Friday, October 5, 2012

Fantasy Food Friday: Capitol's Pumpkin Soup

Hello again!

Today's entrant in Fantasy Food Fridays is from the most recent addition to young adult cult favorites: The Hunger Games. I read them over my Christmas break this past year, and I have to say, I couldn't put them down. Katniss is a heroine worth obsessing over and her story is heart-wrenching-ly good.

Katniss' first adventure is to the Capitol with her fellow tribute, Peeta Mellark. The foods Katniss and Peeta encounter during the weeks before the Games begin are amazing to them: rich, delicious and bizarre.

But one of the things they try is Pumpkin Soup.

So, I decided that, it now being primo pumpkin season, we should try pumpkin soup.

But first, a quick story:

remember a couple weeks ago when we tried Ginger Beer? Well. I was making Pumpkin Soup for dinner for myself and the Mom last night. Dinner was ready, and I was looking in the fridge for a beverage. In the bottom of the door, there was a bottle of Ginger Beer... I pick up the liter (or more) size bottle, place it on the counter, and go to unscrew the cap.... BOOM!

The whole bottle exploded, a ginger beer geyser in the kitchen. It was dripping down the back of my neck! There were pieces of fresh ginger ON THE CEILING. I'll try to add in a picture of me covered in it later, but anyway, be careful with your ginger beer... and that's why the pictures for this week are... lacking. Apologies.

Anyhow, without any further ado,

Capitol's Pumpkin Soup

  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  • one small can pumpkin
  • 3-4 tablespoons chopped onion
  • one clove fresh garlic, minced
  • two sprigs fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 2-3 teaspoons of Salt
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream

step one: heat the stock, pumpkin, onion, garlic, thyme and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.

Step two: Remove from heat, and put through the food processor in about 1 to 1.5 cup batches. It doesn't take long, but you do need to make sure the lumps (especially from the onions) are smoothed out.

Step three: return to heat, bring it back to a boil and let simmer another twenty minutes.

Step four: remove from heat, stir in the cream, garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

put in bowls and serve- we had it with a great crusty bread- it was delicious! Enjoy!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fantasy Food Friday: Wheel of Time Apple Cider Pie

Hello all!

Welcome to another episode of Fantasy Food Fridays! This week, we're taking on an Emond's Field favorite, Apple Cider Pie.

A favorite of the Fall season, Apple Cider Pie can often be found in Mother Al'Vere's kitchen at their family Inn.

Emond's Field, a small village in an area known as the Two Rivers, is very rural- at the beginning of the series, there are no tile roofs at all. Even in the later parts of the series, the Two Rivers retains it's homey, rural appeal.

So this week, Apple Cider Pie:

This recipe is a little more complicated, but is also easy to simplify- my first recommendation is a simpler pie crust- or buy one. (I know, gasp) But this one has a lot of steps. ANYWAY, here we go.


In the Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice and chilled
  • 3 tablespoons cold milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the butter and work by hand into a coarse texture. Add milk and vinegar and mix until dough just forms.  Pat the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic and stick it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and roll it into an 11 inch round. Put it in a 9 inch pie plate. Trim and make pretty and stick it back in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to about 425 degrees. Get our dough back out and put a piece of parchment paper over it. Fill the pie plate with beans or pie weights and start par-baking it- about 15 minutes or until just set.

Remove the crust from oven and remove the beans or weights. Cover the edges of the pie with foil and put it BACK in the oven ( I told you it was complicated!) Bake 15 minutes or until set but not browned. Remove, leave the foil on, let cool. Press the center to keep it from rising.

The Filling:

  • apple cider
  • sugar
  • sour cream
  • salt
  • eggs

in a saucepan, boil the cider to reduce it by about three quarters. stir in the sugar when cool, and then add the sour cream, salt and eggs. Pour the custard into the pie shell (don't remove the foil). Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees, until the outside is set and the inside jiggles. Let cool completely.

The Topping:

  • heavy cream
  • sugar 
  • cinnamon

Whisk the ingredients together until mildly stiff peaks form. Spread the cream over the pie, cut and then serve!

DELICIOUS! A great addition  to a holiday table. The apple flavor is light, but noticeable. If you try it, I am sure you will like it!

As always, if you try it or if you have ideas for a future Fantasy Food Friday, leave me a comment!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fantasy Food Friday: Bag End Apple Bread

Hello, all, and welcome back to Fantasy Food Friday!

This week, we tackled Bag End Apple Bread, found comfy-cozy in the pages of JRR Tolkein's classic Lord of the Rings Trilogy, as well as the Hobbit.

Bilbo's home, Bag End, is in the Shire- rather the midwest of Middle Earth. And, as the midwest edges toward fall, nothing represents us better than apples! (Except possibly pumpkins- but that's soon to come!) And so, this week, I'm pleased to present: Bag End Apple Bread!!

If you're familiar with banana bread, then this is a great recipe for you! It is pretty quick, and very simple.

chopped, skinned apples
flour ( I used half white half whole wheat)
baking powder
baking soda

I replaced the oil in a normal sweet bread recipe with applesaucs- both to fit the theme and make it a tad healthier!

Start by mixing your dry ingredients together (minus the sugar)

in another bowl, cream sugar, eggs and applesauce:

(excuse the huge shadow)

Add the vanilla, and then mix the wet and dry ingredients together.

Then add in the apple chunks!

Fold them in gently, and pour into greased loaf pans. We made one big loaf and three little ones.

Bake at about 350 for between 45 minutes and an hour.

DELICIOUS- and would be great for Teatime... or Elevenses..or even the fabled Second Breakfast.


As always- if you make one of my FFF ideas, please let me know, and if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Weight Loss Wednesdays: 100 (more) reasons I'm getting in shape

Hi guys-

I posted my 100 reasons back in January, and while some of them have stayed the same, others have definitely shifted. Here's my 100 more reasons for continuing my weight loss journey:

101. because people are watching
102. to KEEP this promise to myself
103. to not settle for mediocre104. for a cute halloween costume
105. for more confidence
106.because I am not mediocre, why should my body be? be able to run a 5k
108. to not feel like a whale in my yoga classes
109. because if others have done it, so can I
110. to keep up with Sherlock!
111. because after everything else, this should be easy
112. because I love my body, now and always
113. because I am a person, not a garbage disposal.
114. to be proud to wear tank tops
115. so that my fitted shirts will become sleeping/work out shirts
116. to be the it girl in the gym
117. because my body is a temple. And a wonderland.
118. because this is living life to the fullest.
119. Because "made in God's image" does NOT mean obese.
120. Because I love ice cream.
121. to pound out the frustrations and fears
122. Because I'm in it for the long haul
123. Because I'm too stubborn to accept any other possibility.
124. Because Winter is coming.
125. for greater flexibility
126. Cause I've got passion in my pants… and I ain't afraid to show it
127. to have enough upper body strength to pull myself up into high places
128. to never, ever feel my fat spilling over the top of my jeans again
129. to show off bare arms
130. for the look on people's faces when I say "I used to be fat"
131. to finally get my headstand
132. because the hard work WILL define me, but my weight won't
133. so that I'll be a good example to any future children
134. to sleep better
135. because if i won't put in the work, someone else will. And they'll be better than me.
136. for better dance calls
137. to beat the disordered eating, forever.
138. so that NOTHING is off limits.
139. to learn to love showers
140. to be able to tie a belt, instead of buckling it
141. to be able to think during a run, and not just about when I'll get to stop.
142. for the feeling of running my hands down my legs… and they don't jiggle
143. to look and feel sexy in my maid of honor dress
144. and bridesmaid dress
145. and every day
146. to find out just what my body is capable of
147. to climb the stairs at Hogwarts
148. so my reaction to my reflection is never negative.
149. to live long and prosper
150. to be able to do ten complete pushups…and not be sore later.
151. to feel better
152. to treat myself the way I deserve to be treated
153. to not feel awkward in the gym, or running down the street
154. to be able to get my yoga teaching liscensure without feeling silly
155. to beat my genetically modified evil twin. ( I know she's out there)
156. so people will ask me how I did it
157. for the cute running clothes
158. to never need a motorized wheelchair/grocery cart
159. to be able to climb trees
160. to never be out of breath at the top of the stairs
161. to feel lime a movie star
162. so I never worry about my skinny jeans fitting
163. to spend less money on snacks!
164. to keep up with my brother
165. to out run the dog
166. to someday finish a 10K
167. to go to bed every night feeling like a champion
168. So Jillian Michaels wouldn't have anything to say
169. for my own personal satisfaction
170. for better games of hide and seek
171. for better head shots
172. and pictures in general
173. no. more. back. fat.
174. to be able to say out loud how much I weigh and not wince afterwards
175. because I can
176. because I can come up with 200 great reasons to do it, and no reasons not to
177. to do what others won't, so I can have what others don't
178. because I want to
179. because I like running
180. so I'll never, ever, EVER walk away from something I love because I'm too fat
181. so that when I start singing, people ask where the sound comes from
182. to be more comfortable on planes and roller coasters
183. to feel more like all my favorite heroines
184. to have those amazing before and afters
185. to say that I got to enroll in the Neville Longbottom school of making puberty work for you
186. to have the self control and discipline to create myself new
187. to want to try new sports and classes
188. to not feel stupid doing it
189. for a smaller fencing target
190. so that when I wear my corset, fat isn't spilling out over the top
191. for cute lingerie
192. for great hikes
193. to NEVER worry at night in a parking garage
194. so I can wear heels without feeling like I might tip over
195. to not need the arm rests at the theatre
196. because I love to swim!
197. to not be jealous of others!
198. for the feeling of accomplishment
199. to see the change in myself
200.because I am worth it

What are YOUR reasons?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fantasy Food Fridays: Game of Thrones Ginger Beer

Hello, all, and welcome back to Fantasy Food Fridays!

If you're just joining us, every Friday I take on a different edible from a fantasy novel, film or TV show and try to recreate it- and I keep you all up to date via the blog! If you miss my other posts- don't worry, they're coming back! I'm easing into it, but I do promise to post more soon!

Without further ado, this week's endeavor: Ginger beer, featured in A Song of Ice and Fire, by George RR Martin (better known as  Game of Thrones) In Martin's kingdom of Westeros, deceit runs hot and treachery hotter. The rise and fall of kings and clans happen faster than you can keep track, but one thing remains constant. Martin's characters eat some amazing sounding food.

So this week, I attempted my first beverage in the series. I hope you enjoy it!

Game of Thrones Ginger Beer:


  • boiling water
  • fresh ginger
  • whole lime
  • cream of tartar
  • sugar
  • yeast
  • rum (optional. we did the virgin version!)
  • bottles or jars that you can make airtight
  • a non reactive (ceramic) container with lid

The How to:

roughly chop the ginger (we used a food scale to make sure it was the right amount. About 6 oz. per gallon of water)

Add the ginger to food processor, and turn into mush:

Then, zest and juice the lime (or two!)

(this is messy) Then add the lime juice, zest & ginger to your non-reactive container:

(we used a slowcooker dish)

Pour over the boiling water, and the cream of tartar (about 2 oz.) and be prepared to wait. Cover the container and stir occasionally. You need to wait until the water is lukewarm. At least 3 hours, possibly more.  Once the water is lukewarm, add the yeast to your mixture. I used about two and a half packets. Then recover and let it sit for 6 hours. No need to refrigerate. (note the super cool lamb planter in the back ground. I know, weird fascination with animals.)

Once your 6 hours are up, uncover and add the sugar. A LOT of sugar. I used almost two pounds.

(Again, food scale)

Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. If you want to add alcohol, now is the time!

(doesn't that look tasty??)
 Pour directly into glass bottles, shut tight, and refrigerate. To serve, strain and put in glass.

We found this recipe to be very spicy, but also oddly refreshing. It won't keep for a long time, and do keep it refrigerated!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Fantasy Food Friday: Elvish Lembas!

Hello, all!!

Welcome to another addition of Fantasy Food Fridays! If you're just joining us, Fantasy Food Fridays is an ongoing series of posts, hosted on- you guessed it- Fridays. Every week, I make a different food item from a fantasy book, movie or TV show, and then post pictures and how-to's here on the blog. Ready? Great!

This week, I tackled Lembas, from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. It is described as "very nutritious, stays fresh for months when kept unbroken in its original leaf-wrappings, and is used for sustenance on long journeys."

In Peter Jackson's movies, the hobbits nibbled on a kind of unsweetened shortbread. It is brown on the outside and rather cream colored on the inside.

After doing a little bit of reading on Lembas, I decided to buy and use some flaxseed meal in this recipe. Because Lembas is supposed to be highly nutritious and fibrous, I wanted something that would give it that quality, as well as making it a little chewier.

So, anyway, I used
  • white flour (although whole wheat or half and half would be great too)
  • flaxseed meal (look for it in your gluten free or organic portion of the Grocery)
  • white sugar
  • butter
** flaxseed tip: if you do choose to add flaxseed, it needs to make up about a quarter of your total dry ingredients. I used 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 cup flaxseed**

I mixed the dry ingredients together and then melted the butter in the microwave before adding it to the dry ingredients.

When that was totally mixed in, I didn't have quite enough moisture in the dough, so I added a tablespoon of water at a time until I had something roughly the consistency of cookie dough. 

I rolled the dough out flat with a rolling pin- make sure you flour whatever surface you work on as it does get sticky!

(doesn't that look nice and healthy? mmmmmm)

And then I cut the dough into rectangles between an inch an three inches big or so.

I scooped the rectangles onto a greased cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 350 for about an hour...

And then disaster struck.

Somehow, I miscalculated the time, and they burned. One whole cookie sheet, black as anything. See?

look at those top ones. Toast, I say, toast.

However, although the others are a little browner than I would have liked, they still taste pretty  good! I especially like them with apple butter on top:

Flaxssed meal apparently browns faster than regular flour, so that might have been part of my problem too.

Things I would change next time:

  • less cooking time!
  • less sugar
  • add a little baking powder or an egg or two so they rise a little bit. These are pretty cracker-y

But that's my Lembas experiment! Enjoy!

Have an idea for Fantasy Foods Friday? Leave it in the comments or email me at charisweible[@] (just remove the brackets!)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fantasy Foods Friday: Pernese Bubbly Pies!

Hello, all, and welcome to the very first edition of a new series I'm calling Fantasy Foods Fridays.

Every Friday, I will post a new food item that I've made that is featured in a fantasy novel, film or tv show.

We'll talk about the project, and the place it holds in its respective fandom. Ready? Ok, let's begin!

Pernese Bubbly Pies

Bubbly Pies come to us from the wonderful words of Anne McCafferey, author of the wonderful Dragonrider's of Pern series. There are a whole list of books, and they are wonderful- some of the first fantasy I ever read. If you haven't read them I recommend you do so soon!

In McCafferey's books, Bubbly Pies are a kind of fair food. Served at special events and "Gathers", which are essentially the modern equivalent of a street fair.  They are served hot, straight from the oven, and are filled with some sort of a sweet berry filling.

Mouth watering yet? Mine is!  So, on to making Bubbly Pies!

The Crust:

If you look, you'll find plenty of recipes for bubbly pies. There was one published in The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern, and plenty of other people have come up with their own. The secret, like any pie, is in the crust.

For Bubbly Pies, we wanted a sweet pie crust. Something that would hold the weight of the filling while it was hot, definitely not something flaky, and something that would taste good on its own if you got a bit or two with no filling.

We ended up making a pie crust that incorporated the ingredients in the picture above for the first batch:
oil (butter or crisco)
baking powder

 while Momma was mixing the pie dough, I started on the filing. We used three different berries: raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. We had frozen blueberries on hand, but bought fresh raspberries and blackberries.

I mixed the berries with some sugar, a bit of lemon juice and a little cinnamon:

I swear it looked better than this. Note the super cool cow creamer in the corner. Aaaaaaaw right.

Anyway, when I mixed the berries up, it looked a bit like this:

And yeah, I know, the raspberry is a little... gross looking. Tasty though. Really tasty.

At this point, we had to resist sitting down with spoons and just EATING the filling, as it is absolutely DELICIOUS. Mom, meanwhile was rolling out the pie dough and cutting it into circles:

We wanted the pies to be big enough to hold in one hand. These circles are about 7-8 inches across, and the pies were just a little smaller than that when they were done.

We cut the circles out, and put them on Parchment paper on a cookie sheet. You realllllllly don't want to skip this step. Like, really, really. Because the things are going to drip. And the paper will save you a HECK of a lot of mess.

Anyway, next, I put a big spoonful of one of the berry fillings on top of the circle.

Excuse the bad lighting, please!

You want to keep the filling in the center of the pie circle, to minimize drippage. I found that a slotted spoon was VERY helpful for this. Then I took a small spoon to put a couple spoonfuls of the juice on top.

When the filling was on, I put a second circle on top and then crimped the edges with my fingers. Were I to do it again, I would try with a fork or a ravioli crimper-thingy, as I still got major baked good leakage. 

Anyway, then they went in the oven. We pulled them out when they were golden brown on the top and the edges.

These are best served warm- somewhere between too hot to taste due to lava for filling, and dryer-fresh warmth. However, they're excellent at room temperature too.

The blueberry ones were the sweetest, followed by the raspberry and the blackberry, which was the most tart (although still plenty sweet!)


Please let me know if you try them in the comments, or, if you have an idea for a Fantasy Food, you can email me at charisweible[@] (just remove the brackets!)

Have a fantastic Friday, and remember to find your own magic!

Until next time~

Monday, August 27, 2012

Changes for Fall

Well, here we are, at the end of the Summer.

For the first time in my life, I'm experiencing two things.

1) I'm relieved that Summer is over

2) I'm not going to school

Both are extremely weird feelings, but that's where we are. The second part of my summer got crazy, complicated and irksome quickly. I'll not dwell on it. Instead, here are the highlights.

  • I got a job. I'm now a beauty consultant for Elizabeth Arden in a local Macy's store. 
  • By some fluke, I got to play Portia from "The Merchant of Venice" for four amazing shows, and it totally reawakened my love of being onstage in live theater.
That's about it.

BUT! Now it is Fall, and time for changes. A new season. A new adventure. And a new blog.

I'm not going anywhere. But I am going to start doing some facelifts here on my blog. Firstly, I'm going to start doing some more serieses. (Yes, I'm aware that's not a word.) I'm really excited about them, and I hope you will be too!

The first to be unveiled is a series called "Fantasy Food Fridays". Friday's post will explain more about this one, but if you like books, cooking and fandoms, you're going to adore Friday's posts. 

Secondly, I'm going to be revamping Weight Loss Wednesdays. I have a new plan for fitness, and I'm really excited to share it with you!

Third, -and you heard it here first!- I'm unveiling a new blog. Well, not blog, exactly. But sometime in September, I hope you'll all check out One Track Yoga Flows- a new way to practice Yoga. It's something I've been working on most of the Summer, and I'm so excited to really get started on it.

Fourth, I'm instituting "Simple Sundays". Here at Adventures in Simplicity, that's what I'm all about- living simple and stress free. Simple Sundays will look at ways to make your whole week more simple, sane and organized.

There's also gonna be a lot of clerical work done around here: tagging, pages added, etc. Not to mention the occasional tutorial, recipe and maybe even some other posts thrown in. All in all, I estimate a busy fall! Good, that's just the way I like it.

Stay tuned!
Until next time~

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June goal wrap up

Hello all!

Can you believe it, June is over? It seems like it FLEW to me! It was a good month, over all. I didn't do perfect, but I am far from perfect, so that is alright. Anyhow, here's how I did on my goals.

#1. Play outside everyday, for a minimum of 15 minutes. I did ok on this. It helped immensely that I had rehearsal outside the second half of the month! I'm giving myself an 80% here.

#2. Create 3 beautiful things.  I fell short on this one too, sadly! I did make a case for my kindle (post on its way), and I was well on my way to making a case for my laptop case and an armband for my phone when I run. BUT THEN MY POWER WENT OUT. So that meant no cutting of fabric, no sewing, nothing. So there went that. So, sadly... 33%

#3. Read 3 books. I made this one!! I read Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Game of Thrones and Clash of Kings, both by George RR Martin. Good Omens was hilarious, and the beginning two books of A Song of Ice and Fire were very exciting and full of intrigue. Those two are definitely not kid friendly, however. Many adult themes. But I get to give myself a 100% on this one!

#4. Continue to do the 30 day shred everyday. I gave up on this one, I must admit. I got bored, and tired of it, and so I tried to move onto other workouts, like running. I still suck at running, but I'm getting there, inch by inch, step by step. Unfortunately, I can really only give it like, a 20%.

#5. Start clearing out my clutter. I also failed on this one. Cleaning stuff out is HARD! MUST do better this month!! 0%

#6. Go to 3 new places. This one I did great on! In fact, I went to at least FIVE new places. One new restaurant, and four new parks, and they were all great! 100%!

#7. Try 5 new recipes. I also did great on this one! I posted two of my new recipes, but I also tried a Black Bean salad/salsa, a new cookie, and Yellow squash boats with veggies, chicken and cheese with breadcrumbs. They were all FABULOUS. Great decisions, all. 100%

wow, overall, I earned a 62%. That's not great, at all. Have to try to do better next month! I'll post July's goals tomorrow!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Recipe: leftover Quinoa salad

Gosh I love cooking!

Today for lunch, I had leftover veggies to eat up, as well as leftover Quinoa from last night's dinner. Quinoa, if you don't know, is a grain, kind of like rice- but it is SUPER healthy for you, very filling, and just as easy to make as rice! So! Here's what I had for lunch:

Leftover Quinoa salad:

1 cooked corn on the cobb, cooked
9-10 leftover green beans, cooked
1 cup quinoa
1/2 avocado
1 egg
1/2 cup spinach

1. Cut the corn off the cob, add to bowl of quinoa
2. Chop up green beans, add to quinoa
3. dice avocado and add egg to small skillet. Gently whisk the two together as it cooks. Make sure it doesn't become one big massive piece- keep it in bite size chunks.
4. add avo and egg to quinoa and mix all together.
5. fill a bowl with spinach and top with quinoa mixture.


I had mine with some whole wheat toast- delicious!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Recipe: Black Raspberry & Mushroom Chutney

Hi everyone!

I made. The most. AMAZING dinner tonight. I'll get the picture edited in soon, buuuuuuut here's the recipe. For the record, I had a grilled chicken breast, fresh sauteed green beans, organic quinoa AND my own recipe: Black Raspberry and mushroom chutney. I'm sharing the recipe below:

Charis's Black Raspberry & Mushroom Chutney

4 medium sized button mushrooms
2-3 handfuls fresh black raspberries
some red onion- I used about a quarter of the amount of mushrooms
3 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 capfuls lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons water

1. Chop mushrooms and onion finely, place in skillet. Add raspberries, whole, to skillet.
2. Chop basil and add to skillet
3. add the rest of the ingredients to the skillet
4. put the skillet on high heat. Stir ingredients together, mashing the raspberries with your spoon or spatula, while waiting on the liquid to come to a boil.
5. Once liquid is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to cook until all liquid is cooked away.

That's it! Suuuuuuper easy! And SO delicious- sweet and savory and great on chicken!

If you try it, please let me know!

Monday, June 11, 2012

June goal check in!

hello, hello again!

It's been just over a week, but my memory is not so good, so here's an update on my June Goals!

#1- active play! I'm giving this a 95%. I've been to parks, I went to a street fair, I even went for a RUN. I've been on bike rides, and I played with my dog this afternoon.

#2 Creating 3 beautiful things! 0% right now. I haven't started this one yet... I better get on it, huh.

#3 Read 3 books! 40% so far. I just finished Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It was very cute- a comedy about the apocalypse. Definitely a good read. AND I started Game of Thrones, which I am enjoying very much. AND my daddy bought me a kindle for my graduation, so I can read many many books! YAAAAAY!!

#4 30 Day Shred! 60% I'm doing ok... I'm TRYING to do it everyday, but sometimes I just can't get motivated to do it. So far I've at least managed it every other day, today, marks the second day in a row... lol.

#5 Clutter! 0% I haven't started this either... well, I did put one item of clothing in a good will bag. I NEED to get on this one.

#6 Go to Three New Places! 70% I've been to two new parks! The first one was GREAT. New favorite place! The second one, not so much, but it's ok, that's what going new places is for!

#7 5 new recipes! 40%. I've made two: a delicious fruit salsa, and avocado fries. I'll post the recipes soon!

Things have been silly amounts of busy. I graduated from college on Saturday morning, so this week was a LOT of that. It actually really stressed me out to have that to worry about. My next worry is finding a bill-paying job...anyone?

I start rehearsals for the play I'm stage managing next week, so we've been busy with that too. It's going well, but it is a LOT to do! Update on that once rehearsals start!

As for the never ending fitness trek, I am working on it still, of course. The scale has been very stubborn of late, but I think I am still seeing improvements in the mirror, and that's all I can really ask for, right? Right!

Finally, just for you all, a few pictures of graduation day!

Hope you all have beautiful days!

Until next time~

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sweet, Sweet Summer

Hello again, from my corner of the world!

It is JUNE already! Can you believe it? I hardly can. Seems like Spring FLEW by, doesn't it? I know I've been really lax in updating here, and I will try to do better- ought to be able to, without school in my face. Anyway, I'll try.  For now, here's a quick update!

  • I finished school, including running on the Costume Crew for The Phantom of the Opera.
  • I graduate from College next weekend.
  • I now need a every other college graduate in America
  • I've been completely creatively burnt out, but I'm hoping that ends now, because I have so many ideas!
  • I'm officially down 25 pounds since I started my most recent fitness stint after Christmas. Two more pounds and I will have hit 50 pounds since my highest weight, which was in high school.
But today, I want to talk about a couple of goals for the month of June. I need to focus more on goals, especially now that I won't have the framework of school to hem me in and keep me moving. So, here we go, some goals!

#1. Play outside everyday, for a minimum of 15 minutes. This could be going for a walk, going to the pool, riding my bike, doing some yoga, or going to swing on a swing set.  But this is active play, so it doesn't include things like picnics, reading outside, sitting next to the pool, or taking naps while turning into a lobster.

#2. Create 3 beautiful things. It is time to flex my crafting muscles again. I have plenty of ideas, so it is time to use them again! Some ideas that I still haven't acted on: silverware wind chime, lots of stuff with wine bottles, cork boards, some kind of wine cork jewelry holder?

#3. Read 3 books. My goal for the Summer is to read the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. That's the books the TV series Game of Thrones was based on. I'd also like to watch the series. But I have a whole list of things I want to read this summer. I'm a (very) quick reader, so this shouldn't be difficult. I'll post a full Summer reading list later this week, and we can discuss my choices!

#4. Continue to do the 30 day shred everyday. The 30 day shred is a dvd workout program by Jillian Michaels. I started it this weekend, and it REALLY worked me. I've been impressed with other's results, so I figure, why not! Want to try it with me? Leave me a comment and I'd be happy to tell you more about how it works.

#5. Start clearing out my clutter. My lease is up in just under 2 months. I'm planning on having a garage sale sometime around then to get RID of a lot of my stuff, but I'll need for it to go regardless. The time has come for some SERIOUS deep cleaning, and I mean to give it a run for it's money.

#6. Go to 3 new places. These could be stores, restaurants, parks, whatever. But three places I have never been to before.

#7. Try 5 new recipes. I love to make new things, but I often get in a rut with what I know how to cook! I'm hoping this will push me to try some new delicious and healthy recipes this month!

Ok, that seems like enough, right? Right! I'll try to do a new post as we hit each of these goals, then we'll do a wrap up and July goals post at the end of the month!

Alright, then, that's what you have to look forward to if you're vicariously living through my life by reading my blog! And now, I'm off to ride my bike on this glorious June Sunday. Have a beautiful day!

Until next time~

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hello, again!

And I am so sorry I have been absent for so long! I keep thinking to myself, it is WAY past time to update my blog, and then time gets away from me, and I don't do it, and then, before you know it, it's been far too long.

But just because my blog has been idle does not mean that I have been! Oh, no, far from it, in fact! (Actually, I wonder if it isn't some sort of reverse ratio: the busier I am, the less I post... hmmm...)

So here's to catch up a little bit! Some of these will get more lengthy posts in the days to come- I even have a craft tutorial, just in time for prom season! I know you'd forgotten I do those, right? So anyway, here we go:

I went to Washington DC, and had a LOVEY time with my choir. We saw some pretty fun things, including the holocaust museum, which I highly recommend to anyone visiting. Such a moving experience. We went to Colonial Williamsburg, which was adorable, and where my mother is now convinced I should live and work for the rest of my life. It would be fun.

Unfortunately, I gained five pounds that week.

On the other hand, I ran an ENTIRE mile in one go twice that week. So I'm calling it a draw.

Then, we came home and I started Spring Quarter! I'm taking four exercise classes this quarter:
  • ballet
  • fencing
  • Yoga
  • Weight Training for women
The first week was embarrassing. I danced for fifteen years. I was never particularly good, but I did it anyhow. (I'm nothing if not stubborn) That first class, I couldn't do a thing. My turnout was half gone, my arms were incredibly sore, I was exhausted, I couldn't do a turn to save my life. I struggled through weight training, tried not to sleep in fencing, and couldn't relax at all in yoga.

But it got better. It has taken another four weeks to really appreciate the changes that have happened. My arms have a little bit of muscle definition to them now, I can turn again almost with ease. My passe, at least on the right feels strong and steady, and my deltoids make it through my 80 minute class without a problem.

The one thing I'm still struggling with is finding the time and energy to add in more cardio. All of my classes are more strength based than cardio, and although that's great, I need to pair it with cardio to maximize the effort.

And then we can tackle the real problem which continues to be my intake. I have found often in the last four weeks that I MUST eat more. I get to the end of the day, having eaten till I'm full every meal, and I find I have only taken in 800 or so calories. As active as I am, that needs to be about double. It is frustrating, I know it is restricting my weight loss, and I am trying to up it, but it is slow going.

Then, I made a RAD pair of sparkle pumps, which I'll post the tutorial for soon- it was easy, and they held up MUCH better than I was expecting, honestly.

I also made and sold 12 of my wine cork key chains, which was exciting, made a cloak for a friend of mine, and was asked about making another.

And I think that's about all the news that's fit to print! Look soon for a tutorial about shoes, some pics of DC, and a more in depth fitness post!

Til next time-

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The end of winter quarter

This is a combo post. I'll post a couple fitness things, but I want to touch on other things too!

First: My final pounds lost number for Winter Quarter, the first ten weeks of my journey, was 20 pounds down. I'm pleased, although I think February could have gone better. Still, that's an average of two pounds a week, which means I am training hard and eating clean, so I can't complain!

I'm still trying to up my calorie intake a bit, and I think that will help. Unfortunately, my body simply doesn't run on 1200 calories very well. This month I'd like to really try to get my BMR done for me and I'd looove to get a body fat scan done that tells me what my percentage of body fat is. We'll see!

I know it seems like an odd time for new goals, but because it is the end of the quarter, I have some now, even though it is the middle of the month!

Goals for Spring:
-Get out of bed. On time. Everyday.
-continue on my fast food, caffeine & red meat free style of living
-make a silverware windchime
-up my blogging to at LEAST two posts per week, and only one of them about fitness
-MORE yoga. I've done four days in a row- let's see if I can keep it up for a while- I am in love with it.
- start some SERIOUS decluttering. I'm graduating from college. I need to get rid of my crap. It has to go. Interested in something I own? Please ask. Lol.

It was an odd quarter. I have become so dedicated to fitness-and clothing- that sometimes I scarcely recognize myself! And so many days where I felt a thousand years old. But then, so many days where I knew I was right where I was supposed to be in that instant, and I was so so happy. I know that my mood was better because of the yoga. I look at things a little differently now. I see people differently. I plan my days differently. But one of the biggest differences was in my no caffeine or fast food game. I've been caffeine free for almost 9 weeks. When you consider that I was a 24 or more ounce a day girl at one point, that's a big deal. It feels good. Still strange- I still crave the way I felt emotionally after caffeine, or with a cup of coffee, or even worse, with a can of diet pepsi in my hand. But I know that that won't stabilize me emotionally anymore. And so, I drink water, and milk, and the occasional smoothie or random other beverage. I keep trying tea, but so far I haven't forced myself to drink it.

I also only had one fast food meal this quarter. And THAT was weird. Last Spring, when I was really struggling with my ED, the ONLY thing I could make myself eat was fast food. It was awful- bad for me, expensive, kind of gross, but at least I was eating. Then, this Fall, when I was so busy with Hairspray, I was in the same boat- no. time. for. anything. I ate fast food for at least one meal a day for three weeks. Talk about gross and expensive!!
So this quarter, I only had fast food once. And I'm defining fast food as: has a drive thru. Anything else I was ok with this quarter. But I only hit one drive thru, and I felt SO sick afterwards that I think I have learned my lesson. I hope. It didn't even really taste that good, in the end.

Next quarter is going to be SO great. My last quarter of college, three exercise classes plus Yoga and Yoga Sculpt- I'm so excited. It's going to take planning, but that's ok. I'm excited for that too.

As usual, I'll keep you posted. All my love tonight!
Till next time-

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday, week 9

hello friends!

It is week 9 here in Charis-land, and what a week so far, eh? This week was tough. I am starting to feel quite unmotivated to do much of anything, much less workout.

The Eating schedule continues to go well... I'm still trying to up my intake a bit, but I'm up to about 1200-1400 a day now, which I am comfortable with... ish.

This afternoon, I went on a GLORIOUS bike ride. The weather was PERFECT, and I rode all over the apartment complexes for about 75 minutes.

I'm not going to be able to walk tomorrow.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday(ish) check in

well, friends, week 8 (of my school quarter) is really kicking me hard. It's been a tough week in a lot of respects.

But the good news is I'm down 2 more pounds this week!! That's 19 pounds in... 8 weeks. I'm feeling pretty great about that.

I'm slipping a teensy bit on my diet, but you know what? That's ok too. Because I've made a lifestyle change, I'm not on a diet. And I'm never, ever, EVER gonna be the girl who never has desert. Cause I love ice cream. So, so what? I've had some sweets. I've gone "over" on calories a few times. (although it is prolly just about right, because I'm trying to up my calorie intake, which is really really hard....) I'm still making positive changes. So there.

On the calorie thing: I'm trying really hard to eat more calorie dense foods. It's wayyyy more difficult than I thought it would be, but I need to eat more, or I'm gonna go into starvation mode and I'll be stuck there, again.

So, if anyone has ideas of healthy, but calorie dense foods that do not contain tree nut products, let me know!

Until next time loves~

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It was bound to happen eventually...

I'm so sorry I'm behind!

Let's see if I can catch up at least with the weight loss progress, yes?

Well. I am holding steady at my low weight, rather disappointingly. I measured my waist again last week, and I was down another inch, which is FANTASTIC, but I'd loooove to see some of that reflected on the scale.

However, as I continue to work through this process, I am coming to the conclusion that I am STILL not eating enough. This is a humbling, and very upsetting realization for me. It is not something I like to talk about, and I will not go there, but I have had great struggles with my eating habits in the past, and I am determined to do this properly. But that may mean I need to eat more.... which is difficult. I'm just not sure how much more I can manage to eat- I'm rarely hungry, and I eat three meals a day.

In a similar vein, I have slipped a bit in my eating habits. They are still very good, but I have allowed a little junk back into my life. I'm ok with that, but I am, always, learning balance. An ongoing struggle in my life!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Take THAT!

OH MY GOODNESS, you GUYS! (and girls and everyone else)

Today, I stepped on the scale, and GUESS WHAT?!

I am now officially at my thinnest adult weight.  I KNOW!

I lost SIXTEEN pounds in January. SIXTEEN! I'm just so EXCITED!!

So today, I went to Old Navy, my favorite place to try on jeans. And although I did not buy them, I am SO pleased to report that I have gone down a pants size. I have never EVER worn this next size down, and BAM they buttoned right up. So that was a real win also.

And to TOP it ALL off, yesterday, my voice teacher says to me "dang, girl, you're getting skinny!"

Yes. Yes I am.

PS: I am gonna learn how to queue posts tonight, so I'll have other things to post, soon. It just feels like when I have time to write isn't a good writing time, ya know? Fixing ASAP!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

well, it WAS Wednesday...

Today just got so busy! But I'm still awake, so it is still Wednesday, right? RIGHT!

I'll be brief: I didn't make it to my goal of four pounds. I'm concerned I'm not eating enough calories, and I'm looking into upping my intake- I think I might be at less than 1000/day right now. I need to be shooting for 1200, minimum.

I lost one pound this week. Which, while still a success, is a bit disappointing. Or was, until I tried a different measurement.

As most of you (probably) know, I work almost full time in a costume shop.  I've also acted for the department the shop is in, so I have, in the shop, a measurement sheet. It was taken 14 months ago.  Today, feeling down about my weight loss or lack thereof, I measured my waist. 35. Then, I got out my measurement sheet from 11/2010. Checked my waist measurement... annnnnnnnd: it was 38 3/4. That's right, nearly 4 inches off my waist in just over a year.

I felt pretty great about that!

Hope you're all having a healthy, happy, creative week!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

goodness, how quick a week flies

well, the best laid plans of Charis often come crashing down. I have a whole bunch of posts in my head- does that count?

Anyway, time for a fitness update, yah? It's Wednesday!

Well, this week was slightly better. I went to the gym several times- although, not quite enough. Still going to Yoga and Yoga Sculpt, which I am loooooving. And it is killlling me!

Also, I'm down 3 pounds this week, which puts me almost back to where I was after week One.

And finally, and possibly more exciting, I realized this week that I need to lose 4 more pounds and then, I will be at my thinnest adult weight EVER.

What a goal! Next week? Let's find out!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A battle of wills

This week wasn't as good, friends.

In fact, much to my consternation and di,sbelief (and frustration!) I have GAINED four pounds.

I do NOT understand! My only logical explanation is that Yoga, like dance, is going to build muscle mass before it trims fats. I don't actually know if this is the truth- anyone got any knowledge about that?

It's frustrating, to say the least, to have gained back some of last week's success. I've been eating well, managing my portions, and I did go to that Yoga Sculpt class last week, in addition to Yoga yesterday and cardio on Monday and again tonight.

So eventually, it'll catch up, right? Because I'm eating very healthy, and I'm working out like crazy. (for me!) I tend to eat very healthy, and I maintain my weight and even lose very slowly without any extra working out, so I KNOW the work outs HAVE to catch up with me. Right?! No way of getting around it, my body is going to trim down.

Once it realizes I have dug my heels in, and that this time, it can't fool me into quitting!

Monday, January 9, 2012

All Natural Hair Care

I have, in my opinion, very pretty hair. It is, in fact, my favorite physical feature. That being said, switching hair care products is a Big Deal in my life.

So switching to not using Shampoo? Color me terrified. But I have done a lot of research. I have read tens of blog posts about how much healthier the writers' hair was, and how lovely it felt, and how freaking CHEAP their new routine was.

"Ok, self." I thought. You can do this. What do you have to lose? Ignoring the part of me that was screaming "YOUR HAIR! WHAT WILL IT DO TO YOUR HAIR?!", I etched the little shampoo bottle, and mixed up the batch of "shampoo". Here's the first recipe I tried:

No 'Poo Shampoo

1- 3/4 warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
a few drops peppermint and orange essential oils.

That's it! I mixed together, and used part of it on my head the next morning.

The results were... questionable. At best. It's been almost a week, and I'm still not sure I can handle this. My hair is dry, tangly, and funny feeling. It isn't...oily, necessarily... it just feels... funny. I was reading today that it doesn't work as well unless you do both parts at once (the second part being the apple cider vinegar conditioner) and so maybe I'll go buy some of that and give the pair a try. I've used the vinegar rinse before, and was pleased with the result.

In the meantime, I am trying to stick it out for two weeks. That seems to be a turning point- takes hair that long to adjust and stop over producing oils. That's 8 more washes, give or take. *deep nose breaths*

I'm trying... and I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Winter Bathroom Makeover Part 1

Hey friends!

You know how I mentioned I was redecorating my bathroom? Well, I have started it! Just LOOK at what I made the other night:

Yep, I made THAT! It's for the shampoo I've started making. Wanna know how? Read on, loyal readers!

How to: Etch a Glass bottle

Materials & Tools
-glass bottle of your choice (or container, or whatever)
-Armour Etch Etching Cream. Available at craft stores. Cost: about $12 (but it is enough for LOTS of projects!)
-masking tape
-exacto knife
-permanent marker

Step One:
Make sure bottle is clean and dry. Take a strip of masking tape and stick it firmly to the surface you want etched. Using your nail, a butter knife edge or a credit card, make sure your tape is really and truly stuck.

Step Two:
Using your permanent marker, draw out your shape. I made an "S" because it is a Shampoo bottle.

See how mine is a liiiiiiiittle  sloppy? That's fine. Don't sweat it.

Step 4:

Using your exacto knife, carefully cut out your shape. Here's where it is very important to be neat- any sloppiness will show when you're done!

Step Five:
Open your Etch Cream carefully. BE CAREFUL! If you get it on your skin, the bottle says to CALL POISON CONTROL. PLEASEPLEASE PLEASE be careful, and use gloves if you're sloppy!  The cream is thick-ish. It won't drip if you're careful.  Now, using your paintbrush, layer that paint on there like crazy.  Don't be shy! Fill in the shape completely.

Step Six:
Let dry about 7-9 minutes. Just said it aside and wait. Remember not to touch! (This is a great time to make your shampoo if that's what you're doing!)

Step Seven:
Wash off under hot running water.  This gets rid of the etch cream AND the tape, so it is perfect!

Behold! Your magical etching powers! THINK OF WHAT YOU CAN DO! THE POWER! THE THRILL! THE...

right. Enough. Well, have fun anyway
till next time-