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Archive for April, 2010

What’s your go-to music you listen to while working out? Everyone has some. Maybe the songs don’t make it on every playlist, but they make it on the important ones.

Here’s a few of my must-haves:

Michael Jackson – Thriller

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! – Mama Mia

I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas

Valerie – Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse

Live Your Life – T.I. featuring Rihanna

Hate It or Love It – The Game

Love Story – Taylor Swift

Bonafied Lovin’ – Chromeo

Stranger Than Your Sympathy – Goo Goo Dolls

Anyone else want to share?

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Life’s To Do List

The other day, the day I was really depressed, Tina wrote a post where she outlined all the things she wanted to accomplish in her life. I thought this was a great idea.

I’ve done Thanksgiving Resolutions, I’ve done New Year’s Resolutions, but I’ve never outlined long-term, not only goals, but just things I want to do; Tina called it “Life’s To Do List.” For lack of a better term a “bucket list” although I hate that term!

So here’s my list, in absolutely no particular order:

  1. Pay off my credit card debt
  2. Go to Buenos Aires
  3. Go to Spain
  4. See the Great Wall of China
  5. Go to Africa
  6. Watch a tennis match at Wimbledon
  7. Watch a tennis match at Roland Garros
  8. Watch a live European soccer game
  9. Go to the Olympics
  10. Go to the World Cup
  11. Fall in love and get married
  12. Have a child (possibly more than 1)
  13. Have long hair again
  14. Live on my own
  15. Live somewhere outside of the tri-state area
  16. Find a fulfilling career
  17. Drive across the USA
  18. Run a marathon
  19. Race in a bike race
  20. Go to Europe with my mom
  21. Own a house
  22. Learn to sail a sailboat
  23. Drive a car in a country where you drive on the left side of the road

I know Tina asked this too, but for anyone who doesn’t read her blog (you should!), didn’t get the chance, or wants to share again, what’s on your life to-do list?

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If you follow me on Twitter you might have noticed I wasn’t in a great mood yesterday.

In fact, I was in a really bad mood. Why? I don’t know.

It’s finally asparagus season at the Greenmarket (my favorite season).

How can anyone be depressed during asparagus season? Well, the weather yesterday looked like this:

And unfortunately my mood is often closely tied to the weather.

And, as I said in my post about my birthday, the time around my birthday always makes me feel depressed.

So basically I was at work, angry at my fellow commuters, hating my grumpy coworkers, wishing I could go around screaming M.I.A’s Born Free (NSFW), and then sing Dashboard Confessional songs while curled up in a ball under my desk.

However, that didn’t really seem like the best option. So what do I do when I have these types of days?

(Note: I don’t normally give out advice because I don’t really think I’m qualified, but I thought this might be of help to someone. Or at least be amusing.)

1. I take myself out of the situation. I thought of telling my boss I didn’t feel well and I needed to go home (mental health is important too!), but I had a lot of work to do and leaving it wasn’t going to make me feel any better.

I think I’ve mentioned the group of coworkers I normally eat lunch with, well they were all grumpy and pretty much everyone said they were eating at their desks. Even though I carefully planned my meals for the week and had my chili waiting in the fridge I decided I would go out to lunch.

Only problem? I’m broke. But a while ago I bought a Groupon to New York Burger. Problem solved. So at 12:30 I left my office, walked (without headphones so I could completely relax) to New York Burger, ordered a chicken sandwich and fries, and sat with my New York Times until 1:20 when I headed back to the office with a completely different frame of mind.

2. I take a lesson from my running self. Running Maggie has gotten great at hyping herself up. Running Maggie can convince Normal Maggie that even though it’s only mile 1.5 and I’m already tired and hot and annoyed I can definitely run 12 miles. No prob.

So Normal Maggie puts on Running Maggie’s hat. Even though I was in a bad mood, even though everyone around me was in a bad mood that’s a choice we were all making. And I can control my choice. Life is good for the most part, and it’s short, so why not be happy? Or at least not miserable.

3. Do something fun. Today, I played a practical joke (anyone remember this one?). There’s a guy in my office who’s a little odd. He has an obsession with the fax machine. He comes out of his office to check it several times an hour (I used to sit next to the fax machine). He rarely gets faxes. He also reads other people faxes and printouts. So I organized a little fun.

Although I forged the letter those are both real doctors and tinea corporis is a real condition. And I had a friend fax the letter from her office. We purposefully didn’t address it to anyone. He found it, he flipped out, he wrote down the disease, he Googled it, he went around asking people if they saw that doctor, and then he washed his hands.

I’m still laughing thinking about it: mission accomplished.

4. Listen to music. Music normally does a great job of cheering me up. However I didn’t think my desire for Dashboard Confessional, the music of my angst-filled first year of college, or my desire for the violent anger of MIA, was what I need yesterday. Yet I still highly recommend listening to either very upbeat music or very angry music to help you work through your emotions.

5. Workout. Working out is a great way to burn off some anger or negative emotions (just don’t use it as your only release). Unfortunately my gym isn’t anywhere near my office so a sweaty lunch session wasn’t in the cards for me. If you’re dying to take out your aggression on the treadmill but can’t, try going for a walk. Sure it’s not as intense, but the fresh air, sunshine, and movement should help.

How do you turn your frown upside down?

(And yes, #6 is, “be as cheesy as possible.”)

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I am really lacking in inspiration this week. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I tend to eat the same things week after week after week. I don’t mind eating the same breakfast of a smoothie and yogurt, but the same lunches and dinners are starting to wear on me.

Since I have most of the foods I eat on hand I’m going to try to eat through what I have and then gradually incorporate other things. Like this week’s Wednesday’s dinner and Thursday’s lunch…

Monday

  • Lunch: chili lunch out at NY Burger
  • Dinner: pasta with alfredo sauce and veggies

Tuesday

  • Lunch: pasta with alfredo sauce and veggies NY Burger leftover and asparagus
  • Dinner: Dr. Praeger’s burger and fries (potato)

Wednesday

  • Lunch: black beans and rice chili
  • Dinner: falafel (chickpeas, onion, parsley, pita, hummus)

Thursday

  • Lunch: falafel and veggies
  • Dinner: savory oats

Friday

  • Lunch: eat out black beans and rice
  • Dinner: TBD

Shopping List:

  • potato
  • chickpeas
  • parsley
  • onion
  • pita
  • hummus
  • Kashi Go Lean Crunch
  • Greek yogurt
  • Emergen-C
  • frozen berries

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My Birthday

My birthday is in 10 days. May 5, 1985 is the day I was born. I’ve always had mixed feelings about my birthday. I often build things up to be something better than what they are and then I’m left feeling disappointed. Unfortunately my birthday is usually no different.

But I think I’ve gotten better about that as I’ve gotten older. And I’m certainly not expecting too much from my birthday this year. I have plans for dinner at a coworker’s apartment with 2 other coworkers (long story) the night before and then I’m going to a museum opening the night after. Part of me just wants to go home and go running on the actual day, but I don’t know if my friends will let me do that.

Anyway let’s remember some previous birthdays…

4th birthday: I had a cake with Barbie on it.

6th (I think) birthday: Held at a really delicious ice cream place.

7th birthday: Ceramics painting place

8th birthday: Chuck E. Cheese. They had a cake I hated and I cried. My mother bought me a stuffed elephant, this is after I watched a show on the Elephant Man a few months before and had terrible nightmares about the guy. I always found that odd.

10th or 11th birthday: Laser tag

16th birthday: My grandparents paid to rent out a room at a nice Italian Restaurant and I had about 15 friends. The food was good, we all sat around a huge table, and we just had a really nice time. I think it was one of my favorite birthdays.

17th birthday: Went to see the first Spiderman movie and got ice cream with friends

18th birthday: Bad day. Took my AP English exam and then went home and was depressed. That was a bad time.

(I actually think the fact that my birthday always fell around AP exams in high school and finals time in college really put a damper on the celebrations. Everyone was always so stressed and no one wanted to do anything so elaborate.)

20th birthday: Got Dominos, grape soda, and watched the OC in my dorm room with friends. Dominos was so late that we got the food for free. Apparently I wasn’t really into taking pictures of my birthday because this is the only one I can find.

21st birthday: Went out to dinner with 5 friends and then got to the liquor store right when it was closing. I snuck in the “out” but they kicked me out.

22nd birthday: Went to hear Robin Roberts speak at my college, then went out to dinner at a great Italian place with friends and then went to our favorite bar and played Uno. Also felt the need to take really ridiculous pictures of ourselves.

23rd birthday: Spent the day at work collating stuff, the VP of sales suggested we get Mexican beer and tequila for Cinco De Mayo so we did shots at work. Then went out for drinks and dinner with a bunch of friends. We were actually supposed to go bowling, but my friend who I really wanted to beat (I’m an excellent bowler) had a staph infection in her foot so we couldn’t go.

24th birthday: Landed in NYC at 5:30am on the redeye from Phoenix. Slept the entire morning, worked out. I had wanted to go to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and to lunch at a fancy restaurant but it rained and the restaurant was closed on Tuesdays. So I got wings, fries, and a piece of cake and spent my birthday alone. But I had a great time.

As you can see I’m not really a big go-out birthday type of person. I just hate the pressure. If someone else wanted to plan a big thing I would happily go along with it, but otherwise I just want to lay low.

Overall though I think I’ve had some pretty great birthdays.

Anyone else have a special birthday memory?

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About Running

We have a blog at work. Have I mentioned that here? About 15 of us have a rotating schedule and someone blogs once per day. I’ve written about recipes I’ve made, the OSCARs, and a cooking lessons we received from one of the VPs at the office.

For today’s work blog post I wrote about running. And how running compares to work. I actually wrote a much longer post but decided it was too personal and maybe too self-congratulatory to share with my entire office. So I’m posting it here. The only part of the below that appears on the work blog is the introduction and the color copier part.

About a year ago I took up running. I’d gone through elliptical, pilates, yoga, even running phases before, but running was always something special to me. I watched runners in the park and on the streets with envy—I wanted to do what they were doing. But then I would try and my shins would hurt, my Achilles tendonitis would act up, or I would get winded and discouraged and give up.

But then things changed, I started slowly, I ran with a friend, and sure enough, even though there was some shin pain and muscle pain and allergies from running in the park in the spring, I could run farther and farther and my love of running grew and grew.

During the last year I’ve come to realize that running often mirrors work situations, has taught me valuable lessons about work and life, and has given me a satisfaction I can’t find elsewhere. Here are some examples:

First, the similar situation: running injuries and color printer injuries.

(Note: my office has pretty much the WORST color printers ever, they’re constantly breaking, you’re lucky if you can print a few pages at a time. Part of my job involves printing thousands (literally) of pages of sales materials. On these color printers. It’s rough.)

Running: Hmm, there’s a little pain in my ankle, maybe if I ignore it or just put some ice on it it will go away. Meanwhile mentally panic telling myself I will never run again.
Color Printer: Hmm, a jam, I can’t find the paper, maybe if I open and close enough doors it will just go away. Mentally panic about how I will finish all my printing in time.

Running: Well, the swelling has gotten worse; I guess I should go to the doctor. Pity begins, why is this happening to me? How come so many other people can run without pain?
Color Printer: Well, it keeps jamming; I guess it’s time to call the repair guy. Pity begins, why can’t the stupid machine just cooperate? I wonder if all color printers are all like this.

Running: Doctor treats me like a drug addict the moment I say I’m a runner, says not to run for a while, tells me to go to useless physical therapy twice per week.
Color Printer: Repair guy looks at the color printer, one of the guys spends a few useless hours in there taking it apart, leaves, but it still doesn’t work.

Running: Waste time and money on physical therapy that doesn’t really do much. Lose precious running time.
Color Printer: Waste time sending jobs to the color printer and walking over to see if it’s working yet. Lose precious printing time as sales calls grow closer and closer.

Running: Finish physical therapy 6 weeks later in the same place where I started, decide this a load of crap, devise a plan to fix my own ankle. Start running again and be happy.
Color Printer: (Ok, similarities don’t apply here although there was one time where I fixed it myself after the repair men came). Approximately 6 weeks later the part that is apparently more precious than gold arrives and I can then continue on with my color printing.

Next, what I’ve learned from running that’s given me perspective at work and in the rest of my life.

Running has taught me not to compare myself with others. No matter how much confidence we have I think that everyone falls for the trap of comparing what they have, whether it’s intellectually, physically, or materialistically, with what others have. For me, running is about how well I do.

I will probably never win a race, but that’s ok, I’ve won the race if I go out there and try my hardest. I used to be bothered by people who would pace me in the park or get on a treadmill next to me, look over at me, seem to think, “Oh that chubby girl has been running at 6.5mph for a while, I bet I can run faster than she can.” But you know what? It says more about them than it does about me. And I hope that person who paces me runs the fastest they’ve ever run and the treadmill neighbor cranks their run out at 8.5mph because they’ve worked their butt off to get there.

Finally, what running has given me:

I’m a pretty goal-oriented person (my New Year’s resolutions are a 5-page Word document planned out in the SMART method) and who likes to be in control, running is perfect. I could be the absolute best sales person ever but there are a million factors that could lead me not to be able to reach my goals. Same for our great designers here, someone could design what they feel is the best and strongest cover, but it’s subjective; it can be rejected by the author or someone in-house.

Running is not subjective. Achieving my goals in running is solely up to me. I wanted to run a 5k; I did it. I wanted to run the entire loop around Prospect Park; I did it. I wanted to run a 5k in under 30 minutes; I did it. I wanted to run a half marathon; I did it. And all of those achievements are because of the hard work that I put in. However, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by great friends and family who are either great actors or genuinely enjoy my running stories.

I’ll let you know what the work reaction is. I had one person read it and she really enjoyed it.

And, in case anyone was wondering, despite having an appointment my mother didn’t go to the doctor on Tuesday. Not sure why. She was being cagey on the phone last night. She has another appointment in two weeks, hopefully she will go to that one.

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Shopping!

With spring kind of sort of upon us (come on nicer weather!) it’s become clear that I am in desperate need of new clothing. Perhaps you remember when I had my big closet purge last fall?

As cathartic as that was I also gave away a lot of stuff and at some point I need replace (some of) it.

Enter Land’s End Canvas. I own one thing from the regular Land’s End, their infamous tote bag. I always thought of Land’s End as the place where my grandmother shops, but Land’s End Canvas is their cooler, J. Crew-like line. And I love, love, love it.

Thank you to the Blue-Eyed Bride for posting about it.

I found out about Land’s End Canvas a while ago, but I was reluctant to order online since I didn’t know how the stuff fit and I wanted to make sure the quality was good.

Luckily there’s a Sears (seriously, who would have thought?) in NJ that sells the Land’s End Canvas line and my wonderful friend Elisa, who lives in NJ, agreed to take me.

Elisa actually did better than I did, but I found some great stuff. I can’t say enough about the quality (far better than J. Crew which IMO has really taken a major downturn) and the value. Plus when we went last week everything was 25% off.

Just a warning: the sizes are a bit wonky. I was in extra-small in one sweater I tried on. While I admit that did feel nice, I am certainly not an extra-small. And the two dresses I bought (see below) are two different sizes.

I got this charming shirt.

What? You can’t tell what it looks like? That picture was actually a mistake but I thought it was kind of cool.

Better? The shirt was $19.95 but I paid $14.99 since it was 25% off. Unfortunately I don’t see it on their website so I can’t actually show you want it looks like.

I also got two dresses.

It was after this picture that I stopped trying to take phots of myself.

A better picture:

Cute, no? For some reason boxy-shaped dresses like this are really flattering on me.

I also got this dress

I really love this one. I can’t wait to wear it. Maybe for my birthday?

After we left Sears we headed to the Garden State Plaza, a very nice mall just down the road from the less-nice mall that’s home to Sears.

I did quite well at J. Crew. I got the jeans I’m wearing above with the gray shirt for $40 (down from $98). I never would I thought I would look good in skinny, cropped jeans with a zipper at the ankle, but somehow they work.

I also got this lovely white sleeveless shirt.

Also worn with my new jeans. However when I wear it for real I probably won’t wear it with my teal sports bra.

No idea why I’m standing with my legs so far apart.

Finally, because I haven’t embarassed myself enough, I bought a shirt from Banana Republic.

That’s my model face.

Moving on. I also did some shopping on Saturday at the Brooklyn Flea.

Seeing as I did enough budgetery damage this weekend I kept it simple and bought one thing.

Pretty crazy, right?

The stand had a bunch of really crazy rings. I loved them all. I have a thing for rings. They have a website, but it doesn’t really accurately portray the coolness of the stuff they had at the Flea.

And now no spending for the next few months!

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