I want to make sure I track them.
  2. Plan for snacks on the way up and the way home. I love road trips, especially the mindless snacking. Kevin and I went to the grocery store and got a few things (Wheat Thins, Triscuit thins, cheese to cut up in cubes, grapes, and those mini rice cakes that are sweet flavors like apple cinnamon and caramel<—my favorite). I plan to get out little snack bags tonight and portion these all out. Then, I’m going to write on each bag the points values with a Sharpie. That way, we each can decide what we want to eat, based on how many points we want to use.
  3. Use some of my extra “weekly” points. I’m going to D.C. I want to eat good food and be able to enjoy myself! I’ll make my choices smartly and choose one meal (lunch or dinner) where I’ll splurge a little.
  4. Pack some carrots and energy bars to snack on as we are walking around.

Hopefully, these plans work! (crosses fingers)