Friday, June 29, 2012

Five Favs Friday

I want to take a moment to gush about the five things that I am loving right now. 

1. Summer fruit
…because it is so readily available, so fresh, and it’s all of my favorites, in season at the same time!  Strawberries, cantaloupe, mangos, pineapple, honeydew, watermelon.  I am obsessed with these right now and keep a constant supply of them in my kitchen.  I also incorporate them into every meal and snack.  My favorite breakfast right now:

Fruity Summer Breakfast

1 cup cottage cheese (or greek yogurt)
½ c diced strawberries
½ c diced pineapple
handful of blueberries
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
drizzle of honey

**to kick the nutrition aspect up a notch (and make it even more heart-healthy), sometimes I sprinkle Chia seeds or ground up flax seed on it**

Talk about DELISH!!  And what makes it even better is that it’s healthy and filling!

2. Blogs
…because I love to read them and even have a list of them that I blog-stalk (read) every day.  Starting a blog was something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while and finally got up the courage to start one!  There were so many reasons why I wanted to start a blog…as well as reasons why I just hadn’t gotten around to doing it yet.  There was the issue of time, I couldn’t find the right name for it, and didn’t know where or how to get started.  I finally took the plunge and am happy that my blog will turn two weeks old tomorrow!  I enjoy writing my posts, and have found that my favorite part is that I get to keep a written (and visual) account of my crazy, eclectic life.  As a bonus: it’s therapeutic.  Instead of retail therapy, this is my blog therapy. J

3. My RUNstreak
…because it is forcing me to find at least 25-30 minutes a day to work out.  The truth is, that we are never too busy to work out, although we often come up with a ton of excuses.  My philosophy is that in life there is always time for what we MAKE time for.  There are 1,440 minutes in a day; it’s not impossible to find 30 of them to exercise.  Do something…anything!  Run, bike ride, walk around the neighborhood.  The more active we get, the better!  In my family, we make it a family affair so we can get our daughter involved too because I think it’s important to teach her healthy habits and making exercise a daily activity is one of them!  It’s good for the body and good for the mind! Endorphins rock! J

With my run last night I completed Day 27, and June’s almost over which means one month down, two to go.  And so Leti’s Summer RUNstreak continues…

4. Free time – and sleep (sometimes)
…because I actually have time to DO SOME STUFF!!!  Being a teacher, I look forward to this time of the year because it’s my time to rest, relax, and (most importantly) rejuvenate.  In the summer everything is better simply because I have more time to DISFRUTAR (Spanish for ENJOY…although I don’t think the English word captures it quite like the Spanish word does).  During the summer I’m not in such a rush to get home and grade papers or work on lesson plans so I have more time to enjoy the places we go, the food we eat (and the restaurants we eat at), and the family activities we love to do.   I get to stay up late, which is great for me because I’m a night owl, and I even have time to go have coffee and go on dinner dates with the hubs occasionally! 

Everyone always talks about how “lucky” us teachers are to have so much time off and how good we have it to get three months off for the summer.  Let me be frank for a moment, if I may, and I think most teachers I know would agree with me when I say this: Trust me, by the time May rolls around, IT IS TIME.  The children are tired, we are tired, and we have all had enough together time to last us a good while.  We NEED that time off!  If it weren’t for the summer, I’m not sure we would be as effective…or sane!  Trust me, it’s better for everyone involved for us to have that time off.  Otherwise, as one of my crazy teacher friends so hillariously put it, “someone somewhere would probably get hurt.”

As of yesterday at 3:15pm, I am officially off for the summer.  With that being said, I’m the kind of person that has to stay busy.  Therefore, being the good nerd with OCD (or CDO - have you seen that pin on Pinterest?) tendencies that I am, I have created a “Summer Projects” list.  Lucky for me, as soon as I scratch one thing off I usually add one or two new ones.  I can’t wait to get started!  But first I think I’ll take the weekend off (and start my projects on Monday) because I have my big Mexico City Girls reunion this weekend in Austin!

5. June 30 – July 1
…because I get to see MY GIRLS!!!!  This weekend I get to spend time with Rachel, Cristina, Ashley, Dianne, and Jenny (we'll miss you Rosie)!  You know those movies/shows/books where the main character has a group of friends that she meets, bonds, and fall in love with…and then reunites with once a year for the rest of their lives?  Well that’s us!!!  I met this beautiful group of girls when we all did an International Public Relations Study Abroad in Mexico City, México in the summer of 2000.  We hung out, worked in International PR internships, and traveled all over México that summer.  We came back to the states, graduated (from Texas A&M University – WHOOP!!!) and have remained friends with each other, and the friends we met there, ever since.

In about 24 hours from now we are going to meet in Austin to hang out, eat some good food, drink a little vino, relax, and catch up…and I CANNOT WAIT!!!

I’m off to do some laundry, a little shopping, and to pack.  Get ready, Austin, because here we come!!! J

5 ?’s for you:
1. What things are you loving right now?
2. What are some of your favorite blogs that I absolutely have to check out?
3.  What are your favorite fruits and how do you incorporate them into your meals?
4.  How often do you work out?
5. Do you have a “girlfriends” group? How often do you get together and what kinds of activities do you do when you see each other?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Workout Wednesday

To celebrate “WORK OUT WEDNESDAY” I’d like to share my latest workout schedule.  Below is how I’ve laid out my workouts for this week, including my runs, cross training, and weights.  I’ve also included a couple of tables with what I like to call “filler” exercises.  I use these exercises one of two ways.  One, as fillers in between weight sets to keep my heart rate up or two, alone as a “Circuit”-like “Boot Camp”-type workout.  These are a few of my favorites; I really tried to make sure all parts of the body are covered. 

Work Out Schedule 
June 25 – July 1


Cross Train
Monday  6/25
biceps, triceps, abs
Tuesday  6/26
Zumba, Spin
Wednesday  6/27
Whole body
Thursday  6/28
Zumba, Spin
Friday  6/29
Saturday  6/30
Sunday  7/1

Filler exercises




Squats (reg/left/right/sumo)


Wall sit

1 min

(front/back/walking w/db)




Quick Feet

1 min



Fire Hydrant
(leg bent/straight)


Kickback/Leg Lift



1 min



Jumping Jacks




Jump Rope

1 min

Ski Jumps


I hope you find this post helpful!  I hope to bring you more workouts, ideas, and tips in the future.


1. What are your workout plans for the week?
2. What are some of your favorite “filler” exercises?
3. What are your favorite parts of the body to workout?
4. How many days of the week do you usually workout?
5. What are your favorite types of cross training?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

PART 2: Sand&sun, delish food, and family time

After making our garage-sale rounds we met my second mother's daughter, her boyfriend, and his daughter at the beach in Port Lavaca. It was the perfect day for the beach and we had a fantastic time! We came prepared with snacks and everything we needed to really enjoy a relaxing afternoon.  We sunbathed (as if I needed any sun J) and periodically took dips in the water to cool off.

Yep, that's right. My mom was trying to read the newspaper at the beach. Don't tell me you've never done that. Nope? Me either.  Only my mother would! J

 After the beach we came home and I helped my second mother cook dinner. Been looking forward to this food for a while so I figured whatever I could do to make it easier on her, the better! Look at this goodness!!

Chicken and dressing, Turkey breast, brocolli rice casserole, creamed corn. Yum!


We enjoyed dinner and spent the rest of the night chatting and drinking some vino.  It was a perfect ending to a wonderful day!

 The next morning I got up and went for a run on the same trail.  I ran 5.11 miles in 50:42, a 9:55 pace.  Not bad, if I do say so myself.  I’m pretty proud of my time; I may not be fast but I’m steady and consistent.

 After getting cleaned up, we went to church.  We went to Faith Family Church, my second mother’s home church.  Pastor Graff and his wife, Tamara, spoke about  “The Road to Romance”.  Mrs. Graff also happens to be Joel Osteen’s sister.  I really liked that they took a tag-team approach to the sermon.  Pastor Graff said that since they were going to be talking about keeping the romance alive in a marriage (and that takes two), that it would be best to speak on the subject from both perspectives.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and especially appreciated that their honest and frank approach to love, marriage, and everything that comes along with it.  They are brave souls and even touched upon things that others would be scared to talk about!

 After church, it was LEFTOVERS TIME!!!!  I ate another round of all of that delicious food and then we took the short trip to Bloomington to my mother’s house.  After visiting my hometown, my favorite neighbors, and Mom’s cats, we loaded up all of our goodies.  My Mom always loads us up with lots of awesome stuff!  We made it back to Victoria just in time to hop on the bus to head back to Houston. 

My bambina with my mother's giant cat.

After what seemed like a short ride, we made it safely back home.  My handsome hubs was waiting on us when we arrived!  We came home, unloaded all of our stuff, got caught up on the weekend and headed to bed.

Overall, it was a beautiful weekend spent amongst family!  It had been a while since we had spent a whole weekend with my mom and my second mother.  Needless to say, I am definitely looking forward to spending some more QUALITY TIME with my favorite ladies. J
My beautiful mother and I!

 My second mother and I!

Monday, June 25, 2012

PART 1: Shawarma’s, celebrity sighting, and the wheels on the bus

This weekend was the long-awaited and much-anticipated Girl’s Weekend.  It started off with a bang! 

Friday morning I ran 2 miles on the treadmill at the gym and then did a Pilates class.  Please tell me why I was breathing heavier in Pilates than during my run.  That Pilates stuff is NO JOKE!!  I finished my work out and came home to pack.  We left for the bus station, yes you heard me correctly – the bus station, but first went to Abdallah’s Restaurant and Bakery because we were in the mood to eat Lebanese food. 

Before I continue, let me explain why, when we have a perfectly good car, we decided to ride the bus to my Mom’s.  You see my daughter wanted an “adventure.”  She wanted to ride the bus, since she had ridden it once before with my Mom and thought it would be fun to do it again.  We believe in exposing our daughter to as many life experiences as possible, and this one was feasible so we did it.  We rode the bus!

At Abdalla’s we ordered the Beef Shawarmas with a side of Hummus.  The people were really nice; they actually remembered my husband even though he had only been one other time, three weeks earlier!  The food was ah-maz-ing!!  The Shawarma was HUGE, enough for two meals, and that’s saying a lot because I eat a lot!  The Hummus was flavorful and creamy.  I could have eaten a whole vat of the stuff!  We have added it to our list of new favorite restaurants and will definitely be going back…and soon!  Is it just me or is that now two restaurants I’ve added to our “Favorite Restaurants” list in the last week?! 

As we were about to leave, we met Greg Onofrio, the guy from the WB 39’s “NewsFix.”  He’s not just “some guy”, though, he actually narrates the news show and does the closing commentary.  Talk about a nice guy!  Not only was he friendly and funny, he was down to Earth, actually engaged in real conversation with us, and even posed for pictures.  I was a fan of “NewsFix” before but I will definitely be watching it even more faithfully now!!

After meeting the Houston celebrity, we made it to the bus.  The wheels on the bus went round and round and two and a half hours later we were in Victoria!  My second mother picked us up and we werejoined shortly by my Mom.  After a gourmet dinner at Wienerschnitzel, we hung out, chatted, watched some television and then went to bed.

Saturday morning’s workout was an early morning six-mile run on a running/biking trail not far from my second mother’s house.  It was beautiful weather and my run felt really good! 

After getting back and getting cleaning up, we went Garage Sale-ing for a few hours.  I sure have missed a good old-fashioned Garage Sale run!  It’s been years since I’ve done one.

I’m going to stop there for now but I will be back to tell you about the second half of our weekend.  Coming up: the beach, the food, church, Mom’s house, and the trip home! 

Leti's lottery luck

No, I did not win millions of dollars.  A girl could only wish! J

But I did get picked in this lottery.  Look what was waiting in my inbox this morning!

  Congratulations Leticia Ortega Duran
  You are officially registered for the
  2013 Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Dear Leticia Ortega Duran:
Congratulations - you were selected in the lottery and are now officially registered for the 2013 Aramco Houston Half Marathon.
I got in!  I got in!!! 

I will be running this half marathon with my running buddy, Amanda, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!!!!! J

Please stay tuned for a two-part post all about my fantastic weekend later this evening. J

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A work in progress

I pride myself on trying my best to be a positive person.  You see, positivity and optimism don’t exactly come 100% natural to me.  I am, by nature, a bit too practical, realistic and pragmatic.  And although I am a constant work in progress, occasionally I get weak and the not-quite-as-nice and more-easily-annoyed me comes out.  Case in point: today.  Here are two things that “irked” me today (you guys use that word too, right?):
1. If you and your co-workers decide to have a Pot Luck…and the purpose is to bring (and share) food, why, inevitably are there two or three people that want to sign up to bring tea and lemonade?  Is that what you want to eat for lunch?  Lemonade?  Tea?  No?  Well us either!  It’s a Pot Luck, people, not a beverage bar!  And there is only so much liquid that we need.  FOOD.  That’s the purpose.

2.  Attention Mr. Weird-little-short-man at the gym (whom I have affectionately nicknamed “Chispirito”): there is absolutely no reason that you need to walk around the gym doling out unsolicited advice.  I know you are probably just doing this to be helpful, but:
#1 - no one asked you,
#2 - you don’t exactly have the physique of William Levy, David Beckham or Ryan Gossling, so I’m going to need you to STOP, and
#3 - I think you need to concentrate on your own work out.  The last time I checked you hadn’t even broken a sweat because you’re too busy walking around telling everyone else what to do.  And by the way, after you so kindly told and showed that girl how to "correctly" do the Lat Pulldown, I saw her roll her eyes at you when you turned around and walked away.  Rude, I know!

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, we can move on to something a bit more fun.  Thanks for letting me get that off my chest!  

Leticias Thursday Favorites
(a collection of random things I am loving right now)

1. Pinterest
Do I really need to say anymore?  Wait, maybe I can find a pin that says it for me! #officiallyaddicted

2. Hungry Runner Girl
Janae Jacobs (HRG) is hilarious and I love reading about her running, teaching, Costco-visiting and pregnant shenanigans!  I have faithfully read her blog everyday, twice a day, for the past year and a half.  I read her blog more consistently than I write my lesson plans!  (Just kidding, Cheantal, I’m only saying this to try to make people laugh. *awkward silence*) …well, moving right along…

Why?  Because in their on-site store (Cafe Press) I found this shirt.  How cute is that?
Runner's Legs (on front) & Runner's Bum (on back).      Runner's Legs (on front) & Runner's Bum (on back).
4. My friend Amanda
Aside from being one of the wittiest, most fun, adorable and absolutely entertaining people I know, she also happens to be the reason I started running.  If it hadn’t been for her FORCING me to run the Race for the Cure with her in October 2010, I’m not sure I would be running today.  I can honestly say that was one of the BEST birthday gifts I have ever received!  Thanks, friend!

5. Trader Joe’s
Yep, it’s official.  Trader Joe’s, you’ve created a monster!  Thank gosh a new one will be opening up closer to me on September 21st, in exactly 92 days.  Not that I’m counting or anything.

6. Friday’s
I love Friday’s for the same reason that everyone else does, it means the end of a long work week.  But since Summer School only runs Monday through Thursday, Friday’s are especially fun because I’m off!  Hello three day weekend!!  And this Friday, for me, means that the day has finally come for my big “Girl’s Weekend” with mi Madre linda y querida, her best friend (mi segunda madre), and my daughter.  Wooohoooooo!!! 

See?  I'm ending on a positive.  Maybe I have learned a thing or two.  Work in progress, I tell you, work in progress! J