31 July 2013

Little Bit 'O Lovin'

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Trying out this whole Bloglovin' thing! Feel free to follow me on that if you're keeping your blogs there. I'm kinda digging it right now...instead of my usual manner of checking all my bookmarked blogs this seems easier to me.

Lindsay xx

19 July 2013

Jane Austen Book Club: Sense and Sensibility

One of the expat bloggers I read suggested a few months via Twitter to doing a blogger book club for Jane Austen. I was immediately invested as I have been meaning to read all of Jane Austen's novels. It's embarrassing to admit as an English Lit degree holder, I have only ever read one Jane Austen, Emma. I knew I'd be a big fan just from that one book, so I signed on to do the book club as well.

I present to you, The Quintessentially English Jane Austen Book Club. The reading schedule is as follows, in order of when published:
  • June - Sense and Sensibility (1811)
  • July - Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  • August - Mansfield Park (1814)
  • September - Emma (1815)
  • October - Northanger Abbey (1818)
  • November - Persuasion (1818)
I finished Sense and Sensibility at the end of June and have already finished Pride and Prejudice as well. I'll try to keep my little reviews of both separate, but know that'll be quite hard for me. I've got too much comparison going on in my head of both. I very much enjoyed Sense and Sensibility but than I read P&P and couldn't put it down

Now I'm not one for a recap, so check out SparkNotes or Google it if you haven't read it. Cheaters can just go straight to the phenomenal movie written by Emma Thompson, staring her and Kate Winslet. Going down as one of my favorite movies ever AND has just all the very best British actors in it. Couldn't believe it. It's the most well cast movie based on a book. Read the book first and you'll see. 

Sense and Sensibility definitely had the feel of a chick lit on the first go of it. I love the manners that instruct British society in this time period. There are rules of conduct and how one should behave. So of course I loved all the rule breakers. Marianne was the one I most identified with because of her grand emotion about everything, except I wish I was more like Elinor. This is one of those things that feel quite black and white to me when reading. There's a clear choice of who you should want to be like. That's how I feel when I watch Sex & The City. Everyone wants to be just like Carrie, or find a bit of themselves in her, but most of the time we're like one of the other girls who are put into a very extreme type cast. (I'm definitely Charlotte and a bit of Miranda...also, after watching that show back-to-back...I freaking hated Carrie. They try quite hard to make her like "every woman".)

I think that the book could be a bit over dramatic at times and just seemed...like her first novel, as if she was finding her feet in the genre. A lot of the smaller characters were quite one-dimensional, like the Palmers, Mrs. Dashwood, Fanny and John. I think the movie actually made everyone a lot more nuanced than the book. And I was never aware of Margaret Dashwood at all in the book, but she played a good part in the coming together of Elinor and Edward Ferrars in the movie.

Some of the choices in the movie I was on board with quite a lot. There was no Lady Middleton and I do believe her children in the book were replaced by dogs in the movie. LOVED that choice as I feel she was a nothing kind of character. What really was her purpose other than to show how completely different her husband was in comparison to her? I also enjoyed the fact that there was no forced hinting of emotion between Marianne and Colonel Brandon in the movie. A lot of movies like to create that emotion before it's time and in the book Marianne doesn't feel anything for Colonel Brandon till the end. 

I was disappointed that in the movie there was no Anne Steele. One of my favorite parts of the book (and the movie) was the relationship between the sisters, Elinor and Marianne. You feel that love and that trust. It reminded me a lot of my relationship with my sister. Though my younger sister is more rational and mature than I, much more the Elinor to my Marianne. I enjoyed, in the book, the great contrast of their relationship against that of Lucy Steele and Anne Steele's relationship. It just showed much more strength in Elinor and Marianne's. 

My last comment of note between the book and the movie is that in the movie I very much appreciated that it showed Elinor suffering in silence over Lucy's engagement to Edward. You feel her pain. In the book, it's still very much a time of politeness and I didn't get such an intense feeling from the book because you just see Elinor playing by society's rules. She is upset, but she reigns in her emotions, she is very controlled...unlike her sister Marianne, who is makes herself sick over lost love.

It was so lovely to read the book and then watch the movie. I think it really helped me to fall in love with Austen's story a bit more than if I had just read the book.

Of course, then I read Pride and Prejudice and how can you not love that story? I'm not sure we can be friends if you didn't like that book. But I want to wait until after I get back from my trip to California this weekend for my Napa half marathon before I write about July's book. 

Can I just say that I tried to go from Jane Austen to Stephen King and have been attempting to read Under the Dome, worst idea ever. Definitely not good for a delicate psyche, let me tell you. He is a really good writer and even the simplest scenes of a bird dying are completely devastating and horrific to me. Give me a world of manners and elegance any day. Can't wait to start on Mansfield Park!

Have you read any Jane Austen? I would love to hear favorites, and opinions on Sense and Sensibility!


02 July 2013

Half Marathon Training and Diet Adventures

OH LOOK! A cute dog photo that has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Charlie, hard at work. Clearly, me and my sister were hard at work as well, photographing our dog in our new office space. PURPLE WALL---> My idea. 

Oh such exciting times! I'm on a new diet! I'm training for my second half marathon! I'm quietly ignoring my extreme anxiety over my grad school loan and my visa situation! Also, exploring expression through excessive use of exclamation points!

I supposed despite the fact that I am absolutely starving right now, you could say my new diet is going well. And it's only for two weeks thank God. Though, two weeks is a long time for one to go without crusty, delicious bread, salted caramel gelato, and more than one cup of coffee.

Can I introduce you to the FODMAP elimination diet? You really don't want me to. This is not a fun, new, interesting "lose weight now!" kind of diet. This is the kind of diet you really, really don't want to go on. The kind you have to go on because your GI doctor told you it may help and you're seeing him in a months time and you know he's going to ask about it. And if you are one of those diet-loving kind of folk, you are a sick individual if you just want to mess around with this one.

I mean for Christssake, I can't eat onions or APPLES. Or wheat, lactose products, or more than one cup of coffee....WHYGODWHY? Though I totally cheated today and had one and a half cups of coffee. I'm practicing my rebellious nature. Also cheating.

Additionally I thought it'd be so much fun to try no booze for 21 days before my half marathon in Napa on July 21st. Alcohol can be a common irritant of Crohn's and also makes me nice, fat and round. But happy. A happy round. The kind of gal everyone loves and enjoys. Maybe when I'm done I'll be skinny and bitter! Aren't you EXCITED?!

So yes. That's, like, totally my training right there. Eating low carb, gluten free, dairy free, and cutting out a lot of really yummy veg I actually like and enjoy. (No but seriously...if you are someone going on this diet for fun, we can't be friends. WHY would you voluntarily give up garlic and onions? Do you not like life??)

Oh and running. I do get up a few mornings a week and see how far I want to go that day. My main goal for my second half marathon (whaaaaaa? Who am I? So unlike the lovely, squishy, wino sloth you've grown to love and depend on) is to be able to run the whole thing. The last one, that you can read about here, I was able to make it running ten miles then had to resort to the painful walk-run method. When you're pretty new to the running game, and you're in the midst of your very first half marathon and have never tried the walk-run method during training...I really don't recommend busting it out then. Everything just seizes right up and you feel and look like an 80 year trying to walk after years of debilitating arthritis issues.

Course...then again, I am someone with Crohn's...so naturally I am an 80 year old who acts like I'm trying to walk after years of debilitating arthritis issues. Life, eh? SOMUCHFUN. Can I have wine now?

NO. Staying strong.

OH LOOK! That was my mid morning snack yesterday. Perfectly good for my diet. 1 oz of cheddar cheese (no lactose in aged cheddar--THANKGOD), and 1 oz of Nut thin crackers that are dairy and gluten free.

Funnily enough, this snack was totally enough for me yesterday, mid-morning. I think it's because my stomach definitely requires smaller amounts and is generally just a bit of a grouch when it comes to food on one of my running days.

It's still overcoming the shock that I'm actually participating in physical exercise. I've shocked my stomach into stupidity and grumbles of protest.

Today was not a running day for me. So of course, with the lack of calorie burning activities, I am STARVING. Totally makes sense right? I ate a very paleo-happy breakfast...which goes well for the most part with a low FODMAP diet, and should technically keep me satisfied for longer than an hour with all the delicious fatty goodness in it. But it didn't. LIES.

OH LOOK! My Instagrammed photo. Follow my food adventures and obsessive pictures of my dog here:   http://instagram.com/lindsaydinsyday

I just made this recipe up. And it turned out BALLER. I am a cooking genius. Bow before me. Though my photography skills suck.


Pan on stove, melt 1 teaspoon of bacon grease, keep pan on medium heat. Beat two eggs in a bowl, add splash of unsweetened almond milk. Pour eggs into pan, use scissors to cut small bits of chives into pan on the egg mixture.  Add small, washed, torn up pieces of spinach, roughly a handful, to the mixture in pan. Use thin spatula to break up pancake-like consistency and move eggs around a bit in pan. Add a few pinches of Himalayan salt, not cause you need to but cause it's f*ing delicious. Add about 1 oz of smoked salmon torn up a bit with your hands. Lick fingers. No one is watching, it's fine. Toss eggs a few times. Turn off heat and remove pan from burner. Set aside. Toast one piece of Udi's Gluten Free White Bread, butter up with some delicious local butter, and then add egg mixture on top of buttered bread. Sprinkle a bit of lemon juice from an actual lemon on mixture. Real stuff, people, you should try it sometime. Way better than the lemon juice crap kept in a plastic container in the fridge.  Enjoy your meal with that extra cup of coffee you shouldn't be having!

Totally FODMAP free, gluten free, dairy free and super yummy.

Last night I had steak and a sweet potato with melted coconut oil on top. So this diet isn't totally horrible. I just miss my crap food.

It's okay...before I left DC this weekend, I made sure to head over to Pi Pizzeria and got their appetizer of crusty bread, roasted garlic head and butter. SO AMAZING. Ate the whole thing. By myself. Then attempted to plow through a deep dish pepperoni pizza. Only got two slices in before I needed to be rolled out.

Have I ever mentioned that I love food? Could you tell?

Anyways....training. Yes. Love it. Things have been going pretty good. I hit certain miles on certain days where everything just clicks and I am LOVING it. Then other days where I feel positive and good and want to hit a certain mark and it just can't be done. The mind is a funny thing. It really can throw you for a loop sometimes.

With my run tomorrow I'm going to bust out a new runner's toy, a belt that has four water bottles attached for even distribution. I only used one water bottle for my first half and finished it within the first 6 miles and then had to rely on the water stations. Personally, I like to have my water and my fuel strapped to my body in case of emergency.

Just worth mentioning, my favorite fuel for long runs is GU Energy Gel in Vanilla, and it is not okay for my currently FODMAP free diet. So trying to figure out what I want to do in this situation...press on and use it anyways in hopes that it won't matter much on my elimination diet or find something else. I will be done with the elimination phase about a week before my half mary and should be able to use it then, but not sure I want to try something new now at this point in training. Damn. ALSO...why did I never know they do a SALTED CARAMEL gel?!? Mind blown.

So I get to practice that belt out on a few runs before my actual race. Hopefully it's better than actually holding the water bottle in my hand (it has a hand strap with it). But I have come quite accustomed to having that bottle strapped to my hand, so we'll see.

If you didn't already know before, I'm doing this run to raise money for Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. I pledged to raise $4,700 and I'm only about halfway to my goal. I still need to raise about $2,220 before July 10th. I can still raise money after that, but I've committed and signed papers and they will have to take the remainder out of my bank account on the 10th to make sure they have what I've said I would raise. I want it all raised by the 10th, personally. Then I can go into my run with the knowledge of having raised that money...so DONATE today! It's for a fabulous cause that's helped millions of us Crohnnies out there. I really appreciate them for the research they're doing and because, though you may not know it, millions of children and young people are struggling with Crohn's and Colitis right now and the CCFA is THE organization that has loads of resources and support to help those kids out. I was diagnosed when I was 14 (maybe I'll do a post on that topic sometime soon...) and was never aware of the kind of support I could have gotten from CCFA. Wished I could have. They are a major help to me now with support groups and doctor resources online. So ummm, yeah...donate here:


My donation page is pretty awesome. Took me ages to figure out how to set it up, even with explicit instructions on how to do so. I kind of suck with computer stuff. If anything, you should donate in amazement that I managed to set up the page at all. And that I'm on my SECOND freaking half marathon.

Shock and awe.


P.S. I'm also doing a 50/50 raffle to raise money, but the drawing for that is on the 4th of July. So not much time left, but check out the event page for fun photos that are sure to make you feel better about your life. You're welcome. https://www.facebook.com/events/292843077528107/