Category Archives: PSA

Polar Vortex

Parka

Hello from the Polar Vortex.

When I was 17, my boyfriend and I went to the movies for a date afternoon (I mean, let’s be serious…this is how the kids roll) and our choices were Mean Girls and The Day After Tomorrow.  I let him choose because he was home from college for a long weekend and he went with (not shockingly), The Apocalyptic One.

It was a terrible movie and for years I rued the fact that I missed Mean Girls on The Big Screen.

But end of the world-style movies are of more use in these times than the On Wednesdays We Wear Pink-message.

The past few days have been probably The Worst Weather that you can possibly experience in Minnesota, rivaled only by That One Time When MNDoT Failed And The Freeways Were A Solid Sheet Of Ice For An Entire Week OR When We Experience Pavement Failure.

This weather, with the biting -40º windchill, is what drives me to keep an extra pair of pants, two pairs of UGGs, a spare fleece and a jacket in my car at all times.

Why two pairs of UGGs?

Because if I keep both pairs of UGGs in my car, it leaves me with more space in my closet.  One pair is all I need to fend off the cold.  It’s not as if you can layer boots after all.

Our news stations have turned into some sort of JV Weather Channel.  My Facebook feed is cluttered with people who are either (1) Screenshotting the weather screen on their phone or are (2) telling-off the people who are posting screenshots of the weather from their phones.

Everyone has been cautioned that if they spend any duration of time outdoors that is longer than the walk between their house/office and their car, they will turn into a White Walker.

Which is basically true.

Mostly, Marcus and I have been giving our biggest parkas some much-needed attention.  Staying inside.  Drinking wine.  We just barely cleared zero on the thermometer this afternoon in Minneapolis and it looks like we’ll do as well for ourselves tomorrow.  It’s basically a heatwave on the 45th parallel.  By the end of the week when we hit thirty, I’ll probably have to dig my bikini out.

Stay warm, friends!

Advertisements

Hunt Clothes

Yes, I know that I waited until THE THURSDAY BEFORE EASTER to bring y’all a few of my favorite wardrobe selections.

But I feel like this is countered by the fact that most of you probably live near a Target/Anthro/GAP/Ann Taylor/Lilly via store.  And I kind of think we all learned our lesson after I picked out a handful of cute, spring-y Passover ‘fits and then Mother Nature rolled in and threw down.

Glass half-full: Maybe you live in a state that is sales tax-free on clothing a la the Land of 10,000 lakes.  Or maybe you’re travelling out-of-town TO a Shangri-La that’s sales tax-free on clothing.  A girl can hope, right?

For whatever reason, I feel like Easter lends itself more to dresses than to pants.  So we’re going that route, even though I’m 100% positive I’ll be wearing leggings.

My only disclaimer: Do not, under any circumstances wear white if you’re planning to set foot anywhere near the vicinity of someone who is coloring eggs.  Regardless of whether or not you attempt to take part in the festive fun, the situation is only going to end up in sadness.  For you.

My picks?

You might need to look polished for church or a brunch out.  You might just want an eatin’ dress so you can tuck into your family’s spread on the dining room table.  Regardless, there’s no reason to look anything less than gorgeous.

Don’t carry a big bag.  Why?  Because unless you’re planning on putting the eggs you find INTO the bag, it’s just unwieldy and unnecessary.  There’s a reason this holiday revolves around baskets as a decorative theme.  WORK WITH THAT.

I so wish that I could have found my Intended Arrangement on the internet, but seeing as it was a $15 sale-rack find from Express, I wasn’t particularly surprised by the situation.  I grabbed with the intention of bringing it on the honeymoon (covered shoulders!  holy sites!), but once I tried it on it was an OMG EASTER-revelation.

Are you an Easter dress person?

What are you planning on wearing come Sunday?

Kittens, no one had any Easter fashion mysteries to solve, but we did have a few PSAs, so here goes!

Laura would love for all five-year old boys to turn-up to services rocking the suspenders-tie-fedora combination that one of her students sported earlier this week.  Check it and have a laugh.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Dana warns us that Easter Lilies are deadly poisonous to cats (I’m pretty sure that Lilies of the Valley and Poinsettias are as well).  If someone tries to bring one in your door, do yourself a favor and exile it to the garage…Forever.

Wedding Wednesday

Our invitations went out on Monday and so far, five people have RSVP-ed.  In my book, that’s considered Mobilizing.  People, I need you to start Preparing Yourselves because the downward spiral?  Starts now.

Actually, in a stroke of irony I realized that after correcting the proofs, I never saw the finished product.  But the responses via Tweet/text/e-mail/Facebook have been positive, so I’m feeling great about the whole situation.

In the past week, we were blessed to avoid any outright Snafus (this is the part of the show where I need you to knock on wood as well), but we definitely kept the good times rolling.

Outfits

Last weekend we went out to dinner with some of Marcus’ grandparents’ close friends at the Golden Valley Country Club (I ate a piece of Walleye that was probably as long as my torso).  The next morning I had to high-tail it over to the bridal shower that Marcus’ side of the family threw for me.

It wasn’t exactly mind-bending as far as styling oneself is concerned, but on Saturday afternoon, I did make an effort to try on every possible combination of shower outfits in order to make sure that actual morning-of decision-making moves smoothly.

My reward was 10 minutes spent swapping back and forth between a slate gray top and the pink top I ended up choosing.

Decisiveness.  I have it.

The final product…

Left: My outfit for dinner with Ronnie + Mel. Right: My outfit for the shower.

PSA: Don’t wear brocade if you plan on sitting anywhere for more than fifteen minutes at a time.  I absolutely ADORE that skirt, but it simply doesn’t breathe.  By the time I stood up at the end of the gift opening, I was sweating profusely.  Not cute.

Shower #2

The shower was absolutely wonderful.  I don’t know if y’all realize this, but I’m kind of a friend hoarder (More is More).  I refuse to give anyone up, and I very much like to be surrounded by all of them on any and for every important occasion.

I think we had 35 attendees at this shower and it was absolutely overwhelming.  I wanted to talk with everyone (which I accomplished), but it just felt like there was Never Enough Time.  That being said, when it was time to sit down to lunch, I was relieved to be able to enjoy a few quiet moments with my bowl of Butternut Squash Ravioli.

Registry Surprises

The bridal shower last weekend totally reinforced my decision to avoid looking at our registry at all costs.  Every gift was a wonderful surprise and I had ABSOLUTELY no idea of what to expect.

In keeping with the belief that The Universe and I Are One, I was completely tickled that we got the hand mixer that we registered for.  Could the timing have been any better?  I THINK NOT.  Powdered sugar, your reign of terror is over.

Thank You Notes

I still have about fifteen notes to go, but that’s really water under the bridge at this point.  As per Monday’s post, It was SO interesting to read everyone’s opinions on thank you notes.  The biggest issue after timeliness seemed to surround what one actually writes in the note.

Below are a few tips on what I do to personalize…

  • Use informal titles.  Notes written to Auntie Molly, Mom S**** (not a curse word, just anonymous) and Sis are key.
  • Discuss the event attended.
  • Tell the giver how much their relationship means to you.
  • Editorialize on the gift.  It’s not entirely uncommon in a Kat-written thank you note to see parentheses like following: (seriously), (for real), (it kills me inside), (I’m dying!) .
  • Include remarks about an occasion/event in the future that you hope to cross-paths at.

What do you usually wear to a bridal shower?

Are you a friend hoarder?

An Update on the Way to 13.1

Non-runners: Since today is all rah-rah about my half-marathon training, I completely forgive you if you find the whole affair to be uninteresting and tortuous.

The only thing you need to take-away is that today I went on my first outdoor run since October and it was absolutely GLORIOUS.  My body knew exactly what to do (yes, I was irrationally afraid that it wouldn’t) and a long winter worth of training DEFINITELY paid off.

It is love.

You’re dismissed.

For those still interested in my fitness-related ramblings, we continue.

When I was doing blog admin yesterday, I realized my first post in that vein included a little bit of totally justified rage at Tina from Carrots ‘N’ Cake for hiding her marathon weight gain from her readers.

As I was making breakfast this morning, I peeked over at my training schedule and realized that I only have one “big” long-run left before the race.  In two weeks, I’ll run 11-12 miles and declare myself ready-to-go.

So, in the Spirit Of Avoiding Hypocrisy At All Costs, I figured it was only fair for me to check in with all of you.

The nitty-gritty? My weight, for all practical purposes has stayed the same.  I’m rocking a ~3 lb  fluctuation between 152-155 lbs.  If anything, my legs are finally starting to “lean”-out, which I attribute to the speed training that I’ve been incorporating and the addition of an actual yoga session on Sundays.

My body and I?  Are in a great place right now.

The biggest change? I made the decision to balance my calories across the week and look at the “big picture” of calorie loss, rather than eating based on that day’s workout.    Cutting back on rest days was all right and good, but mostly it didn’t work and I was hungry.

So, no more of that.

Plus, balancing my calories across the week made it easier to meet the mini-healthy living goals I set for myself: saying no to seconds at dinner, easing up on the wine and lowering my chocolate consumption.

It’s not you Choceur, it’s me.

Even though my primary goal right now isn’t weight loss, I really wouldn’t be opposed to peeling off another 10 lbs before I run the marathon in October.  But I also have about six months to accomplish that goal and at the end of the day, I really don’t care what my race weight is.  I just want to finish injury-free.

On a related note, Lauren was actually exploring runners, calorie counting and weight gain last week so if you’re looking for another perspective, definitely check that out!

My Training Plan

Since I kind of shot into the dark as far as my training was concerned for my last half-marathon, I thought that this time it would probably be helpful to import some sort of method to the madness.  Especially since by the time I committed to the race, I knew I’d be working on a compressed schedule.

What I do…

Monday
AM: Yoga Abs (10 min)
PM: Intervals + Speed: Run 60 min @ challenging pace (4 min running, 1 min walking)
Tuesday
AM: Yoga Abs (10 min)
PM:Run 6 miles @ relaxed pace
Wednesday
AM: Yoga Abs (10 min)
PM: Intervals + Speed: Run 60 min @ challenging pace (4 min running, 1 min walking)
Thursday
AM: Yoga Abs (10 min)
PM: Run 6 miles @ relaxed pace
Friday
AM: Yoga Abs (10 min)
Saturday
AM: Long Run
Sunday
AM: Yoga – 30-60 min session
Obviously it’s open to interpretation 😉  As far as speed training is concerned, it’s FAR easier for me to base it on “time elapsed” rather than distance, since I never set foot near a track.
Enter your daily 10 minute Ab PSA: If you’re looking for something to add into your healthy living routine, for love of all that is right and good, start doing 10 minutes of abs in the morning.  As far as I’m concerned, the reward you get from it (a strong core!  sweet abs!  a more defined waist!) is FAR larger than the amount of effort you actually have to put in.

To summarize: So far, so good!

Northerners, what have you been doing to enjoy the spring?

Seriously, being outside today for an entire hour was absolutely unreal.  Plus, for the past few days, I’ve been flinging the patio door open so that we can get some fresh air circulating ’round these parts.  I don’t care if I have to eat dinner wrapped in a blanket in order to make it happen.

Runners, how do you make the transition from treadmill to outdoor running?

Friday Food Round-Up!

Revelation of the Week: Penzey’s Spices.  Y’all know that Marcus and I have been cooking Indian food at home partially to save money and partially because it’s fun to learn and become comfortable with cooking in another food/eating culture.  Except the spices were just KILLING us.  Not that we weren’t saving money (because we were, big time).  But on the order that we’re cooking, buying tumeric for $4/oz or garam masala at $11/1.5 oz is, to put it quite bluntly, completely unacceptable and not entirely unlike armed highway robbery.

A co-worker, remarkably enough, was the one who recommended Penzey’s.  Since we don’t live particularly close to one (it would have to be part of a specific outing), I was pleased as punch to discover they have a website you can order from.  And doubly pleased to find that I could order 4 oz each of Tumeric, Coriander and Garam Masala with jars for a grand total of $19 including shipping (thank you, coupon codes!).

Savings aside, what were we snarfing?

Sunday: Matt Damon Cookies

Our modifications: I halved the recipe, added a splash of vanilla, a pinch of salt (Hello?  Baking 101) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  For mix-ins, I went with a combo I’ve been dying to try – dried cranberries, coconut and white chocolate chips.

They were completely delicious, but I think when I make them again, I’d add a nut for crunch, more oats and cranberries, and eliminate the coconut (it ended up melting into the cookie during cooking and made them almost TOO sweet).

Sunday: The Pioneer Woman’s Beef with Snow Peas

Ree recommends using Flank Steak for this.  Back in 1999, Flank Steak was an exciting, edgy, affordable cut of meat.  Fast-forward to 2011, and Flank Steak isn’t the best-kept, most affordable beef-secret, it weighs in at around $10/lb.  So Marcus and I decided to go for Flank Steak’s ugly step-sister, Skirt Steak.  To compensate for the lower-quality cut of meat, we marinated it for six hours prior to cooking.

PSA: If you’re cooking with Flank Steak or any of its ugly step-sisters, DO NOT FORGET to cut against the grain.  Or you will lose.

The actual cooking process was extremely fast and more of a breeze than most of the meals that we make.  Now that I’ve gotten to make this dish once, I don’t think I’ll have any trouble turning to it more often/on nights where I know ahead of time we’ll need a fast meal.

Monday: Chicken Tikka Masala

As per Ameena’s advice, we just tossed the marinade in with the frozen meat the night before.  Obviously this meant that we couldn’t cube it in advance, but that’s what kitchen shears are for, no?

We used chicken thighs because that’s what we had in the freezer and they did not disappoint.  I’m a fan of chicken thighs.  Like flank steak, they’ve transitioned from Unsung-Hero to The Same Price Or More, but the flavor and tenderness is really wonderful stuff.  The only reason we turned to them in this situation is because we needed the last two chicken breasts in the freezer for another project (see below).

Once again, we chose to simmer instead of broiling, for convenience’s sake.

And, Thank God, Marcus consented to (and ended up liking!) brown rice.  It’s time to rejoice, kittens.  With all of the rice eating that’s taken place within our four walls as of late, I’ve just been dying to make the situation at the very least, a little healthier.  You know?

Wednesday: Mom’s Green Chili and Chicken Enchiladas

I pre-made these on Tuesday night with the intention of actually doing the oven-portion of the show on Wednesday.  They still turned out perfectly, despite my totally irrational fear that adding the enchilada sauce in advance (the idea was that Marcus could just pop them in the oven and prep the guacamole while I was on the treadmill) would render them soggy and horrifying.

I think that next time, I might try halving the recipe insofar as meat and sauce are concerned and go for four enchiladas instead of seven or eight.

What were your favorite feasts this week?

An Unplanned Snow Day

My wake-up call this morning came at 3:20 AM.  It would have been nicer to wake up a bit later, but on days where it’s plausible that you could be trapped at the airport for nine hours, showering is always The Best Decision.

And in keeping with Murphy’s Law, since I had showered, I made it in to good old MSP at 11:00 AM.

A half-day at work would have been plausible if I hadn’t snarfed an anxiety pill for my first flight thanks to a ride on the world’s smallest plane and another round of ridiculous turbulence on my second flight.

I was basically walking sideways in the St. Louis airport, which I think we can all agree was NOT the ideal situation.

I mean, sometimes I debate whether or not a pill is really necessary (FYI: I have flight anxiety).

Today, there was no thinking, only inhaling.

So instead, Marcus brought me home and I proceeded to make the most of my unplanned snow day/second shot at Sunday/first-ever Adult Observance of the President’s Day Holiday.

There was running and laundry and lunching and napping.

When I say napping, I mean I tried to be one of THOSE people who can power nap for 20-40 minutes and call it good.  But when I heard the garage door opening, I realized that my original plans alarm had been foiled by a good hour and a half.

Consider it intuitive sleeping.

Or something like that.

And most importantly, in the middle of all this, there was the glorious discovery that Marcus CAN survive for a weekend on his own.

You see, since I wasn’t home yesterday for our regular grocery store-jaunt, I just told Marcus to go.  On his own.  Which had at last count, had happened never.

When I got the chance to examine the kitchen, I was 11/10 excited to see that he had managed to find every grocery that was on The List.

To his credit, nothing says I Love You quite like sourcing a can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo.  Fact.

Are you a nervous flyer?

Seriously, if flying makes you anxious, it’s time for pills kittens.  It turns the terrifying into the tolerable.  Consider that your PSA of the day.

Readers with significant others: Would you/do you trust them to navigate the grocery store on their own?

I beat napping…for now.

For the record, I’m trying to stave off a nap as I write this.

To state the obvious, I am SO relaxed right now.  It took me until we sat down to dinner last night to really let it all go, but I got it done, right? 

In contrast to my newfound zen, last night ended up, not surprisingly, being a total friend-blitz.  What was on the agenda?  Marcus and I had dinner with one set of friends, bid Martha farewell as she peaced-out for Colorado until mid-June and celebrated Sam’s Golden Birthday.  Can you say BUSY?

Today, I got to sleep in, ran a few necessary errands (ahem, groceries), and took care of some things that will make my life easier (like making a batch of Tomato Bread Soup for the freezer, as that definitely didn’t end up happening last week).  I also got to make myself a most delicious lunch of salmon, green beans with parmesan shavings and crusty bread. 

On an aside, I’m currently in the process of discovering the frozen vegetables in my freezer.  You had better believe that green beans are like a long-lost friend to me right now.  The peas that we dumped into the risotto earlier this week were also totally pleasing.  Sometimes I even surprise myself with how outside-the-box I can be (please note the dripping sarcasm).

A nice surprise on Friday that I forgot to mention to you all yesterday is that the Groupon you can go for this weekend is $30 for $70 at Osteria I NonniClick here to buy one for yourself!  According to Yelp, its got 4 1/2 stars, which makes it legit + worth the trek to St. Paul.  Plus $70 will get you and your dining companion a really nice dinner.

Finally, I present to you what I think is likely the first PSA to appear on Tenaciously Yours,.

I hope that you’re all starting to think about how you’re going to cope with regular television once the Olympics have ended.  Since most of you likely haven’t been weaning yourselves off of NBC’s hyper-emotional covergage (read: BOB COSTAS) and methadone can’t help you, think of yourself and take the time to write a quit plan today.  Going it Cold Turkey isn’t easy and you’re going to need some resources to guide you through the decision making process.  Otherwise, trying to choose between QVC, Hoarders and the History Channel is going to be about as challenging as performing brain surgery.  Be prepared, be strong.