Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fitness and Diet..

Part of my New Years Resolution was working out more, etc etc.  I have been working out more, but haven't seen a lot of I went to a nutritionist.  She was helpful in determining how many calories I should cut from my diet, but overall..I wasn't eating awful food to start with.  She told me most folks drink 2 liters of soda a day, eat nothing but cookies, candy, etc. 

Now my new plan is down to 1200 calories a day to see if I can lose weight and get in better shape.  I have been doing this a week, and have already noticed some results, so I hope I can keep this up.  I have an app for my phone that is called "calorie counter" and it is so helpful.  I have done everything in the book before this..weight watchers, other websites to track, etc.  The app helps me keep track of the breakdown of fat, calories, and protein in my diet.  Awesome.  So much easier when I can just barcode scan something into my phone.

I also did spin yesterday, and am starting Bikram yoga Saturday.  Starting slow..

I found this article online, so I will try some of the recipes they posted. 

When I was doing some research online, I noticed that most people eat between 2000-3500 calories a day.  My fav sandwich from JJ's is over 600 calories.  Combine that with chips and a diet coke..holy crap that is more than half of what I really needed.  Week 1 is done...lets see how long I can do this before I turn into the moodiest, craziest person on the planet.  :)  I will also keep updating the low cal yummy meals I make..

Last night was Baked Halibut, rice pilaf, steamed corn, and a dinner roll. 

Break down is 7 g of fat, 70 g of carbs, 47 g of protein, and 500 calories. Wasn't a cheap meal because halibut is uber expensive, but the bf loved it. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Margarita Chicken

I went to Chili's last week for dinner since I was at Gurnee Mills shopping.  I ordered the "healthiest" thing on the menu...which was their Margarita Grilled Chicken. I decided I could make this at home, and make a smaller, healthier portion.

Recipe for Margarita Chicken:
Makes 2 Servings

1 can of black beans
1 cup of white rice
1 grilled chicken breast
2 tbs of pico de gallo/salsa

That is it.  I ate one serving for dinner last night, and brought the other portion for lunch today. I layered the beans and rice on the plate, topped it off with strips of grilled chicken, and a tbs of salsa.

Breakdown: 3.5 g of fat, 43 g of carbs, 42 g of protein, and 350 calories.  I used some Tastefully Simple salsa on top, and it was amazing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Japan 2

My grad school prof just sent me this link

Really puts the damage in Japan in perspective.

Scroll over the photos to see the before and after.  They just had another big earthquake (6.5) last night. 

Glad that I have so many friends there helping with the relief efforts!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I made some of the best fish this evening!  I bought some Tilapia at DiCola's yesterday after I was on the South Side of Chicago for a dear friend's baby shower.  Such amazing seafood, and so afordable!

I baked a filet at 400 F for 17 minutes marinated in World Harbor's Marinade (Lemmon Pepper and Garlic)

I served it with some steamed broccoli and cheese, along with a cous cous and bean salad. 

Breakdown: $4 total cost , and 350 calories.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Favorite Things Friday..

This post is most certainly different for good reason this week.  I missed last week in the midst of travel, but this week I have been inspired.

I am a girl who usually always speaks my mind, but this one post I read this week definitely did it for me.

You can read Clover Lane here.

Her post on the 23rd was about little girls growing up too fast.  I see it every day.  When I went Christmas shopping for my 12 year old niece, wow.  Those clothes in the stores were more scandalous than anything I have ever owned.  I am almost 30.  I work with 18 year olds on a daily basis and the language I hear out of their mouth shocks me as well..and I am a Sailor.  What happened to letting little girls be little girls, and teaching them how to be a lady.  Teaching them about respect, manners, how to treat others, how to have goals to be successful.  They are surrounded in a world of famous people, awful novels, and even worse tv shows. I am so proud of my SIL for teaching her daughter as well as she has, and trying to keep her as a kid.  12 year olds don't need to watch certain shows, or wear certain clothes, etc etc.  Parents need to be parents, and not the child's friend.  They have friends.  Parents need to make "tough" decisions.  I was fortunate that I saw my older siblings go through their teen years while I was just a tike.  I remembered the "that isn't fair", the "you are grounded", etc etc talks.  I didn't want to be a strain on my parents, have them worry, go around their back, etc.  I knew I could go to them if I had a problem, and I also knew that if I screwed up, I would get punished.  I know it is tough to be a role model, but if you set the example for others to follow, such as treating yourself and others with respect in the way you talk, act, dress, etc..that is one helluva start.  I just hope that if I am ever blessed with a daughter, that I can make sure she has the childhood that I had, with Barbies, American Girl Dolls, Nancy Drew books..the list goes on.  Not "shelter her", but teach her what is important in life. 

**End Rant**

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Resolutions Update #2

So I know if I don't keep revisiting my "Resolutions", I will never do them.  Luckily for me, it is the end of March, and I am still going strong.

You can read about last months update here.

1. Make a cook book.  I started it, and wow is it a task..but well worth it.  If anyone has any recipes they would like me to try or contribute to the "book", let me know!

2. Invite friends over more often.  I was doing well with this until March hit because of travelling.  I am trying to set up a brunch for the ladies for April as soon as I get my calendar straightened out.

3. Work out more.  Definitely going well on this with the exception of the last week.  Its ok, got a run scheduled today. :)  I signed up for a 5K for April, and a Half Marathon for September!  I also got an appointment with a nutritionist just to see if there is anything else I can do to be "healthier". 

Still going strong on these 3, as well as my 30 for 30 challenge.  I have probably only spent $300 on clothes the past 4 months.  Just keep wearing what I have, and it saves me money and time doing laundry, etc.  I never realized how much money I spent on clothes until I did this.  I would buy an outfit for an occasion, and wear it once.  Not anymore!! 

Although, Spring/Summer are here..kind of.  So that means new clothes.  Lets see if I can pick up some awesome basics soon!  Watch out Jcrew..

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I am excited that it is Spring, yet I have a feeling we will get at least one or two more snowfalls in the Windy City:(

I am looking forward to long walks with the pup, running outside again, Cubs games (bought a ton of tickets..some women spend money on clothes, I spend money on Sports and Food), wearing sandals, wearing Nautical stripes :),  and having my family visit soon!!

What are you looking forward to??

via Google

Monday, March 21, 2011

San Diego

I went to San Diego last week to attend the SSLA (Sea Service Leadership Association) Leadership Conference.  It was a Joint Leadership Conference with women from every branch of military service. 

This was the third conference I have been to, and by far the best.  I met more mentors, and just had an overall great experience!

The first day, we heard from many inspiring people.  Some of them included: Ambassador Verveer, Ms. Tammy Duckworth, Ms. Geena Davis (yes, the actress), a panel of female flag officers, and Captain Dawn Halfaker (USA Retired).  These were only a few of the people, but I have to say that Ms. Tammy Duckworth and Captain Halfaker were the best speakers that day.  Both of these women are wounded warriors, amputees from OIF.  Never seen two women with such perseverance.  Ms Duckworth is also a Major in the Illinois National Guard, and in charge of the VA.  If you ever get a chance to hear her speak, you definitely would not regret it. 

The second day was more specialized with the services.  I sat in the Navy Session, and heard from VADM Ferguson, and MCPON.  Wow..of all the speakers, they were just the motivation we needed for the day.  After the morning session was done, I went and attended a Surface Warfare Officer session.  I didn't enjoy the session last year, so I was a bit skeptical this year.  I was able to talk to two female post-command officers, who have made a big impact on me staying in the Navy a little longer.  They were surprised to see me, because they thought I was leaving the service.  It is people like them, folks that can manage a professional and personal life, that give me this inspiration to do the same!

On a different level, I got to catch up with some great people in California!  I saw Mikey, Chrissy, and Amy and Ben.  I wish I got to see more people, but the conference definitely took up a lot of time.

View from my hotel room

Fellow Illini

Sunday, March 20, 2011

DC Trip Good Eats

I had some amazing food in DC...makes me look forward to going back soon!

I went to the Logan Tavern Thursday night, and had some of the most amazing food ever.  Seriously.  I had fried green tomatoes for the first time, and had some Raspberry Lambic.  I love lambic, but it is something you can only have one bottle of.  It is so sweet, and is amazing!

The next great restaurant I went to was Old Ebbitt Grill.  Last time I was there was when I was in high school.  My oldest brother worked at the White House, and took my middle brother and I there.  Just as amazing as I remembered!  I had the Eggs Chesapeake, which is like Eggs Benedict, just with crab meat.  Yum!

The final place I went was Matchbox.  Good place to just sit down and chill after the Shamrock Fest.  I would definitely go back here!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

DC Trip

I went to DC for a weekend to attend a good friend's retirement ceremony.  What an awesome trip!  I love my little weekends away every couple of months, and I needed this break. 

I got to DC Thursday and just relaxed and got some good food (I will do a separate food post).  Friday morning I went to the Navy Memorial, to set up and practice for Ken's retirement.  22 years of Naval Service, and a wonderful reunion of good friends!  I went to his house later on in the day to spend time with him, his family, and our friends.  Loved having two low-key nights!  Saturday I went to breakfast with a former CO and his wife, one of the best mentors I could ask for!  After that, Colleen and I went out and about, and attended the Shamrock Fest in DC.  Holy cow was that an interesting time!  After the fest, we grabbed some food and a brew and I headed to my hotel to get some shut eye.  An exhausting and fun weekend!!!

Inside the Entrance of the Navy Memorial

Iwo Jima Reunion

Me with the Retiree!

Me with the Lone Sailor.

White House!


Shamrock Fest.  Love this girl!

Friday, March 18, 2011


I have been travelling for the Navy for over a week, and just got back to Chicago.

I turned on the TV last Friday, and saw what happened in Japan, and was glued to the TV.  I went to the Navy Memorial in DC to conduct a retirement ceremony for a friend. 

I saw how bad it "really"was when the Admiral who conducted the ceremony was "asked nicely" afterwards to go back to work.  He had a lot of work to do.

What a lot of people do not know, is that the United States Navy is the President's choice of first responders to any and every nation wide and world wide disaster.  There are so many ships, and so many of my friends that live in Japan and are working to help those affected by the earthquake and the tsunami. 

Some things that people do not know:  the current radiation levels are the same as one would get from normal use of a microwave.  That low.  How do I know this?  My friends that work in Japan are nuclear scientists in the Navy.  Also, the building codes in Japan are incredibly strict.  I encountered 3 earthquakes my first day visiting Japan 2 years ago, and it did zero damage.  I felt them all, they were 5.0-5.5 on the scale. Thus, all my friends that live just south of Tokyo in either Yokohama or Yokosuka have only encountered rolling blackouts.  None of their homes were damaged. 

It was scary for them, but they have been using facebook to communicate with all of us, to let us know how things "really are" over there. 

I learned while doing humanitarian missions in 2005 and 2006 (JTF Katrina and JTF Lebanon), that the media will sell whatever sensational story they can.  I met those news anchors, who I will keep nameless on here.  I ate lunch across from them, escorted them around, etc.  Then I saw them say a totally different thing on TV.  Yeah, they just lost a ton of street cred from me.  So read up on what the Navy is doing on facebook,, or  These are sources that are legit, because Navy leaders want us and our families to be safe,and know what is going on. 

Praying for my friends, shipmates, and everyone over in Japan.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

I know this is a bit different from what I normally post.

I am travelling this weekend to be a part of a friend's retirement ceremony from the Navy.  I will be in his ceremony when this posts. 

I met some of the most important people in my life in various stages.  I met my friend Ken, along with many other dear friends, while I was stationed aboard the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7).  Such a great ship!
Ken and his wife took us under their wing, and always welcomed us into their home with open arms.  The best part of being in the Navy, is that it really is a family.  The term "Navy family" is used often, but it does exist.  I have never felt more welcome at times than with some of these people in my Navy family.  We have celebrated holidays together at home and at sea, travelled together, and gotten through some amazing and difficult times together.  Those people you deploy with are like no other, you always know they will be there for you no matter what.  I remember Thanksgiving, 2006, onboard the ship.  Wouldn't have traded that holiday for the world..spending it with my shipmates.  If you can't spend holidays with family, shipmates are the next best thing.  I remember every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, because I always spend those days with people I care about.

So, my favorite things today are my friends.  Glad I get to spend a weekend with the, and can't wait to catch up!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Patience is a virtue.  It is something I have been lacking all week because it has been craptastic.  I hate being down about anything, but holy crap, this girl needs a break.  Just about everything that could go wrong, did go wrong the past three days.  It wasn't like one big thing..just a multitude of tiny itty bitty things that really added up, and prevented me from accomplishing anything. 

I am glad that I went to Ash Wednesday service today.  I almost had a breakdown earlier because of computer issues involving a paper due tomorrow.  Luckily, the bf said "pray for patience".  And I did.

I know I have a chaplain or two praying for me, that helps:) 

Prayer for Patience

Lord, teach me to be patient - with life, with people,and with myself. I sometimes try to hurry things along too much, and I push for answers before the time is right. Teach me to trust Your sense of timing rather than my ownand to surrender my will to Your greater and wiser plan. Help me let life unfold slowly, like the small rosebud whose petals unravel bit by bit, and remind me that in hurrying the bloom along, I destroy the bud and much of the beauty therein.

Instead, let me wait for all to unfold in its own time. Each moment and state of growth contains a loveliness. Teach me to slow down enough to appreciate life and all it holds.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras and Lent

Today is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Paczki Day, whatever you would like to call it.  Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.  Bf and I were talking yesterday about what I was going to give up for Lent.  Hmm. 

It isn't that it is tough to give something up, but I would rather give back.  I think it is tougher for me to get out there and give back.  I volunteer with a great group, called Chicago Cares.  I usually do one service project a month.  I think I need to step it up a bit during Lent.  Last year, I went to church every Sunday, and one weekday.  I don't like talking about going to church or doing volunteer work, because I don't want to sound pious, or like I am bragging.  Just a personal thing for me.  I feel like going to church more often mellowed me out, and made me less irritable at work.  Win win for everyone around me:) I also did that on deployment.  If I wasn't on watch, I was in the chapel.  Such a great break in a stressful environment.  It allows you to reflect, think, and just be.  I think a lot of people are surprised I go to church because I am sarcastic, and well...a Sailor.  Being in that environment makes me realize I need to be a better person.

Anyone want to volunteer with me?

Thanks to Meghan for inspiring this post:)

Monday, March 7, 2011


Busy busy busy.  I have to write a paper (actually 3), but 1 at a time right?  I am also travelling a ton soon, and lucky for me I have an awesome bf who is puppy sitting for me.  Hoping it isn't a huge disaster:)

Looking forward to my travels and catching up with old friends.  I am in a crazy good mood today, and can't let anything/anyone interfere with that!!

Friday, March 4, 2011


So I got the sudden urge after going to Panera for the first time in forever to buy a panini press.  I looked around a bit not at all and found this griddler.  Not only is it easy to use, and clean, it came with recipes:)

I made some minestrone soup and paninis the other night.  All I used was some ciabatta bread, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and fresh tomatoes.  I brushed EVOO on both sides on the bread, and viola, and amazing sandwich.  I need to find more recipes, because that one is amazing, and I have a feeling I will get hooked and only post panini recipes for a while? 

Favorite Things Friday

I saw this post on Marta Writes, and instantly knew I had to buy the cuff she reviewed.  Just got it in the mail, and absolutely love it.  I bought the yellow one in anticipation of spring!

Day 4: Has A Book Changed Your Life?

After reading this blog, I knew I had to venture to an older post. 

Has a book changed your life?  Yes.  I read Lone Survivor last summer, and couldn't put it down. You can read the post I wrote about it here.  It made me realize that I need to work hard, train hard, and be more grateful for what I have. 

I follow the book's author, Marcus Luttrell, religiously on Facebook.  He recently had another surgery for his injuries sustained in 2005 and is recovering at home. 

This book has changed my life, and I am looking forward to reading Seal of Honor, about Marcus' fellow SEAL, LT Michael Murphy, who died in the battle that Marcus survived.  LT Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, and a United States Navy Destroyer was just named after him.  Incredible.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I have been mia all week because I had a headache that lasted three days.  Pretty much gone now, but I finally had a chance to log in.

I want to share this article, because it made me speechless.  LT Gen John Kelly

It is an article about the General, and the loss of his son in Sangin, one of the places in Afghanistan that has seen some serious insurgency lately.

Articles like this make me happy/proud that I decided to stay in the Navy for at least one more tour (which is really 2). 

I have done two deployments, and one surge, and the stuff you see is unlike what gets in the news.  The news is there to determine what Americans "want" to hear, not what is "actually" happening.

Here are a few photos from my past couple of years in the Navy.  These are from my deployments, to show some of what we do..

USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) on the pier in New Orleans just days after Katrina.  We provided humanitarian relief, and I definitely learned a lot.  The news media did not give the relief workers, both military and civil, justice.

Senate meeting with the President in the Wardroom.  That is the place where we eat and have meetings.  I got to sit in on this because I was the governor's escort.

LCAC evacuating American Citizens from Beirut, Lebanon, 2006.

Memorial at the Beirut Marine Corps Barracks, 2006

Flight Deck of the USS Iwo Jima.  "Why We Are Here"

Standing FPTAO on USS Porter (DDG 78) on our way back home through the Med , Jan 2008.  The ship conducted anti-piracy operations throughout the deployment.

Getting Promoted to LT on the USS Constitution June 1, 2008.

General Kelly's article states how so many people do not understand the sacrifice that our Nation's men and women in uniform, and their families, sacrifice day to day.  Deploying with no to little email,  phones,   tv,  cell phones, showers, mail (it takes weeks to get mail at sea..sometimes longer), fresh food and milk, sleep, etc.  Life on a ship is much different than the desert, but life out at sea makes me appreciate the little things that much more.  Email doesn't always work.  There are phones only for emergencies, and I mean emergencies.  I never have time to watch tv/movies because I am always working or on watch.  When I am not doing these things, I am sleeping or working out.  I love mail call.  Receiving that random care package from family/friends is the best feeling in the world.  You have no idea. 

These are the things that service men and women are more than happy to go without, because they took an oath to defend freedom and democracy around the world.  To take care of themselves, and others. 

Take a moment today to think about what you are thankful for, grateful for, and say a prayer for our troops.  They need every prayer they can get. 

Stay safe, Semper Fi.