Monday, August 26, 2013

If it's not broken, don't fix it

I have a habit of over-analyzing  and over-planning. It's not really bad or good, so I hesitate to generically label it with either adjective. However, in some situations, it certainly hasn't served me well. Ever since I returned from the honeymoon in April, I've been pretty lax with my eating habits. I attribute this mostly to the fact that I spent a great deal of time in mild to moderate pain from the crummy injury. It hurt to get in and out of the car, it hurt to climb the stairs and it hurt to sit too long.

So I'd let myself get away with thinking, "Oh, I feel so miserable, I bet this huge portion of a sugary treat will surely make me feel better about things." But, you know, it never did. After one particularly awful evening after Zumba class, where my lower back seized up to the point I had to crawl up the stairs hunched over, I knew I had to cut back on my activity level. This was about the same time I started physical therapy, so I knew that I had to learn to move better before I could move more. I decided to quit Zumba until I felt better.

Combine that fact with my lax attitude and it's no wonder I'm feeling a little squished into my clothes these days. Throw a little denial into the equation and my tendency to over-analyze the situation spiraled out of control. For the last couple of weeks, I've been thinking that it's bad for me to log my food and that I should try to get away from it. There's quite a lot of differing opinions on the matter of logging what you eat and it's easy to let other people's opinions sway you if you're not completely invested in an idea anymore.

After two weeks of trying to hold myself accountable without logging my food and an altercation with an entire container of this I realized that I was being stupid. Logging my food has always given me, a visual learner, the feedback that I require to keep myself accountable. I've never had any adverse effects because I log my food and it has always worked well for me. It wasn't the broken part; my mindset was.

I'd been away from logging for so long that at first I just wanted to plan it to death and try to make every goal immediately. That didn't work well, so now I'm just back to logging what I eat for one week. From that point, I can make tiny changes to help me get back to where I want to be, i.e. not feeling like a sausage stuffed into her casing every time I get dressed.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Photo Friday: Cute Face

For more Charlie and other photos, you can always check out my SmugMug page using the button on the right-hand side of my blog or just navigate to it with this link.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Diamond Candles

A couple of weeks ago, a representative of Diamond Candles contacted me to ask if I'd like to review their candles. Having never heard of the company before, I thought it prudent to do some research before agreeing. I read through the about page on the website, watched the video of how the company came to be (you can check it out here) and poked around their Facebook page to get a better idea of what it was all about.

After I'd done all my research, I knew that I'd be happy to review one of their candles. I love candles and buy them frequently, so I thought the idea of getting a prize out of something I was going to do anyhow was pretty clever. It reminded me of being a kid again and waiting anxiously until I could have the prize at the bottom of the cereal or crackerjack box.. It was difficult to select a scent because there were so many good ones to choose from! I ended up settling on the cupcake candle because cupcakes will always have a place in my heart.

As soon as I received my candle, I popped it open and gave it a sniff. It was pleasantly vanilla cupcake scented and so I promptly got to the business of burning it. I wasn't known to be the most patient child when it came to getting my prizes, so as soon I could see the little gold pouch, I snagged it out with a pair of tweezers.

Now it's your turn to check out Diamond Candles! The giveaway will run for two weeks and you can enter down below. I'll let the winner know as soon as the contest is over.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad kind of day

Today was one of those days, and in a mood, I looked up the book on Wikipedia. As I was reading through the paragraph detailing the list of things that went wrong for Alexander during his horrible day, it reminded me of something important. When I was losing all my weight, I spent great deal of time working on the negative thought patterns going on inside my head. They were causing me to make not-so-great decisions and that had to change. One of the most important ones for me was the way I reacted to what I perceived to be negative occurrences that were out of my locus of control.
The most important words in that last sentence were reacted, perceived and control.

Oftentimes I find myself becoming distressed when something I don't have direct control over doesn't go exactly as expected. Simple human interaction is an excellent example of this; you never have control over what a person says about you. Depending upon the situation, a gut reaction might be correct. However, I've found that most of the time it's wiser to spend the mental energy on what you do have control over: your reaction. If that means you have to step away and go for a walk or do something that removes you from that situation, then that's exactly what you should do.

And for me, that doesn't only apply to interacting with the general populace. It's a life philosophy that works in all aspects, from my eating habits to my marriage. Which can only mean that most of today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad kind of day because I let it be one. The things that were bothering me weren't serious or life altering.

It didn't have to be, and it doesn't need to continue to be.

With that, I'll make the choice to smile, forget about it and go eat the Sarah special at Chipotle.

Monday, August 12, 2013


A few Fridays ago, I was invited to represent my company at the closing event of WPI's Camp Reach. Camp Reach is a program for girls who are entering the 7th grade to learn about how fun engineering, math and science can be. Obviously, I'm biased to think this program is fantastic because I'm a WPI alumna. But, after watching the presentations and listening to the girls talk, I would say the same thing even if I weren't biased. I believe wholeheartedly that it's helpful to have programs like this for girls at the stage of their lives where they might be dissuaded (mostly by peer pressure) that their interests aren't "cool." Engineering needs more girls!

However, the real reason I'm writing this post, is the overwhelming nostalgia infused with a twinge of regret I encountered walking around campus. I loved my time at WPI; I made friends and learned to be the adaptable software engineer I am today. Even still, there were things I wish had been differently and even more so after seeing the Camp Reach girls. I wish that I'd had the self efficacy I have today. The can-do attitude that I've cultured in myself since graduating is a far stretch from the girl who entered college doubting everything about herself and her abilities. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the Sarah of 2013 might want to slap some sense into the Sarah of 2004.

So, I spent a good amount of time today aimlessly wandering through my old haunts and thinking about the past. It wasn't until I was in the car on the way home (I'm so predictable!) that I reminded myself that I'm happy with how my life turned out and the woman I've become. All that crap I wish I could have done differently in the past helped shape me into who I am today. Wasting the mental energy on picturing how it could have been different isn't worth the brain power.

My brain power is far better spent solving the problems in front of me today.

Or playing Minecraft, you know, which ever.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pancake Bread

I like pancakes.

I hate making them.

Pancakes are best fresh, but fresh means that I have to make them as soon as I wake up. And I don't know about you, but I'm a bleary eyed, mentally fogged individual for the first hour I'm awake. I'm hardly capable of the coordination necessary to microwave my oatmeal, so making a recipe from scratch? Ha! Flour ends up everywhere, messy utensils are dropped, and much swearing occurs. Oh, and the first pancake? It's always a disaster because I'm hungry and impatient that the pancakes are taking too long so it goes onto the pan before it's sufficiently hot enough and gets stuck.

I've made pancake muffins before, and while they've been a brunch hit, they're too sweet for me. I want my pancake-replacement to be savory so that any sweet toppings (no maple syrup though, that stuff is gross) don't make it tooth-achingly sweet. It also has to be portable and toastable (yep, making up words!), and thus pancake bread was born.

Pancake Bread
Recipe adapted from the good ol' Betty Crocker Cookbook
1 cup water
1 large egg
1 cup (142g/5oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tbsp (23g) powdered buttermilk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375F and using some melted butter, grease a loaf pan.
2. Combine the egg and water, set aside.
3. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and mix until combined.
4. Pour the wet ingredients in and stir until just combined. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 10-15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Last year during my first run-in with injury, my PT reiterated that my problem was not tightness of the fascia around my muscles and that my body was flexible enough to do all of the prescribed movement. At the time, I didn't really think much of it and mostly because I didn't understand what he meant.

Fast forward to this year, and I finally get it. For the longest time, I knew that some of my joints bent a little bit farther than normal. My elbows and my knees are good examples of this. My knees go back a little bit further than they should (maybe I was a flamingo in another life?) and my elbows are pretty much designed to give my husband the heebie-jeebies (sorry Eric, sort of). I have never really thought much of this. I've always been this way and I never saw any reason to give it a lot of thought.
Okay, maybe they don't go that far,
but the point remains.

Except I should have, or at least I wish I had noticed it earlier. In addition to having some loose joints, I have a pretty underdeveloped sense of joint position. Joint position sense is a component of proprioception, which is at its most basic definition is your sense of where your own body is in space. If you're really interested, you can check out the page on Wikipedia. Now if we combine my underdeveloped sense of joint position and my loose joints, you end up with me standing in contorted postures that do nothing to help my joints or muscular imbalances.

Fortunately for me, I learn pretty quickly and once something is brought to my attention, it's there permanently. It also means I catch myself standing with my legs hyperextended at random points throughout the day. I think my inner flamingo must be trying to escape. It makes me a little bit sad that most people don't even have to worry stuff like this. That's my lot in life though, and I'll just have to accept it and move on. It's not like I can change my genetics.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Photo Friday: Bread

I'll be posting the accompanying recipe for this pancake bread on Tuesday.

And, SmugMug released their new designs this week, so I converted mine to a new design. Check it out and let me know what you think? You can use my new little icon over there in the upper right.