What’s Your Best Quality?

Best Quality Chart

I took the Tickle.com “What’s your best quality?” PhD premium quiz last night (it’s free through Dec. 2 if you want to give a shot, too) out of curiosity and learned that:

“Maggie, your top quality is Independence. Combined with your second- and third-ranked qualities, Intelligence and Confidence, you have a very unique set of characteristics you can use to your advantage.

Only .04 percent of all people share these three top qualities. While these are your top three qualities, all 15 or your core qualities contribute to who you are and how you go through life.”

Quality #1: Independence

Quality Description
Being highly independent means liking to do things on one’s own and being naturally self-sufficient. Independent people are as a whole more determined than most and tend to have higher intelligence. However, it is also true that one can be independent without having high determination or intelligence and vice-versa. Another thing most highly independent people have in common is that they can possess a greater sense of integrity than many people around them do.

Your Score
You received a score of 100 out of 100 on this dimension. This indicates that compared with other people who took Tickle’s test you have relatively higher level of confidence.

Quality #2: Intelligence

Quality Description
People scoring high in intelligence are more likely to be unique. Higher intelligence offers greater possibilities in terms of how someone is likely to interpret the world. In addition, intelligent people are typically more able to articulate themselves well and to have high integrity.

Your Score
You received a score of 100 out of 100 on this dimension, indicating that compared with other people who took Tickle’s test, you have relatively higher intelligence.

Quality #3: Confidence

Quality Description
Scoring highly on this quality indicates that you are confident in life. People with high confidence are more likely than most to believe in themselves and to feel that they are strong, secure, intelligent, and sexy. In fact, all of the qualities that people can tend to feel insecure or uneasy about, confident types tend to feel positive about and secure in. In addition to these strengths, confident people are more likely to be articulate, somewhat optimistic, and unique.

Your Score
You received a score of 83 out of 100 on this dimension indicating that you have relatively more confidence than many of the people who took Tickle’s test.

Of course, my two lowest qualities are Compassion and Romanticism–no surprise there. I am too pragmatic and logical to be much of a romantic (though I have an oddball addiction to Regency era romance novels a la Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice). As far as the abysmal Compassion score goes, I think the test is skewed so that the more you lean towards Honesty (I scored 77 out of 100 in that quality and my two top qualities are both linked to a high degree of integrity), the lower your Compassion scores go. In other words, because I generally don’t sugar-coat my words with treacly white lies when someone asks for my *honest* opinion, the test says I am an unsympathetic meaniepants.

Don’t worry, I’m not bothered by this.

I am, however, kind of affronted that I also scored very low on Easygoing! I’ve always thought of myself as fairly laid back compared to other people, especially compared to other women like my many certified Drama Mama roommates, friends, and relatives, but perhaps I am just deluding myself on this matter. I do want to point out that I didn’t freak out even ONCE during all those months of wedding preparations (seriously–no tears, no yelling, no breakdowns, no Bridezilla manifestations), don’t get riled up over stupid little things like imagined social slights (I’m usually too oblivious about other people’s reactions, facial expressions, and existences in general to notice), and am truly a go with the flow kind of gal when out with friends.

Just because I am quite driven about certain aspects of my life like finances, fitness, and learning does NOT mean I’m not easygoing, right?

Right?

11/20/07 Log: Trashing the Dress and Giving Up Blood

I am sleeping WAY too well these days. The cooler the weather gets, the more comfortable my pillow and mattress seem to feel!

I got up and did my SS workout this morning (my chin ups are hanging at around 6 in a row before I have to resort to negatives), had breakfast, and toddled off to work with my lunch bag full of healthy food.

I plan to donate blood at lunch this afternoon after my walk, so tonight’s bonus cardio will involve me sitting on my butt on a recumbent bike pedaling at a low intensity (HR between 120-135 BPM). I will have my NASM textbook on hand for some light reading and possibly my Nintendo DS with Brain Age loaded up as well, because one might as well be productive if one MUST engage in slow, boring cardio. I’ll save the heavy lifting and high intensity cardio for tomorrow. The blood center is passing out a $10 Publix grocery store gift card as well as the usual coupon goodies and Darden restaurant cards, so this is a pretty good haul for unplugging a vein for 10 minutes. The grocery card should just about cover the ingredients for the crab cakes Chris wants to make for Thursday and a much-needed bottle of light soy milk for my morning cereal.

In Trash the Dress news, our photographer posted a few preview pics today!

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WORKOUT
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– SS Repetitive PC + Intervals
– Walk (15 minutes)
– Low intensity Recumbent Bike (45-60 min)

11/19/07 Log: Weekend Recap

Hello hello! I am still here! I took Friday off from work to attend a small business startup seminar and spent most of the rest of the day reading and then hitting my favorite karaoke bar. It was a great night, not only because I got to sing at least 6 times, but also because of the company — my karaoke pals Ed, Sarah, Dante, Dorothy, and Eric were all present. :)

Saturday I had a 9 AM hair cut with Dante (Yes, the same fellow who was belting out karaoke tunes the night before.) followed by an hour long introduction to capoeira class at the CBP East school about 8 miles from my house near the UCF campus. That was a lot of fun…hopefully I can work something out so I can make it to 2x/week evening classes starting in January. After DH got home from his martial arts class, we decided to brave a trip to the newly-opened IKEA megastore in Orlando, which pretty much took the rest of the day between traffic (awful) and the crowds at the store itself (worse). I went to bed early with an IKEA-induced migraine so I’d be ready bright and early for our 8 AM Trash the Dress photo shoot on Sunday at Wekiwa Springs park.

Sunday I was up at 6 AM trying to do my own hair and makeup (My usual grooming routine consists of a dash of soft wax and shine serum for my hair and an equally small dab of SPF 15 moisturizer for my face, so actually DOING my hair and makeup is weird.), figure out what jewelry I’d be wearing (I borrowed some from my mother for the actual wedding in July) that could survive a dunk in the springs without getting lost or taking damage, and hopping into my dress again for the first time since July 7. It was slightly looser than before, but fortunately my sister had sewn in a ribbon belt at the waistline inside the dress to help hold it up.

We got to the park around 8:15 AM and spent the next hour or so with photographer Lori Barbely and her husband/assistant snapping pictures of us in the woods, on a bridge, and jumping/swimming/floating in the 70 degree spring water. Luckily, it was sunny out and in the upper 70s, or we’d have been very, very cold, LOL.

I’m very excited to see the pics and can’t wait to share a few of them here!

After the shoot, Chris, me, and my parents drove down to my mother in law’s house for an early Thanksgiving meal. I kept my portions reasonable, but definitely overdid it on the starchy carbs. I’m expecting a great interval run tonight as a result. My parents contributed some delicious Singapore style curry rice noodles with shrimp that I quite enjoyed. The rest of the meal featured typical Thanksgiving classics – roast turkey, green beans (boiled?) with onions, Caesar salad, corn bread with almonds and cranberries, apple pie, rolls, pumpkin pie, marshmallow covered yams, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and probably some other carby thing I cannot recall. It wasn’t bad, but there are a LOT of other meals and foods I like better.

I’m doing my best to get back on plan today as we head into the real Thanksgiving Day. On Thursday we will be dining with my parents and having shabu shabu (Japanese hot pot) with seafood and veggies, sashimi, fruit, and crab cakes (my husband is attempting to make these). I’m so relieved that there won’t be any more turkey. It’s my least favorite edible bird.

I’m hitting the gym right after work (clothes and shoes are packed) and knocking out my Shapeshift weights and intervals. During lunch (e.g. right now) I’m heading out for my walk and 30 minutes of bodyweight circuits and capoeira basic move practice. Food is packed and ready through meal 5, and I am going to kick ass today!

11/15/07 Log: Shapeshift Week 4 Impressions

Down 0.2 lb today to 139.6 after another day of clean eats. I am keeping today at the low end of my zigzag again and focusing on water chugging. The turkey meal with my MIL has been moved to Sunday after the Trash the Dress photo session, so no worries about stuffing myself on pecan pie and ice cream! I just need to stay focused for the next 72 hours. 😉

I am doing a bodyweight workout day, starting with 15 minutes of plyometrics this morning. At lunch I’ll be walking and doing some TT bodyweight interval circuits or the advanced athletic training from the bonus Shapeshift chapter. Wrapping things up will be 15 minutes of yoga at home tonight to alleviate the light DOMS in my glutes and back from this week’s new SS exercises.

Have I mentioned lately how effective Shapeshift is at working my posterior chain? After 4 weeks, I swear I can actually feel a difference in force production when I sprint now (running at 8.5 mph doesn’t even feel fast anymore–I have to go 9 mph and up for over 60 seconds to feel winded), and my butt and hamstrings are finally developing some shape. I was always so quad dominant that those rear muscles never got worked properly and therefore lagged behind and looked sad and flat. I see more back definition, too!

I am *very* happy with this program!

Now that the weather is cooling down, I may even give the SS advanced athletic training bonus workouts a try in the great outdoors. They remind me of PT grass drills from my military days.

I just hope that it stays relatively warm (mid-80s) through Sunday, or Chris and I will be freezing our butts off at Wekiwa Springs. It may be tough to smile in a carefree and attractive manner through chattering teeth and a soaking wet wedding gown.

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WORKOUT
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– Plyo X (15 minutes)
– Walk (15 minutes)
– TT Bodyweight circuits and/or Shapeshift Advanced Athletic Training (30 min)
– Yoga (15-30 minutes)

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NUTRITION
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M1: 3 egg whites/1 whole egg, 60g raisins and oats
M2: 1/2 c. light soy milk, 1/2 scoop mocha protein powder, 1/2 oz. cashews
M3: 3 oz. sauteed tilapia filet with chives and Creole seasoning, 1 c. asparagus veggie mix, 4 oz. baked sweetpotato slices
M4: 2 rice cakes, 1 T. ANPB
M5: 3 oz. sauteed tilapia filet with chives and Creole seasoning, 2 c. spinach, 1/2 c. mandarin oranges, 1/2 oz. toasted walnuts, 2 T. Newman’s low-fat Asian Sesame Ginger dressing
M6: 1/2 c. light soy milk, 1/2 scoop mocha protein powder, 1/2 oz. cashews (optional)

Misc: 1 gallon water/green tea, 6 fish oil caps, 1 multivitamin, 1 calcium + D, 1 vitamin C, 5g l-glutamine

Sweet Potato Overload!

Erm, so…

Anyone have about a month’s worth of sweet potato recipes?

The grocery store had them on sale for 25 cents/pound (usually the going rate is an outrageous 89 cents/pound!), and let’s just say that I spent $3.75 on sweet potatoes Tuesday.

You do the math.

And I’ll probably go back for more.

(I’m leaning toward lots of baked fries and chips for this week and a mass bake and puree session for long-term storage in the freezer.)

11/14/07 Log: The 1-Day Streak of Perfection

Well, I am proud to say that I followed through with my plan last night and took my butt to the gym right after work. I did my missed Shapeshift strength workout (squeezing in 10-20 pushups between each set/superset), then hopped on a treadmill and ripped out 30 minutes of intervals: 6 sets of 8.5-9.0 mph/60 sec. alternated with 3.5 mph/90 sec. Warmup and cooldown were performed at 3.5 mph/5-7.5% incline.

Then I hit the grocery store on the way home, put away all of the groceries without munching on anything off plan, snarfed my final meal of the day (choco protein shake and nuts), mass steamed 21 eggs, and sent myself to bed.

This morning, I was determined to continue my streak (does it count as a streak if you’ve only had one perfect day so far? Haha…) so I ate half a bowl of oats, chugged down 2 cups of water, and hit the gym again for another Shapeshift workout and intervals on the elliptical. I got to switch from Romanian deadlifts to sumo squats in my top posterior chain exercise, which meant that I could go even heavier. I just did sets of 10 barbell sumos last night at 155 lbs, so this morning I bumped up my 6 rep max to 175 lbs, RAWR! I am shooting for 200 lbs in two more weeks. I finished up with 20 minutes of bonus cardio on the recumbent bike while reading my NASM textbook.

I’m not dressed in Forza-friendly clothes today, so I will just be walking during lunch. I plan to do two laps, or 1.5 miles. Depending on my energy level when I get home, I may squeeze in 30 minutes of YF Flexibility as well.

Weight is still holding steady at 139.8 lbs, but I think I am still a bit waterlogged. Meals 1-2 are on plan, and 3-5 are in the fridge waiting. As I am not working late, meal 6 will be taken at home.

On the evening schedule tonight is meal prep. I tried out the November Oxygen magazine recipe for sweet potato chips this morning in my Panasonic easy-bake toaster oven, but the thickly-sliced (1/2″) rounds didn’t really compress into crispy, chippy goodness as expected. I will give it another shot in the big oven tonight. About 2 pounds of chicken breast also need to meet with about 350 degrees of heat or the inside of my nonstick wok, and I am itching to try a recipe from the latest addition to my healthy cookbook collection, The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine. Like the more recently-released and Oprah-promoted Deceptively Delicious by Jennifer Seinfeld, TSC is all about hiding vegetable and fruit purees to what would frankly be called nutritionally-deficient kiddie junk food by anyone with a modicum of knowledge about healthy eating. As an unabashed fan of fruits and veggies in their natural state thanks to the wonderful cooking skills of my Asian parents, I have no need of this sort of culinary sleight-of-hand, but my dear husband is an extreme veggie-phobe who can happily live on nothing but ground beef, cheese, salsa, and tortilla chips for weeks at a time. I blame this sad state affairs on his early exposure to only the overboiled and flavorless mush that passes for vegetables on the plates of most Americans of Western European descent. (And on his father’s example, too. It’s hard to tell a kid to eat his spinach when his beloved Daddoo is making a “Yuck!” face at the blob of green slime on his own plate.)

Don’t get me wrong–my husband does enjoy the grown-up foods I prepare for us at home, but it is guaranteed that at least 50% of the veggies I put on his plate (and I don’t even put that MUCH on there!) wind up getting swept into the trash can at the end of the meal. It’s quite annoying, not to mention a total waste of perfectly good food. That’s what prompted me to pick up The Sneaky Chef (30% off and subsidized with $5 in Borders Bucks).

Chris has been doing so well with P90X (2 more weeks until he finishes a full cycle of X Classic) that I am willing to put in a bit of extra effort in the kitchen and reward him with his preferred kiddie-style meals…with lots of veggies hidden inside.

I’ve also set aside a little reward for myself that will remain wrapped up until I reach my goal: a spiffy new makeup compact from Sephora that I acquired with a gift certificate last week. I requested gift wrapping and made sure the message tag clearly read, “Happy challenge! Do not open until goal is met!” My husband is helpfully holding the box hostage until I hit and stabilize between 130-132 pounds.

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WORKOUT
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– Shapeshift strength + intervals (6 sets on elliptical)
– Recumbent bike (20 minutes)
– Walk (30 minutes)
– YF Flexibility (30 minutes – Optional)

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NUTRITION
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M1: 1/2 c. oats, 3 egg whites
M2: Pineapple protein smoothie with 1/2 small banana
M3: 1.5 oz. chicken breast, 2 egg whites, 1 cup stir-fried veggies, 4 oz. sweet potato
M4: 1 scoop protein powder, 1/2 T. ANPB
M5: 3 oz. chicken breast, 1 cup stir-fried veggies
M6: 3/4 c. light soy milk, 1/2 scoop protein powder, 1/2 oz. cashews

Misc: 1 gallon water/green tea, 6 fish oil caps, 1 multivitamin, 1 calcium + D, 1 vitamin C

11/13/07 Log: So…about that extra cardio…

At lunch today I walked for 15 minutes, then stopped by my car to get my bokken and MP3 player out of the trunk. After that it was up to level 4 of the parking garage where I proceeded to have a kick butt 45-minute Forza sword workout using just the audio track from the Forza DVD I use at home. It was a bit warm outside for my taste, but at least there was a nice breeze up there on the top level.

I need to make up yesterday’s missed Shapeshift workout tonight, but I WILL do it at the gym even though I will have to fight the annoying evening crowd for equipment. That is my self-imposed punishment for not getting it done yesterday as planned.

I am going to renege on my vow to do 30-45 minutes of extra cardio each day through Thanksgiving for now and just stick with my baseline Shapeshift plan with *optional* extra activity in the evenings if I am in the mood. Since I absolutely hate cardio, tacking on the mandatory extra 30-45 minutes was making me NOT want to workout at all–even the stuff I enjoy like weights and Forza–and that is a bad attitude to wake up with every morning.

I guess I’d rather have the satisfaction of checking off my 45-60 minutes of exercise each day and then doing some bonus activity at night by my own choice (call it basic requirements + extra credit) instead of failing to meet a sometimes impossible 90-minute daily quota, you know?

I like exercise–well, I like strength training exercise–but 90 minutes a day of mostly cardio (Blargh!) just makes me rebellious and resentful.

And hungry, too.

It will be a lot easier to stick with the lower intake range if I’m not killing myself with endurance cardio at the same time.

Meals 1-4 are on plan, and I have 5-6 in the fridge waiting. This evening’s plan is to eat meal 5 before I go directly to the gym after work for my Shapeshift workout and intervals, then chug meal 6 on the way to the grocery store where I will pick up ONLY the items on my list. When I get home, I’m hopping into the shower immediately after about 200 quick pushups and tucking myself into bed with the 3rd Edition NASM textbook and my Nintendo DS (Level 72 in Rune Factory, baby!).

No trips to or past the kitchen tonight!

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WORKOUT
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– Walk (15 min)
– Forza (45 min)
– Shapeshift Top PC + Intervals (6 sets)

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NUTRITION
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M1: 30 g raisins, 30 g oats, 1/2 c. light soy milk, 1/2 scoop protein powder
M2: Small banana and tangerine
M3: WW pita, 2/3 c. stir-fried napa cabbage, 3 oz. grilled chicken breast
M4: 1/2 c. light soy milk, 1 scoop mocha protein powder, 1 oz. toasted walnuts
M5: 3 oz. grilled chicken breast, 2/3 c. stir-fried napa cabbage, apple
M6: Pineapple protein smoothie

SUPPLEMENTS & WATER: 1 gallon water/green tea, 6 fish oil caps, 1 multivitamin, 1 calcium + D, 1 vitamin C, 5 g l-glutamine

Thanksgiving Reloaded

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and once again I cannot understand the big hullabaloo that surrounds the traditional foods served on this holiday. In my 32 years of life, I have never had an American style Turkey Day meal that I would consider above mediocre, especially considering how much time, effort, and expense is invested in preparing the dishes. I highly suspect that the happy glow of being with seldom-seen family members sort of transfers over to the very average eats, lending them a patina of yumminess that they do not actually possess.

(T-day eats in my parents’ Taiwanese household, however, kick ass. They toss all Western holiday tradition out the window and go for Korean bulgogi barbecue on the hibachi, Japanese style seafood Shabu-Shabu hotpot with thinly-sliced beef, shrimp, lobster, shitake mushrooms and veggies, sushi, king crab legs, and the occasional filet mignon.)

Frankly, the only American Thanksgiving staple I enjoy is the sweet potato, and this is often not even present. I find everything else on the usual Thanksgiving menu to be pretty uncreative and boring (Ooh, slabs of dry turkey or ham with salty goop made from fat drippings or a mix packet on top! Scoops of potato with the same salty goop on top! Wow! Corn straight from the can with butter on top!) or downright gross (All casseroles: mushy, congealed green bean casserole — which is usually the ONLY non-starchy vegetable option on the table — equally congealed mac-and-cheese casserole, or cheesy scalloped potato casserole. Is there no end to the things that Westerners can find to chuck into a pan with a block of cheese and a can of cream or soup and bake until semi-solid and unrecognizable?).

Now that I have sufficiently panned traditional Thanksgiving dinner food, here’s what I would make instead:

– Pumpkin crab soup
– Pan-fried pork/veggie dumplings with chili garlic dipping sauce
– Moo Shu Turkey crepe wraps with veggies and plum sauce (WW recipe)
Stir-fried salt-and-pepper shrimp with grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms, pineapple, and tomatoes on skewers
– Baked seasoned sweet potato fries
– Green beans sauteed in olive oil with garlic
– Broccoli and bok choy in oyster sauce
– Apple, pear, and cranberry oatmeal crisp (WW recipe) with a scoop of Breyers butter pecan ice cream
– Pumpkin/zucchini bread (made with ground oats instead of flour)

(Will put up the rest of the recipes soon.)

What are you all doing for Thanksgiving? Are you cooking for your own family or playing guest? Will it be a traditional Thanksgiving spread for you or something a bit more creative?