Starting My Fitness Journey…Over Again

It’s a painful journey, this.  It’s hardcore enough when you take it on the first time, but after bum knees have forced you to sit on the sidelines for 5 months?  Getting your fitness groove back on is hard.  Especially when you were getting really good pre-injury, and you remember how easily all these exercises used to come to you, before you stopped doing them all…it’s really enough to make you cry.


But “re-fitting” myself needs to be done, sometime.  And “now” is always the best time to start those sometime-things.

SO.  Because I like to plan things and because I like nice, neat little starting dates for all my antics, a while back I designated May to be the month of getting my badassery back.  Selfishness aside, I want to look awesome in my Carnegie Hall dress at the end of the month.  I want to look okay in my swimsuit during my Costa Rica vacation (!!) in June.  I want to put in some good, hard, sweaty work I can be proud of–I have missed exercise SO MUCH.

In terms of exercise, I’d like to take my own advice and start following some of the tips in this post for working out with my knee issues.  And putting into practice some of the moves from The Bum Knee Workout.  I LOVE cardio, so it’s harder for me to work up the chutzpah to bust out a strength-training-session, but that needs to happen more often as well.  I want to move more on a daily basis–this will include the more simple stuff like pacing during a phone call, taking a stroll outside with free time rather than surfing the glorious YouTube, indulging in little childhood things (like hopscotch and swinging and jumping rope and trampolining–because Spring has finally, finally hit here!).  You know, as opposed to living on the internet.  Though that’s fun, and by no means am I abandoning the blogosphere for any length of time.

I also want to make really-super-extra-sure I continue my physical therapy and put my focus into it, rather than just zoning and rotely doing leg-lifts.  Though it keeps being pushed back, the tentative date for a running assessment and a reintroduction into the world of human propulsion is about 3 weeks from now.

And, of course…

This apple has little apple abs. It’s “hard”-“core” 😉 Get it..?

This graphic is from an older post on Sprint2theTable…yes, it’s older, but it’s exactly what I need right now.  Healthy eating and regular exercising often go hand in hand for me–if I’m not consistently working out, for some whacked reason it makes more sense for me to overindulge and lounge around on the laptop popping dark chocolate into my mouth by the bar.  (Somehow I’m not obese…)  As I work to redefine my body, I also want to clear up my diet; for me, this will mean changes including:

  • amp up vegetable levels!

Yeah, I’m a vegetarian.  Yeah, I eat reasonably healthy.  But yeah, I NEED to bump up my veggie consumption!  Come on, TGITO…girl cannot thrive on only one serving of the green stuff a day.  I want to broaden my vegetable horizons, eat more salads (it’s summer now; yay! farmer’s market here I come!), and cook more veggie-centric dishes.  I want to play with variety and spices.

  • no (processed) sugar except for weekly cheat

This is important for me, since I know that personally once I have some sugar it is all too easy to just stick my face in a bag of C&H and just snort the stuff.  (Erm…not really…)  Point is, it’s a slippery slope.  I just want to make a point to avoid empty calories in my diet, that don’t really enrich my life beyond the taste experience.

  • replace refined grains w/ whole

‘Nuff said.  Bye-bye, pasta, white tortillas, baguettes.

  • reduce grain consumption overall

I’d like to experiment with eating more on the paleo side (haha…paleo vegetarian, haha…); macronutrient-wise, at any rate.  I want to see how I perform, feel, and look on a diet that’s higher in protein and fat; I’d like to gain muscle, and I feel like I listen to my natural satiety cues better with proteins and fats.  Carbs are all too easy to overeat!

  • weekly meal prep so no “emergency” disasters

THIS is the BIGGIE, folks!  I always tell myself I will get my week of meals prepped out on Sunday, and it is never so!  Really, I’d like to develop a system that I actually carry out that would enable me a whole-grain source, lots of chopped-up veggies, some prepared protein sources, and some homemade frozen meals (e.g. soups, rice/quinoa dishes and the like) for when the time crunch gets really dastardly.  I’m drawing my inspiration from here and here and fixin’ up a Pinterest board for weekly recipes and tips as well.

Grab button for TGITO

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<a href= rel=nofollow>
<img src= alt=May Shapeup width=400 height=300 />

Behold, the official “May Shapeup” Button!  ^^I am becoming a veritable HTML coding master. 😉 I’ll be Instagramming and Pinning my way through my moves and meals this month–if you’d like to join in, use the hashtag #mayshapeup on pins, instagrams, and tweets, and link up any “proof” posts with the button!

Monthly Recap: March 2013

March is always an exciting month.  Firstly, THIS year, it marks the 2-year anniversary of the month I went vegetarian! (Can’t remember the exact date…)  Without that fateful decision, I have no doubt that this blog would not EXIST right now…so that’s special.  🙂  Along with vegeversary, March contains Pi Day, the end of the second school trimester (accchhhh school year is almost over!), Pi Day, LOTS of birthdays in my social circles (I’m broke, folks), Pi Day, and, of course, that tantalizing prospect of Spring Break just…barely…out of reach.

March didn’t really “fly by” for me either, in stark contrast to what ALL MY OTHER monthly recaps tend to begin with.  Maybe because I’m not running..?  Anyway, while it was sort of a drawling month, I DID get a lot accomplished!  I finally started Physical Therapy, actually did something in the way of recipe developing, memorized 433 digits of pi, HAD MY KNEES DIAGNOSED, and, oh, yeah, WON A NATIONAL AWARD FOR MY POETRY and GOT SUPER PSYCHED FOR MY NYC TRIP TO RECEIVE IT COME MAY30th.  It was pretty exciting month, overall, for this girl and her future..!

Enough jabber.  I know no one reads the above overarching list anyway.  Onto the gist of things:

One month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…



Cream of Quinoa 046

Things were no less exciting in the eats department!  In addition to the new breakfast recipes (of course I’m going to start blabbing about this again…I’m just so dang tickled with myself!) added to the Recipes page this month, I certainly got creative with some snacks…

Exhibit A.  The above is a bowl of sweet cereal mixed with salty cheddar cheese…what can I say?  It was late at night, I was deep into a history-induced hysteric haze…and I was having a MAJOR sweet and salty craving!  And CHEESE!  I wanted CHEESE!  Somehow I figured sugar would be helpful to my homework efforts as well……like I said, it was late.  That snackage happened and it was a dynamite combination!  I now have a theory that one simply CANNOT go wrong with a sweet/salty combination…carrots and peanut butter, sweet potatoes and almond butter, pie, french fries and ice cream, CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER, and now cereal and cheese…I can sense unlimited possibilities here.  Has anyone out there ever enjoyed other “unconventional” sweet and salty combinations? 🙂



Ah, another memorable meal: salad beast.  Romaine lettuce, TJ’s broccoli slaw, peppers, shredded cheddar, TJ’s “chicken-less strips” and Italian vinaigrette…inhaled immediately after a one-hour strength training session.  Man, you know a workout was good when your arms are shaking too much to hold the camera steady for dinner photos! 🙂



The above breakfast photos were really my favorites; there was this one as well


which is okay, but my perfectionistic tendencies find fault with it.  I won’t tell you what it is, just in case you don’t see it yet!  But yes, it bothers me.

Mother Dearest also remarked “this is pretty!” upon seeing this new daffodil photo, so I had to include it again.

DSCN1111Success!  Parental approval!  Blogging is slowly redeeming itself as a profitable hobby in their eyes…

…things that made me smile:

I have a friend with synesthesia who this month told me that my name, and my voice, are like a bright orange streak.

*pauses for emphasis*

*pauses for emphasis*

*still pausing for EXTRA emphasis*


Have you processed it yet, guys??  I AM A BRIGHT ORANGE STREAK.

I mean, seriously.  This is like my dream. 🙂

On a more whimsical note, physical therapy has taken a weird but humorous note–have you heard of therapeutic ultrasounds?


They’re quite relaxing. 😉  Also, there’s jelly on my knee.  There’s JELLYON my KNEE.  Also, there’s jelly on my knee.  Something about this… I just couldn’t stop giggling all through my last session.

Positive Poetry Project Entry #6

In response to the prompt:

It was all yellow.
Colors have always been linked to emotions. Take one color and write down every emotion you associate with that color. Then, branch out. Write down people and positions, locations, objects, weather–anything at all that you associate with that color. The relationship doesn’t have to be logical; it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you.Write a poem or short story incorporating a few of the objects and feelings that you’ve listed. Incorporate the original, inspirational cover as frequently or infrequently as you like.
Hmm, I wonder what color I’m going to choose.  😉

sweet sticky syrup sliding to the back of your throat

drinking in life


silly sunny summer days and even





(they’re imported from South America, you know)


passion and heat and

perfectly circular cockatiel cheeks and


for once

journal entries

self-pep-talks, delicately toeing a new lifeline


discovering how to be The Girl in the




Wow…that took me, um, thirty seconds.  Fastest entry yet.

I realize many of these entries aren’t Awesome poems (or, at least, they’re not quite up to my standard of “Oh, I really love that one”), BUT, at least I’m not talking about death and depression all the time. 🙂


Thematic Disloyalty

Just a little heads-up–you’re going to be seeing some changes here on TGITO!

As you may have already noticed, if you’re viewing this post live, I’ve played majorly with the design of the blog in an effort to make it look more awesome, more orange, more professional, and more me.  (I’ve certainly succeeded with the orange part, hmm?) 😉  And the design may change majorly in other ways over the course of the week–or I may go back to the original design.  I was just getting to a point where I felt like the “old” design looked really…bad.

But since I am a sentimental person, for some reason I am harboring feelings of self-betrayal by doing this.  For reasons unknown, I feel like I just led Yoko (my old design) on for six months and then left it with my child.  (Or maybe I’ve been watching too much Les Mis…)  Changing my site all around feels majorly disloyal and offensive to Yoko–the trusting, hardworking design of the past, only to be replaced by some shiny, fancy new popular design…

I apologize, Yoko.  (But—thoughts on the new layout, anyone?)

Monthly Recap: November 2012

I’ve noticed that all of my monthly recaps up to this point start off with something along the lines of “Aaaacch!  How is it already (insert new month here)?!”  I should think of some way to change it up, but I’m not going to.  The passing of time is utterly baffling to me this year.  I suspect it has something to do with getting older.  As a wee young sprite, I started looking forward to December before summer vacation was even over; October, with its promise of a sugar binge in its final day, absolutely drawled; November was a stupid extraneous month that lengthened the time between Halloween, my birthday, and the rest of the December holidays.  (I was never really big on Thanksgiving except for the annual marshmallow fluff and strawberry jello ‘salad’.  Until this year, when I got REALLY into the Thanksgiving spirit.)

And now…here we are.  Poof, December!  It has long been my favorite month, though I must admit it’s losing a bit of its touch when we fail to have snow on the ground when it rolls around.  (Remember the snow photos in my last post?  Those were taken in MARCH, people, MARCH!)  I’m looking forward to the season of giving, endless mugs of hot cocoa, the first snowfall of the year (please please please please PLEASE), and my birthday.  It’s on the 10th, people.  Cough, cough.

So, over the course of November, I ran my first 5k and began training for me second one, began working on my bird training project in earnest, was sooo close to completing 100k words on my novel, was given the opportunity to (kind of) meet with a literary agency, almost swore when I realized the holidays were less than a month away and my wallet cotnained exactly $40 (man, I used to plan out Christmas presents starting in September!), ate some highly delicious food and made some epiphanies in kitchen, started developing my first two “real” recipes, and sustained my first running injury.  November hit me hard.

One month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…


The Fitnessista breakfast cookie.  Need I say more?  I’d wanted to make it for a loooong time, but didn’t have any protein powder, which I thought was imperative.  Thanks to a quick internet search that revealed Mama’s Weeds‘ tips, I’ve made it twice already.  Once for dinner.  It’s that good.  Don’t skip out on the cocoa powder, unless you’re going to try to photograph it.  It’s not pretty.

Brown food doesn't photograph well, especially when you don't want to take the time to even put it on a pretty plate or clear your placemat of crumbs.  But it's dang delicious.

But it’s dang delicious.

And lentil flatbread from The Forgotten Beast.

You can make BREAD out of lentils??  Mind=blown.  Since I’ve been running and strength training a lot more lately (well, not lately, since I’ve still got my bum knee), I’ve been consciously trying to incorporate more protein into my veg diet; it also helps stave off late-night snacking sessions that turn into second dinners.  (Let’s thaw a stack of frozen pancakes and eat it at 9 PM!  That’ll be a great idea!  No.)

Mine…doesn’t look like bread.


Shhh…I massacre every flatbread I try to make.  It’s not flatbread, but it IS mighty yummy–I’ve been crumbling this up and tossing it in salads and sandwiches.

I think I’ll do better on the whole flatbread thing the next go-round, when I understand the concept better.  There WILL be a next go-round!

Delicious things I didn’t manage to get a picture of include a tortoise-shaped cake from a local bakery (amazing detail, and the frosting is to die for!, even though usually I’m not a frosting type of gal), and a great lunch yesterday at a local Asian vegetarian restaurant.  BEST. PEANUT SAUCE.  EVER.  I could eat it by the spoonful–I did eat it by the spoonful!  Possibly even more memorable was the fact that I actually managed to drag Daddio along to the restaurant this time.  He’s a full-blooded backwoods steak-n’-potaters dad; I love him, but he was quite apprehensive to try tofu.  In the end, he worked up the nerve to try the deep-fried tofu and pronounced it “not bad…”!!  Baby steps. 😉

Thanksgiving leftovers rocked the world, as always.  Best part of the whole holiday.  At least in compensation for your stressful laboring the day before, you have an unlimited feast waiting for you in the fridge for the rest of the week.

Leftover green salad with romaine, spinach, kale, chard, sunflower seeds, feta, green beans, balsamic vinaigrette and a homemade garlic knot!  Complicated salads make me happy!

Leftover green salad with romaine, spinach, kale, chard, sunflower seeds, feta, green beans, balsamic vinaigrette and a homemade garlic knot! Complicated salads make me happy!

Elsewhere in the food life of The Girl in the Orange…


Apple Nut-Butter Baked Oatmeal!  (And next, Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal!)  Stay tuned! 🙂


I didn’t really do so hot on food photography this month; there was a lot of SHTUFF going on.  So, bear with me, as I share three photos, two of which you’ve already seen before.


PBF’s Vanilla Pecan Baked Oatmeal.  This is probably about the fifth time I’ve mentioned it.  I’m sorry, it just blew my mind.  Delicious, pretty healthy, pretty
Hummus Pasta 015 picmonkey

Mah very own hummus pasta!  Noodles are endlessly forgiving subjects! 🙂

pre-5k 049And an “action shot” of peanut butter pancakes the morning of my first 5k.  I like this picture.  I don’t know why; it doesn’t follow any of the “rules of aesthetics”.  There’s too much white space and some of it is out of focus, but…I like it.  It makes me hungry.

…things that made me smile:

Oh, there’s so many.  Finding an in to a literary agency.  Finishing my 5k in my goal of under 28:00 (my next one will have a fancy-schmancy chip timer!).  Reading people’s responses to my unseemly word count predicament.  Watching my dad try to corral noodles into a takeout box with chopsticks yesterday.  🙂  Ah, sweet reminiscence.

Where have I disappeared to…NOW??!!

It’s this queer place, people.

You might have heard of it before.

It’s fun between classes and occasionally entertaining during the classes themselves.  Everyone lives for lunch period.  Us teens laugh and goof off and some of the time we actually pay attention.  Shocking, I know.  You better believe it, though.

‘Cuz if we didn’t pay attention, we would be so much more lost hysteric tearful utterly baffled confused when we got around to fending off this (and the amount seems to increase exponentially).

It’s called private school.

Earlier this week (Tuesday–how does it seem as far away as it does?), I bemoaned the loss of the season in my journal:

“Yesterday was the last example of an ‘average summer day’ I’ll get this year.  I got up, complained about how it was too hot to run, blogged, wrote, cooked, ate, and just generally wasted a lot of time.

And I realized that, as much as I live for September and all that it brings, I’m going to miss this kind of leisure so much.”

I was so right.  I’m kicking my summer self now.  Why didn’t I get more done when I didn’t have five hours of homework a night?  Why didn’t I spend more time enjoying what I had while I had it?

Us humans and our cliche psychological tendencies.  But I suppose I’m just wasting time pondering all the coulda-shoulda-wouldas of summer, because everyone has them. Everyone is pretty puzzled by them and how they manage to appear every school year, even when the second school got out we sat down and MADE A LIST of things we wanted to get done with our time drain of a vacation:

Anyway, I am pleased to report that after writing that in my journal, I did stop and slow down (after my run, of course) and just let myself enjoy it.  The peace, the lack of a ever-running-annoying-pop playlist in my head, the increase in the amount of time spent with a bird on my shoulder.  That last day of summer went down smooth and easy and I felt refreshed and PSYCHED to hit the halls the next day.

Fall brings lots of nice things.  Among them beautiful orange leaves blanketing the bike ride to school:

and orange oatmeal.  PUMPKIN, people!  Yeah, it came from a can…but I can now justify eating orange goop for breakfast every single morning, ‘cuz it’s Fall now.  It is Fall and the world is orange.  I’m in a pretty good mood lately.

But all these wonderful tangerine tinges are not without their downside, and it is with a heavy heart that I must give you all the heads-up; I’m not going to be posting as often as I did in summer.  My blogging will probably pick up as I figure out once again how to budget all my time (private school does not believe in easing you slowly into the homework load, no sir-ee), but I’m going to shoot for a Deep Thought of the Week and one other post consisting of my usual food/photography/writing and poetry shtuff.  Wordless Wednesday is just not as feasible right now as it once was (it’s not very practical to take my camera everywhere…), but I still love that segment and will probably pick it back up at some point.  Posts will most likely occur on the weekend.

I am not giving up on The Girl in the Orange after one month.  I love her too much.  She’s good for me–she’s sassy, she’s smart, she makes me happy, she’s confident in her weird hobbies that aren’t too “cool”, per se.  But I’m going to work on being her in real life now, not so much behind a laptop screen.

And the excitement builds…

I’m literally smiling as I type this, because I can’t suppress it.

That’s such an amazing feeling, to be smiling for sheer joy and for the inability to be able to squash it down.  Despite the lazy fog clinging to every treetop outside my window, despite the insistent, weary drizzle that has been collecting on my windowsill since 9 o’ clock last night, I am ecstatic.  Everything outside my room is quiet, reluctantly submitting to the contemplative plodding pace of autumn, but I feel more alive than I have in a year.  Possibly two.   I’ve been feeling like this a lot lately, and I’m not complaining.  I’m sure the people around me aren’t either; while I am getting some quizzical stares, it’s much more pleasant to be in a room with a seemingly-off-her-rocker beaming girl than it is to have to suffer in the presence of someone who is disgusted with life.

Isn’t it?

I’ve certainly been the latter on many occasions, but not as of late, or even this summer.  It has been a happy time.  This week in particular holds many exciting events for me and, as a result, I’m beaming fit to chafe my cheeks on the outside of my braces.

Firstly, I’ve been asked to perform a poem of mine, “Sweet, sweet adolescence” (the title is sarcastic) at a parent orientation event at my school.  All told, it’s not the hugest accomplishment, but it feels like it.  I haven’t bothered with poetry much over the summer–it seems like my emotions are running higher during the school year and I can produce more thoughtful stuff–but hopefully this will start to ease me back into it.  I’m pretty sure this will feel something like a warmup before a long run, reminding my “poetry muscles” what it feels like to start moving again, propelling me forward.  My hope is that it will act as a springboard for the future insightful poetry I’ll churn out during this year (knock on wood).  Very exciting.

And, of course, the day after my performance will be the day of The Haircut That Will Change Everything.  Oh yes, I have grand plans for this haircut.  Never before, except when it was growing for the first time, have I had hair shorter than my jaw.  Chopping it all off, all of it, every single strand that’s been with me my entire life, promises to be liberating and empowering.  It probably won’t seem as drastic to any of my friends as it will to me, but, trust me, this is all I’ve been thinking about for the past week month summer.  My personality has changed so much within the past six months or so that I need my hair to keep up with it.  (That sounds ridiculous…does anyone know what I mean?  It’s like my current hair is the hair of the “old me” and I am excited for new hair for “new me”…you still don’t get it, do you?)  This Friday, at 5′ o clock, will mark my official transformation into The Girl In The Orange, someone who has been trying desperately to poke her head out for the past year; but I’ve been squashing her down.  I send my deepest apologies to her, because it was such a stupid thing to do.  Who cares if other people don’t like her?  She’s spunky.  She’s awesome.  She’s fun, she’s excited, she’s optimistic, she’s amusing.  She’s me.  Of course people will like her. 😉  Hopefully she won’t have any hard feelings when I finally set her free this Friday.

So, friends, share in my joy and say sayonara to a rear view of a massive brown curtain of extremely thick hair.  Because, unless you come see me perform, you won’t be seeing it any longah. 🙂

Here’s to a good week!

Why “The Girl In the Orange”?

For those of you who know me, and even for those that don’t, I felt like an explanation (or at least a little background) of my blog title was in order.  (And for the record, before I started this blog I had no idea that The Girl In the Orange Dress was a book, or that The Girl In the Orange Sweater was a song.)

So, why did I call it “The Girl In the Orange”?

1.  I like to stand out.  And I’m not shy about the fact that I like to stand out…because I like to stand out.  And shyness would be counterproductive to that goal.  You don’t see a lot of people who are confident enough to wear orange, unless they’re really diehard Broncos or Giants fans.  It is a sad fact of life that orange tends to be unflattering on most all skin tones.  Including mine.  But I don’t mind.  I love the fact that wearing orange allows to me distinguish myself from the crowd in some way–after all, no one ever says, “Wow–look at the girl in the beige!”  Or if they do, I don’t hear it very often.

2.  I simply like orange.  My obsession with all things citrusy began about four months before moving, and now I even have a bird named Citrus.  The walls of my bedroom are painted bright orange.  I enjoy dark chocolate oranges (those ones wrapped up all shiny-like in gold foil).  I eat a peach, an orange, or an apricot almost every single day; I squirt lemon on everything.  Orange (both the color and the flavor) is so bold and exciting, refreshing and fun.  I like to think it’s a little bit like me.

3.  As I mentioned on my “About” page, I started this blog because I was “having an identity crisis”.  If I started this blog under my real name, or any of the nicknames I go by (‘that crazy wordy bird nerd’ is one of my favorites 😉 ), I felt like I would be pressured to conform to something.  Everyone who knows me already has an idea of who I am, what makes me tick, what I enjoy doing–or at least they think they do.  By becoming simply “The Girl In The Orange” on my blog, I allow those restrictions of who I “should” be to fall away, and just be me.  What you see is what you get on this blog–100% pure undiluted Girl in the Orange.  Heck, you could even call it “concentrated orange juice“. 😉

Oh, yes, I realize that pun was a sad, sad thing…

Twilight cover remake, anyone?

Those are my little brother’s hands.  He was uncharacteristically compliant for this photo op.

Toodle-oo for now from The Girl In the Orange.  And happy August to all!  Fall is nearly upon us…