Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Weight Loss Woes.

I checked in a few weeks ago and was very happily down 15 pounds from January 1st. I SO looked forward to checking in again and was hoping to report I was down ten more or something. I'm not. I'm down 17 pounds since January 1st. So only two pounds down in the last 20 days or so.

Needless to say, I was shaking my fist at the scale and immediately thought about the glasses of wine I should have skipped and the days I couldn't get myself out of bed to hit the gym. That naggy bitch in my head told me to go eat crinkle cut french fries and cut up my gym card. Because, what's the point?

Here's the thing, and I've said it a million times, my body changes VERY slowly. I just have to keep that in mind. It's always been that way and even when I was on a crazy (unhealthy) super low calorie diet I wasn't dropping double digits every month. When I was in the best shape of my life and doing the Body for Life diet the weight came off slowly. When I weighed in yesterday I felt so disappointed. I can't compare myself to other people because this is MY journey and it'll happen as it happens.

The Silver Lining of It All

*I am still 17 pounds lighter than I was about a month and a half ago. Even if it's not 27 pounds, it's progress. Rhyno made a great point that even if I stayed on this trajectory--losing 17 pounds every six weeks--I'd be at my goal by Thanksgiving. It's all about perspective, I suppose!

*I'm learning lessons that, on my journey, will make me better. For example, last week was incredibly stressful for a host of reasons and I didn't sleep well. I noticed a huge difference in my will to eat well and my mood. I realized that even when I feel like I have to stay up late to get everything done, I need to remember that rest is important.

*Food, dude, food. Monday through Thursday of last week I was an accidental vegan. I didn't plan it at all but I have been making an active effort to cut down on dairy and since I'm already a vegetarian, it didn't take much to have four totally vegan days. Know what? I felt AMAZING. I am back to juicing in the morning, a big spinach & almond milk smoothie for lunch, fruit for snacks, and amazing plant-based dinners. Even on days I couldn't make it to the gym, I just felt great and my bod felt clean. Over the weekend I indulged in cheese and, boy, I felt the difference. I woke up bloated and just feeling gross.

*I need change because I think my body gets used to things pretty fast and that's why I plateau all. the. time. I am a creature of habit and have no problem eating the same things at the same times every single day (which is probably why I go crazy and then binge, right?). I've decided to lower my calorie intake from 1,300 a day to 1,200 and keep dairy intake very low. I'm going back to juice for breakfast every morning (instead of green juice, opting for this citrus beauty from Oh She Glows) and continuing to log every bite and work out on MyFitnessPal. I'm also, and this makes me nervous, planning to change things up at the gym too (I've been house-sitting so my schedule has been off but I go home tonight). I still love my elliptical but I plan to ramp up the intensity & duration. I've also made a vow to myself to try the rowing machine--I watch the Biggest Loser contestants do it and it looks amazing. I stare at the one in my gym everyday longingly but I'm too self-conscious to try it. This week, I row.

*This is motivation, not devastation. In the past I would let a weak weigh-in really bog me down. I'd find myself with a pop in hand and a pizza en route to my house because what's the point of trying when you don't see results? This time around I am not seeing this as a huge set-back, it's a chance for me to re-evaluate my efforts and fuels my drive to get a couple more pounds off in the next week with more intense cardio and extremely mindful eating.

How do you get through plateaus?

Monday, February 24, 2014

About Shiloh.

Shiloh is kind of one of my favorite beings ever.

I've been meaning to write this post forever.

Shiloh in 2007 a few days and vet visits after my parents found her

Back story: I grew up with a pack of dogs--if I am a crazy dog person it is only because of my parents. A couple years after our longtime family dog (Sandy) passed away I came home from my first day in high school to two tiny Keshond puppies (Lu and Little Bear). Fast forward a year later to my brother bringing home a dog (Banana) and we quickly went from no dogs to three and loved every second of it. A few years later my parents were driving home on a back road and saw some bloody animal limping around in the bushes.They pulled over and managed to get this mangled little thing into the car--turns out it was a dog who had recently had puppies and was badly beaten and starved. The vet guessed she was a bait and breeder dog in a dog-fighting ring. 

So my parents took her in "temporarily" until someone else adopted her. They had to be careful because her past had made her afraid of...well, everything. My dad couldn't take off his belt around her, we couldn't plug in the vacuum if she was in the room, the idea of going into the basement made her shake and cry. The vet guessed she had had a stroke or two from the abuse and we knew she was partially blind and deaf. 

At first we put up a gate between her and the three dogs already in the house because she was a "foster." My dad kept jokingly saying, "You name her, you claim her!" You could tell she badly wanted to snuggle our pups and was trying to be a "normal" dog. So one random day I announced that I had named her Shiloh and took down the gate. She has been the baby of the family ever since. In the last few years we lost all of our other dogs to old age and one to cancer and because of her past damage Shiloh isn't a replacement. She isn't the traditional family dog or anything. She sleeps a lot, and always has, and she doesn't care for people she doesn't remember (including my husband). She has accidents and can't be left in the yard alone because she wanders and can't find her way home again.

Shiloh has her problems and her quirks. Honestly? I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world. She may not be perfect, but she really is. When Shi decides she loves you, she loves you forever. She tries her hardest to be what you want her to be (when she is acting like a "dog" she hops around in a circle awkwardly). Even though humans have treated her horribly in the past, she is finally okay with someone taking a belt off near her or using a vacuum and--after YEARS of work--loves having a human she knows scratch her ears and her belly. Oh, yeah, and she loves cookies. All the time. If I go outside to get the mail, she waits for her cookie. "Well, SOMEONE went out, that means we get a treat, I think, right? Just get one anyway."

When people ask why I am so passionate about rescuing dogs instead of "buying" them, this is the face I think of. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

An Accidental Break.

I didn't mean to take a blog-break this week. It happened organically and accidentally and I didn't mind it so much. I had a busy week--sometimes LIFE does that, huh? Everything comes closing in all at once and it's hard to steal a minute away to yourself.

 Have the coolest weekend. :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day.

Nutella croissants that I make for Rhyno's breakfast every Valentine's Day.

Happy Valentine's Day (or Galentine's Day yesterday if you celebrate)!

My Rhyno has kept me in the dark to our V-Day plans this year but I'm excited to see what he's come up with, though I'm always happy with cheap flowers and a rented movie. For Rhyno this year instead of the usual big box o' chocolates (in an effort to get healthy and health-ify our holidays), I made him some homemade chocolate covered Cutie wedgies with a bit of sea salt and bought him a cozy pair of PJ pants (nothing's sexier than really staticky fleece, right?). 

Happy Valentine's Day, you hot babe!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Garden of (Sarah) Roses.

Oh, P.S., this title only makes sense if you know that my name is Sarah Rose...

Roses are, like, my favorite. I love rose-scented anything and since I was a kid I have always wanted a yard full of rosey blooms. Mostly just because my name is partially Rose...and also they are beautiful and classic and a little decadent (just like me...just kidding). 

Any who, Rhyno and I decided this year we will overhaul our yard--beautifying the weird parts and making it as profitable to our bods as possible (meaning we want lots of fruit and veggies all over the dang place). We have this little patch of rocks in our backyard underneath the over-hang of our house that just isn't conducive to produce but flowers seem to thrive there.. It currently houses three spaced out rose bushes and two random plants that I have no idea what they are or how to care for them (I so good at plantz). We have our vegetable garden in a brick box Rhyno built in the back of our yard and our herbs are housed in boxes on the patio but decorative flowers? All planned and planted by the former owners.

Since we moved in I have dreamed of putting in a rose garden complete with a tiny fence (mostly to keep plant-eater Violet out) and lots of dark mulch and luscious roses. We are SO fortunate to have a beautiful and spacious yard, I can't wait to see how it looks with my little Sarah Rose garden....oh, um...just rose garden.

The problem is that I kind of have a black thumb. At our old  condo, I loved planting herbs and blooms on our balcony every year. After unknowingly over-dosing on Miracle-Grow, all my plants died year after year. Since then, and since my awesome mom and grandma taught me how to properly care for my yard when I bought a house, I am revved up about making this plot o' Guffey land gorgeous.

Some enviable gardens I've found?

Do you have a green thumb?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dress Addiction.

I am addicted to dresses. 

If you've ever met me, that admission is not shocking. I own maybe two pairs of pants but at least three dozen dresses and about as many skirts. My daily uniform is a pair of tights, cute dress, and a cardigan. 

Much like a good swimsuit, the thought of a gorgeous dress is helping me survive the cold this winter. I can't pretend I'm not looking forward to having extra confidence because of the lifestyle changes I've been making. For the last couple years, even on the hottest summer days I would couple my dress with thick tights and a cardigan, this year I am already planning for a difference. Some of the dresses I dream of wearing (no tights and extra coverings required)?


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Good Thought.

Yes, I needed to hear this. Even though I've been working out and eating pretty well, the weight isn't falling off quite as fast I'd like. I often have to actively fight off that nasty voice in my head that thinks, "What's the point in trying?" This quote was perfect for me, I hope it's a little bit perfect for you too.

Monday, February 10, 2014

What's (home) Cookin', Good Lookin'?

I am about to blow your mind: guess who has come to crave home cooked meals instead of fast food or lunches out? This moi.

I mentioned here that in our quest to get healthy, Rhyno and I have been trying to eat more meals at home. We've been trying to give new recipes a shot and update our old favorites (like buttered noodles) to make them a little lighter (gluten free noodles, subbing a smidge of olive oil for butter, and adding TONS of veggies). 

In addition to the delicious sweet potato cakes we made last week we also enjoyed...

 Gardein "turkey" cutlets with gravy, steamed veggies, and sweet n' spicy mashed sweet potatoes.

Personal quinoa taco casseroles and, shockingly enough, a big side of steamed broccoli. 

In the upcoming week I have even more homemade dinners planned (like fajitas, gluten free spaghetti, and a squash stir-fry). Admittedly, it does take a little extra effort since I've been trying to be religiously tracking every single bite on MyFitnessPal but it's been so worth it. I do find that keeping a variety on our dinner board can be tough (especially since I'm a vegetarian who is trying to go completely dairy free and Rhyno is a Type 1 Diabetic). Pinterest is a life-saver when it comes to trying to drum up 7 different dinners every single dang week. It's also been helping me to bookmark recipes I see on blogs throughout the week and flip through my giant stack of cookbooks while I drink my coffee in the morning.

What's your favorite healthy and home-cooked dinner? 

Friday, February 7, 2014


Our front room collage wall is FINALLY finished! Um, for now...
I am currently...
....eating so much egg salad! I know, it's such an old-man thing to eat but I have been loving up on egg salad (made with greek yogurt, mustard, green onion, and celery salt) over a bed of romaine lettuce and topped with chia seeds for lunch every work day. It's filling, quick, and I can make it ahead of time. Win, win, win.
...making Valentine's Day plans! Last year, we stayed home and made salmon & veggies (remember when I used to eat fish?). This year I told Rhyno he is in charge of the plans--we can stay in and eat tacos or go out to a fancy dinner. I am afraid of what he'll come up with....
...listening to When the Right One Comes Along from the Nashville soundtrack. I love Scarlett & Gunnar so much. This is their best song. I listen to it on repeat during my "cool down" at the gym and have to actively stop myself from singing along out loud.
...reading um, just magazines right now. I'm the worst. BUT. I am already pre-ordering One More Thing: Stories & Other Stories by B.J. Novak and  I Like You Just the Way I am by Jenny Mollen, two totally funny people that I just adore.
...watching all the Friday Night Lights (currently on season two). Once Rhyno and I caught up on Nashville (ohmygoshsogood) we needed a new show to watch together and my fierce, undying love of Connie Britton brought us to Friday Night Lights. We gave the pilot a test run and quickly found ourselves binge watching the first season. I love to Google spoilers and I have been actively fighting the urge to spoil the whole series for myself but as of right now I straight up love Tim Riggins and Matt Saracen.
...loving my dad. He's just the best and his love of Bruno Mars rivals my own (though no one's love of the Red Hot Chili Peppers rivals mine because Anthony Keidis can ALWAYS GET IT). During the (AMAZING) Superbowl halftime show we were texting one another about how we need to buy gold suit jackets and the conversation somehow evolved into my dad saying, "I need leg replacements." and I died laughing. I was also talking about John Stamos & yogurt and he said, "You lost me at Oinkos." I love him so much.
  Have a happy (and warm) weekend!
If you also partake in Currently posts, please link up in the comments!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Importance of Being Nice.

Years ago I printed this out and hung it on my office door. Whenever people would get cattywampus in my space, I would just point to the sign, smile, and say, "That's a real rule in here."  or "Do you need to go away?" It always lightened cranky situations.

It's so important to be nice. I know I don't always live up to my own moral code but I try very hard. Sometimes people--whether they be popular bloggers, celebrities, or regular folk--act in such snippy, mean ways that it just bums me out. Like, I get it. Sometimes we're tired or cranky or just in a foul mood but let's all try to be a little nicer, mmmkay?

Sometimes it's so much easier to lash out. Believe me, I know, I have such a hot temper and I can be too quick to honk my horn or roll my eyes or give my husband a piece of my mind over something so  silly that I lose track of my point and start griping about irrelevant things.  But can we all try to take a second to react?  I have found that I sleep much better at night when I wait a beat before reacting to annoying situations during my day. When someone messes up a work project and I have to re-do an hour of work? When someone cuts me off in traffic? When my neighbor's garbage blows all over my yard and they don't pick it up? All things I could fly off the handle about but won't and shouldn't. It just isn't worth it.

Things you or I say in a moment of anger can cause days (or even weeks) of upset for the receiver. Why don't we all agree to just be nice?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Swimsuit Dreams.

HEY! Did you know that Chicagoland is still in the grips of Chi-beria? Yep, freezing temperatures and so much snow. It's a real dream. If you dream about freezing your buns off.

In high school to get from one class to another on my massive school campus before the bell rang I'd have to walk outside, even in winter in a school uniform skirt & polo t-shirt. The only way I could survive the walk (so dramatic, right?) was to envision the summer, like mentally feel the heat on my skin. I can still remember trudging through the snow in my mary janes thinking, "Warm beach, warm beach, warm beach."

Welp, the only way I can get my tired ass out of bed to get my freezing ass to the gym these days? To envision the beautiful swimsuit I am going to wear in the glorious sunshine this summer. On my list of weight loss rewards, a swimsuit is one of the highlights.  It is my goal to not only buy a new swimsuit this year but actually WEAR it in public. We also bought a large inflatable pool at the end of the 2013 summer season and I look forward to floating around for hours on end.

Some of my favorites that I am bookmarking for future purchase?

Beautiful but no purchase info available

Striped one piece, no purchase info available

Note: I bought a sailor-inspired suit from Fables by Barrie a few years ago and the quality is AMAZING! I would totally buy from the company again. I never realized the importance of a high-quality suit until I had one.

Any swimsuits you're pining over with snow still on the ground?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Straight Tippin'.

So, checking in about my weight loss journey. 

I am super happy to report that (as of last week) I am officially 15 pounds down from January 1st!

Um, I didn't have a good photo for this post so here is a (very rare for me) "selfie" that I sent to my family. I was pretending to dump coffee on my head and looking a little deranged. Because I'm very mature and sophisticated.

I haven't weighed in this week since I did indulge in some pizza on Superbowl Sunday and I want to give myself a couple days to work it off so I don't get discouraged. Even though I'm not at my goal weight or anything, I thought I'd share a few tips from the past month of actually trying to get healthy. (PS: if you also want great tips from someone who is super healthy, my friend Molly is your girl).

1.) Eat at home!
Rhyno and I LOVE to order in and go out to eat. We always have. At our old condo we were only minutes from some of the most delicious Thai, Indian, Mexican, pub, and Italian food. We got into this yucky pattern of ordering in constantly. Once we moved to our house we kept up with the habit, even though our options dwindled significantly. Last year we'd order in at least (and this is embarrassing to say) 4 times a week. 

2.) Water, water
My water intake is going up, up, up. I chug a big mason jar (about 16oz) before every meal and snack. I chug a jar before and after the gym. I try to drink a whole glass before I even get out of bed in the morning (I have a lifelong habit of leaving a glass of water on my nightstand, I can't sleep without it). I still try to drink my weight in ounces daily but when I just can't, I'm trying not to sweat it. 

3.) Distracting myself
 I always wondered how people go through really tough work outs because when I focus too much on what I'm doing I want to give up. And then I do give up. So now when I hit the gym, I put the elliptical on one of the pre-made programs (so it controls the resistance and incline automatically). By doing this I can just zone out to my iPod (which is full of the Nashville soundtrack and Missy Elliot at the moment). I have been MUCH busier at work and it is such a blessing--when I am busy I have less time to mindlessly eat and I fall into a much more solid daily routine.

4.) Making new goals
I've been hitting the gym about two or three times a week (except last week when I went zero times since I was sick as a dog AGAIN). My goal for February is to go to the gym at least four times a week. I love the calorie burn and how awake I feel when I knock out my cardio first thing in the morning.

5.) Get Some Zzzzz's
I have always wished I didn't need any sleep because it feels like such a waste of time (I've been an insomniac since I was a toddler so sleep has never really seemed appealing to me).  I have been trying SO hard to make sleep seem like "me" time. I have been slowly weaning myself of falling asleep with the TV on to help myself fall asleep and stay asleep. I tried quitting cold turkey but I wound up laying in bed wide awake for hours. My new bedtime routine is lotion on my feet with thick socks, a big cup of sleepy tea, the TV with the sleep-timer set on 60 minutes, and a cute sleep mask. I started with the timer at two hours, then an hour and a half, now an hour, soon 45 minutes. I set my alarm for about 5 and am now working on NOT hitting snooze at all.

Cheers to another 15 pounds! What are your best weight loss tips?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hey, Sweet Potato!

Well, happy Monday, beautiful!

In an effort to get my whole (tiny, two-person) family healthy I have been making an active effort to plan and actually make dinners from (mostly) scratch every night of the week. For the first couple of weeks I relied on our usual dinners (tofu stir-fries, Boca burgers and steamed veggies, loaded sweet potatoes) but those got old pretty fast. So I turned to the interwebz and each Friday when I'm meal planning, I try to incorporate at least two recipes that I've never tried before. 

I love sweet potatoes, while doing a search for some kind of new sweet P recipe I found these sweet potato quinoa balls and immediately put them on our dinner chalkboard.

They didn't disappoint! I used the slow cooker to cook the sweet potatoes (scrubbing the skin and then dropping 'em the crock pot for about 6 hours on low).  I made quite a few adjustments to the recipe (mostly because sometimes I don't pay full attention and I didn't have certain things on hand).

I love spicy food and I am addicted to crushed red pepper. I sprinkle it on everything.  To season the sweet potato-quinoa mixture I used chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and a bit of dried basil.

In the olden days when I was a kid, and a meat eater, I  loved making meat balls at my grandma's house. It was an almost once-a-week ritual and I loved to help season and form them. Now the thought of digging my hands into meat makes me want to ralph my guts out but digging into these brought back all the good pieces of those memories.

I didn't have a glass pan (one day I will buy one, I swear) and I had a real Goldilocks moment of "this metal pan is too small, this one is too big." So I settled on a good, ol' cupcake pan. It worked like a charm! They came out almost perfect and cooked pretty evenly. I *may* have overfilled the tin. Next time I'd definitely make them a teensy bit smaller.

I served them over a bed of spinach and covered with a hearty dose of sriracha sauce with some steamed lemon broccoli on the side. 

I thought these were delicious and would probably change it up a bit if we made the again--maybe adding diced apples and jalapenos to the mix. Even Rhyno agreed that these were SO filling (I put three on his plate and he only made it through two). I even made one garlic-free so Violet could have a taste (and I wonder why she begs at the table like a beast...). I will definitely make these again! 

Do you have any fantastic sweet potato recipes?