Welcome to October everyone!

This means it is time to report on last month’s goals and set up this month’s.

Reminder of September Goals:

  • Healthier Body:  Begin the 200 Squat challenge… again.
  • Healthier Mind:  Do a Sudoku puzzle every day.
  • Healthier Spirit:  Take five minutes to pray every day.
  • Healthier Food:  Incorporate a new whole grain in my diet every week.

So how did I do?  Well, not so great.  I should have thought more about my schedule when making my goals.  With two chapters of my thesis due and 8 days of work related travel at the beginning of the month, I got off on a bad start and it was hard to get back into the routine.


  • Healthier Body:  Begin the 200 Squat challenge… again.  I started off strong, then tapered off during my week of travel.  For the rest of the month, I’ve done about 5 squat workouts, but was terrible about recording them.  I will definitely be keeping up with the squats though, as even with my few workouts, I’m feeling and seeing the results.
  • Healthier Mind:  Do a Sudoku puzzle every day. I actually did really well on this challenge.  Probably because it was fun and easy to do anywhere, thanks to my iPhone.  I only missed three days out of the month.  I really enjoyed using it as a tool to wind down and refocus afterwards, although I’m not sure how much it helped my mental math skills.
  • Healthier Spirit:  Take five minutes to pray every day. Wow, outright fail.  I thought this one would be easy, but I kept forgetting.  However, I was much more aware of the prayer concerns of the people I know and love and prayed for their concerns on the days I remembered.  I think I would be more reminded if I had a written out list that I kept and looked at every day of prayer concerns.  I just need to get back into the routine.
  • Healthier Food:  Incorporate a new whole grain in my diet every week.  I only went to the grocery store 2 times the entire month and did not have a lot of time for exploratory cooking.  This was poor planning on my part.  I’m still excited to try more whole grains though, and I still have my bulk goods, so I’m going to try more this month.

Now for October goals.  As I mentioned before, this month I’ll be trying to use the website Health Month.  My goals are as follows:

  • Healthier Body:  Weight training 3x per week.  After walking around NYC last weekend, my shoulder was in excruciating pain.  And I am the only one to blame.  I’ve been slacking on strengthening and it needs to stop so I can survive all day in an office chair in the future.
  • Healthier Mind:  Finish drafts of all three chapters of my thesis.  Very personal, but I feel I can’t clear my head until these tasks are done, and they are eating me alive.  Now is the time to really buckle down.
  • Healthier Spirit:  Meditate three days a week.  I keep going back to meditation and that’s because I feel it calling to me.  Maybe with my health month “game”  I’ll be more likely to make it a priority.
  • Healthier Food:  Drink 64 glasses of water per week.  This one came about when my husband asked me why I hadn’t refilled the water filter and I realized I hadn’t had one drop of water or other fluid for two days.  It happens to me when it starts to get cold, as I don’t have any trouble drinking water during the summer.  Got to stay hydrated!  I’m using my nalgene bottle as a measuring device, as it holds 8 glasses of water.

Fancy churches

As I’ve mentioned before, this past weekend I went to NYC.

While there, I had some time to wander around by myself and check out things in the city that my husband doesn’t like to be dragged to.  During my wanderings I saw so many elaborate churches and had to peek inside every one that was open.


I love elaborate, fancy churches.  I know you don’t have to have fancy stained glass or elaborate carvings to worship God (most of my worshipping certainly does not take place in such settings).  However, whenever I see churches like this, I feel transported back in time.  When I had a chance to go to Italy in high school, we walked through the Sistine Chapel.  I spent our time in there in awe of what I was seeing and how much of an expression of the artist’s mind.  I felt connected to the art and the artist and God all at the same time. I was nearly moved to tears, but held them back because I was surrounded by other kids who you could tell were bored and wanted to leave.

I just sense the amount love and passion that went into creating spaces of worship like that.  When I’m singing, I feel like that is the way I can best express my faith.  I feel like a lot of the art and architecture in these churches are the designers’ ways of expressing their adoration, their beliefs.  Of course, maybe they were just commissioned and didn’t care at all, but I still sense something when I walk into these places.

So I walk in.  I close my eyes.  I soak it in that feeling.  I sometimes take pictures.  I admire how the natural light comes in through the windows.  Then I say a prayer and leave.



It may seem ridiculous and material… but I felt spiritually filled.

Health Month

I know, another post from me that isn’t about my trip to NYC. However, I promise this is very relevant. I came across this website that fits *perfectly* into the goals part of this blog.

The premise behind it is that every month starts a new “game” where you try to achieve healthy goals.  You choose your rules and your bets before the first of the month then use the website to track your progress.

The only downside to this is the cost if you want to have a lot of goals.  If you want more than three goals per month, the fee is $5/month.  I understand that websites like this take a lot of time and energy to maintain, and living with a programmer myself, I understand why there is a fee.  Think of it as an incentive to keep reminding yourself of your goals in addition to helping a programmer make a living with a cool product without ads.  Or just limit yourself to three goals…

I’ll be trying it with next months goals and seeing how I like it.  I wanted to let you all know today because you need to sign up and set up your goals before the first of the month to participate for October.  If you try it, let me know!

Health Month

Free Eggs!

I was alerted by the MoneySavingMom blog today about the Good Egg Project.

It’s really neat!  For every pledge to live a healthier lifestyle (isn’t that what this blog is about?) and give back to the community (which is part of developing a healthy community), a group of egg farmers will donate an egg to feed America.  In addition, if you sign the pledge you get a coupon for buy one dozen eggs, get another dozen free! Warning to Mac users: I have been having serious problems with printing from coupons.com. I would suggest printing on a different computer if you don’t want to deal with a hassle.

So share the love, sign the pledge and get a healthy, cheap source of protein!

I Pledge to Eat good. Do good every day.

My advisor would not find this funny…

… but this is 100% me right now.  I seriously just did that… and then the TV part.  Scientific writing does not come naturally for me, so I celebrate the little victories.

All credit to Phdcomics.com... where would we grad students be without you to visually explain what is going on in our lives?

Have you celebrated any little victories today?

Scientists discover how to ‘switch off’ pain of migraines – Telegraph

I promise, more fun posts coming up soon, including highlights from a trip to NYC.  But, in the mean time…

I’ve always said that if scientists could figure out the cause of migraines, then better treatments can be developed.  Apparently, they’ve isolated the gene that they believe mainly causes migraines and are working on developing treatment!

I can’t say that the explanation of how this gene works makes a lot of sense with my knowledge of migraine triggers, but it is still an interesting development.

Scientists discover how to ‘switch off’ pain of migraines – Telegraph.

Medicate me please

Sometimes it is good to save allergy medicines as a last resort.

Other times you wish you had a supply on you at all times.

Like when all the fluids in your head decide to make as mass exodus.

While you are twenty minutes into an 8 hour train ride.

Violently sneezing for minutes at a time makes the ride unpleasant for everyone.

Lesson for today: If you are allergic to things commonly found in nature, double check that you brought your benadryl. Because there are some places where it is inappropriate to use a Neti Pot. And you won’t make people cringe and weep when they see and hear you.

National Take-Back Initiative

If you have any expired medication around your house, I strongly encourage you to not just throw it in the trash can, or down the toilet.  I’m not saying keep them… getting rid of clutter is good!  Instead, drop them off at a collection site this Saturday, September 25th, as part of the National Take-Back Initiative.

Medications, when improperly disposed, can enter our water supply.  We already have enough issues with our environment and staying healthy without having extra chemicals in the water causing trouble (like young girls reaching puberty much earlier).

Check out the DEA website to find collection sites who will properly dispose of your medications from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday.

World Peace Day

Today is World Peace Day!

Actually, I didn’t know about World Peace Day until I read about it on a Whole Lotta Love.  But I’m so glad to know about it now.

The idea of World Peace Day is simple… encourage non-violence,  in all areas of our life.

While the idea of peace is relatively simple, I know in reality it is difficult, especially for those tackling peace on a global level.  So do what you can today to bring more peace to your life, your home, and your community.  Spread the message of peace, pray for peace, or do whatever it is you feel will encourage peaceful thinking.

I sincerely hope that our world leaders take today seriously and embrace the idea of peaceful communication… even if it is just for one day.

If you want to read stories and get inspired throughout the day of how people around the world are embracing world peace day, I encourage you to check the United Nations International Day of Peace Website.

Peace out.

It’s like a banana, but better!

Today was a lazy, snacky day at home.  For dinner I decided I didn’t need much… just something a bit sweet, yet savory at the same time.

I knew exactly what to make.

Oh hi beautiful fruit!

Before my first trip to Puerto Rico, I always thought that plantains and bananas were essentially the same things.  I had certainly never tried one before.  Now, I know better and they are one of my favorite foods.  A staple in Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean, you can get your plantains several different ways, depending on the ripeness of the plantain:  mofongo, tostones, and amarillos.

I’ll go into the other types of plantains and how to cook them as I learn, but tonight I knew I wanted amarillos.  Amarillos are yellow, very ripe, sweet plantains lightly fried in a frying pan.  These are so fast and easy to make and make a great snack or side dish!


  • Plantains
  • Oil
  1. Pick a very ripe yellow plantain.  You may notice that the one I have above looks black and kind of bad on the outside.  While this is a bad thing for regular bananas, it is GREAT for amarillos!
  2. While you heat up your skillet with a thin layer of oil, peel and slice up your plantain.  It is typically difficult to peel a plantain, so use your knife to cut a slit the length of the plantain and peel from there.
  3. Place your plantains on your skillet and lightly fry them on both sides until they start to brown slightly and are a bit translucent.
  4. Take them off the skillet and soak up some of the oil with a paper towel

These are typically served as a side dish in Puerto Rico, but I love to have them for dessert as well.  Cooking time total?  Around 8 minutes, including prep.  For those of you interested in calories the only thing I could find (here) says that fried plantains have about 116 calories per one cup, with 3g of fat.

Doesn’t get much better than that!  I know that plantains aren’t local, but I’m not quite ready to give them up for that reason. I’m so happy that I can get these without going all the way to the islands.  I see more homemade Puerto Rican meals in my future…

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