ACL Reconstruction: 15 Weeks Post-Op

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Happy (belated) Labor Day!

I am so not ready to see the summer end! On one hand, I’m glad that it went by quickly because I was not in the best of shape for most of it. But, I also feel totally ripped off! Now that I’m a lot more mobile, I want a re-do of summer! At least there’s still fall (which is the best for hiking, cycling, running and a lot of other outdoor activities!).

This Thursday will mark 5 months since I had my skiing accident. Time flies! Today is the 15 week anniversary of my ACL reconstruction surgery, and so much has changed over that period of time. In many ways, I’m pretty close to “normal” and can do just about anything that I could do before tearing my ACL. I’m also constantly reminded that I am still pretty far from normal and have a long way yet to go. I do everything a little bit slower, with less intensity. I’ve back been to teaching my group exercises classes for over a month now, but still can’t lift quite as heavy, crank as much tension on the flywheel or pedal as fast (I know that this will improve with time!).

Here’s the formal update on my progress…

Pain Level:

No pain (and very little swelling)! There is still quite a bit of tightness in my left knee, but it’s improved a great deal. I have just a tiny bit of pain and sensitivity in the area around my large incision, but nowhere near where it was even a few weeks ago. I can kneel down on the ground now, do a standing quad stretch and kind of get into child’s pose. All three of those were a very big deal and I celebrated each accomplishment! I often have numbness around my knee (mostly below the knee cap), which I’ve heard is very normal. It’s still very weird.

I’ve actually been having more pain in my right (non-operative) leg than my left, because I tend to bear more weight on it- especially when I’m running. All in all, the level of pain in pretty much non-existent and a million times better than it was during the first few weeks after surgery.

Here’s a photo of my knees today (directly after a run!):

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I wish my scars would start to fade a bit more (some people’s scars fade right away!), but it will take some time. My left quad muscle is definitely growing back and my calves are pretty much the same size now. My left leg is definitely still weaker than my right, but at least it’s starting to look similar in size.

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Blend 2014

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It’s still a little hard for me to believe- but this year’s Blend Retreat has come and gone. This was the third annual gathering for Blend (and also the third year that I’ve been in attendance). I helped out in some capacity during planning for the first two years and stepped into a co-organizer role this year. I’ve been friends with the other two organizers Lindsay and Janetha for a few years now, but have gotten a lot closer to both of them over the last year thanks to countless emails, phone calls and texts.

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I really had no idea just how much planning went into organizing this type of event! Lindsay wrote a great post about the “what, why and how” Blend all came together- which you can check out for details.

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Partner Yoga w/Fairlife Milk [& Magic Bullet Giveaway!]

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I’m going to make a statement here that may seem a little controversial in this day and age- but it’s 100% true: I love milk. And really, I love all dairy. Whether it’s Greek yogurt, cheese or just a plain ol’ glass of milk- I love it all. I also love almond milk. And soy milk. And sunflower milk (you get the idea…) You can tell me that dairy will kill me or cause some crazy disease- but I’ve been consuming it for over 33 years now- and my health seems to be a-okay. To be clear, I am picky about where the dairy comes from and that there aren’t scary hormones added in- which leads me to today’s topic…

This past weekend, I attended a super fun and unique event sponsored by Fairlife Milk. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but was just told to dress in comfortable clothes that I could do a yoga workout in. For some reason, I also didn’t think to ask around to many of my local Colorado blogger friends to see who else was planning on going. I did know that Heidi was also attending- because we planned to carpool together.

When I arrived at The River Yoga studio, I was so happy to see a bunch of familiar faces- including Becky, Marissa, Kait, Heidi, Marisa, Tiffany  Laura and Kia (both not pictured)!

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I was so happy that these wonderful ladies (and many new friends too!) were there- especially Marisa, who I’ve been planning to meet up with for almost a year now! And see those pretty yoga mats at our feet? That was a free gift to us for attending!

As soon as everyone arrived (around 20 bloggers), the Fairlife team talked to us for a bit about what makes their milk so unique and wonderful.

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WIAW 80: Sunday Friend-Day

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Hey friends! Thanks for all of the love from yesterday’s post about my new job. I’m really excited about it (and also stoked about going to California tomorrow for Expo West!) and can’t wait to dive right in. In case you missed the big announcement – there’s also a giveaway attached. Be sure to check it out!

For today’s installment of What I ate Wednesday let’s rewind to this past Sunday (which I refer to as Sunday Friend-day!).

I generally start my Sunday mornings by waking up naturally (sometime around 7:00) and laying around until I feel like going to the gym. This particular day was a little different though. I had to set my alarm for 6:00 am because I was teaching Bodypump way down in south Denver. I sub for classes whenever I can, but usually only choose gyms that are closer to my house (this one is about 35-40 minutes away). But- this happened to be the gym where my lovely friend Tiffany goes and she usually takes the Sunday morning Bodypump class. Having a friend in class when you’re teaching makes it even more fun, so I was happy to make the drive.

I ate my standard (two) pre-made FlapJacked pancakes before heading out the door:

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See? Told ya I eat them every single day. These (along with tons of water) give me just enough fuel to get through a workout without sitting on my stomach like a brick.

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The Final Day of 33

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Tomorrow is my 34th birthday- and that just feels so weird to say. Time seems to go by at a mind-blowing pace and I often have to remind myself that I’m not in my twenties anymore. And the fact that I graduated college twelve years ago… I don’t even want to go there.

Really, I’m not one to get scared by getting older. I know that in the grand scheme of things I’m still relatively young and there are many years of great experiences ahead of me. Thirty-four already has some awesome stuff on tap and I’m excited to see what the year brings- but I’m a little sad to see thirty-three go. It was a crazy year and mostly filled with lots of happy memories, so I thought I’d look back on some of the stuff that happened during my 33rd year.

February 2013 started off with a whirlwind- two days before my birthday we had a contract put on our house in Maryland (where we were living!). The weeks after that were spent frantically packing up our house, stressing out about inspections, appraisals and all of the other fun stuff that comes with selling a house.

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I miss that house so much and wish I could’ve picked it up and moved it out west!

The month of March included a lot of Greg and I running around and making sure that we spent quality time with all of our friends and family- which was a lot of fun! Although we had a contract on our house in the middle of February, it took until the end of April for us to actually go to closing (since the buyers’ had a VA loan). The last few weeks before we moved are kind of a blur. I flew out to Colorado to find a rental home for Greg and I and was generously hosted by Kirk and Heather. After finding our house, I returned to Maryland for a few more weeks- the next time I’d be going to Colorado would be by car!

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Cooking With Greek Yogurt [Book Review & Giveaway!]

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There are a few people that you will cross paths with throughout your life that just really get you. I’m lucky enough to have met several women that fall into that category, thanks to the wonderful world of healthy living blogs. Through blogging events, conferences and informal meet-ups, I’ve come away with some pretty fantastic life-long friends. One of those friends is a smart, creative, quirky, talented, gorgeous girl named Cassie. Though Cassie and I only met (in the flesh) for the first time this past September, we’ve been digital friends for a couple of years. I’ve been a big fan of her blog Back to Her Roots ever since I discovered blogs!

Cassie and I bonded over so many different things and immediately hit it off (along with Gretchen!) when we spent the weekend together in Minneapolis for the Healthy Living Summit, where we presented together on a panel.

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One thing that I’ve always admired about Cassie’s blog is its elegant, simple and slightly funky layout and design. She designs every little detail herself, and from a fellow graphic designer, that’s something that I can truly appreciate. Cassie even designed the mountain/sun logo on my blog’s header! I was really excited for my friend when I heard that she was creating a cookbook, and even more thrilled when I got my own copy in the mail earlier this month!

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Before I even get to the recipes, I have to say that just thumbing through this book is a graphic designer’s dream! The fonts, photography (!!) and every little detail are just laid together perfectly and create an amazing visual experience for the reader. There are large color photographs for every recipe and the text is simple and easy to read. The book is filled with lots of color everywhere and it just made me smile as I read through each page.

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Food Prep & Meal Planning

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Welcome to a brand new week, my friends- the last week of January! I hope that your weekend was full of fun and that you got plenty of rest (which is what I look forward to the most on Saturday mornings!).

We were spoiled with warmth and sunshine all weekend and enjoyed temperatures in the 60s. To my east coast friends- I’m not trying to rub it in. It’s cold and snowy here today! I’m actually happy about the snow, because it means much better conditions for ski school on Wednesday! I got my own skis over the weekend and can’t wait to try them out on the slopes. The rentals that I’ve been using have definitely seen better days!

I spent a good amount of time doing something that I’m admittedly horrible at: meal planning and food prep! I blame it on my eight years as a teacher where I had to pack every single breakfast, lunch and snacks every single work day. I hated taking an hour each night to put together delicious meals and snacks- but the only other alternative was to eat from the school cafeteria and the vending machine in the faculty lounge. No thanks! I always took the time to pack food that I looked forward to eating because I was so miserable in that job- lunch was the only thing that I really looked forward to! Sad but true.

I’m trying to get better at planning out meals and prepping healthy snack and meal options to help me stay on track with my weight loss efforts and paying attention to macros. If I have ready-to-go healthy options around, I’m much less likely to snack on other things while I prepare a healthy snack/meal. Another thing that has made me lazy about meal planning is working from home most of the time. Since I eat most meals in my own kitchen, I feel like I don’t really have to plan ahead (which is so not true!).

I looked to the queens of food prep and meal planning for a little inspiration: Lindsay and Cassie. Lindsay has so many helpful posts about healthy meal preparation and I have found myself getting sucked in for hours reading her tips. She preps food for the week on Sundays and shares photos and details of what she made (and even has a round-up from other bloggers!). Cassie has great printables on her blog, including the menu and workout planner that I kept up with for about two weeks (before I got lazy…).

I spent a little bit of time in the kitchen on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, rather than doing one big long food prep on a single day. Here’s what I have so far:

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This photo includes: chopped red cabbage (I put it in salads, roast it or just snack on it raw), cauliflower, broccoli (all in bags that I will rinse out and re-use), hard-boiled eggs, Wholly Guacamole packets (I prefer plain, whole avocados, but these are great when I’m in a hurry!), roasted squash and red peppers (to put in salads for lunch), Balsamic Maple Roasted carrots (recipe to follow), Flapjacked pancakes, meat from a Whole Foods rotisserie chicken and this hummus (that is SO darn good).

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WIAW 71: Snow-Hiking, Sushi and Suprises!

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Happy Wednesday! If you’re looking for today’s giveaway- come back in a little while. I promise that another one will be posted today! In the meantime, feel free to check out the first two giveaways from the Season of Giving:

Monday’s Giveaway: Jamberry Nails

Tuesday’s Giveaway: KIND Healthy Snacks

For now, I’ve got a whole truckload of photos to share from last Saturday (which was pretty much a perfect day!). Keeping with the WIAW theme, you’ll also see what I ate throughout the day.

It was SO nice to sleep in and not really have anything on the agenda for the morning. Greg and I made breakfast and chatted about what we wanted to do that day.

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I had FlapJacked Apple Cinnamon waffles (with fresh cranberries!) with a little cottage cheese in the middle and some Coconut Secret syrup on top.

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WIAW 70: On a Cold Monday

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Good morning!

Because I know that you are SO curious about the weather here, I’m happy to report that the arctic freeze is over and we’re enjoying a heat wave with temps in the 40s! I’m just glad to be able to spend more than five minutes outside without my hands and face going numb. ;) It was still pretty cold this past Monday, which is the day that I chose to photograph my WIAW eats.

I woke up early, worked out, got cleaned up and hit the road. I had planned ahead the night before since I knew I’d be in a bit of a rush in the morning and filled an empty peanut butter jar with a protein muffin, plain 2% Greek yogurt, cranberries and sliced banana. After all of the sugar I had eaten the day before, a sweet breakfast was really the last thing I wanted, but it was easy to eat in the car.

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The first order of business was to meet up with my friend Katie (and Adrienne!!) for some Blend-related stuff (since I am now filling her shoes as the third woman on the planning team). We took care of everything we needed to and then enjoyed some coffee and conversation over at Panera. And this little girl with the cream cheese mustache thoroughly enjoyed her bagel.

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Holiday Baking [& My Favorite Christmas Cookie]

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Zzzzz… Forgive me. I’m still in a sugar coma from this weekend!

I hope your weekend was great- mine was full of fun times with good friends and (as mentioned above) lots of sugar! A few weeks ago, my friend Heather sent out an Evite for her annual Christmas cookie baking party. Since I’m a big fan of both cookies and a good party I happily accepted the invitation! It’s become tradition that the women come to bake and chat while the guys hang out in front of the televsion watching football and drinking beer. Sounds good to me!

Greg, Paige and I headed over there late in the morning with supplies in hand. Everyone was supposed to bring ingredients to make one or two cookie recipes and at the end of the day we’d all take home a few of each. I knew right away which type of cookie I’ve wanted to make: Creole Crispies. I know that the name sounds a little funny, and I really have no idea where it came from (unless they’re a New Orleans specialty?) but these cookies have been a favorite in my family for generations. I remember baking them with my grandmother and mom growing up, but had never actually made them myself. Creole Crispies are always a big hit with everyone, because they’re thin, buttery, chocolate-y, chewy (yet crispy!) and delicious.

The batter alone is simply delicious.

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But (obviously) the baked cookies are definitely better.

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