Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Past, The Present, The Future

Hello dear readers,

It's been over two months since I last posted. And the posts before that have been spotty this past year. I started this blog back in 2010 as a place of self expression. But in that time a lot has changed that makes me wonder where a blog fits in my life and for what purpose. Now we have Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and much more to help share the story of our lives - both the beautiful curated moments and the silly "behind the scenes" honest moments of life. So what's the purpose of a/this blog? My life in photos in on Instagram. The everyday randomness is on Snapchat (or Instastories if you prefer). So what purpose does this serve?

Perhaps the problem is that I don't have a clear vision of what this blog could (or should) be. What is the strategy? What is the theme?

The original idea behind the title of the blog - Now Boarding at Gate G6 - is all about embarking on new adventures ... no matter what they may be. Adventure could take the form of international travel, but it could also be trying out a new recipe, exploring a new part of Minneapolis, starting up with yoga, or really anything else. It's just about life. But then again ... aren't most blogs? So what makes me different or special?

Nothing really.

If anything, I am probably less special. I don't have cute kids to take photos of and share my life as a mommy. I don't have a man in my life to share cute kissy photos or engagement photos or our silly couple adventures. While I enjoy fashion, I am not in a place where this blog can be all about style inspiration. I don't develop awesome recipes or craft. And to top all that off, the photo thing is a challenge. I actually love to take photos ... love it. And I am pretty decent. But it's pretty darn impossible to be subject and photographer both! I've been spending a lot of time reading other blogs recently and I feel like every single one either partners with others to be the subject of photographer, or they have a spouse or significant other that takes the photos, etc. But what am I supposed to do! I love the idea of taking photos (i.e. photos of someone around the Uptown Art Fair) ... but where do I find a subject?

See. I'm not that special.

But I am me. Just little ol' me. They say (not sure who "they" are though) that you should write about what you know. I think that was actually from the book/movie "Little Women" come to think of it. So what do I know? Maybe that will help me decide on a) if I should keep this blog going, and b) what the topic should be.

  • I know travel. I love it. I prioritize it in my life. I've been to 34 countries - some 4 or 5 or more times. I love going off the beaten path, trying new things and going on adventure. I love travel so much I even have symbols of it tattooed on my body. 
  • I know Minneapolis. I love this city, and I enjoy getting out and doing everything I can in it. From art fairs in the summer to theater all year to fun events to get you outside in winter, I know this city pretty well.
  • I know movies. I go to at least one movie a week on average. More during the awards/holiday season. 
  • I know art. I studied it. I love it.
  • I know how to lose weight. And gain weight. And struggle with my weight.
  • I know Whole30.
  • I know yoga (or at least I'm trying). I know cardio. 
  • I know how to cook a few things. A limited few things.
  • I know how to live my version of a full and rich life.
  • I know photography.
  • I know some other things too: the struggle of online dating, the challenges of being the only one amongst your friends not married or in a serious relationships, shopping, design, books, tattoos, organization, planning, how to make your own yoga mat drying rack (no joke, I totally DIYed that $hit), etc.
But for each thing I know there are at least three things I don't.

So, what should I do. What should this blog be about? Is there even a reason for it? Does anyone but my mom even read this (hi mom!)?

I'd like to continue blogging. I really would. Especially now that my MBA is done, I'd like to have a project. But I only want to do this if there is actually a reason for it. Because otherwise this is nothing more than an elaborate and digital "dear diary". 

So let me know what you think. I'm open to suggestions! Thanks all!

And now, I leave you with a few photos from my apartment. One of my new resolutions is that I want to get out my Canon more often for life in general. Recently I have only taken photos with it while traveling, but it takes such amazing photos and I wish I did more with it just around here. I am really made at myself for not taking it out at the Uptown Art Fair this past weekend. The colors, sky, and people watching would have been great for some photos! Anyway, I took the camera out today and snapped a few photos around the apartment for inspiration. 

Monday, June 6, 2016


I'm not going to get into the craziness that is dating in this day and age (that would require me quitting my day job and only blogging on that topic for the entire summer), but I do want to cover one specific topic: ghosting

The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just "get the hint" and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested. Ghosting is not specific to a certain gender and is closely related to the subject's maturity and communication skills. Many attempt to justify ghosting as a way to cease dating the ghostee without hurting their feelings, but it in fact proves the subject is thinking more of themselves, as ghosting often creates more confusion for the ghostee than if the subject kindly stated how he/she feels.

Carmen: How was your second date with Kyle?
Beth: I thought it went well, but I've texted him a couple of times since then and he's been ghosting me.
Carmen: What? I thought he was more mature than that..

In my dating experience, ghosting is everywhere. For example:

  • A guy I had been seeing for four months ghosted me. I do think it was kind of a mutual ghost, but I think it was more like 70/30 him ghosting me. 
  • Ghosting without even meeting is also a thing. Keeping a app or text conversation with someone you've never met going for days or weeks and then all of a sudden it stops and you get no response from the other person.
  • There is also the one I have most recently experienced which is a bit of a modified ghosting. I don't hear from the guy for 7-10 days and I pretty much chalk it up as "done ...moving on" only to get a text from him randomly (with really random content) after a week of no communication. And the cycle continues for multiple week. This one I want to say is a little more "sh*t or get off the pot",  but it has some elements of ghosting.
I'd rather just know if - in the iconic cliche - he's just not that into me. Get it over with so I can move on.

To close, please enjoy this video of "Ghoster's Paradise" to help articulate the point. 


I have something really important to share. I have recently been diagnosed (by myself) as suffering from FOMOOPP. Some of you may be familiar with the more general version of this condition known as FOMO. FOMOOPP is related, but more targeted to impacting a specific group of people – photographers.

FOMOOPP: Fear of Missing Out On Perfect Photo

This is a serious, but manageable condition. It usually flares up when traveling, but can be triggered at home as well. The condition has been exacerbated in recent years by the development of digital cameras and high capacity memory cards, as well as smart phones with cameras and large memory storage.

Symptoms include:
·         Taking multiple photos of the same thing from slightly different angles (this can be of “things” such as monuments, landscapes, etc as well people, including but not limited to: portraits, gym mirror selfies, group photos, selfies (in general)
·         Going back to the same place multiple times to take the same photo in slightly different lighting/cloud conditions
·         Constantly second guessing if you have the right angle/lighting/aperture
·         Downloading all photos at the end of the day when traveling to determine if the photos are good, and going back to retake the same photos with slight tweaks based on what you saw from the downloaded photos
·         Using the burst feature to excess (this can be both on DSLR and smart phone cameras)
·         Take the same photo with both a DSLR as well as your smart phone
·         Walking until you cannot feel your feet because you need to make sure you got that perfect photo
·         Never actually putting away your camera because you may miss the perfect photo

I joke … but this is legit. I definitely have a hard time with this when I am traveling, and my recent trip to Washington DC was no exception. I went back to the same spots multiple times to make sure I captured the perfect photo. I walked around the Washington Monument no less than 5 times over a 4 day trip to make sure I had the perfect photo conditions with monument/flags/clouds/lighting/etc. Then of course I gotta get it on my iphone too … in recular and square format. Ohhhh, and I better Snapchat it too!!! 3,500 photos later, and I’m sure I missed out on some good photos. Sigh.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Weekend in Washington DC

To celebrate finishing my MBA (and just because), I took myself on a trip to Washington DC for Memorial Weekend. I took the trip that everyone else takes during middle school at the age of 30 … without kids.

One of my goals has been to check some US/North America destinations off my travel bucket list, so last fall I did NYC and did all the touristy things I have never had time for on business trips. And this year it was Washington DC. 

I was there for 4 days and tried to check as many DC things off my list as I could, and I think I did a pretty good job! 
  • White House (outside only … they could not “accommodate” my request for a tour …)
  • Renwick Gallery 
  • Washington Monument
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam War Memorial
  • WWII Memorial
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Tidal Basin
  • Washington Monument
  • The Mall
  • Natural History Museum
  • National Archives
  • American History Museum
  • Sculpture Garden
  • National Gallery of Art
  • Museum of American Art
  • Portrait Gallery
  • Shake Shack!!!!
  • Spy Museum
  • Capitol Building (tour)
  • Jefferson Library
  • Air and Space Museum
  • Smithsonian Castle 

Everything was great and I had a lot of fun. The only downside was the HEAT! It was so ridiculously hot and humid and full on sun the entire time. Just sweat dripping grossness. Then you would go into a museum where the AC was completely jacked up to super cold. BRRRR.

While I had a lot of fun doing all the tourisy things, some of my favorite things weren’t in the museums:
  • I stumbled on a Jazz in the Garden even Friday night at the sculpture garden. Thousands of people taking up everyone square inch of the grass, benches, foutains, etc enjoying good music live outside. It was amazing. Everyone had food, they had sangria stations so you could get pitchers for groups. Awesome. I got an ice cream and found a spot on the fountain and sat with my feet in the water taking it all in.
  • On the same night as the music noted above, I came across a movies in the park screening in a park right next to my hotel. I love movies in the park activities and ran across to the CVS and got beverages and snacks and sat down and watched Mr Smith Goes to Washington. How perfect was that movie choice?!?!
  • I did the Washington Bikeshare one day while there and had a great time biking around the mall and monuments. It was a great way to get around to some of the further out things (i.e. Jefferson Memorial) and just have some fun. 
  • On my last afternoon there I came out of a museum and it was pouring rain. So I ducked back in and bought a snazzy National Gallery of Art poncho. Once I was generally protected from the knees up and I knew my cameras and backpack were safe and dry, I had no problem walking in the rain, splashing in puddles and generally having a fun time.
  • The people watching was great! I noticed a lot more domestic US tourists versus international, thought I had a smattering of foreign languages (nothing like in NYC or LA or San Francisco though). There were also TONS (tons) of school groups there, all in matching shirts. And, since it was Memorial Weekend, there were a lot of veterans in the city and they were also visiting all the sites (particularly the war memorials). 
  • I also thoroughly enjoyed the food. I didn't go out of my way for restaurants, instead I opted for awesome food truck fare right on the Mall, Shake Shack, this awesome chain called Roti that I discovered (it's like Chipotle but with Mediterranean food!). I did treat myself to one nice dinner at a great restaurant called Founding Farmers. Great farm-to-table dishes with a fun atmosphere and great cocktails.   

Overall it was a great trip, just toooooo hot! I saw everything I wanted to see and if/when I make it back I would try and explore more of the little pockets I didn’t get to (i.e. Georgetown). But for now, I’m good. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

MBA ... Masters of Being Awesome (and also Business Administration)

Hi, my name is Iuli and I now have my MBA.

Woohoo! I started on my MBA journey five (5 … FIVE) years ago, and knew from the start that my mantra was going to be “slow and steady”. I wanted to get my MBA, but I also wanted to a) not go into debt doing it, b) still maintain the same standard of living I always have while paying tuition, c) not take classes during summer, and d) still have a life.

It took 5 years, but I have completed by MBA at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and I managed to keep to my original standards. I paid for it all out of pocket (so no debt) while still traveling the world and still having time during the week for my life and hobbies, and while taking summers off. I never took more than two classes per semester, basically.

But now it’s done. I am officially smart. I have the paper to prove it. And I am so done with school! Forever. I now have my MBA in addition to my two undergrad degrees (BSB in Marketing and International Business and BA in Art History) and I am calling it. I don’t need any other degrees. From now on classes and school and continuing my education will be just for the fun of it!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Dear Men

Dear (Single) Men -

For the most part, you all suck. For one reason or another, you do.

Kind regards,

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bumble Bumble Buzz Buzz

I've started dating again. Yay.

Two months in and I've gone on one first date. Not so yay.

Dating is fucking hard. Online dating is fucking hard AND annoying at the same time.

I had been doing OK Cupid in the past and decided to go that route again, because why should I pay to do this? Seriously. I am not invested enough, nor do I want to get married tomorrow (I'm lookin' at you eHarmony). But the problem with OKC is all of the unwanted and downright crude and inappropriate messages. I mean, these men don't even bother looking at your profile. They just message anyone and everyone! Pardon me from not taking time to respond to your message of "ur hot" and your profile that has one photo of you with a fish/deer you caught/shot and zero useful information about yourself in the profile itself. My bad.

So a coworker turned me onto Bumble. Why not. I didn't know much about it until I got down to actually trying it out. The good thing about Bumble is that women have to message first ... guys can't initiate the conversation. But I quickly realized the bad thing about Bumble ... women have to message first! Yikes! I don't love the idea of having to take the lead and open up the lines of communication. I feel like there is pressure for me to come of up with some awesome opening line/question/message! Eeeeeek.

Once I got over that however, I jumped in. After I matched with 8 guys (yay), I messaged all of them with what I thought were solid opening comments/messages that generally posed a question to get the conversation started. My initial messages showed that i definitely looked at their profile as i tried to pull from there for my comments. Boom. Then I sat back and waited for responses and to begin what I envisioned to be some awesome Bumble bantering.

And waited.

And waited.


It took 2ish days for the first guy to respond. How disappointing. After all that (over)thinking!

Here's the run down of what happened with the 8 guys:

  • 5 never actually responded back (which is highly annoying seeing as they obviously swiped right on me, so in theory they were interested, so WHY NOT RESPOND!?!?)
  • 1 responded and was impressed with my ability to identify an obscure place in one of this photos, to which I replied and posed a question, and then he never replied again.
  • 1 responded and then we bantered back and forth over the course of a week, and just when I thought we were at the point of meeting in person, he stopped communicating 
  • 1 unmatched with me and therefore disappeared from my queue 

So that was fun. Woohoo! So glad I am back in the dating pool just to go through all that.

Since the initial 8 I have connected with a few more guys. Maybe once a week I spend 15 minutes swiping left/right. Overall, the entire experience has resulted in ONE first date (and a subsequent second date with the same guy). We shall see how it goes with this guy ... more to come ...

Jump Around ... | Alps Edition

I like jumping pics. They make me happy. And on a recent trip to Germany/Switzerland/Austria, I said "I want to take as many jumping pics as I can". Because clearly I like making a full out of myself.

And yes, I am 30 years old. Don't judge me. I'm a kid at heart.

Enjoy :)


May 1st is just around the corner and with it comes a lot of excitement. I am (finally) at the end of my MBA career and only have 1 physical lecture to sit in next Monday before graduation mid-May. I am dating again (sort of). I just got back from any awesome trip and have more great travels coming up. My family is doing well. Summer is almost here.

But hovering over all all of the awesome that is going on in my life is an underlying disappointment in myself. In my inability to stick to a healthy lifestyle. January and February were so great with yoga and sculpt and good eating and cooking and running. And then $hit happened ... life happened ... and I fell off the wagon. Sure I still exercised, mostly yoga and sculpt (and A LOT of it). But as we know from the 80/20 rule ... you can't out exercise a bad diet. And that's exactly what I was trying to do.

So here I am nearly 4 months later. I haven't gained back all the weight, but I've gained back some. All because I seem to display a staggering lack of willpower.

I can sit here all day long and say "I can start up again any time I want and drop the weigh like *that* [snaps fingers]". And maybe I can. The problem is starting. And staying the course. So in other words ... everything.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tea Time

Each afternoon I try and take 30 minutes to sit by the big windows at my office, enjoy my tea, and catch up on email. My zen time. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Salata de Vignette | Whole30 Meets Romanian Traditional

This is one of the only Romanian foods I know how to make. It's essentially a cold eggplant salad and it happens to be healthy and delicious. And Whole30 approved when made with the right ingredients.

All it takes is:

  • Roast a couple of eggplants in the oven - just drop them as is on a baking sheet and cook at 350 for 2-3 hours. 
  • Remove the eggplants, slit the exterior and remove the "guts". 
  • Leave the guts overnight to drain on an inclined cutting board so the water drains into the sink. 
  • Toss the eggplant guts into a food processor with a little bit of onion, some sea salt and some Mayo. To make it whole30, I use the Tessemae's Mayo (or you could make your own). 
  • Mix until creamy. 
  • Theoretically you enjoy this as a spread on bread, but I like to just use tomato slices to scoop it up. 


Friday, March 11, 2016


I talk a big game, but this week I failed miserably. I KNOW the rules (do I ever). Hell, I even posted this last week. And yet, I managed to eat crap and drink pop and feel terrible and do all the bad $hit I am supposed to know NOT to do.

Why? Because I'm bored. Seriously. I am not busy enough, so it seems like a great idea to to sit at a patio and read a book ... and eat. Or watch a movie ... and munch.

When will I figure this $hit out? Seriously.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Too much?

I am two months into the new year and new me, and it's going well. If you've been following along, you know I completed Whole30, have lost some weight, still have some to go, and am working out like a mad woman.

Speaking of working out, I gotta tell you, I have started adding Yoga Sculpt to my routine at CorePower and OMG the difference it is making! I finally feel like I am gaining some muscle and tone and definition! And I actually feel strong. Like, when I started doing Sculpt I could barely make it through class. Now I can generally do the entire class with only minor modifications. Like pushups from my knees. Because that'll take awhile to get to the full version.

But seriously, loving Yoga Sculpt.

As you can see from the image above, it's not just Sculpt though. I workout every day. And I do a lot. Like ... a lot. Like 10% of my life this week was spent working out. Which doesn't even include the time spent between classes waiting at CorePower (30 minutes between classes). And the 15 minutes spent parking and changing. So, it's even more. Oh dear. 

Maybe too much?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"You can't out-exercise a bad diet" | 80/20 Diet/Exercise

I tend to stay away from the trends and fads and articles that come out daily (hourly) about how to lose weight. It's simple for me ... calories in, calories out. Eat smart. Sweat hard. Boom.

But I have been paying attention recently to the whole Exercise vs. Diet discussion. According to the literature, losing weight is 80% about your diet and 20% your workout. Here is just one article from Huffington Post about this.

Uh, this makes me mad. Because it feels like for me it is more like 95% diet, 5% exercise. The last two weeks being a perfect case study. I worked out like MAD with strength training and everything, and managed to gain a few pounds back and be more soft around the middle/bottom because I wasn't doing well with the diet. Uhhhhhh. Why can't it be 80/20 the other way ... exercise/diet. Boo. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

What's Working | What's Not

I've been off of Whole30 for two weeks now. in that time, there are some thing that have worked well, and others that have not worked at all. To basically sum it up: exercise is working well, food is not. That about sums it up.

Allow me to elaborate.

What's Working Well 
  • Yoga C2 - Still really enjoying my C2 practice and the peace and power I get from it. I love going to my nightly classes and finding that 6o minutes of peace. 
  • Yoga Sculpt - I only started integrating sculpt seriously a few days a week about 2 weeks ago, but I can already see it making a difference! I definitely see muscle building in my upper body and feel stronger. When I started sculpt I had to take lots of breaks and modifications. Now I am can make it through an entire class without modifying (except for push-ups ... i definitely take those from my knees the whole time!).
  • Doubling Down on C2 and Sculpt - Yes. That's right. For added intensity some days I do Sculpt and C2 one right after the other. #SweatItOut
  • Cardio - Still going strong and my running is getting better (longer, more incline, faster).
  • Tracking - Keep tracking of calories in, calories out, daily (yes, daily) weight, the classes I am taking, the cardio I am doing ... all of it. It keeps me on track. 
  • "Approved" Restaurants - And by "approved", I mean approved for me, by me! Places that I know straight away what I can get on the menu that works for Whole30 and is healthy. 
What's Working Not-So-Well:
  • Diet - I went off Whole30 and tried a moderation approach with non-Whole30 foods, but my body pretty much rejected that idea and bloated up big time. Apparently dairy, grains and sugar are not my friend. Sigh. I really miss them.
  • Sleep - Basically, I'm not getting enough of it because I have so much going on in my life recently. But after this coming weekend, things should calm down and I hope to get to be earlier!
  • Pop - As much as I love it, it's not doing me any good. It leaves me with cotton mouth the next day and bloated. Blah. 
  • Eating Out - Going to my favorite restaurants where my favorite dishes are loaded with carbs and dairy. I cannot go to these places and NOT get my favorites. So, boo. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Whole30 Successfully Completed!

If you've been following along (hi mom!), you know that I've been on a journey since the start of the new year - lose weight, look better, feel better, get healthy. Check out the original post here. All connected ... very connected. To kickstart everything, on January 11 I started Whole30 and a serious workout routine, and some other healthy new changes to my life (morning warm lemon water, take vitamins, etc). And this week I finished up the 30 days. Don't get me wrong, I'm not done! But I thought I would report out on how these 30 days went. 

  • 30 days on Whole30 eating
  • 30 days of strict calorie counting 
  • 30 days of cardio everyday ... 1 hour minimum, sometimes 2+ on the weekends 
  • Yoga 5-6 days/week. Total of 24 classes in 30 days (which, btw, takes my per class cost down to $4.80) 
  • And finally ... 20 pounds down! 

Yup. That's right. I'm down 20 pounds in 30 days! And that's mostly in the first 20 days because I plateaued for the last 1/3 of it. Woohoo!!!! You can definitely see if on me, and my clothes are fitting way looser - I have to go buy some new jeans this weekend actually!!! And I feel pretty good. 

So what comes next? Because 20 pounds is great, but my goal is 50 ... so 30 more to go by May 1. Totally doable! Here are my thoughts: 

  • Daily cardio continues with no change (well, increasing incline and pace as possible) 
  • Yoga continues 5-6 days/week 
  • I want to allow myself pop a few days a week, like when I go to the movies (had my first one last night - yum!)
  • The food thing will be the hardest, and that's where I have my highest likelihood of messing up. Losing weight is 80% about the food and 20% about the exercise. I got the latter down! But the former has always been my weakness. I know myself well enough to know I like carbs and sugar and eating out and pizza and indulging when I have a good/bad/sad/exciting/whatever day! So what's the compromise? I'm thinking I may try to do Whole30 principles 5 days per week and give myself the weekend to  indulge in an awesome meal each day. But on those days, I have to eat lite the rest of the day and workout harder than normal to compensate. (I am testing this theory this weekend). Only time - and the scale - will tell if this works. I just know I cannot give up all the good stuff forever. Life would be too boring! And mashed cauliflower is just NOT the same as mashed potatoes. And the sweetness of fruit doesn't hit the same spot as a red velvet cupcake. 

So ... onward! Will keep you posted!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Whole30 Cooking | Baked Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

If you saw the last post, January has been all about finding a healthy routine and getting back to looking and feeling good. Check out the original post here. This means a whole lot of yoga, cardio, and Whole30 eating (at least for right now). I haven't quite figured out what I am going to do food-wise once the 30 days are over ... but for now I am being strict and sticking to the rules!

One item that is a staple for me is turkey in any format. And ground turkey in particular. It is perfect for so many different things. I go through a lot of ground turkey ... thanks Costco. 

I also really like meatballs. I like to make a big batch and then eat them cold. Quick protein for those lunches and dinners in a rush. Problem is that a lot of the pre-made meatballs are high calorie with a lot of unnecessary "stuff" in it. And Costco doesn't sell turkey meatballs. So, last week I made my own homemade turkey meatballs from scratch for the first time - yay! They were pretty good, if a little bland. And they really served their purpose over the busy week. 

This week I decided to step up my game when I pinned this recipe for Oven Baked Italian Meatballs with Marina Sauce from Tea & Biscuits. It seemed like a pretty easy recipe, so I tweaked it a little bit to work for me (replaced the pork/beef with ground turkey and added onion). I can't say the marinara sauce turned out perfect, but it was OK and I think I learned my lesson for next time. 


BAKED TURKEY MEATBALLS (inspired by the recipe on Tea & Biscuits)

1 package of Costco ground turkey (I think it's like 1.5 pounds or so)
1 medium yellow onion - chopped small
4-6 green onions - chopped small 
1 egg

28 oz Fire Roasted Tomatoes (I think this is where I went wrong; should have gotten crushed tomatoes)
1 yellow onion - chopped small 
1 container mushrooms
1 tbsp oil 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix everything but the meat in a bowl and then add it to the meat. Mix some more.
Roll out into ... meatballs! (duh) I was able to get about 30 out of the quantities noted here. 
Oven for 40ish minutes (I think I leave them longer than others do)
For the sauce, throw the onion into a pan to saute. Then I added some chopped mushrooms. Then the tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes. (Here is where I think I went wrong ... it was too chunky, so I put the mixture through the food processor, which maybe wasn't the best idea). 
I also like to throw the meatballs into a pan to "crisp" a little bit on the stove top after they are done cooking in the oven ... just to have a bit of a nice shell. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

50 Before 5.1 | The Plan

What it's all about. Cardio | Yoga | Diet.
If you follow me on Instagram (@iulicc) you know that I am on a big health kick and weight loss journey. Then again ... I pretty much always am :) ...

So what's different this time? This time I mean it! Because this time is different than in the past - I have reached an all time low (high). Stepping on the scale or zipping up my pants has been a scary thing in the last few months. And even though I have been going to the gym occasionally and doing yoga a few days a week, it wasn't enough. And my diet was absolutely the worst. 

To take a step back, this was not something that happened overnight. This was a spiral caused by a series of events. 
  • Back in March/April/May of 2015 I was doing really well. I was doing cardio, had just started doing yoga at CorePower, got a bike and started biking outside, and was doing Whole 30. I was doing all this because at the end of May I left for Spain for 10 days and wanted to look and feel good. And I DID. I felt great. And I am proud of myself in the photos ... where I am wearing shorts ..SHORTS! 
  • Then in Spain I went a bit food crazy. Because Spain.
  • When I got back home, the summer was a bit crazy. I was very stressed and found comfort in food. And instead of hard workouts that actually burned calories I preferred the occasional long walk to clear my head. 
  • As fall came, it was much of the same except the walks went away since the weather got colder. And there was some domestic travel. And lots of and lots and lots of eating out. Because I hate cooking. And eating out is a way to make myself happy. And be social.
  • And then was end of November and the holidays. Where I went to Romania and Turkey and HELLO HOLIDAYS and more traveling at Christmas. And did I mention food ... because there was food. 
And here we are ... 7 months after Spain and I had gained 30 pounds. Believe me, that is not that crazy for me. I can gain and lose weight pretty quickly. And I have a closet full of everything form size 2/XS to size 12/L to get me through it. Sadly.

So here I was at Christmas/New Years feeling frumpy and pudgy and unhappy. My skin was terrible, I would get flustered going up stairs, and I was just disappointed in myself yet again. 

So I made the same New Year's resolution I always make - to lose the weight AND keep it off. Believe me, losing the weight is not that hard for me. I can work hard and do it. Maintaining through, that's the problem. I have NEVER been able to maintain. Not ever. I am either losing weight, gaining weight, or "maintaining" at a really high weight where I am just no working out and eating what I want. Not good. 

So I unofficially started January 4th and eased in that week with light cardio each day, yoga a few times, watching my calories, and cutting out pop and alcohol.

Then on January 11th it was all hands on deck and the real journey began. 

A few folks have asked "what/how are you doing to lose the weight", so I thought I would share my plan. Please realize I know this is crazy and I know this may not be the best approach, but it works for ME. I am a firm believer in knowing yourself and doing what you need to do that makes sense for you. I don't have kids or a SO or many evening commitments (besides school one night per week), so this works for me. For me, it is important that I:
  • See results both on my body and on the scale quickly, or I lose motivation.
  • Track everything because I like to see things on paper (or on my iPhone). 
  • Have a routine because that is how I stick to things. 
  • Have a "all or nothing" approach in the upfront. Later on I would like to be more about moderation, but in the early days I need to just be very very strict. 
So with these things in mind, here is my plan:
  • Goal: lose 50 pounds by 5.1 (ambitious? yes. but I know myself and I know I can get down there. maintaining will be the struggle)
  • Diet: Whole30 for the first 30 (or more, TBD) days. January 11-February 10 for sure. 
    • I did Whole30 last spring for 50 days and saw really great results. I lost the weight and fell good. For me, it is the "all or nothing" piece of this works well. 
    • Biggest components: no pop, no alcohol, no dairy, no sugar, no legumes.
    • What this means for me: I eat a lot of ground turkey in all sorts of forms (turkey meatballs, turkey burgers, turkey taco skillet, etc), a lot of eggs, lots of veggies and vegetable hash, lots of That's It fruit bars, and lots and lots of tea and sparking water. 
  • Diet: Calorie counting is also important to me. With Whole30 you can rack up a lot of calories by eating lots of good foods each day - avocados, fruits, cashews, etc. So it is important to me to combine the Whole30 with strict calorie counting to make sure things aren't going crazy. I try to stay in the about 1,100-1,200 range daily with one day where I can go closer to 1,500. 
  • Yoga: I have a CorePower black tag membership and am dedicated to going to the studio at least 5 days/week. This is primarily C2 classes after work each day, but I am trying to bring in 1-2 Yoga Sculpt classes each week to mix things up and build more muscle.
  • Cardio: I know what people say about the importance of building muscle when losing weight and lifting weights, etc. But for me, its about cardio cardio cardio. I do at least 60 minutes of hard core cardio each day. Mostly that means getting on the treadmill and doing intervals with uphill walking/jogging/sprinting. On the weekends I try and do a second cardio set on the bike each day too, if time allows. 
  • Tracking: I am a big obsessive about writing things down and making lists. I like lists. So I track everything a few different ways. The main two are:
    • Lose It diet/exercise app: It's simple. Calories in. Calories out. And I have been using Lose It for years, so it knows my foods and meals and recipes. 
    • Goal Streaks app: It's important for me to (literally) check things off a list and see the number of times I have done something grow. It's rewarding and I feel successful. The Goal Streaks app helps me do just that. You put down goals that you have and how you want to achieve them and then tick off the days you accomplish them and see the "current streak" grow. Another great feature is that you can customize each goal. So if you want to do something 5 days each week (like yoga for me) you can set it that way. Or if you want to only do that thing Monday-Friday, you can set it. It's super handy like that! *Below where I have "once per week ok" on the pop line item, that's for later. I am current doing NO pop at all for these first 30 days. 

So there you have it. 50 pounds before 5.1 ... 

It's ambitious, but doable. I am already down 15 pounds since January 4th. "Only" 35 more to go. Haha. I know these first pounds will come off easier than the last ones, but it really really helps to being see results each day and to feel good. Helps keep up motivation for sure!!! And, I have a few little rewards for myself scattered throughout the journey when I hit certain goal weights - yay!

And of course, once I manage to lose the weight, the REAL hard part begins ... maintaining ... yikes!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hello From the Other Side ... I Want the Istanbul Vaca Pics ...

That time I asked my dad for vacation photos from Istanbul from his camera ... using Adele as an inspiration ... via text ...

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 | New Years Resolutions

Calhoun - January 1, 2016
In the words of Bridget Jones: (and yes, I am typing from memory)  
Resolution number one: Obviously will lose 20 pounds. 
Number two: Always put last night's panties in the laundry basket.
Equally important, will find sensible boyfriend to go out with and not continue to form romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobic's, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts. 
And especially will not fantasize about a particular person who embodies all these things. 
These are definitely true. 
  1. Need to lose weight (more than 20 pounds ...) 
  2. Need to be better about putting away my clothes and things in general around the apartment once I, done with them (clothes, bags, shoes, coats, suitcases, dishes ... you name it). 
  3. I agree I need to find a boyfriend. But I'm not so concerned about the long list of people to avoid (though those are all fair and worth avoiding, to be sure). I just don't have an evil Hugh Grant looking man I need to avoid in my life. 
But, I have some other resolutions to add to the list:
  • Finish grad school and get my MBA
  • Finish paying off my car 
  • Take vitamins 
  • Be more financially responsible and start saving more money 
  • In the same vain, be more proactive about retirement savings 
  • Dust the entire apartment (just once, let's not get crazy here) 
  • Continue with yoga 
  • Find another volunteer opportunity with art museum once school is done 
  • Get a new tattoo 
  • Go to at least one new country 
  • Take at least two trips abroad 
  • Visit/photograph Antelope Canyon 
Here we go ... starting Monday. 
There was an error in this gadget