Sunday, June 22, 2008


Southern California has been hit with a freakish heat wave these past couple of days. Record temps have been in the 3 digits. Everyone is hitting the cooler spots: the mall or movies. I on the other hand committed to running the IRON GIRL in Del Mar!

I had 1 taker - my cousin Melissa agreed to join me on this venture. It was an early start, we headed down to Del Mar Fairgrounds which is about 20 miles from San Diego. We were running a little late, so Chuck was driving like an indy race car driver. The park entrance was chaos, everyone was panic mode trying to figure out where to park. Mel and I made the executive decision to jump out of the truck and start running towards to entrance. Race coordinators should have informed everyone that the registration tables would (about 1 mile) from the entrance gate. Speaking for myself, I felt like the race had begun.

We made it to the registration tables, got ourselves pinned and chipped. I was very excited when I realized that we'd be starting out from the actual race track. Figured if the track was good enough for horses, it was good enough for me. At first it felt really soft underneath my feet, so I assumed that it wouldn't be too bad to run on it. The race announcer mentioned that there were over 3,000 participates present and the race course had been modified (I soon found out what that meant).

Running on a horse track was misleading, my feet felt heavy and it was hard to keep my balance. I later found this article - The Del mar race track will have a $9 million Polytrack on the main Del mar race track. The top layer of the Polytrack Del mar race track surface is 7 inches thick and is a mixture of sand, carpet fibers, ground-up rubber and spandex, all coated in wax. The material of the Del mar race track doesn't stick to the horses' hooves and it also helps the environment. At least my shoes weren't dirty!

After running 1/2 of the track, they led us onto the street portion of the course. It was all uphill, my legs carried me as far as they could but I did have to stop to catch my breath. I unintentionally hit a lady, she kinda ran into me - I felt her bounce off and she just kept going. Mel passed me at this time, she did great (even though she had a minor injury). When I finally reached the half way point, there was a water station. I decided to by pass all the congestion and grab water from the furthest point. A girl was walking towards me with two cups of water and I grabbed one and thanked her. Little did I know, she too was wearing a bib, (she was a fellow competitor) that had grabbed a water for her slower friend and unintentionally I jacked her. By then I was embarrassed and stepped up my run to hide from her.

Mel finished in 35 minutes. I ran in 4 minutes later. I'm glad I participated, I'm sure I'll do it again. But next time, I'll train by running on sand and up hills, and I'll pay attention to where I pick up water :D

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oh Happy Days!

Eating a big breakfast, heavy in carbs, is the key to keeping slim, according to new research.

A new study found that women who eat half of their daily calories first thing in the morning lose more weight in the long term than those who start the day with a small breakfast.

And they are also less likely to pile the pounds back on.

Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, from the Hospital de Clinicas in Caracas, Venezuela (you know they have the best looking women - granted surgery helps but still), who led the study, said: "A very low carbohydrate diet exacerbates the craving for carbohydrates and slows metabolism. After a short period of weight loss, there is a quick return to obesity."

It is thought that eating a meal packed with protein and carbohydrates helps cut cravings for sweet or starchy foods, and boosts the metabolism. (Bacon, eggs, cheese, hash browns - here I come)

Scientists compared the "big breakfast" diet with a strict low-carb weight-loss regime.

Jakubowicz and a team at Virginia Commonwealth University studied 94 obese, inactive women and found that low-carb dieters initially lost more weight.

The strict low-carb diet caused an average weight loss of 28 pounds; the big-breakfast version cut 23 pounds.

However, after eight months, the strict dieters had regained 18 pounds. The big-breakfast eaters continued to drop weight, losing another 16.5 pounds.

Those on the big breakfast diet lost more than 21 percent of their body weight, compared with just 4.5 percent for the low-carb group.

Women who ate a big breakfast reported feeling less hungry, especially before lunch and had fewer cravings for carbs than the other women did. The big breakfast dieters ate an average of 1,240 calories per day, 610 of which were consumed at breakfast. The low-carb dieters ate just 1,085 calories per day.


Don't go too crazy, I'm sure it needs to be all in moderation. Kinda follows Dr. Bill Gavin's book:
No White At Night Diet
1. Eat three meals a day (at least - watch proportion)
2. Exercise for at least 30 minutes
3. Eat nothing "white" at night (starches and sugars)

Walking to Running

Carlos is a runner, our dogs are runners - I usually lag behind and walk. I can out-walk anything and anyone if you ask me. I decided that walking might not be enough, so I've started to tackle small races to see how well I do. Thanks to good shoes and special inserts, my foot seems to be okay!

This upcoming Sunday, I'm doing the IRON GIRL 5K at the Del Mar Fair Grounds. Our friend did the 5k before and said it was a great race that was completely geared to woman. I was hoping to have a big group of us run/walk, but it never fails. All the usual suspects seem to flake, so it's usually a 1 person team (2 if Carlos joins me) :D

Check out the race -

In preparation for it, I ran one of our favorite trails (3.86 miles with gradual incline).

We're looking for another race in July and we have Disney's 1/2 Marathon late August. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Too Much TV

I watch a good amount of TV (I'm not saying it's all quality, but it sure is entertaining). I'm been known in my circle as a "REALITY TV JUNKIE" but I've matured.

Here are some of my top shows to watch. If you have Tivo or DVR, take advantage and record some. Tell me what you think!

In no particular order:
  • Peter Perfect - straight English man, with ascot and heels (okay .......)
  • Split Ends - so much drama, love the over the top ones
  • Hell's Kitchen - Chef Ramsey might have a heart attack
  • Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmare - makes me want to only eat at home
  • How I met your mother - clever
  • The Office - funny
  • Top Chef - they're fulfilling my cooking aspirations
  • Project Runway - they're fulfilling my sewing aspirations
  • South Park - crude but funny
  • Clean House - I can say with confidence "At least I don't live like that"
  • Campus Ladies - cancelled - but was the best show ever!
  • Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations - keeps it real in 3rd world countries
  • Groomer Has it - ghetto guy, gays, and dogs, you can't go wrong
  • Kathy Griffin's Life on the D-List - overall funny lady
  • Master of Dance - I watch with my hand over 1 eye, I'm so embarrassed for some people.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Sticking it to the Man

After almost 13 years of being together and countless unsuccessful attempts at learning to drive stick. This time I'm determined to learn. I can't afford not too, especially with the soaring gas prices. Carlos & I have decided to start carpooling to work whenever it's convenient. My truck doesn't get great gas mileage but uses regular, his car gets better gas mileage but uses expensive gas. We've come to the conclusion that it might be better to drive his wheels into work and he gets compensated through work for carpooling - another benefit. I'll keep you posted!

Can this be TRUE? Stephanie Izard won TOP CHEF! I was beside myself when it was announced. I didn't want "bad attitude Lisa" to win and Richard confessed in front of the judges - he choked, he choked big time. I'm even more excited since she's a woman! Girl Power.

Can't believe it - someone shoot these idiots:
2 Marines disciplined over puppy-tossing video

Success - Dog Coats Completed.

Update on Dog Coats!

I'm officially finished with our Dog Coat #1 project, in true Maria fashion, I couldn't stop at 1. I have developed 3 or 4 more stylish versions that I plan to create in the near future. Carlos was rather impressed with the durability and workmanship -- I guess I've rubbed off on him by expecting the worse then being pleasantly surprised when it comes out :D The big hold up was finding the right nylon webbing material to attach to the coat to keep it on the animals.

Sorry Dragon, I'm not sure I can make something for a lizard just yet. First, I'd have to measure you and I don't think I can muster the courage to even hold you ;D

Enjoy, check out the slide show. See if you like - I'm taking orders. **Important note: when animal wears their coats, it's critical that they be supervised - in case they get stuck somewhere.

Ripley's has a big "R" on the back, Trini's has a big "T". I know - how original.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Think before you name your kids!

I couldn't help myself talking about celebrities today! Just because you're famous doesn't mean you need to name your kid something obscure.

Just read that Jessica Alba and her new husband Cash (why would you name your kid money?) Warren just had their baby - Honor Marie Warren. Why put Honor in front of Marie? She's no Judge.

Christina Aguilar named her son - Max Liron Bratman. I can handle Max but it ultimately will always remind me of (Mel Gibson's awesome character - Mad Max).

What's with Liron? It can be confused with Lion with an extra "r" or Iron with an "L" in front of it. Wait a minute - I just found a source that tells me what Liron stands for: "my song" or "my joy" in Hebrew. I guess since she is a singer, sort of makes sense.

For all other folks, having a kid is wonderful but spend some time really thinking about what you're naming them. A name stays with them forever and kids are mean.

For more messed up celebrity names check out:

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's not all crafty, it's necessity!

Don't think I've moved on from my dog coat project, like countless other projects. They are still top of mind and I'm happy to report - I'm 95% there and will be finishing it shortly!

This past weekend was filled lots of activity - we finally got to complete a lot of household projects that we had pushed back for months. In order to meet all our goals, my fabulous in-laws and brothers-in-law lent us a much appreciated hand. I even gave the dogs a nice refreshing bath and we also visited with our dear friends Abel, Mirna, baby Carolina (she's too cute), and Kat.

R did better than T this time.

Our primary goal this weekend was cool the house! If you happen to live in an older home with minimal insulation, that's still very hot and stuffy. I highly recommend installing an attic fan with a solar panel. I have to admit, cutting a big hole in the roof was a bit intimidating but it was well worth it. The house feels 10 to 15 degrees cooler. Hopefully we'll notice a bigger difference when things heat up in the summer. (Home Depot: $180, cheaper online)

Generic Picture of the system we installed.

We also focused on gardening. Finally planted my herb/veggie garden. The herbs look happy but the veggies, aren't doing so hot. I had to put a fence around them because I was petting Ripi one day and her whole head smelled like Rosemary (wonder what she was up too?)

Planted: Rosemary, Tomatoes, Squash, Peas,
Carrots, Basil, Sage, Chiles, Oregano, etc.

In addition to the minor tweaks in the backyard, we continued to spruce up our front yard and added some much needed curb appeal. When we moved in, we did invest in plants, little did I know that some were seasonal, some liked shade, some preferred sun. (You learn from your mistakes.) After much reading, great advice from my dear friend Jean, and a new found appreciation for plants (and cost) we're turning a new leaf and appear to be doing just fine.

Still need to add some more,
but believe me - looks better than before.