That’s all, folks!

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I made the bed, I swear! (And Februray’s Give Up/Take On)

I admit I’ve been a lame-o when it comes to updating on my Give Up/Take On project. But I do have some exciting and juicy stuff to share that will hopefully make up for my lameness. (Well, I think it’s exciting and juicy.)

First off, January’s gone pretty well, as far as the project goes. I succeeded in making the bed nearly every day (excluding weekends, of course, because I get to take weekends off). And I think I’ll continue the trend. In fact, it’s got me thinking that I’d like to make a headboard.

Something like this.

Now I just need to find a door.

As for the slouching–remember, that was my “give up”–it’s… going… OK. I mean, I think about it a lot. And try to stop doing it. But MAN it is hard. I’m really conscious of it at work, so I think I’ve gotten better about not slouching at my desk. (I sit on a stool, making it extra difficult.)

So I’d call January’s Give Up/Take On a relative success.

And February? Well, I’ve hesitated telling anyone till now, but I’ve started this personal style blog, you see. I know it seems super conceited and voyeuristic–I suppose it is–but it’s also fun. I’ve been reading a slew of style blogs for a couple of years now, so I thought it was time to start my own. Just something to get the creative juices going, you know?

So for February’s Take On I’m doing something called the 30 for 30 Challenge. (Read about it here.) During this challenge you have to give up shopping for clothes. For 30 days. Doesn’t seem that difficult, does it? Well, it will be. But that’s part of the fun: taking what you already have in your wardrobe and remixing it like mad.

All the clothes I'll be wearing for February.

But that’s not all. February will have a double whammy Give Up/Take On.

Starting tomorrow my friend and I are doing something called the elimination diet. Basically, for 2-4 weeks you eliminate the eight common food allergens and sensitivities:

  • dairy
  • gluten
  • eggs
  • corn
  • peanuts
  • fish/shellfish
  • soy
  • sugar
  • yeast

After the elimination period, you begin to reintroduce the eliminated foods back into your diet, one by one, three days at a time. Through this process, you can discover (or confirm) any food allergies or sensitivities. I’ve had my suspicions about dairy for years, so it’ll be interesting to see what this diet reveals.

OK, got that? February will be a whopper of a month as far as this project goes, but I. Am. Excited.

What are your goals this month?

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January’s Give Up/Take On

It’s a new month. It has been for more than a week now. And I’m just now getting to my January post.

My friend asked me yesterday what my “thing” was for this month. (By my “thing” she meant this “thing.”) Although I had thought about it a little, I hadn’t fully committed (kind of defeating the purpose, huh?). So, I had to make a quick decision.

Give up: slouching

Take on: making the bed daily

These two have nothing to do with each other, really. I’m a chronic sloucher. It’s bad, and it’ll only get worse if I don’t work at it. So for this month I’ll work on not slouching. I look better when I don’t slouch, anyway. Shouldn’t that be motivation enough?

I’m also a chronic leave-the-bed-unmade-er. And it really doesn’t matter. But I explained to my friend that it would be a symbolic challenge. I’m not the neatest person in the world. No, there aren’t empty pizza boxes lying around my apartment or things growing under my bed (that I know of), but I’m definitely messy. I grew up in a really clean home; that’s just the way my parents have always been. So I know it’s possible. But for some reason I’ve found it difficult to maintain that on my own (and it’s just amplified by living with another messy person).

I want to change that about myself, but, realistically, I need to take small steps. One of those steps is making the bed. At least during the week. (I’m allowed to take a break on weekends.) I know it’s something I can do. Something that will take five extra minutes in the morning.

Good luck to me.

I’ll blog a wrap-up to December’s Give Up/Take On later.

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On Complaining

weheartit.com

It’s nearly halfway through the month, and I’ve yet to blog about complaining. This month the plan was to not complain. In a word, it’s been hard. Either I have had more to complain about, or I just never realized how much I do complain. Ugh. I could make a list of the things I’ve been tempted to complain about (occasionally giving into that temptation… oops), but I think doing that would just make me want to complain. See the vicious cycle yet?

The point is that it’s been a challenge. A big one. But I’m making progress, I think. Either way, I’m much more conscious of it. And I’ll keep working on it. We have a trip to Guatemala coming up for Christmas, and trips always mean lots to complain about (well, at least the packing and getting to the final destination part), so here’s hoping I can put all this practice to good use.

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Barefoot December: Initial Observations

Yesterday I set out on my first “barefoot run” of the month. I shoved my feet into my Vibram FiveFingers (really, it is kind of a shoving action), grabbed my iPod for some musical company and started up Leavenworth Street to conquer Nob Hill. Here are my observations.

  • People in Nob Hill need to clean up after their dogs. I mean, I look where I’m going, but the idea of stepping in dog poo in my Vibrams grosses me out so much more then when I’m wearing my regular running shoes.
  • You have to pick up your feet more purposefully when barefoot running (see photo).
  • It takes a while for it to feel natural. And doesn’t that seem strange? Since we’re born barefoot?
  • I ran about 2 miles, and my calves don’t hurt nearly as much this time as they did the first time I tried barefoot running. I think it’s because this time I was striking more flat-footed than with my forefoot.
  • Running in my Vibrams means no Nike+ Sportband, my running companion for nearly a year. It means I don’t look down at my wrist every few minutes to check my pace. So, that’s kind nice for a change.
  • I think I had other observations, but I’m simply too sleepy to remember them at this point.

    Damaged shoes. Please note the hole caused by nearly tripping over myself mid-gait cycle.

Running soundtrack: Phoenix and Ra Ra Riot

Update soon on the whole “no complaining” thing. I’ll say this: it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.

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December’s Give Up/Take On

OK, so I’ve made a decision.

Drum roll please…

For the month of December I’ll be giving up complaining and taking on barefoot running.

First, the complaining.

I wouldn’t consider myself a big complainer. (Although when I told my hubs about this “no complaining in December plan,” he laughed.) I explained that sometimes I just complain to complain. It’s not that I’m really that annoyed by whatever I’m complaining about, I’m just grumbly for no reason. And that’s just it: it’s for no reason. So why even do it?

I’ve had a lot to complain about lately: long flights, malfunctioning heat at work… OK, so I guess that’s really about it. Anyway, for December I’m quitting cold turkey (ha!).

And I’m taking on barefoot running. I know, I know. I’ve had my Vibrams for months now. And I’ve attempted barefootrunning. A little. But what I haven’t done is put my regular running shoes aside for a while to try barefoot running exclusively. So, that’s what I’m going to do.

My mom-in-law signed me up for a race with my hubby’s uncle and cousin on New Year’s Day, so here’s to running a “barefoot” race at the end of the month.

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Sample Vegetarian Menu

Baked Nestled Eggs

OK, maybe it’s cheating to copy-and-paste a blog post I did for See Jane Run. Then again, maybe not. So, I’m trying this vegetarian thing, and it’s going fine. (Don’t worry, I’m still providing meat options for the hubs in the form of TJ’s frozen grilled chicken strips and turkey meatballs.)

I think it’s been a worthwhile venture, but not for longer than a month. However, I think I will be more cautious about buying meat when it comes to where/how the animals are raised. For now, enjoy this trip through a sample menu of vegetarian dinners!

I’ve had fun looking for vegetarian recipes, and I thought I’d share a week’s worth (Monday-Friday) of meat-free meals. Enjoy!

Monday: Salmon Fillets with Dill Couscous and Spicy Kale. I used spinach instead of kale. Salmon is a good source of protein and omega-3. (Recipe here.)

Honeyed Tofu on Udon with Cucumber Ribbons

Tuesday: Zucchini Cakes with Mango Chutney. (Recipe here.)

Wednesday: Baked Nestled Eggs. This is a yummy fall recipe, with little bits of butternut squash tucked away in the rice. (Recipe here.)

Thursday: Honeyed Tofu on Udon with Cucumber Ribbons. (Recipe here.)

Friday: Quesadilla Casserole. A great layered Tex-Mex bake. (Recipe here.)

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Thoughts on couponing… so far:

Coupons NOT accepted at Ralph's.

Sigh.

I admit, I entered the world of couponing a skeptic.

And my feelings haven’t changed yet.

But I have some good reasons why.

Yesterday I went grocery shopping (after probably about six months of getting regular grocery delivery and only stopping at a brick-and-mortar store for the occasional item or to get the hubs the hummus he loves from Whole Paycheck).

Time spent clipping coupons and searching store-specific deals: approximately 45 minutes.

Time spent at the grocery store: 1 hour-ish.

Bill: $137.07

Dollars saved through couponing: $5.

Dollars saved through store-specific deals: $15.09

For me, the couponing just wasn’t worth it. My bill was lower than usual, but this is also due in part to the fact that I didn’t buy any meat (the whole “No-Meat November” thing). I was excited about my dollar off olive oil and tampon coupons (both already marked down at the store), but these two things don’t quite make the effort worthwhile.

Also, I saved a lot more just through store-specific deals, which I already do. I’d rather alter my dinner menus according to what’s on sale than scrounge for coupons.

Plus I had to lug my stuff back on foot (remember–no car), when a nice Safeway delivery guy could’ve just brought it to my kitchen.

But I’m not giving up just yet. Safeway just started some digital couponing system where you can sign into your account (already got one of those) and apply the coupons to your Safeway card. I’m assuming it works for the online shopping as well. So I’m going to give that a go and call it a compromise.

Details of the vegetarian adventure soon to follow…

photo courtesy of weheartit.com

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No-Meat November

I’m taking Steph’s suggestion. (Sorry, Jordan. It’d be pretty uncomfortable on the scooter sans pants.)

For the month of November, I’m giving up meat* and taking on couponing. Here’s why:

1. I’ve been pretty lazy about my grocery buying since we’ve started grocery delivery. We have a very specific budget, so I’m always within the allotted amount for groceries, but what if I could save more than my Safeway card specials give me in savings?

2. Because I do delivery, and click through digital aisles instead of browsing physical ones, I rarely read labels (although they are available online, for the most part). I should put some intelligence back in my grocery shopping. So maybe I’ll go back to a brick-and-mortar grocery store for the month of November.

3. I could give up just factory-farmed meat, but why not try vegetarian for a month? I’ve never tried before, so I’ll give it a shot.

4. Couponing doesn’t work so well with online shopping. But now I get the newspaper delivered on Sundays. Meaning I can actually clip coupons. Which means I have to spend the time clipping coupons. But it’ll all pay off, right?

Time to hunt down and try some protein-rich vegetarian dishes.

*I reserve the right to eat meat for Thanksgiving. Why? Because I’ll have a delicious fried turkey in front of me, and I just can’t be that cruel to myself.

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I know what you’re wondering:

How did Bethy’s no-TV-watching and bikram-yoga month going?

Well, the former went pretty great. The latter? Not so great.

It was pretty easy to avoid watching television. Partially because October was a busy month, and partially because I quickly substituted other means of entertainment (This American Life, music, etc.).

I did break once. It was the night after my scooter accident. I stayed home and elevated my leg while the husband went out with our neighbors. It was the wise choice, but to make myself feel better about not being included in the fun, I caught up on some mindless TV watching.

I’m sorry. I hope you can forgive me.

But, other than that, I stayed strong.

As for the Bikram yoga: I had a few potholes get in the way. First, there was the marathon. I felt inclined to give my body a week’s worth of rest after my thrilling finish.

Second, the scooter accident. For those who haven’t heard, no, I wasn’t badly hurt and neither was Reba (our scoot). I got into a fight with a slick-from-fresh-rain MUNI rail and MUNI won. I bruised up my knee and hip badly enough to cause a limp for about a week, meaning I had another week out of commission from yoga.

But I haven’t given up. My groupon expires in December, so I have another month to give Bikram a shot, but the knee’s still healing, so I’ll have to do some modified moves.

And what am I giving up and taking on for the month of November? I’m not quite sure yet. I have a few ideas swirling around in my head, but November kind of crept up on me and, I’ll admit, I wasn’t prepared.

I’ll make a decision by tomorrow. I promise. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

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