Splurges are ok (sometimes)

Hello

I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

Last night, we finally used the gift card my husband’s brother gave us last Christmas. Not sure why it took us so long but it was worth the wait.

I ordered the gardein “chicken” and avocado sandwich.

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Before I turned vegetarian 3 years ago, my favorite thing to eat at yardhouse was the regular chicken and avocado sandwich so I was happy to find out they made a meatless version using gardein instead of chicken. My mouth is watering just talking about it. It’s so worthy if it’s whopping 900 calories. Yes 900! 

Speaking of calories, do you count them? To be completely honest I don’t always.  The thought of counting macros/calories all the time kind of hurts my head. Instead I follow the 80/20 rule.

I almost always order a salad because its keeps me satisfied until our food is served. I figure it’s better than indulging in hefty appetizer I’d later regret. We used to order the spinach cheese dip (so good) but not worth the calories. Especially when I’m having a 900 calorie sandwich! I suppose you could eliminate the mayo & cheese but because I don’t often dine out, I like to enjoy all of it!

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The sweet potato fries are pretty amazing too!

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On a good day, I would eat about 1/2 of my food and bring the rest home to eat the next day but this time I really went for it. I only had a bite left. I’ll blame it on PMS.

Naturally I started to feel guilty for eating so much but I refuse to go down that old road. The road of beating myself up over it and trying to make up for it the next week by eating hardly nothing and then feeling so deprived I cave in and splurge even more, No thanks, I now choose to enjoy my treat meals. even if I go a little overboard sometimes.

How about you?

Marlene

 

My 39th Birthday  

Hello,

Last Friday I turned 39! Can you believe it? I can’t. One year left of my 30’s! I thought I would be 21 forever. I really did. I guess because I got married, had my kids and a little house by the time I was 25. It all happened so fast. So I could either cry about it or embrace it. I chose to embrace it. I guess. Jk.

To celebrate my birthday, my family and I visited Torrey Pines State Reserve. This has been high on my list of places to visit so I’m happy we finally went. It is a beautiful natural reserve located along the coast between Del Mar and La Jolla, CA. You can visit their website here https://torreypine.org/

Hiking and the ocean. What more could I ask for?

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I was so amazed with the views, I tripped a couple of times not watching where I was walking but it was worth it. Sore ankle and all.

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We started with Guy Fleming trail. It was fairly short simple (under 1 mile) with amazing views.

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My daughter told me to point to the ocean.

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Soaking it all in.

My son was happy to see this bench. He enjoys his breaks.
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Once we finished the first trail, we took Perry grove trail which started with a steep 100 steps down entry.

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It was my husband’s idea.

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Once that looped around we took the steps back up and boy did that burn!

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My dog would’ve went wild over this lizard but dogs are not allowed at this reserve. That’s probably a good thing.
My daughter helped me capture some of these lovely shots. She took photography this last year in High School and I think it shows.

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I feel blessed to live in Southern California and within 1.5 hours of this place.

Once we were done with our hike, we headed to breakfast at the Broken Yolk Cafe in Del Mar where I enjoyed this amazing Acai bowl. But it didn’t stop there. I also ordered a delicious sweet potato and eggs but I could not finish it. I got a little carried away when I ordered.

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I was so full from breakfast/lunch, I did not want much for dinner so we stopped at vons for a salad and sandwiches (for my family)

We made it to the beach just in time to catch the sunset.

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My daughter the photographer.

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We stood at the homewood suites by Hilton that night because I do not like driving back the same day. My kids love the free breakfast they have in the morning. Have you ever been?

Overall, it was a great birthday.  One day, I’ll go to Hawaii but for now I’ll enjoy local beauties like this.

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Thanks for reading.

What places have you been or plan to visit this summer?

Marlene

 

 

 

 

 

My struggle with depression

Hello

Today I’m finally talking about something I’ve been putting off for months. To be honest, I’ve had this draft saved for nearly a year.

Talking about something personal and being vulnerable is never easy especially when I’m trying to set a healthy example for others. But I will be the first the admit that no matter how great someone’s life may seem, we all have struggles, in one way or another and I have been doing myself no favors by trying to hold it in.

For two years, I lost all desire for everything I ever enjoyed. During this time, I felt like I was just coasting through life, and not in a good way. Being a wife and a mom made it difficult to show my feelings so I pretended everything was fine and did whatever I had to do to get by.  I never wanted my kids to be affected by it so I did my best to carry on and be strong mom.

I knew mental illness ran in my family at a young age. I saw my own mom battle depression on and off my entire childhood but I did not understand until I got older. I said I would do whatever I needed to fight it. I said I will exercise every day and eat healthy because those things combat depression. For years that worked great for me but 3 years ago, even my best medicine, exercise wasn’t keeping it away. I found myself in a state of being completely stuck. I knew I had no desire for anything but I couldn’t find a way to get those desires back. I remember my husband asking me what happened to doing all the things I enjoyed like gardening and home improvement and I said I don’t know. And to be honest I really did not now. But I realize now, I didn’t want to know. For two years, I was in denial. Until one day, I became so tired of the way I felt, I decided to do some research and everything I was feeling all pointed to depression. I finally said ok, I’m depressed! Now what?

Next time, I will share with you what was the eye opener for me.

Thank you for reading my story I took over a year to write.

Marlene

20 years ago 

Happy 4th of July Everyone

Today I would like to share a little story with you. 

On 4th of July exactly 20 years ago my friend Tracy and I decided to go to a night club in Hollywood called Florentine Gardens.


We walked around the club a couple times before a guy walked up to me and asked if my friend and I wanted to dance. I was in no way interested in him, but I said sure. I noticed he had a friend standing behind him so I figured my friend would dance with his friend. 

We walked out to the dance floor and I ended up dancing with his friend instead. I didn’t mind because he cute. 🙂 He was also a great dancer. 

After hours of dancing we walked outside and talked forever. He definitely had my attention. 

He and his friend asked if we wanted to go eat after but my friend Tracy wanted to go home so she said “why don’t you just give him your number and you guys can get together another time.” I’m like thanks for putting me on the spot. Lol. So I said to him, “would you like my number?” I was nervous because what if he said no and I look like a fool but he said yes so I gave him my number and he called me the next day while I was at work. Actually, he didn’t call me, he paged me. If you grew up in the 90s I’m sure you remember pagers. If not, you missed out. Jk. 

Anyway,  I didn’t end up taking to him until two days later. I remember sitting in my pjs on a Sunday morning and talking to him for hours. 

We saw each other the rest of that holiday weekend and then it was time for him to leave. He was in the Marines and stationed about two hours away so I knew I wouldn’t see him again until the following weekend.

I had such a great time with him those 3 days but I wondered if we would see each other again or if he would even call me but he did call me and we saw each other every weekend after that. 

The next year we got married and the rest is history. 

I always think to myself what if I danced with the other guy that night or what if my husband never called but I know everything happens for a reason and it was meant to be. 

You never imagine you would meet a decent guy at a nightclub or your husband for that matter but I did. 

Twenty years, two kids and a dog later, I’m happy my friend and I decided to go out dancing that night. 

If you’re still here, thanks for reading the story of how I met my husband.

Happy 4th!

Marlene 

Real Talk Tuesday 

Hello,

Can I be real for a minute? There are so many things I want to talk about here but I’m struggling to get the words out. To break myself out of this shell, I’m committing one day each week to talk about real stuff. Real struggles, fears, and life in general. 

It shall be called Real Talk Tuesday 🙂 

Because life isn’t all roses. Although I do love roses. White ones. 🙂 

Stay tuned.

Marlene

Healthy Fried Rice

Hello

Today I’m sharing a dish I make almost on a weekly basis. I am surprised I never posted it here.

Healthy Fried Rice

I always start by preparing two cups of short grain brown rice the day before and storing it in the Fridge.

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I can’t believe what a difference it makes to prepare when the rice is cold. I have tried preparing right after the rice is cooked and it just does not have that “fried rice” feel. So refrigerated comes out best, not to mention how much easier it makes preparation. I’m all about saving time. 

Next, I saute the veggies in sesame oil. One time I accidentally used grape seed oil instead and I noticed a big difference. It tasted plain and not like an asian dish should. It was then I figured out I grabbed the wrong bottle out of the cabinet. As usual, I was probably rushing and not paying attention. If you know me, I try to cook as fast as possible!

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I use about 2-3 tablespoons. I know it sounds like a lot but it is “fried rice”. Always feel free to scale back if you’re watching fat.

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Bell pepper and onion are the staple vegetables of this recipe. I usually use 1 whole bell pepper and 1/2 and onion. I try not to over onion or garlic my food, otherwise no one in my house will eat it.

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Once they are chopped I throw into the pan and start sauteing.

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It creates the best smell in the kitchen.

Once the onion and bell pepper are soft, I add in peas and corn. Sometimes carrots if I have them. I always keep organic frozen corn and peas from Trader Joes in my freezer.

Then I add in the rice, while fire is still on. Sometimes I add a dab more of sesame oil.

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Next I add in plenty of low sodium organic tamari. At least 2-3 tablespoons. To be honest, I don’t measure. Instead I just taste and add more if needed. I also add in a bit of pepper and garlic powder.

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I always stick to tamari sauce or liquid aminos because they are gluten-free and regular soy sauce is not.

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I always make a large batch on Mondays so my husband and I can enjoy the leftovers for lunch for a couple days.

Sometimes I ‘ll add in eggs but it’s not necessary since it tastes pretty good on its own. My husband even said so which surprised me, coming from a meat eater.

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This is one of my favorite dishes to make because of its simplicity. It’s not the absolute healthiest but I think its much healthier than traditional fried rice, while still being enjoyable.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups of  short grain brown rice (1 cup uncooked, 2 cups of water)

1 bell pepper

1/2 an onion

2-3 Tbs. Sesame oil

2-3 Tbs of Gluten Free Tamari sauce

1/2 cup of organic frozen corn

1/2 cup of organic frozen peas

Instructions:

Cook brown rice according to instuctions and refridgerate one day prior to making this recipe.

Heat pan to medium/high temperature add in sesame oil.

Add in onion and bellpepper and saute until softened

Next stir in peas, corn and rice. Once mixed add in tamari sauce and mix some more.

Add pepper to taste

I always taste test as I go so feel free to do the same.

Note: If you prefer quinoa, you can alawys substitute the rice for quinoa and its comes out just as great. I make both.

Enjoy!

Marlene

Goal for 2017

Well Hello 2017

Yes, we are over 1/2 through February and I am just now talking about my goals, as usual.

This year feels so surreal to me because this is the year my daughter will turn 18 and graduate high school. What? How did this happen? Where did the time go? How is my first-born child going to be an adult already?

And, my husband who I met when I was almost 19 and he was 20, will turn 40 this year! 40? To be honest, I never imagined us older passed our 20’s . Well, that came and went fast.

With everything happening so fast, all I can do is savor every moment of every day because time is NOT slowing down anytime soon.

My number one goal this year is an obvious one.

BE PRESENT

I remember as a young new mom, I looked forward to my kids getting older and becoming more independent thinking that’s when things would get easier and that didn’t happen. I remember one of my older friends saying it gets harder as they get older and I thought to myself there’s no way it can get harder than waking up in the middle of the night, feedings, changing diapers and everything else than comes along with having a baby. Well, she was right. It does get harder!  As my kids get older, the challenges just change. Just wait until they start talking back. So fun.

I was recently talking to a friend whose kids are all grown up now and she was telling me how she wished she could go back to when her kids were young and slow down and just live in the moment. I admit to feeling the same way sometimes but there’s no turning back. All we can do is move forward and enjoy NOW.

So my main focus this year is to BE PRESENT with everything around me and enjoy every moment of every day because all we have is today.

Ferris Bueller said it nicely.

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There are other things I want to work on as always, but none are as important to me as this. So for now, that is it.

Enjoy today!

Marlene

2016 Highs and lows

Hello 2017!

How’s your year going so far? I do realize I’m about a month late but keep reading and you’ll find out why.

Before I move fully into 2017, I must reflect on 2016 for a minute because it was a year filled with struggles, some accomplishments and bitter-sweet moments.

I’ll try to keep this in order.

January

I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a trip to Vegas for a chiropractic seminar. You can see my posts on that here, here and here. This was the first time I’ve ever been away my husband and kids. It was hard but a good learning experience for all of us.

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February

I’m not sure where to begin because this is hard for me to talk about and for years I was in denial but…..I finally came to the realization that I have been suffering from depression. Two years and twenty pounds later, my eyes finally opened and I realized what was happening.

I never realized how much being in denial could hold you back until this year. I have so much more to say about this but I’m saving it for a future blog post. Trust me, there is going to be a lot to read.

This same month I joined an online fitness challenge and it helped get me out of my funk and realize I am still capable of acheiving my goals.

March and April

I continued to work on improving my diet and fitness.

May

This was a very bittersweet month as my youngest child completed his last year in elementary. I’m not going to lie, I dreaded this day all year-long and what made it even harder is my son had the sweetest teacher who he adored. He has some learning struggles in school and she was the only one who really understood him. For moms who understand, getting a good teacher who’s on the same as you and your child is golden!

I knew the goodbye would be hard but I never imagined I would be bawling my eyes out in his teachers arms on the last day of school. I thought I would be strong but when it was time to say goodbye, everything from the last year flashed before my eyes and I was not ready for it to be over. I was not ready for my youngest child to start junior high. I might have taken it harder than him. 😦

Good news is we still keep in touch with this teacher and I am glad because all he talked about all summer is how much he missed her.

Needless to say, I wanted to savor every moment of summer. And so I did, with plenty of trips to the hiking trails and beach with my family and friends.

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July

I attended IDEA world fitness convention and Blogfest. I enjoyed myself so much! You can see the highlights here img_2421

Seeing this photo again makes me happy because this week I felt better and happier than I have felt in a long time. I was beginning to feel like me again. 🙂

August

Summer was coming to an end and it was time for my kids to start school. I was really nervous about my son starting Jr High. Possibly to the point of making me sick. One day before he started school I woke up to a spinning room. I tried to pick up my head to figure out what was happening and I couldn’t. I held onto my bed until the spinning stopped. I’m like, what is happening? It felt like a was on a roller coaster that wouldn’t quit. I quickly became very nauseous and had to vomit. Sorry if this is getting gross. I went back to bed and slept most of the morning. I did not make it to work that day.

I went to the Dr. a couple days later and confirmed I had vertigo. For the next two months, I dealt with dizziness every time I did anything, especially driving. I didn’t want to go anywhere because I was afraid I was going to start spinning and eventually pass out. I didn’t help that we were experiencing triple digits temperatures and my car had no A/C. I felt ill for months which is part of the reason I havent kept up with my blog or social media. I did see an ear, nose and throat specialist who explained how common my condition was. Really? This is common?

Eventually, my symptoms started to improve. It has been 5 months since this happened and each month continues to get better. I still feel it here and there but not nearly as bad.

During this time, I was discouraged. Here I was getting back on track with my diet, fitness and mental health and now this? I kept asking “why?” I was so afraid that I was going to lose my momentum and spiral back into gaining weight and being depressed but… I didn’t. I kept up my daily routine and persevered. Thank God for giving me the strength to keep moving forward! 

October

August, September and October were stressful. Not only was I stressed about my son being in Jr High and seeing him struggle in the beginning while still dealing with vertigo, I was in the middle of re-financing our home. 

I’m not sure if you can relate but why is buying a home or re-financing one of the most stressful things? It seems like nothing ever goes as planned and every day I was faxing or emailing documents to my lender or having to make a call phone calls. Ok, rant over.

After two months of headaches, our re-finance was finally complete and it worked out in our favor. As we hoped, we were able to pay off debt and finally get a fixed interest rate. It was an adjustable before. I was so thankful!!!

November

I finally got a new (er) car!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes that many exclamation marks in necessary because its been a long time coming. A long time! It’s still a used car but its new and exciting to me, especially because the A/C works. My old car was passed on to my daughter which is awesome because she gets to drive herself around now. If you’re a mom of a teen, you feel me right?

TIME FOR SOME FUN!

A week later, we went to Vegas for a friend’s wedding. This was the first time, my husband and I have been in 13 years.

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We had so much fun dressing up and going out with our friends. We don’t get out much!

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I normally do not post photos of myself like this but I was feeling too great not to. I had been working out hard for months and was down 12 pounds! ( I think that mirror needed to be cleaned)

We had a great time! It was a much-needed adults trip.

December

I spent this last month being thankful for everything this year brought. No one really wants to go through struggles but I truly believe we are more appreciative of the good times that follow.

This month also marked 5 years since we adopted our sweet Rusty. This dog brings me joy every single day.

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So those are the highs and lows of 2016 for me. It literally took me a month to write this. I struggled with letting my guard down and admitting I had struggles. Who was I kidding? No one is perfect.

If I could describe 2016 in one word, it would be ACCEPTENCE. I finally learned to accept what is and be okay with it.

Here’s to more accepting and moving forward in 2017!

What did you take away from last year and what are your plans for 2017? I’ll tell you mine in the next post.

Well, that took a while! I felt like I just told my life story. 

Thank you so much for reading. 🙂

Marlene