I made it to my parent’s yesterday afternoon.  A bit earlier than anticipated because I was trying to beat the weather.  The 2-hour drive wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either and I made it safe and sound.  The ice came later and this morning we were treated to beautiful ice covered nature. . . and lots of broken branches.

Here’s the tree in my parent’s front yard.

The backyard.

Of course I have to show you the lilacs bushes from which this blog gets its title.

Close ups


So beautiful!

We are staying in today and just enjoying time together.  The plan is to frost some cookies, make some fudge, watch some movies and just relax!



The Breakup (with sugar)

Good Sunday Morning!

I love Sunday mornings!  I watched CBS Sunday Morning this morning while eating my raisin and walnut overnight oats.  So good!

Yesterday I finally managed to get in a cardio workout!  I did Petra Kolber’s Step Moves & New Grooves.  So much fun. It was much harder than it used to be, but I’ll get there.  My only annoyance was the fact that the music changed at times when all the combos were going together and the beat seemed to change with the music which totally messed me up since I haven’t done the dvd for a while and I am totally a music/beat girl when it comes to doing choreographed workouts.  It is one of the reasons I cannot do most of the Biggest Loser’s dvds – the contestants have no sense of beat and none of them are in synch with each other or the music.  It drives me batty!

I also did 3 segments of Tracey Staehle’s yoga dvd.  Well, the prone series and I had some issues because I cannot hold downward for anywhere near as long as they can; nor can I add to downward dog by raising up my legs and doing all that stuff that requires a lot of strength that I don’t have yet.  Instead, I just held the simple pose and when I couldn’t do it anymore I went into child’s pose.  Interestingly (to me), I the series where you are stretching while on your back in which they offered modifications if you are not as flexible was much easier for me to do and I didn’t have to use all the modifications.  What I surmise out of all of this is that I am much more flexible than strong.  I need to work on my strength A LOT!

Proof that I worked out – me all sweaty and red-faced!

Lunch was a kale salad with goat cheese some homemade lime dressing and a tangerine.

Along with a veggie burger and soy nuggets.

Lunch didn’t keep me full for very long.  I went shopping and was hungry by 4 (even though lunch was around noonish).  When I got home I had leftover chili.

A kale salad with goat cheese, roasted peppers and a homemade lemon dressing  I also had half a piece of naan.

Dessert was a bit later and consisted of persimmon.  Trader Joe’s still has them and I bought two containers of them.  I adore persimmons!  I feel like I am eating candy when I eat them – they are that good.

And a chocolate covered nanner, which I am addicted to!  Oh well!  It is a much better addiction than ice-cream and a portion controlled addiction at that!

I was so hungry when I was shopping at Whole Foods that I told myself if I could find a holiday peppermint ice-cream I could buy it and some fudge to put on top.  Unfortunately I could NOT find it – or is that fortunately??  I had a scoop of peppermint ice-cream with fudge after lunch this week and it was so amazingly good that I have been craving it ever since.  Rather than make a trip to Jewel (where I knew I could find it), I went home.  Surprisingly (well not so much anymore because I am learning this seems to happen more and more) when I got home and ate my salad and chili I was no longer craving the ice cream and the persimmon and nanner did the trick.

I really thought about baking some cookies or other holiday dessert this weekend, but I cannot.  What I mean when I say ‘I cannot’, is that I have come to accept that sugar and I have a bad relationship. It is better for each of us if we do not see each other. It was a hard relationship to break and I’m still dealing with it. Sometimes sugar calls me on the train ride home and asks me to pick him up at the jewel when I get off the train.  Sometimes sugar calls me on the way to the train and asks me to pick him up at jamba or the frozen yogurt place before I get on the train.  Sugar knows he is more likely to get to me at jamba and frozen yogurt because he is covered in ‘healthyisms’.  Seriously, have you ever seen how much sugar is a a ‘healthy’ jamba juice??  I am learning to control sugar and only pick him up for the occasional one night stand.  If I take him home and make him into something he is not (i.e., a really good pan of something sugary and good) he has me going back for more and more, even when I know that if I do that I won’t feel good.  For example, I made some creme de menthe bars a couple weekends ago.  They were really good and really sweet and sugary.  Even though I knew that if I had another one I would NOT feel good afterwards because I had more than my fair share already, I would continually go back to the fridge and get one and eat it.  The way I cope with this – so I don’t eat the entire pan?  I throw the same amount away as I eat!  So sad!  So sugar and I are no longer on good terms.  I won’t bake something desserty unless I have someplace to take it.  I will not read portions of blogs that give sugary recipes because I will then be tempted to make whatever sugary thing that blogger has made and has the good sense to eat him in moderation.

So, that’s why sugar and I had to break up.  I am sure sugar will make it into my life the next week with Christmas and I am fine with that.  Special occasions with special sugary treats that I see maybe once or twice a year are the exception.  However, I do not take sugar home with me – he stays were I found him and we are both happier that way.  🙂

Also, no cooking this weekend.  I am only going  to be home until Wednesday, so I’ll use convenience meals until I get back next week.

Okay!  Time for me to get some stuff done.  I don’t have an ambitious day planned at all!  A quick workout, some cleaning, some laundry and lots of reading!  Did I mention I love Sundays!?

Make it a good one!

I’m baaaack!

Hey!  Hey!

It has been an insane week!  Tuesday I worked until after 9 and Wednesday until after 10 and was heading back into the office before 6:30!  Needless to say by Thursday afternoon I was exhausted.  My mornings have consisted of overnight oats and lots and lots of coffee!

Even though I have been working a lot, this week was actually one of the best weeks of the last four months.  A couple of decisions we have been waiting for came through this week and things are finally starting to come together.  By Friday morning I finally felt like the tons and tons of weight I’ve been carrying on my shoulders for the past 3-4 months was lifted and it has gone a long way to making me feel like me again! 🙂

Tuesday, the day before all the good things started to come together, I did Petra Kolber’s Elegant Strength dvd and a short segment of Tracey Staehle’s yoga dvd.  It was a nice way to get back into the fitness aspect of life.  I did not have time/energy to do anything else all week.  I think I need to find some yoga gloves or something because my hands slid all over the place and I always feel like I could hold poses longer if my palms weren’t sweaty and not cooperating.  I used some strength training gloves for a bit, but my fingers tend to swell when I am working out (it’s hereditary) and it wasn’t too comfortable, although I was able to hold poses for a bit longer.

I have discovered my all time favorite overnight oats concoction.  When I was growing up my mom used to buy the Quaker Oats instant oatmeal variety packs and one of the packs was the raisin and walnut pack.  It was never my favorites, I prefered the brown sugar or the cream and fruity ones, but I recreated it in overnight oats and I am in love!

Raison and Walnut Overnight Oats

1/3 c of quick steel cut oats (I use Trader Joe’s)

1 tsp of cocoa

1 tsp of flaxseed

1 tbsp of chia seeds

2 tbsp of crushed walnuts

2 tbsp of raisins

cinnamon (to taste)

vanilla extract (to taste)

agave nectar (to taste)

almond milk (enough to make it soupy)

– combine dry ingredients and mix well

– add wet ingredients adding almond milk last (make sure it is soupy as the dry ingredients will absorb the almond milk overnight and it will stiffen up considerably.)

– stir well

– cover and put in fridge before you go to bed

– wake up and ENJOY!

Here is the finished product:

and I, of course, had coffee.

I suppose you could also add some nut butter, but I prefer it without nut butter and added an extra tbps of walnuts and raisins because I didnt’ have the extra calories of a tbsp of nut butter.

This will most likely be my breakfast until at least the New Year.

I’m not quite sure what today will hold.   Probably a workout, some cleaning, some grocery shopping and maybe some reading.  We shall see!

Make it a great one!

Raw at the Train Station

There’s a new raw food place in Chicago!  It just so happens to be in my train station.  It’s called simply ‘Raw’ and it opened this weekend.  My train station has a new French Market that has all kinds of good things in it, including lots of fruits and veggies, desserts, coffee and lots more.  The market opened a couple weeks ago and a booth area in the far front corner caught my eye on the first day I walked through it.  The booth repeated the word “raw” in numerous areas, but there was nothing there to indicate what exactly it was going to be.

Today I took a late train because I had to be in court in my home county (as opposed to Cook County) and decided to take a trip through the market to get to the cab stand.  Much to my surprise and excitement Raw was open!  They were so nice and helpful and you could jus tell that they really believe in what they are doing!  They don’t have everything the way they want it yet, but they had two salads and two desserts.  One of the salads was a spring green mix with evoo and lime juice (and some other stuff I can’t remember) and the one I got was a kale salad with tomato, avocado, cucumber, lemon juice and evoo.  It was soo good!  They let me taste both salads and they were both really good.  I also tasted the dessert, one was a lemon bar which was good and the other was a chocolate bar which was a bit too rich for me.

The salads are a little pricey (arpx $12-$13), but for the nutrients you get and the convenience I can’t complain and plan on going there at least once a week to pick up lunch.

It actually worked out really well because I stopped at the little grocery store by work and bought a $4 mediterranean turkey wrap (whole wheat wrap, turkey, spring green, hummus, roasted red peppers and olives) and had lunch at 12:30.  Lunch was about 1/3 of the salad with half the wrap and a diet coke.

I had some coffee at about 2 or 3 and was good until about 5:30 when I finished the wrap and the rest of the kale salad.  So for$17 I got two meals.  Not great money wise, but not too bad either and very yummy tummy wise!

I got home around 8ish and I wasn’t too hungry. I was more thirsty than hungry- I need to work on making sure I get plenty of water.  So I had a chocolate covered nanner, a glass of almond milk and a big water bottle of tap water.

I’m going to do a bit of writing and then go to bed early so I can get up and workout in the morning.

Does kale fill you up better than any other lettuce/spinach/green leafy substance?

Have a good night! 🙂


Finding the Time

These are the dvds I told myself I would do this week.

So far I have failed.  You might say I should give myself a break, afterall, it is only Monday morning.  It IS Monday morning and I did not do anything thing this morning.  Well, that’s not true, I made a LOT of excuses and justifications to myself this morning.  I like to say that I am a morning person.  But, that is not exactly true.  I am a morning person about 90 min after I get up.  I need a good 60-90 min to wake up and THEN I am a morning person.  I am not a person who hops out of bed with a spring in her step.  In a perfect world I would get up, eat breakfast, blog, do a bit of work and THEN workout and then get ready for work and go to work.  Problem with my lovely perfect world?  In order to do that I would need get up at about 3 AM!  So, that is out.  Which means that I need to get up and workout like I used to.  just do it!

If I can get up by 4, I can be done working out by 5:30 and out the door by 6:30.   I need to quit wasting so much time in the morning.  I can read blogs on my handheld on the train and I can blog in the evening.  So I just need to eat a quick breakfast and leave!  My only problem is getting out of the office in time to be in bed by 9 so I can get the much needed 7 hours of sleep.  Assuming that, depending on my workout, I either catch the 6:30 or 7:00 train I should be in the office anywhere between 7:30 and 8:15, so one would think that I should be able to leave the office around 5 or 6.  Not so in the land of law.  Leaving the office does not depend on what time of day it is (i.e., oh, it 6, I guess I’ll finish this tomorrow) when you have deadlines and depositions.  Leaving the office depends on when you have finished what you are doing and in my case, leaving the office (many times) depends on when I actually have time to work with my business partner on certain things.  Said business partner and I have diametrically opposing schedules.  While I would rather meet at the office super early and leave at 5 or 6 he would rather work until midnight and come in late in the morning.  As I am a totally scheduled person when my schedule is disrupted I just stop trying to fit in things and working out is the first thing to go.  Add to that when we work late I have usually been up since 5 AM (many times earlier) and the later I work the more tired I become (afterall I am human!).  When I am tired I stop picking healthy foods to eat – it just seems like too much work.

This week will most likely be a case in point as we have 3 depositions scheduled (W-F) and a lot of other things to do.  99% of the time I lose on trying to get the work done early.  It is one of the more annoying aspects of my life.   I suppose I should be more understanding, said business partner does have a family and he has a routine in the morning with said family.  But, occasionally I wish we could work within my schedule or move the things that will keep us late to the day so I can work on things that I don’t need him to work on in the morning, we can work on the stuff that requires both our attention in the early afternoon and he can work on things that I don’t need to work on in the later evening.  Unfortunately, due to court dates, clients and employees this is harder to do than it seems.

So, above all are the ‘justifications’ and ‘excuses’ as to why I allow myself to have such a hard time working out.  Isn’t it amazing how the brain works.  If I would send as much time just ‘doing it’ when the time presents itself instead of justifying why I cannot do it in my mind I would probably make it to the gym or in fron to my tv with a dvd in and my exercise shoes on more often than not.  So that is my goal, my friends, to keep a gym bag in my car and just DRIVE to the gym if I have time, put a dvd in when I have time and get me a$$ out of bed in the morning.  I might need help along the way.


I had a salad and chili for lunch after completing 8 loads of laundry! To be honest,it was actually only the time period of 3 loads.  The one good thing about living in an apartment complex is that I can do multiple loads of laundry at once.

I also had a persimmon with pom.

For dinner I had a salad.

I also had some popcorn with cocoa powder, cinnamon, carob chips and a bit of agave nectar.  I was still hungry so I had a frozen dark chocolate covered nanner and then i had my LAST persimmon and pom with a few carob chips.  Carob chips and persimmon do NOT go together.  I probably should have had some chix or protein in the salad.

This morning was overnight oats with 1 tbsp of chia seeds, cocoa powder, carob chips, agave nectar, pb, mixed frozen fruit and some frozen goji berries.  I thing I figured out why I do not like the new protein powder – it has goji berries in it and I do NOT like goji berries.  I am glad I only purchased a small bag of frozen goji’s for under $5 because I have a feeling they are going to have to be trashed.  Perhaps, I can save them and put hide them in some new recipe, but I doubt it.


Make it a great day!


Sunday Morning

Apparently you can do a study on anything these days AND get it published.  Case in point:

In a new study, researchers propose that our mall-visiting behaviors harkens back to the days when men hunted and women foraged.

Modern men, for example, generally want to get into a store and get right back out — just like their hunting forefathers wanted to find and bring meat home as quickly as possible. On the other hand, women get back to their foraging roots by sorting through racks of sweaters on sale — as if scanning plants for signs of ripeness.


Huh?  What?!  Besides the fact that it barely makes sense, it seems like something a third grader would say when she or he comes home from school after learning about our ancestors.  A theory? Fine, let’s call it a theory.  A study?  How do you study something like this?  Answer: you really can’tt.  You can’t study per se how our ancestors lived.  You can generalize that “most” women forage for deals at the mall.  To call this a study and to publish it is an insult to people who actually do studies!

Okay.  Rant over.  On to food from yesterday.

This is my new favorite tool for my camera:

Stick the memory card from my camera in it and plug it into the USB and I have instant pics on my lap top!  Bonus is that I don’t have to worry about hurting my camera by opening the area for the little cable that I can connect to my camera to get pics to the picture.  Convenience for under $15 – I’ll take it!

Dinner was a convenience meal.  As much as I love the chili, I did not want to eat it twice in a row.

That is a Persimmon in the corner.  I think I have had a persimmon exactly one time before and I had forgotten how good they are.  I was still hungry so while watching some Glee on Hulu I had a lovely bowl of pomegranate aerials and another persimmon.

Breakfast this morning was overnight oats with chia seeds, pomegranate aerials, peanut butter, strawberry rhubarb  jam and a berry protein powder that I do NOT enjoy – hence that strawberry rhubarb jam.

I am watching Sunday Morning on CBS as I write this.  I love this show.  It does not have the gimmicks that so many other ‘news’ shows seem to have today.  Charles Osgood is an amazing anchor.  There is nothing better than watching Sunday Morning while eating breakfast on a sunday morning. Perfect!


I have a lot of laundry to do today, some cleaning to do and I want to get a workout in.

Make it a great day!



I got my camera!  I’m still working on learning and trying to take good pics.

Friday breakfast was chocolate overnight oats with carob chips, almond butter and black berries.

I was super busy all day and didn’t think I was going to have time to eat lunch, but around 2:00 I scarfed down this little number.

I had also purchased this side salad, but I didn’t have time to eat it and realize that I wasn’t really hungry for it anyways.

I wasn’t able to leave work at 5, but finally got out a little before 6.  Upon leaving the office I realized that at some point during the day I had lost my brand new hat!  I am so disappointed!

I Joined the girls for some drinks after work.  I had 2 baileys and a tempranillo. I had a bit of the artichoke dip and bread that they had ordered before I go there.  A few of the girls ordered dinner, but I wasn’t hungry so I spent the rest of the evening drinking water.  Around 8:30-9:00 the place we were at started turning the music up.  The smokers went outside and for the 15 minutes they were gone the music was turned up 3 times!  I guess I am an old woman because as soon as they got back I said my goodbyes and headed for the train.

I got home a little after 10:30; I was hungry, but wasn’t going to stay up too late so I made some popcorn with cinnamon, cocoa powder, carob chips and a bit of agave nectar.  It was gina/fitnessista inspired and yummy!

I slept like a rock and woke up a good 10 hours later.  Overnight oats again this morning with carob chips and peanut butter.  Of course I had coffee to!

This afternoon I went grocery shopping and decided to make some chili.  I threw out the EDBV chili worked off a recipe in The Vegan Table that I made before.  While cooking I enjoyed some of this:

I decided I wanted some sweet potatoes in my chili so I subbed them in instead of pinto beans.

I also added 1/4 cup of quinoa and just shy of 1/2 cup of this:

I also added 2 cups of veggie broth so the quinoa could soak it up.

While I was waiting for the chili to simmer I had some organic red wine:

And a salad of fire roasted peppers, goat cheese and walnuts.

It was after 3:30 by the time I actually had lunch!

Yummy chili with some Trader Joe’s everything crackers and cilantro.

Plans for the rest of the day include a quick stop at whole foods and a scrub down of the kitchen.  Then I plan to take it easy and maybe have some more popcorn!