Friday, May 30, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
- Everyday Minerals - The best and most cost effective mineral makeup I've found. I've tried many. Free starter kit to test it out, fabulous kits to get you started, and enough colors to ensure a perfect match. Don't order without checking out their weekly specials. The concealers are amazing - and don't forget the finishing powder!
- JFR Cosmetics - Mascara for those with Auburn to Strawberry Blond hair. Perfect.
- Eyes Lips Face - Remember those mail order makeup kits back in the 80s? Super cheap, and you could get a ton? Well, this is even better. They started out as $1 makeup and accessories (excellent source for cheap brushes) and have grown. I love the wet gloss lash & brow clear mascara, $1 nail polish, blotting papers, and eyeliner brush. However, their minerals are more expensive than my #1 choice once you factor in volume.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Round One: I have Ghirardelli cocoa in the cupboard, so I buy Ghirardelli chips for the ganache. I've had prior success with cake flour, so I substitute. As I start mixing, realize I'm nearly out of cocoa powder, so I back fill with Hershey Special Dark. (Ugh - I know. But if you want Oreo dark cookies or a super dark graham crust for your cheesecake, this is It.) I fill up the cupcake wrappers, toss them in the oven, and mix the ganache. Strawberries are chopped, mixed in, and I toss that half in the fridge. I'm hoping that some magic will happen and it'll firm up. Oven timer starts to chirp. My cupcakes are funky and baked all over the pan (too full?) and the ganache never sets up. It's soup, and the one bit of very ripe strawberry has introduced a funky taste to the entire batch. Fail x2
Round Two. New can of Ghirardelli cocoa. I follow the cupcake recipe to the letter, this time they are satisfactory. Very light, which has me a bit worried if they'll hold up to the filling. I redo the ganache using my standby truffle recipe. I chop the strawberries, drain them in paper towels, and this time I have a nice, thick filling for the cupcakes. I assemble, frost, add sprinkles before topping with strawberries, and they look Pro. The fancy 4x cupcake box helps too. I tried the strawberry and it did not meet my expectations, but I'm told they were divine. The truffle mix was very moist, resulting in a pudding consistency even after attempting a firmer mix. The payoff wasn't worth the effort for these; even if I hadn't botched round one.
Round Three - the experiment. Can you make truffles with coconut milk instead of heavy cream? I make a direct substitution, and... Success! Half of the cupcakes are transformed into coconut truffle filled calorie bombs. I mix some sweetened shredded coconut into the ganache, stuff them, glaze them, frost them & sprinkle with more coconut that's been mixed with a little cocoa powder. I'm satisfied, and box them up as gifts. I didn't get to try the coconut version, but expect that they'd be a better consistency than the strawberry.
*I have not learned to clean as I go. I couldn't count the number of ganache bowls scattered around the kitchen by the end of this process.
*While the components for each of these were satisfactory, the cake was too soft and crumbly for the filling. Maybe that's why the original ganache was so runny? I can only imagine those would have to be served with a spoon.
*Coconut Milk Truffles will be featured in this year's holiday sweets
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I haven't been on the bike much since the Monster Cookie a few weekends back. Turns out my left cleat wasn't true, and it's very likely my seat was off since I'd found a new saddle to use. The cumulative score? Lateral patella compression syndrome in my left knee. Lots of ice, advil, and an appointment with the physical therapist. It also meant a bike refit, so off I drove to Veloce. We put on new handle bars - and I am seriously in love with the Salsa bars; the drops are now perfect! New silvery handle bar tape to match the silver on the bike. Fiona is tuned and stylish. She's ready to ride. Every day I walk past her in the garage, I want to ride. Yes, I name my bikes... And cars.
I eat my words. How many calories in humble pie? Because I should have raced before That proclamation.
Monday night was the Women's Novice Clinic. My husband and I pre-ride the course, review final tips and tactics, and I roll over to the small gathering of women waiting for the start. There were all kinds at the clinic - we ended up with 35? at the start. Three juniors, half the field in tshirts and black shorts, and half of the remaining field all on one team. I look on them with green eyes - that should be me, chatting with team mates, looking intimidating, and whispering about strategy. Our mentors start the pep talk. We learn what a race is - basic vocab like "start line" and "finish line" - I kid you not. They showed us how to corner, what a pace line means, and ran us thru a mini pace line practice that really didn't go anywhere, and suddenly it was time to start. We huddle up, and orange tshirt up looks at me "we're all starting at the same time?!" Yep. The nerves are back - this is it, the start of my first race. Matt comes over for some last minute encouragement, and I'm so jittery I almost fall over when he leans in. me: Don't lean on me! him: Oh - your knee? me: no - I'm jittery. Woops - starting line man is wrapping up, time to scoot up and off we go.
From the barrier start to the start/finish line, I settle in to 4th position. I finally clicked in my left cleat, but being this is my first ride on the new pedals I don't sweat it. We've got a small pace line and I glance over my shoulder to see how the field looks. No way am I going to crash on the first lap - so I stay up front & keep an eye on the team with the numbers. The pace picks up; everyone is anxious to get thru the race, and we're at the first corner. This group is afraid of the apex, and leaves at least 2 widths around every corner. Noted. The field moves into the middle of the tarmac, the leaders slow while the field gets anxious and pushes up - I get passed on both sides and bumped around a little - but we stay upright. There is no sharing the work off the front and it's really sloppy so I slip over to the wall and slow up enough to watch how this will unfold. One cheeky girl pushes to the front with something to prove, and takes a 10 bike length break away. She isn't going anywhere, and I'm not about to chase her down on the first lap. As we're approaching the next set of turns our mentor gets it going - "Oh look! There's a break away! Let's chase her down!" A few at the front are motivated, about 4 from the big team jump and I catch the train. Matt's voice is in my ear ~ don't do the work. don't do the work. don't do the work. We catch her, roll thru the corners and without effort I'm back in top 3. I slow up, put myself number four, and enjoy the tail wind as we start lap two.
2 & 3 were uneventful. I easily held my position, and realize that the knee is just starting to get noticeable. Not bad, made it this far with it quiet - and it really doesn't hurt. I just know it's there. Lap four I decide to play in the field a bit, see if there is space that I can get a better draft - and to feel out the field to see how fluid it will be if I need to climb thru the numbers at the finish. Everyone is still together, which is great not having to worry about a chase, and my heart rate is solid. Not working too hard, it isn't thumping, and I'm feeling pretty good. I put in a couple small efforts, play around the corners, and find it very easy to move wherever I want.
Lap 5. Two to go. The gal behind me is winded, asks how much more we have. "This is the end of four." I hope she knows we are riding 6, but decide to let her figure that out on her own. We go past the line, and as I glace over I realize that there is a table with lap numbers on it. I really should learn to look at that rather than counting laps like I've done so far. I keep to the top half, on the inside of the field. As we are cruising along the back stretch I chat with the very tall girl in red & black. I ask how her legs are, and with a big doe eyed smile "they're great". Okay - wanna go? She takes off, I hook on her wheel & push her as we approach the turns. Over my shoulder I hear "wow, that's a great break away!" coming from a number of people. The chatter doesn't stop, we're out front, and as I turn to see how much space we've built up, tell her to let them catch us so we can get back in the pack & make a true break later on 6 - I see the men blowing thru. Frack. We pull out, the women are all freaking out trying to figure out how to neutralize. I sit up, 3 other women roll up and the field is a little behind them. Lots of chatter, lots of comments that if it weren't for neutral the break would have worked.
Bell lap. I see the bell. I see the lap number, but barely register what they say. As the double pace line turns into a cluster approaching the first turn, it happens. My knee pinches, and the patella yanks all the way to my eyes - yeeeouch. damnit. I'm done. I coast thru the turn, and try to ease up. Maybe I can limp at the back of the pack, maybe I'll have enough to still make something of this. Push. Push. Pain. I'm done - there's no way this knee can sprint, and I'm falling off the back. The Vanderkitten mentor gives me her wheel, and I'm trying to soft pedal 24mph along the back. I get on to the back of the pack - and it's still completely together.
Final pass thru the turns. I take my line, and I'm suddenly mid field again. Final turn, we're on the straight away, and I've floated to the back to get out of the way. I'm pedaling with my right leg. My left cries out every time the knee comes over the top of the pedal stroke, and I finish dead last. As I roll over the line, OBRA tells me "9 more laps." No no, I'm done!
I turn in, release the left leg, and one leg push to the recap. We chatter, the mentor offers to sell a racing book for $16, tells us to eat & get warm. The general consensus was "wow, that is so confusing! I have no idea what's going on out there." Apparently! I want my legs - I want my endurance back and a knee that can go more than 10 miles. I want to Tear It Up, and leave the novice pack behind. I want to sprint my lungs out and Finish! a race, not just roll over.
Racing? I love it.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
I set some goals for that summer - and my accountability was to be able to confidently wear sleeveless tops at a convention that summer. Mission accomplished! The benefit was I had finally made Significant progress in the direction I was after - Proof that I could actually lose body fat. The problem? I didn't have another accountability milestone to help keep me on track.
I didn't repeat BFL, because I found it conflicted with my cycling goals. So here comes January 1, and we set some cycling goals for the year. I will become a proficient A19 rider thru the summer Saturday rides, with a stretch goal of stepping up to A21. By June - Century ready. Club century in July, Harvest in October. I will climb and no longer be intimidated by Bald Peak. By September, Cross Crusade - prep with Alpenrose training. Complete my races, and achieve 2 Top Five for my category. Body Weight below 140 by June 16. Clean Eating - with a plan on how to support these goals; extra effort on healthy lunches. Cross training to include both weights and running.
Thru a combination of better food tracking, a specific workout plan that mixed weights, aerobic cross training, and cycling (still need to dedicate time to yoga or pilates) I was back to making progress. When the catalog arrived with the Cutest pair of wide leg, embroidered pants - I decided to order a pair, and to order down a size. I'd have to keep working, to keep losing the weight to be able to fit in to them. I found my golden ring, and the exciting time when body changing noticeably as inches slip away finally happened.
The jeans arrived.
The jeans were too big. They have about an inch excess around the waist, and being wide leg there is nothing else to keep them up. Hooray? Notsomuch. Here comes the backsliding.
While I am thrilled to have achieved this - I still only have a slapped together 'what am I doing this week' fitness regimen. Since I beat my goal, and had a couple back to back bad eating events, I've lost a bit of that strict, healthy eating plan... and simple, processed sugars are once again my downfall. I need to find my next golden ring. While I still haven't reached my original weight number goal (no scolding - every extra pound counts when you are climbing up Bald Peak) I somehow lost the direct motivation since I hit that size goal.
I will be racing - but that isn't my personal motivator, or accountability. I must eating well and improve my fitness to enable me to race, but it is not enough.
I need to purge the kitchen again. I need to eliminate self sabbotage opportunities.
On the positive side, I am really enjoying the increased volume and variety of veggies in our diet, and looking forward to the fresh fruits that are coming in to season. I Know how to eat right, to treat my body well and I really enjoy working out. I just need to find that next thing that will help me boot the excessive sweet tooth. Shame that chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes are void of nutritional service.. because baking and creating beautiful desserts is such a joy.
I am regrouping. My goals above stand - and on reflection, I am still on track. I just need to realign my head, rededicate and establish the next 3 sequential steps of accountability and rewards... and to always have at least three out on the horizon.