Guest Post – Jules! (my sister)

Hello! I’m Jules, Maggie’s sister. I’ve been a vegan for about six months, after being vegetarian for six years. I’m not going to talk about that, though. (I just thought I should mention it since this blog is mostly food-related.) I’m going to talk about running. I run about two miles every other day. That’s probably not a lot, but it feels like a lot to me. 

I always thought I hated running. It was boring, it was tedious, and it was tiring. I actually did track for a little bit, though. I was on a track team in seventh grade, and again in ninth. I did it of my own free will in seventh grade; freshman year I had to meet a sports requirement for school. While on both of those teams, I still hated running. I didn’t like the team warm-ups, and I wasn’t particularly good at any event. The team warm-ups were awful freshman year, because I was incredibly slow and everyone else was always in front of me. In seventh grade, I just got bored. Running just seemed like a big waste of time to me. There were so many other things I could do.

But this year, I decided to plan a hiking trip with my dad. Then I realized I was totally out of shape. I ate healthy food, but I never exercised. I knew I had to do something to get in shape if I wanted to go hiking for a week, and running was pretty much the only option. I decided to just grit my teeth and do it. I planned on running on my two-mile long road. The first and second day, I stopped about every half mile. The third or fourth day, I managed to do an entire mile without stopping. Then, a few days after that, I managed to run the entire two miles! I felt so accomplished 🙂 And I noticed that the more I thought about stopping, the harder it was to keep going. But the more I just thought about nothing, or let my thoughts wander, it was so much easier. That was my first running epiphany.

The second one happened after I was looking for my iPod. It had been lost for a long time, but for some reason I really, really wanted to listen to it while I ran. I got myself into a horrible mood looking for it, and I told myself I wouldn’t be happy until I found my iPod. I decided to run without it, and while I was running, all my anger disappeared. I was amazed. And when I got back, I was in one of the best moods ever. I never thought running would make me happy.

So, try running. Or any exercise you’ve always thought you hated. You might be surprised!

Jillian rocks, cruise prep, stories & battles

1 day until cruise!


This is actually a lie… we leave tomorrow for LA, but the cruise doesn’t leave until Friday.  Ha! I tricked you.

To do:

  • register with Carnival (thanks Bobby!)
  • clean the bathroom
  • clean the kitchen
  • vacuum
  • laundry
  • mani/pedi
  • cat stuff
  • packing
  • other random things!

Onto more serious talk.  I have been listening to a bunch of Jillian Michaels podcasts recently.  (Find them in iTunes by searching KFI AM – they’re under the “Sunday” program.  Or you might be able to find them HERE.)  I know some people don’t like Jillian, but I adore her.  I love her Shred workouts, I love her on the Biggest Loser, and now I love her podcasts.  She’s real and honest and kicks major butt.


In the podcast I’m listening to today (12/7/2008), she’s talking about a contestant on the Biggest Loser and the things that are holding him back.  She asks the contestant, “what do you want?” and he responds, “I just want to win this battle within me.”

I really liked what Jillian had to say next.  She says, “What battle are you talking about?  You’re not a character in your own movie, fighting evil.  What battle??”

She goes on to talk about how we create these “battles” for ourselves, and we create so much drama and hostility.  We create these stories for ourselves in which we’re fighting such terrible battles… when the truth of the matter is this: there is no battle.  Maybe we have hard days – counting calories, exercising, trying to eat enough, trying not to eat too much – but it doesn’t have to be a battle.

We create so much mental drama about how we are fragile, or not good enough.  It all boils down to this – the Ego is creating a story for us to get absorbed in and hold us back.  Let’s lose the story and stop thinking so much.

The reason I haven’t been commenting as much the last few days is because I’m taking her advice. For the past few days I just haven’t cared about obsessing.  I have to thank that *new friend* that I mentioned yesterday for most of this.  It is so good to just have someone to talk to.  When I listened to Jillian’s podcast today it really hit home: what she said confirmed a lot of what I’ve been thinking the last few days.

What are your thoughts on this?  Am I simplifying it too much?  As recently as a week ago I might have said that these are real struggles and real battles and we need to glorify them… but I’m not so sure anymore.

I’m hoping I’ll keep feeling like this for the rest of the week, and on the cruise.  It’s kind of liberating.  I really need to get on that to-do list now…

For any readers near Portland, Maine – check out this post at Becoming Whole.  Dr. John Herzog is conducting a study on plant-based diets following his interest in The China Study.  He’s looking for participants and it sounds like a great opportunity.

Cruise prep – 2 days!

2 days until the cruise!


(John Mayer‘s Room for Squares reminds me of high school.  Actually, so does Guster.  Guster is my all-time favorite band and I discovered them way back when I was… a freshman I think?  2000 was a long time ago.)

Done so far:


  • haircut: just a trim, but it looks a lot better now.  I never really talked about it on the blog but I was incredibly unhappy with my last haircut; it was way too short – boy short – and I was pretty upset about it.  It’s grown out a lot since October, but it’s still much shorter than I would like – but I desperately needed to fix the ends.  Lesson learned.  This time I found a great new hairdresser.  Her name is Heleen and she works at Z Salon in Santa Clara, CA (by Valley Fair Mall).  She commented on how thick my hair is – they always do!  It doesn’t look that thick when it’s short, but once they start working on it they always realize that it takes 1.5 hours to cut my hair.
  • random errands – getting cat food, cashing checks, buying toiletries
  • some cleaning (mostly organizing the kitchen)
  • talking with a new friend 🙂


To-do list:

  • mani/pedi – tomorrow night
  • packing (yikes!)
  • finish cleaning the house (we’re having a friend come to take care of Couscous the cat, and I am a total nerd about having a spotless house when people come over)
  • laundry – clothes and linens – tomorrow night
  • haircut for Bobby (I’m going to try to get him an appointment with Heleen on Thursday morning)

Random yummy salad:


  • shredded cabbage & leek base, cantaloupe, mushrooms, tomatoes, kohlrabi with salt (love! – thanks for the rec Dad!), and kabocha
  • also added – Newman’s Own lowfat sesame ginger & a scoop of olive hummus
  • (served with chewy pitas and peanut butter – I’m addicted.  I think I need to take a small break from these guys.)

What’s your favorite band?  Have you ever been on a cruise?  Do you have any cruise suggestions for me?  We’re going to Cabo, Mexico – anything in particular I should do?

Planet Friendly Beauty Products – Pangea Organics

One of my favorite new stores (new to me) is prAna in the Valley Fair Mall.  It’s a yoga clothing store, but they also have mats, DVDs, books, CDs, and body care products.  I even bought a couple sets of wooden cutlery a few weeks back.  From the website:


“We’re always looking for new ways to fold sustainable materials and practices into our collection, working to reduce the impact on soils, water supplies and other natural resources.”

So I knew I had to try their body products (on sale of course – 75% off – I would not pay the full price on these things!).  The company that makes these products is called Pangea Organics.  Their motto:


“Ecocentric bodycare.  Always beneficial.  Never artificial.”

Bobby and I have been using their shower gels for the last month or so.  I like the fragrances – they are strong in the shower and make it smell awesome, but once you get out and dried, it’s much more subtle.  (Original price – $16/bottle.)


I like the “Malagasy Ylang Ylang & Linden Flower” scent.  I also tried the “Italian White Sage with Geranium & Yarrow” but it was a little odd.

I’ve also been using their facial scrub – “Egyptian Geranium with Adzuki Bean & Cranberry”.


This is fantastic.  The scrubbies are gentle but effective and it smells divine. (Original price – $32/bottle.)

I have also been using their toner (for oil-rich to demanding skin) – “Argentinean Tangerine & Thyme”.


It’s gentle, yet effective.  Another win!  They also have options for balanced & combo skin, as well as thirsty skin.  (Original price – $26/bottle.)

AND, lastly, I’ve been digging their chapstick – “Egyptian Fennel with Grapefruit & Sweet Orange”.


This is so smooth and soothing when it goes on your lips.  I need to get more soon.  (Original price – $12/bottle.)

Have you tried Pangea Organics?  What’s your favorite brand of beauty products?

Menu Plan Monday (vegetarian/vegan/macrobiotic)

4 days until the cruise!

This week’s menu planning was easy – we’re going on a cruise that begins Friday, and we’re heading to LA on Thursday.  I forgot that vacationing means using up produce, so I have to eat about a bajillion pounds of fruit this week.


Menu for the Week of March 22 – March 28


dinner – okonomiyaki (Japanese fritatta – eggs, cabbage, leeks mainly)

dessert“carb watch” pitas with peanut butter OR fruit


dinner – sweet & sour stir-fry to use up veggies & kabocha

dessert – fruit!


dinner – sushi (probably?) with a former roommate & Bobby

dessert – fruit!


dinner – either eating out or using up veggies in a stir-fry, depending on what is left

dessert – fruit!


dinner & dessert – restaurant in LA (to be determined)

Friday & Saturday – cruise food!

Lunches – pitas, peanut butter, kabocha, lots of veggies, & hummus

Breakfasts – miso soup, oats, pitas, fruit (so much to use up!), leftover okonomiyaki