Thursday, January 31, 2013

{The Past}

Last night, I was posting all over Facebook and Twitter about how excited I was to find out, via body composition testing from The Human Performance Laboratory at my box, that I am in the moderate/"healthy" body fat range for my body since about 4th grade. When I talked to Margaret (best friend since diapers) via text last night, she reminded me of how far I have come, both physically and mentally...

During our conversation, she said that she showed a 1st and 5th grade picture of me to her fiance, just so he could understand my progress. My first thought was "how the heck did she get pictures from back then?" I know how dumb that sounds... Of course she has pics from our childhood. We were pretty much inseparable for many years. I had to see what pictures she was talking about and I asked her to send them to me. The evidence is below.
1st grade 
5th grade 

When I look at these pictures I see two very different girls. The Regan from 1st grade was an average kid, going through the regular kid stuff - happy-go-lucky, living in her small town by the beach. Fast forward 4 years and you get the 5th grade version of me. There's something about that girl that is different... At first, I thought it might be the glasses or the jumper. Just look at the "signature" - I signed my best friend's yearbook with my nickname and wrote "yuk" beside it - who does that?

I sat in my living room the rest of the evening and thought back to that time... The young girl in the second picture above doesn't look happy to me. Yes, she's smiling, she just doesn't look happy. In 5th/6th grade is when it all changed. I started gaining weight; I was losing my childhood happiness; I was heading on a destructive path that few would know about.

Now, I look back on that time of pain, sadness, and missed opportunities with a sense of encouragement and joy. Things haven't been easy - they never will be. However, I would not be where I am today without having made it through the past.  Because of this reminder from a dear friend last night, I can look back at the pictures below and realize I am who I am today because of them... 

I've come a long way and I'm not gonna stop now.

November 2009 - My heaviest was about
40# more than this pic
March 2009 - I am second from the left

August 2002 - Bridal shower for Charity!
(I am on the back right)

April 2005

May 2006 - Gotta love the double-fisting!

September 2010 - My first 5K! On the right track...

February 2012 - 3rd half marathon since starting
to run in July 2010

Monday, January 28, 2013

{Friend Makin' Monday - Getting to Know Each Other}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your blog then add your link in the comments section on Kenlie's blog at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
Getting To Know Each Other
  1. What is your favorite color? Everyone thinks my favorite color is pink, but I really love a this deep-jewel toned blue (would that be considered teal?)
  2. Share one or more of your talents.  Hmm... I'd say that my ridiculous ability to organize it a talent.
  3. If you were spending the day getting to know someone new, where would you want to go? I think that going to a local museum or park and talking over a steaming hot cup of coffee would be perfect.
  4. What is your favorite meal?  Seafood! Almost any form of seafood, especially shrimp.
  5. Do you prefer to text or talk?  Depends...The only time I would say I enjoy talking on the phone is with my best friend, Margaret. Otherwise, texting is more than sufficient.
  6. Share something about yourself that might surprise someone that you’re getting to know.  (These questions are hard...) I'd say that most people would be surprised to know that I am an introvert. I put on a pretty good show, but it wipes me out!
  7. Do you color your hair? Heck yes! Like most toe-head people, I keep my hair highlighted.
  8. Do you wear glasses or contacts? I wear glasses 99% of the time. I am seriously considering trying contacts (again) when I go to the eye doctor in April.
  9. What is your favorite breakfast food? I love, love, love my breakfast casserole (adapted from Health-Bent)
  10. Would your friends say that you’re sarcastic?  Probably not. I have the ability to throw out a "zinger" occasionally, but I don't really do sarcasm.
  11. Do you prefer salty or sweet?  Can I have both? Nothing like popcorn and M&M's mixed together.
  12. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?  Smile. Gotta have a kind smile.
  13. What is the last movie you watched?  Hangover II on Saturday morning when our smoke detector woke me up at 3:15 a.m. That movie is ridiculous, but it was the only thing on
  14. Are you religious? I believe in God, but I do not go to church.
  15. Are you a neat freak, a slob, or somewhere in between? I am definitely more on the neat freak side, but sometimes I do become a little lazy.
  16. Share something from your bucket list that you hope to do someday.  It seems silly, but I really want to go across a set of monkey bars. I was never able to do it as a kid and I am gonna do it!
  17. Are you a risk taker, or do you prefer to play it safe?  I am one to play it safe, but will venture out and take a risk occasionally.
  18. Have you ever worn braces?  Yep - 3 times
  19. Would you rather spend an evening at a theater or at a club?  No question - theater
  20. If you could have three wishes, what would one of them be?  Complete health for me, Happiness for all around me, and well I think the happiness one will probably take up two

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions. Don’t forget to link up in the comments at! Happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

{Restaurant Review - Bad Daddy's Burger Bar at Seaboard Station}

It's no secret that the hubs and I like to eat out. We just can't help ourselves. While we love to eat at our "regular" places, sometimes we just want something different. This past Friday, we were both feeling the need for burgers...  A new burger joint opened up in Seaboard Station a couple of weeks ago and it was on our list.
We tried to go to Bad Daddy's just before New Year's, but they were closed for a "private party"/soft opening. This past Friday, we arrived around 7:30 or so and there was a short wait. We considered getting a drink, but decided we'd just wait until we were seated or dinner.

While we were waiting to be seated, I took time to really look around and get the "vibe". The decor is kinda industrial, but not sparse and completely full of metal. There are wood tables/booths, interesting pictures on the walls, and a few TVs. Thankfully, there aren't TVs on every single wall - just enough to keep the kids (or the husband) occupied while everyone else finishes their meal. Also, the restaurant is a little loud, but not so loud that you can't hear those at your table.

Fried pickles!
About 15 minutes after arriving, the hostess showed us to our seats.  We were seated at a 4-top in the bar area. Not long thereafter, we were greeted by a staff person that I assume was a manager. He asked if we had visited the restaurant before and we explained that we had tried to visit previously, but they were closed. He apologized for our not being invited in for their soft opening and said that he would put in an order of fried pickles (his treat!) for us. He also took our drink order while at the table.

This is J's face when he saw
he could have a burger on
Texas Toast.
Our server, Michael, came by with our drinks and took time to review the menu with the hubs. Since I would be ordering from the gluten free menu (thankfully they have one!), I knew that I wouldn't have too many questions. If I had to guess, I would say that Jason was a little bit overwhelmed by the menu. Who wouldn't  be? Ground beef, bison, beef & bacon, chicken, tuna - the possibilities of what could go between a bun seemed endless. Michael provided some recommendations, let us think about it, then came back a few minutes later to take our order. Jason ended up ordering "Nick's Patty Melt" on Texas Toast, instead of rye, with a side of fries. I built a salad with grilled chicken and miscellaneous toppings.

After a relatively short wait, our food arrived. While I can't really speak to how good J's burger was, I think he was pleased - it didn't  take him long to eat it and there was nothing left on the plate, always a good sign. J said that the fries were not that great. He's not one to order fries often because they aren't  and when he has them he wants them to be good without ketchup - these didn't hit that mark. My salad was really good too! My only recommendations on the salad would be - 1) Shred the cheese, the "chunks" don't allow cheese to be in a lot of bites 2) Chill the stainless steel bowls, it would be a nice touch.

In short, I would say that this will end up in our "regular" rotation. There are enough choices on the menu so that you don't always have to get an actual burger each time too. The service was great and we liked the vibe. Can't wait to go back soon!

Jason's Patty Melt
My salad - Love the stainless steel bowl

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

{Recipe Review - Paleo Shrimp Étouffée}

There's no better place to find a good recipe than someone else's review of a recipe on their blog. Last week, I was searching for a dinner recipe involving shrimp and came across The Preppy Paleo. Earlier in the fall, she had created a Paleo Shrimp Étouffée.  It looked good to me and it went on the weekly menu plan for Sunday evening.

I must be honest though...I saw the picture of the recipe and thought it looked good.  Instead of reading her full post, I skipped right to the ingredients. Kinda big mistake... In her post she specifically says "...This is definitely a dish that will clear your sinuses..."  Unfortunately, I didn't read that part of her post until I was trying to figure out what the heck I had done to make it have so much kick!

Our final preparation of this wasn't quite Paleo as I served it over quinoa. Jason is very good about eating whatever I fix, but one of his (very few) requests is that we have quinoa every once in a while with dinner. Since it was suggested to serve it over cauliflower rice, I thought quinoa was a good substitute.

Jason's review: "...It was really good...  The onions add a nice flavor.  It was a little spicy, but it was really good..." (Sometimes I wonder if it is even worth asking him what he thinks about a meal. Surely he can describe meals as better than "really good".)

Paleo Shrimp Étouffée (adapted from The Preppy Paleo, via Bon Appetit)

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (I definitely didn't use all of it)
  • 2 large onions, minced
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic (Dang it! I forgot the garlic!)
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp. almond flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning (I'll probably reduce this next time)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
  • 1 lb. shrimp, chopped
  • chopped scallions
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat; add onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. 

Add thyme, and flour, then cook for about 1 minute more. Stir in broth and remaining seasonings. Cook about 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens a bit. Stir in shrimp and return to a simmer. Lower heat, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. Serve over quinoa and top with scallions.

Monday, January 14, 2013

{Friend Makin' Monday - Interesting Things}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. 

Please add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Interesting Things
  1. What is the last movie you saw in a theater?  I went to see Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away with my Mom over Christmas.  
  2. How old were you when you had your first kiss? I was 15 years old. Late bloomer here, I tell ya!
  3. Share the coolest thing that you’ve done so far in 2013. Unfortunately, the first bit of 2013 hasn't been terribly exciting. Looking forward to lots of adventures as the year continues though!
  4. What kind of cell phone do you use? Do you love it? I have an iPhone 5. I fully admit it... I am an iWhore.
  5. How many times do you plan to workout this week? I have 4 CrossFit days and 3 runs on the schedule for this week.
  6. What is your favorite movie from the 80′s? Hmmm.... Interesting toss up here - ET or Anne of Green Gables
  7. If you could choose one character from a TV show or a movie to fall head over heels for you, who would it be? I have no clue...
  8. If you could eat one food everyday for the rest of your life without gaining any weight as a result, what would you choose? Fried shrimp! There's just something about some good 'ole fried shrimp 
  9. What is your favorite flower? Pink Gerbera daisies
  10. Did you watch the Golden Globes last night? Nope. The hubs was watching football part of the time. I was reading and looking for recipes for next week on the computer.
Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to link up in the comments!  Also…say hi to someone new this week! Happy Monday!

{GOTR - STAR Coach}

Girls on a Run is a program that holds a very special place in my heart. I first learned about GOTR of the Triangle in December 2010 when I ran the Reindeer Romp 5K with Sarah. After the race, I thought about contacting GOTR about volunteering/coaching but kept telling myself I didn't fit the "image" they were seeking in a coach.

Girls on the Run - Spring 2012
In January 2012, the opportunity to coach presented itself. A friend posted on her Facebook that her site needed at least one more coach, and the rest is history... The first season with the girls was wonderful. We had a great bunch of girls and they seemed to really gel by the end of the season.

I coached at the same site this fall.  Again, we were lucky enough to have an awesome group of girls. I can't think of any better gift that being able to instill important lessons and have fun at the same time! YAY!

This fall, GOTR of the Triangle started something new with the assistance of a grant...  STAR Coaches (Support, Train, Appreciate, Retain)!  The gist of it is that STAR Coaches are there to provide peer support to the site coaches. STAR Coaches focus on building relationships with coaches in hopes that GOTR of the Triangle can have more coach retention and even better experiences for all involved.

After the fall season, an email went out recruiting additional STAR Coaches for the fall season. I was honored to be selected as a STAR Coach. While I will definitely miss being at my normal site with my group of girls, being a STAR Coach will allow me the opportunity to encourage others to be a part of GOTR and get to know fabulous young girls at several sites.

Spring season countdown - 14 days!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

{Weekly Menu and Recipe Review - Southwestern Turkey and Vegetable Soup}

I am looking forward to this week's menu.  Lots of new yummies!

We didn't end up having the Shrimp Étouffée on Friday night, so it got moved to this week.  On Friday evening, we're having some friends over for Game Night.  I am going to try to find some form of Paleo Crock Pot Chili today.  Looking forward to seeing how they all turn out!

Last week, we had a new soup recipe. I know that many folks think there's no real need for a "recipe" for soup, but I think a guide of some form is extremely helpful. I realized that I had about 2 pounds of leftover cooked chicken breast in the freezer and that was all it took for me to decide that some form of turkey soup would be on the menu for the week.  

I found a recipe on Fast Paleo and adapted it as we threw stuff in the crock pot (see below).  This recipe turned out very well.  Unfortunately, as it normally is with soup, there was nothing terribly exciting about it. It was yummy, but not exceptional. We'll definitely keep it in our soup repertoire!

Southwestern Turkey and Vegetable Soup: (adapted from Fast Paleo; serves 8-10)
  • 2 lbs. cooked turkey breast (shredded)
  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2-3 zucchini, chopped
  • 2-3 squash, chopped
  • 4-5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4-5 carrots, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (I used green and red)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup prepared salsa
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. garam masala (original recipe called for coriander, but I didn't have any)
  • a couple shakes of crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine all items in large crock pot.  Cook for 8-10 hours on low.

Monday, January 7, 2013

{Friend Makin' Monday - Simple Questions}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: and here! The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
 Simple Questions
1. Outside my window I see…The other building that houses my organization
2. My kitchen counters are…Tan-gray Corian
3. Yesterday I drank…  Lots of water and an Angry Orchard cider
4. My cell phone is…sitting on my desk blasting "The Blend" on Sirius XM
5. My computer is…interesting...It's a VOA/cloud computing system that I got last week
6. My favorite reality show is…anything mindless...  I enjoy the various home makeover shows, House Hunters, and Bridezillas is my guilty pleasure.
7. My workouts are…finally getting back on track after ~5-6 weeks off
8. The last book I read is… probably considered boring by most - An Epidemic of Absence
9. My week will be….great. Just gotta keep moving forward!
10.  So far 2013 has been…pretty dang good. Looking forward to what the rest of the year holds!
Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to link up in the comments here and on Kenlie's blog!  Happy Monday, friends!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

{Weekly Menu}

The menu planning has been a hit or miss since November 28.  Sure, we've had plenty of meals at home...  The first week after surgery, we had meals delivered by friends and family.  The weeks since the 1st week of recovery have been a mish-mash of take-out, previously prepared foods from the freezer or "fend for yourself" meals.

Last week I made a menu plan for the week, but it wasn't too interesting considering that it was a short week.  Well, this week, are are finally back on track.

Here's how this week is shaping up:

Two of the recipes this week are completely new and I plan to review them later this week.  The Aimee's Quick Chicken is an oldie and goodie in our home.  It makes me smile when Jason requests this dish because it was the first meal I ever cooked for him.  It's awesome to think that the first meal I cooked for him continues to be a favorite.

Friday, January 4, 2013

{Bedroom Redeaux - part 2}

Last Christmas, my mother-in-law gave us a project gift for Christmas - a new headboard and dresser for our room.  As I said in that post, our bedroom was based off the bedding in Jason's apartment that subsequently moved with him to the condo.  I loved it all, but it felt a little bachelor/manly to me...

Emily (my mother-in-law) has two decorator friends, Donald and William, that help her with decor in her home and also offer advice on our condo when we ask.  William had said several years ago that our bedroom needed "softening" so that it would look like a couple's bedroom versus a bachelor's bedroom.  Jason and I have been casually on the lookout for bedding, etc. but hadn't really done anything about it.

Well, Christmas morning arrived and my mother-in-law had several joint gifts for us.  While some may think that joint gifts aren't fun, Jason and I are quite the opposite.  When we get a couple/joint gift, it usually means a project and something that we wouldn't/couldn't really do for ourselves.

The first gift we were given was an awesome - a beautiful mirror to go above our dresser.  Donald found the mirror at Greenfront Interiors and he immediately told Emily that it would be the perfect addition to above our dresser.  The mirror wasn't the "matching" piece for our dresser, but I think it's way better than having a big rectangular mirror.

As we continued to open gifts, I was surprised yet again.  The next gift was a Pottery Barn quilt that I had just looked at a couple months ago.  I never mentioned it to the hubs because I was certain he would think it was too "girly".  Well, color me surprised - he loved it!

The day after Christmas, my in-laws came over and helped us get everything set up.  We were busy from about 10 a.m. until about 3 p.m.

  • Remove old drapes and hardware. Hang new hardware and linen sheers.
  • Hang mirror above dresser.
  • Move print that was above dresser to wall above television.
  • Move print from above television to dining area.
  • Remove old rug. (We may get a runner or something, but have decided against a full rug in the bedroom.)
  • Switch out lamps and a few other things around the room.
  • Put new bedding on bed!

We found the coordinating Euro pillows and throw pillow at Pottery
Barn that evening.  We thought they were the perfect finishing touch.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

{Slowly Getting Back in the Saddle}

You wanna know what I think is the worst part of having a major surgical procedure?  Now that I have been through "Operation Transform" and the subsequent recovery, I think that not being able to exercise has been the very hardest part for me.

Before my surgery, I was pretty active.  I ran at least 3 times per week, with one of those being a "long" (6-8 miles) run.  I went to Raleigh CrossFit at least 3 times per week, if not 5 times per week.  All this activity was in an effort to be has physically healthy as possible before my surgery.  Then, in an instant, it was gone...

My surgery was 5 weeks ago today.  I knew that the recovery would be hard, but I was certain that I was gonna be some kind of Super Woman and I would be back to my old antics in a week or two.  That was definitely not realistic.  Admittedly, I had a pretty easy recovery (from what I have heard from others).  The worst part of my recovery was the bloating/gas that came the day after surgery and lasted a couple days.  I know that the thought of gas isn't glamorous by any stretch, but it's just part of it.  Doctor pumps belly full of air for procedure, pain meds, etc. = recipe for gas/bloating.

The past 5 weeks have dragged.... Yes, I was enjoying the time I spent at home relaxing and healing, but the enjoyable part of that only lasted about 4 days.  By the second full week, I was itching to do something - and I was able to convince my surgeon to let me work from home part-time.  By December 17, I had convinced him to let me work part-time in the office.  Then, the holidays came.  The holidays were full of family and fun, laziness, business, food, over-indulgences, etc.

This past Saturday was my first post-op "run".  I use the term "run" very, very loosely.  I am so very glad that my running buddies were willing to go very slowly with me.  The entire time we were running, we talked about different topics - I really think this kept me pretty distracted from how odd it felt to run.  We finished 4.25 miles in just over 1 hour.  I was quite disappointed right after, but Mary and Debbie reminded me that I must give myself a break.  I haven't had any serious cardio activity in my daily schedule for 5 weeks and it was cold as all get-out.  When we were done (and I finally got over myself), I felt pretty dang good about what I had gone.  Now, I am looking forward to getting back to my old pace (and even faster).  Crazy as it sounds, my first dream I remember after my surgery involved a 2:15 half marathon PR - we shall see!  I think with my fabulous running partners it will be more than doable in time!

I have been wanting to get back to Raleigh CrossFit from day 1.  I love how my RCF family makes me feel.  I love the encouragement we all provide one another.  I have missed seeing my buddies during my recovery.  While I intended to visit the tank during my recovery, I went by once and my missing it was too much for me to handle.  Well, it all changed today...  I went to my normal lunchtime training session.  Chennelle welcomed me back and I got started with the warm-up.  I took time to review the WOD and thought I was gonna kick ass - 5 rounds of max rep front squat and max rep strict press.  I loaded up my bar with half my body weight (87.5#) and grabbed (2) 15# dumbbells.  I tested the weight for the front squat.  Let's just say that it didn't go as planned.  I picked up the bar, went down into a full front squat, but then things went sour...  I had to drop the bar on the ground because I just couldn't get back up.  I was immediately upset.  Chennelle came over and helped me strip the plates off the bar, encouraged me to just lift the bar (35#) for 8 reps each round.  She also reminded me that I had been out of the tank for a month and a half.

Chennelle didn't have to help me strip the weights; she didn't have to offer advice; she didn't have to offer the last little bit of encouragement.  But, she did.  My running buddies didn't have to go at my (very slow) pace this weekend.  They didn't have to remind me that sometimes I need to give myself a break.  That's what I have missed.  I have missed the camaraderie of training with others - of all types and abilities.  While the run over the weekend and today's WOD didn't go quite as planned, I have to remember how fortunate I am.  I am fortunate enough to have people that encourage me and I am able to encourage them.  We all have something to offer others and it makes all the difference...