Bath time with zombies

Rosemary bath milk + World War Z = nighttime decompression.

In the past few weeks I’ve started taking baths in the evening before going to sleep. While I’m bathing, I like to read World War Z, a novel filled with vignettes about what it was like to survive the zombie apocalypse. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Why on earth would I taint my relaxing bath time with fatalist zombie horror?

It’s funny, but reading about zombies overtaking the earth and the collapse of society as a whole brings the rest of life fully into perspective. When surveying the damage and destruction of the zombie apocalypse from the comfort of a warm bath, the stresses of my every day life – work, adult responsibilities, information overload – seem trivial and unimportant. It’s a truly fantastic way to end the day.

You heard it hear first: zombies are a great cure for stress and bring perspective to your life! You’re welcome.

Hating on girl geek “posers” needs to stop

I’m getting SO tired of the “girl geek posers GTFO” meme.

This topic has been on a slow boil at the back of my mind for months. It came to a head yesterday when I read an article by Joe Peacock of CNN’s Geek Out!, who thinks sexy girls falsely passing themselves off as geeks are a pox on the geek community.

Let’s break it down.

Is the the fact that tech companies hire hot girls to peddle their wares an awful practice? Yes.

Does that mean there is a proliferation of women professionals passing themselves off as geek icons without the background to back it up? No. And certainly not enough to merit an article like this. Continue reading

Coming Home

I’ve always struggled to maintain a clean, organized living space. It’s the primary reason I started this blog. It’s why I’m so obsessed with organizing everything about my life. Growing up, I was always the messy kid. Clothes scattered on the floor. Running late because I couldn’t find what I needed to get ready in the morning. It was a chaotic existence.

In college that changed. I made a 3-hour+ trek from LA to San Luis Obispo almost every weekend to visit my boyfriend at the time. I often returned very late on Sunday. With classes, a part-time job and a host of other responsibilities waiting to bombard me on Monday morning, I was incentivized to make my return as stress-free as possible.

So I established a routine. Continue reading

Two years later

Yesterday, for the third year in a row, my boyfriend and I ran the Marin Memorial Day 10K.

This run is very significant to me. It marks a milestone when, two years ago, I started doing something about my health and weight. I’d gained more than 30 pounds since college. I was unhappy with myself. My self esteem was at an all time low. I had hit rock bottom. Continue reading

Prepping for a New Fitness Regime

Today I started a fresh workout regime. I’ll be doing INSANITY workouts and following a very healthy diet plan where I eat lots of good, healthy food, often (five-ish meals per day). I’ve done INSANITY before in two or three false starts, but this time I’m determined to go through the full two-month regimen without quitting. I can do it! I know I can.

I’ve come to realize that working out is one of the most important–if not the most important–routines I have integrated into my life. I feel so much more energetic, happy, and strong when I consistently exert myself. I was talking to my boyfriend’s cousin about this at Thanksgiving. She said that the way she has come to view working out is that, “every day I don’t work out, it’s like taking a depression pill. And the effect is cumulative.” I love that definition and find it is really true. However, to make it more positive than negative, I’ve started calling it “taking my happy pill.” This morning, after I worked out, I gleefully told my boyfriend that I had taken my happy pill and was ready to face the day.

However, something else I have come to realize is that prep work beforehand is half the battle. So yesterday and last week, there were a number of things I did to set myself up for success:

1. Threw out ALL junk food. This was imperative. I know I’m too lazy to go out just to specifically buy a candy bar or some other indulgence, so if it’s not there I’m far less likely to eat what I shouldn’t. My boyfriend recently asked me, “Hey, I’m going to go to Joe’s Ice Cream, should I pick us up a pint?” Joe’s is the best homemade ice cream purveyor in our neighborhood and their ice cream is phenomenally good, so of course this is a horrible question for him to ask me (he’s a guy, he and his metabolism just don’t get the concept of eating right to get fit). I told him that was far too dangerous. Instead, I stocked up on fruit, hot chocolate (which I’ll drink with nonfat milk), coffee, low-fat cheese and greek yogurt. I recently had a tea party with a bunch of my girlfriends, and as often happens I was left with plates and plates of leftover goodies like scones, sweet bread, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cups. Yes, it may seem wasteful, but into the trash it went. I have tried to give as much of it away as possible, and yes, I’ve been eating some of it myself. But I just can’t risk early diet sabotage by keeping it in the house.

2. Laundered all of my workout clothes so they were fresh and ready to go come Day 1. Dirty workout clothes can easily become an excuse not to work out.

3. Replaced the battery on my heart-rate monitor – one of the key foundations of my workout routine. I love my heart rate monitor because it helps me understand when I am really pushing myself and when I need to up the ante. My heart rate monitor died awhile ago, and it really hurt my workout schedule. It definitely held me back and became an excuse. “Well, I need to replace my heart rate monitor battery before I can really work out in earnest.” Finally, I made myself go and buy replacement batteries for the watch and chest strap, and voila, it is working again.

4. Got out the other items I’ll be using on a daily/weekly basis and made sure they’re ready to go. Does my Withings scale have plenty of battery? Am I wearing my FitBit to track sleep and calories burned? Do I have easy access to my Myotape to make body measurements to track progress every week?

5. Make sure I have plenty of time in my schedule for 9-10 hours of sleep. I sleep a TON when I first start working out. My body is slowly rebuilding itself from the inside out, and sleep is a huge part of it. I find myself sleeping a lot at first, between 8-10 hours per night. I don’t mind this. Eventually, I end up having way more energy from working out than I do from being sedentary. It’s worth the initial time loss.

I can’t even express how excited I am to have re-started my fitness routine.

Review: La Fresh Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover Pads

Being a product junkie, I’ve decided I should start blogging all the products I’m trying out so that you, the masses, can glean insight from my experience.

These nail polish wipes are, in a word, AMAZING. SO AMAZING. I can’t stop raving about how amazing they are. I ordered an 8-pack a few months ago, and I’m about to order a second set of their 18-pack. So many things to love about this product:

  • Eco-friendly (biodegradable).
  • Smells heavenly, like a ripe orange and not at all like nail polish remover, which I’m sure my boyfriend appreciates.
  • They actually get nail polish OFF. Completely. Your nails will look so clean and virginal people will wonder if they’ve ever been polished before. This is true even of the toughest nail colors, like red and dark purple or green.
  • The convenience factor cannot be overstated. I find myself doing my nails on my own so much more often. It’s so easy to just whip out one of these babies, clean off my nails and paint on another color.

I also keep one in my purse just in case I need to wipe away a chipped nail job. At an interview for my first job in San Francisco, I was coming in on BART and realized to my horror that my nail polish was chipping horribly and looked completely unprofessional. I kid you not, I chipped off all of the nail polish BY HAND so that not a trace remained before I walked into the interview. If I had had a La Fresh remover pad with me at the time, this would have been a problem easily solved.

A Shot of Culture

I feel like I’ve been on a long-term binge of mental junk food and candy. The Us Magazines, gossip blogs, tweets and Facebook posts in my world do not do much to help me toward my goals and I feel unsatisfied and sick after bingeing on them, yet still I continue dipping in to it all to assuage my boredom. It’s got to stop. I feel so much happier when I’ve read a lengthy article on a meaty topic where I actually learned something, or after I’ve watched a movie that really made me think. I’m working on changing my habits so that I’m enriching myself with worthwhile content instead of meaningless drivel about celebrities, or, God forbid, reality show stars (thankfully, reality TV is one thing I have never gotten into).

Here’s my starting plan: Continue reading

My Fitness Routine

I recently started reading a book, The Checklist Manifesto. It’s written by a surgeon who observed the use of routine checklists in medical procedure and found that the benefits of using simple lists of actions helped save lives and increase efficiency by incredible margins. It’s a fascinating book.

I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of routine, perhaps because I’ve always felt my life lacked it. But over the past few years, that has started to change. I read the teachings of The Fly Lady, who advocates making routine checklists for before bed, in the morning, throughout the week – it is a central part of her program to organize your life. I’m also a big fan of Maria Menounos’ book, The Everygirl’s Guide to Life, which also has a big section on the importance of checklists and writing down everything you need to accomplish as part of your routine.

For the sake of posterity, I want to start documenting my routines for myself. Right now, my most important routines are related to fitness, since that is my #1 focus at the moment. Continue reading