Thursday, September 30, 2010

How I (Almost) Died Today

What up yo?!

I just finished baking cookies! From scratch! Nothing makes me happy quite like baking sweet goodies... though I always end up with a dozen cookies and no one to feed them too.

These babies were born from my favorite cookbook: Eat, Drink and Be Vegan

I subbed my magical goji berries for raisins and produced this loveliness:

I'll save one for Alex (I think he's secretly not a fan of baked vegan goods- shhhh, don't tell him I said anything) and freeze the rest to break out and eat when I'm feelin' the sweet tooth's wrath.

So... onto how I almost died. This morning, I cleared out the [dirty] living room

and busted out this workout DVD that I bought several months ago and have done ONCE before today.

While I admittedly came closer to death the first time around (when I hadn't exercised in about 6 months), today was no walk in the park. Faaaar from it.

Jillian Michaels is one tough broad. I never watched The Biggest Loser and I think she would scare the be-jesus out of me if I ever came in contact with her at a gym, but I dig her workout- it really hits those trouble zones, as advertised.

**Lord help me when I get out of bed tomorrow morning.**

Before marching to my death, I ate this:

whole wheat pita + almond butter with a side of raspberries

After gasping on the floor for breath repeatedly, I realized just how dirty our living room floor was so after I blended up what I will proudly call "my best smoothie yet,"

(frozen banana, almond butter, Sun Warrior protein, strawberries, little bit of chocolate almond milk, water = a milkshake. fo' real.)

I took out the vacuum and broom and got to cleaning.

When that was done, I munched on some carrots

(look, an extra long one- must be lucky)

THEN went outside to check out my plant babies and saw THIS:

My first habanero pepper has arrived, kids. I'm so excited to watch it grow (here's hoping it lives to see the frying pan ;)

I made some lunch:

bell pepper, spinach, cilantro and mozerrella scramble with one egg + 2 egg whites and a side of plain greek yogurt, starwberries and ground flax seed.

I also sucked this down:

Contrary to much of what I've heard around the blog world and amongst friends, I just cannot get into coconut water. This is my second try and while the first sip seemed ok, by the end I just had to chug it to get through. Maybe it's an acquired taste. I'll try again later.

Alright, I've gotta get to steppin' if I'm going to make it to work on time.

I'm looking so forward to having a free day tomorrow (well, after my 8am nutrition class).

And SPEAKING of early mornings... I barely had any coffee today! I just didn't need it. My energy was so up that I forewent (that's weird to say) my usual dosage and went along with my workout and day.

This is a miracle guys... we'll see how long it last ;)

I hope you have an amazing night!


***Side note: Don't forget to register to vote if you haven't already. Some important elections coming up in a month!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Apocalypse MIGHT Be Coming

Hello there,

So I'm preeeeetty sure there's a funnel cloud forming above my house as I type. At least we're in a hilly, metropolitan area (two factors that I've been told will deter an actual tornado from happening).

What an eerie evening- the sky is split- one side with dark storm clouds, thunder and rain while the other is typical Southern California blue sky and sun... AND to top it off, a coyote just ran down our sidewalk... Bear in mind that we live relatively far from any wooded areas.

Is it the apocalypse or what?

But wow- it's turning into an AMAZING sunset.

To rewind, I succumbed to eating at work last night since I didn't have any time to prepare dinner before I left. I was surprisingly able to come up with a healthy option!

spinach salad with goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, candied walnuts + salmon.

It was ah'ight...

This morning, I continued on with my workout goal and successfully completed an hour and a half yoga practice followed by 30 relatively easy minutes on the elliptical.

It felt goooooood.

I came home and put this little packet into a smoothie:

Acai berry puree (sorry, I don't know how to type the squiggly "c" in "acai..."

This packet was the unsweetened version, so I decided to solve that little problem ;) by adding a sweet fruit- strawberries. Once I put in the Vanilla Sun Warrior protein, it turned out to be quite tasty.

Also protein + antioxidant PACKED. Just the way I like it.

As I sipped on the smoothie, I busted out this little guy.

Mango = one of my top 5 favorite fruits

I'm not quite sure what's in store, but I see some sort of salmon dish in the future.

I let my little (unpictured) mix of mango, roasted red bell pepper, red onion, lime juice and chili pepper mix marinate in the fridge while I jetted off to a meeting at work where we tasted our new fall menu. Not wanting to fall prey to all the butter, potatoes and desserts that awaited me, I made sure to whip up this bowl of amazingness:

spinach, carrots, bell pepper, bartlett pear, slivered almonds and a touch of gorgonzola + whole wheat pita on the side

It turned out to be great. And it held me over while I drooled over plates of pork chops, short ribs and sweet potato/marshmallow casserole. Mmmmmm...

I'm now home, witnessing this crazy weather and relaxing. Not sure what tonight holds- maybe a salmon dish, maybe not.

I do know I got 2 AWESOME things in the mail today:

Goji Berries!!!

and THE food processor. Can't wait to give this bad boy a spin.

Catcha tomorrow with a workout update and some fun food goodies :)

****ON GOALS: Today at the gym, I got to thinking about fitness goals. I've since realized the principles that came to mind apply to pretty much any type of goal...

Whether your wish is to lose 15 pounds or run 3 miles without stopping, always keep in mind that it simply WILL NOT happen overnight. Or even in a week- if you're pursuing things in a healthy manner. If you've never been to the gym or haven't been in awhile, remind yourself that getting there is half the battle!

While I was on the elliptical machine, I started telling myself, "Gah! I should really be able to move faster or stay at this pace for longer," but then I remembered: "MADDIE! This is your third day working out after being out of it for over a year. Give yourself a break. Just be glad you're here and taking the steps necessary to get fit." (Side note: I really do have conversations in my head)

So whenever you're down because you had a not-so-great workout, bombed an audition or missed out on that promotion you were really going for, remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. The fact that you're even going to the gym, making it into the audition room or striving for a promotion is awesome enough. Keep on truckin' and I promise, eventually you'll get to where you want to be!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yeah, I was high...

Hi there, hope everyone's having a swell day...

Mine started off with this pre-gym snack:

My new whole wheat bread with almond butter and banana + an apple

Theeeen I went to spinning class... Holy mother of Jesus- it was amazing! It has been aWHILE since I've had endorphins like that flowing through my system but, let me tell you, there is [almost] nothing better!!

The instructor at the Y was super nice; she helped me adjust the bike and explained her method of teaching, since this was my first time ever in a spinning class. About halfway through, I thought I might die since I looked in the mirror and saw my face was literally the color of a fully ripened tomato. I got through the whole 50 minutes, and BOY did it pay off. It showed me, though, that I really need to work on my endurance- I love goals ;)

Post-gym car snack:

I came home and made this happen:

Inside- frozen banana, scoop of Sun Warrior protein, frozen mango chunks, a heaping handful of spinach and water. YUM


*Adding spinach to a smoothie is awesome because it's flavor is completely masked by the other fruits/ingredients in the mix. You're getting a full serving of veggies without even tasting it! Highly recommended.

After buzzing around the house getting things done on a super endorphin-induced high, I picked up Isabel and Vana for our goodbye lunch.

At Gingergrass...

One of my absolute favorite LA spots.

I had this delicious elixir:

pureed basil, soda water, lime juice with a sprig of mint + Vana in the background

It's definitely called an elixir for a reason. SO delicious and refreshing!

Onto the main course:

My dream meal- a grilled shrimp noodle bowl. It's a pasta dish (my fav), but the rice stick noodles + abounding herbs and veggies in the mix allow you to finish the entire thing without feeling like you've had too much.

All in all, a perfect meal!

With perfect company...

We then headed to the airport, said our goodbyes to Isabel and headed home.

I've got a little time to kill before work tonight, which will most likely consist of green juice-making, salad preparation and straightening up (? let's hope).

Day 2 of week-long goal= CHECK!

Tomorrow's workout plan is a 10:30 am yoga class at the Y, followed by some sort of interval cardio.

(I'm officially addicted to endorphins)

***Workout Tip: When you plan to hit 2 (or more) realms of exercise in one gym session, do the one that focuses on your main goal first. For example, if you're trying to lose weight, really get into that cardio as soon as you arrive (when you're full of unspent energy), and save the weights for later. If you're trying to stretch and tone your body, maybe do the yoga or pilates first, then relax into the cardio for dessert.

Have a great night!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Endless Sweat

Hey y'all!

Jeepers! If I thought yesterday was hot, it was NOTHING compared to today.

I'm not exaggerating this time. It was the hottest day in Los Angeles since records have been kept (sometime in the late 1800's I believe).

My poor basil plant was NOT feelin' it...

All's I can say is: thank GOD for car air conditioning. It served me well on the way to the grocery store, where I loaded up on the basics.

Silly me lost my list somewhere and, as a result, forgot one of the key ingredients for the treat I mentioned earlier today... I'll just have to make it later this week. (It probably worked out for the best, considering the *treat* requires an oven and I did not even want to THINK about turning that puppy on.

I made juice instead.

See how hot I am?! (and by hot, I mean disgustingly SWEATY)

While I DID forget the key ingredient, I was ecstatic to find this after my morning rant on enriched flour:

Whole wheat flour... Bam! First ingredient on the list- nothing enriched in sight. You can always count on Trader Joe's :)

Pre-acting class dinner was delish.

A healthy pizza made with whole wheat naan, olive tapenade, fresh basil, light mozzarella and vine ripened tomatoes. hel-LO

The side salad was cucumber, red bell pepper and tomatoes tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum.

Well, I'm off to watch Boardwalk Empire with my love, eat some yogurt and get some sleep.

Day 2 of my week-long goal starts tomorrow: cycling class at 10am. Sweet!

G'nite :)

**Thoughts on acting**

In class tonight, we had a casting director come in to see our work. During the Q & A afterward, he stressed the importance of developing your craft and technique before even THINKING about putting yourself on the job market. It was such a refresher to hear someone in the industry speak about his appreciation of the craft. Goes to show: when you put relentless effort into becoming the best at what you love, you WILL succeed. No matter what the naysayers think.


Happy Monday, everybody!

Here's hoping for a brilliant and productive week for all :)

Mine started out with a pre-yoga snack:

Half a whole wheat English muffin (more on that in a second) with a schmear of almond butter + a baby apple.

And of course, an iced coffee...

I drove over to Hollywood to scoop up my great pal Mindy and together we headed to Runyon Canyon for a free outdoor yoga class.

I'd never done yoga outside, but let me tell you, it was one of the most freeing, magical exercise experiences I've ever had. Despite the beating sun (thank God for shade) and uneven ground (what doesn't tip you over makes you stronger I say), it was absolutely beautiful to practice yoga while inhaling so many natural aromas- grass, flowers, dust- and listening to the sounds around us- birds, the wind, happy people prepping for hikes.

Two things I love: stretching my body and being outside... making this the perfect form of exercise pour moi.

Mindy and I plan on making this a weekly Monday ritual. It's such a fab way to start out the week.

I came home and blended up this little gem:

(frozen banana chunks, the last of my frozen berries and cherries mix, scoop of Sun Warrior protein, water and almond milk)

About that earlier pictured whole wheat english muffin...

In my last nutrition class, we touched on a concept in the health food world known as "the whole grain truth." It basically calls into question many of the big bread company's labels that describe their products as "whole wheat" or "whole grain." While many of these companies claim to sell healthy products, after checking the facts, you'd be shocked to see that they're usually stretching the truth a tad too far for comfort, and your health.

Curious, I looked at my package of English muffins, claiming to be "Double Fiber" and "made with whole grain."

Low and behold, the first ingredient listed is "unbleached enriched wheat flour!"

Two things to take from this observatioin:
  1. When looking at the ingredients listed on any food packaging, they are always listed in order from highest volume ingredient on down, meaning my English muffins contain mostly ENRICHED wheat flour.
  2. As I've said before, WHOLE, UNPROCESSED FOOD is the way to go- any sort of "enriched flour" does not fit into this category. Be it unbleached or white, enriched flour is made by extracting the natural health benefit-containers in whole wheat (bran and germ) and "enriching" the new product with so-called essential vitamins and minerals to make up for the loss. By doing this, the food companies are prolonging their product's shelf life and "upping" the nutritional value in name and label only.
For a more detailed description of the effects and production of enriched flours, check out this article.

Moral of the story: Don't fall prey to big food companies decorating their packaging with promising health claims! On your next trip to the grocery store, check out the ingredient lists and look for bread products with whole wheat, whole grain or whole oats listed as ingredient NUMERO UNO.

Ok, I've officially stepped off the soap box... For now ;)

I'm off to shower, work on my scene for class tonight, head to the grocery store and make a little treat for the week (to be revealed later).

Enjoy your afternoon :)

Mantra: Take action!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Muy Calor

Greetings, friends!

Sorry to be posting so late- I JUST got home from work.

Today = A. Complete. Scorcher.

I know that sounds lame coming from a Carolina girl, but seriously: today was the hottest day I've experienced in California yet.

The heat didn't stop us from havin' some MAJOR fun, though.

Before I left, I packed a little snacky snack:

Then picked up my old friends (and fellow Carolina girls), Isabel and Vana, and headed to Melrose.

Stopped for a pre-flea market cocktail + great conversation...

Then made our way to the Melrose Trading Post.

I get so overwhelmed every time I go.

There's a little bit of everything.

I got out with spending only $10! (Gold star for me) I think it's in part because it was so darn hot, I didn't feel like walking back to the vendors that caught my attention on the initial "once-over walkthrough".

As we were walking back to the car, Isabel mentioned ice cream. This is when the angel and devil on my respective shoulders came out to play... In the end, the devil won and I ended up back at MILK for the second time this weekend.



(I somehow go into a smiling catatonic state when presented with such potential deliciousness)

Oh Lord, there are no words except "I'll be laying off this ice cream for awhile."

The mint milkshake was admittedly AH-MAZING going down, but about an hour later, I had an uncomfortable sugar overload feeling, followed by a disconcerting headache.

Next time I get the ice cream urge, I think I'll just come home and make a HEALTHY parfait or smoothie.

After dropping the lovely ladies off, I rushed home to hurriedly prepare dinner to eat at work.

Gargantuan salad:

(spinach, beets, bell pepper, goat cheese, carrots, hummus aka "the rest of the veggies in the fridge in order to make room for new groceries tomorrow")

+ some raspberries


...Onto my goal for the week:

As you've probably gathered, this blog revolves around the pursuit of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Well, no healthy lifestyle is complete without regular exercise.

I'm an active person. I'll walk somewhere over drive whenever I have the chance and I lift some super heavy plates at work, but it's time I take my "fitness regime" to the next level. If you read Who I Am, you'll see I've had several run-ins with the gym throughout my young adult life.

Tomorrow marks the turning over of a new leaf, folks. I'm making fitness and exercise a priority again, and this time it's for good.

Goal: do some form of REAL exercise (be it gym sesh, yoga class or hike) at least 5 times this week.

Here we go...

Stay tuned to see how this pans out.

Now I'm off to get some much-needed zzzzz's before my yoga class in the am.

Sweet dreams xxxx

See Beauty Everywhere

Helloooo Sundayyyyy!

I've been up for 4 hours already- who'd'a thunk it? More on that later.

To back up to the last time we spoke. (yes, we spoke... virtually ;)

I had that green juice I mentioned.

Alex watched a little football while I read some cookbooks and ordered a FOOD PROCESSOR from Amazon. I've been debating dropping the dough for one for awhile now, but finally decided it'd be a wise investment. OH the possibilities! Get ready for loads of food processor action in the coming weeks- YAY!!

We then got our butts off the couch and went for a LONG walk in our lovely neighborhood.

Gah, it was so hot. Where was this heat all summer?

It's such a great stroll to the resevoir...

Tons of little independent boutiques and THIS coffee shop:

I love the bench sign.

This walk further proved to me how important and special the little things are in life. I've driven up and down this road dozens of times, but never noticed just how many great shops, houses and flowers lined the street.

Word of advice? Take a long walk in your neighborhood and make a point to see something you've never noticed before. It'll brighten your day, and slow you down!

We came home to a disappointing couple of hours of Gamecock football.

GEEZ! As soon as I start to have some real pride in my college team, they gotta let me down :(

Ah well, life goes on.

Later that night, Alex and I went back to Hollywood to catch a film at the second night of his friend's festival then, since we hadn't had dinner, made a pit stop at Aroma Bakery on Sunset where I (mostly against my will) ate these:

Avacado rolls.

The guac mix in the middle was fine, but the dough surrounding it was a little greasy for my taste.

I sucked down an unpictured soy mocha to give me the boost I needed to stay awake to see CAROLINE, a great friend of mine who rolled into town this morning close to 3am. Since she had to leave again by 10am, we arose at 8 to grab some breakfast and enjoy a brief catch-up session. (Hence the reason I've been up for so long already on a Sunday)

Golly, it was so good to see her :)

I had a yurm b-fast:

3 egg whites, a croissant and fruit + iced coffee.

We came back to the house briefly so's she could meet my love, then she breezed out of town almost as quickly as she arrived. Short and oh-so-sweet.

Now I'm off to see another friend I haven't seen in years. I think we're going to hit one of my favorite flea markets.

I'll be back here later with more details on that AND my big goal for the week :)

See you then! xox