Friday, August 26, 2011

i'm totally prepared for the hurricane. bring it, irene!

Some people are boarding up their windows.

Some people are at the grocery store, stocking up on milk, eggs, and any other perishable item they can think of that clearly won't survive a power outage. Except toilet paper. That will probably not need to be refrigerated. (Incidentally, I never understood why people bought toilet paper. It's not like you need more of it when the power goes out, unless you plan on stopping rain leaks from getting into your house, at which point I think you have bigger issues than whether or not you have enough toilet paper).

What did I do to prepare for the hurricane?

I went to the gym. You know, in case the power goes out and trees fall everywhere and I can't get to the gym.

Clearly, I have my priorities straight.

Well, I'm off to go buy some toilet paper.

Just kidding.

Monday, August 22, 2011

what do you do when your weather looks like this? (see below)

You take the puppy for a 2 mile walk.
I had already decided on my way home from work that I wanted to run/walk the two mile loop in our neighborhood (I say it like it's the only two mile loop in our neighborhood. It's not, it's just the only one that we walk. We being my family. Because we mapped it out like 20 years ago and we're creatures of habit). It was one of the first days that make you realize Fall is on the way, where you can actually get into your car that's been sitting outside all day without dying immediately, turn off the A/C and open the windows, and blast Maroon 5 on your drive home. Oh wait, that's just me. 
Anyway, after my super long (read: 4.6 mile) commute home, with my arm hanging out the window like a cool kid, I was greeted by a very, very enthusiastic puppy. I'm surprised I survived with all my limbs. Aside from the occasional attempt to sit down in the middle of the road (him, not me) and the occasional need to roll around in the grass (me, not him. Just kidding.), we had a very successful and fun walk! We even managed to jog a bit, mostly when there was a mom with a baby in a stroller jogging in front of us. The other dogs and runners and bicyclists he could deal with, but for some reason he just had to chase after the baby stroller. I guess that's what babies puppies do. 

Now we're both pooped.

i quit.

Ok, I admit that title might be a bit more attention-grabbing than truth, but the truth is, I'm just plain tired. I'm tired of counting points, and figuring out activity points, and working my ass off or slacking off and seeing the same results either way. I've been tracking everything for the last two months, and exercising at least 4 days every week for almost the same amount of time. I know the scale isn't always entirely truthful, but come on, can't I at least have an overall maintain? It's just not fair.

I decided something over the weekend. As stepping on the scale each day week has gotten increasingly difficult and disappointing, making me want to cry a little more each time,  I realized I needed to change something. Yes, I need to lose weight, and yes, I probably do need the plan to keep me on track in general, but lately my general happiness has been at stake (did someone say steak?) and that's just not flying.

Change #1: I will not step on the scale mid-week. I will only step on the scale Friday mornings, when it's time for weigh-in. I've even toyed with the idea of stepping on the scale but making someone else read it for me, take down the number and not tell me what it is. I'm a bit of a control freak though, so that may or may not happen.

Change #2: I'm making a real, honest-to-god, concerted effort to listen to my hunger signals. Since as long as I can remember, I have been graced with a super speedy chow time, and a mildly slow metabolism. These things do not make a great combination. The result of my quick eating is that my stomach doesn't feel full until about 10-15 minutes after I'm done, by which point I've already eaten too much and feel miserable. Learning to eat slower and really listen to my body has been an ongoing battle, but it has to happen sometime. I can't bring measuring cups to a restaurant and separate out portions. I have to learn to slow down, eat until satisfied, and move on. If I have leftovers, great! I love leftovers. It's not the end of the world if I don't finish my plate.

Change #3: I'm *gasp* not tracking. At least for a week. I want to see how I do. I would really rather not be tied down to a points system for the rest of my life. It's not that the concepts I've learned don't make for a sustainable lifestyle. I've been struggling with this for a while, and I really think it's the tracking specifically that I've had issues with. It's just so draining, after a while. This change is super dependent upon my success with Change #2, because if I don't stop myself from eating too much, then I'll too much. Pretty simple. This also hinges on my ability to keep up with my exercise routine, which so far has been going really well.

So far, I've been 2 full days without tracking and it feels very freeing. I ate just a little too much last night for dinner, but overall I've been really good. I also went to the gym both Saturday (1hr) and Sunday (40min). I'd really love for this to work out.

Since there aren't really any pictures that go with this post, I'm just going to give y'all a glimpse into Chester's first bath, which he got through with flying colors! And a little flying shampoo. But only a little.

pre-bath. Look how good he is, just sitting there!
 Why are you spraying me down with all this water? What did I ever do to you?
I can't decide if I'm enjoying this. What do you think of my hair-do?
Dry, fluffy Chester! He looks so pretty.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

vacation is sexy, part 1 (one).

August marks the month I'm not in one place for more than a few days at a time because I planned all of my vacations within 3 weeks of each other. See, when I was working at the restaurant, I specifically planned my trips so they wouldn't interfere with anybody else's, because I'm selfless and awesome like that. Also (read more so) because there was little to no chance of getting my vacation approved if I tried to take it at the same time as someone who had already put in their request. When I switched jobs, I felt infinitely bad that I had all this vacation planned during the campus' busy season. No one takes vacation in August. Woops. Thankfully, new boss was super understanding since I already had everything planned, so I'm still good to go (yay).
Last week was vacation numero uno (one). My family packed up Thursday afternoon and left for five days of lazy relaxing awesomeness at this place:
I got a new camera. Can you tell? Infinite excitement! I'm playing with perspectives and focus and whatnot, so you'll probably see a ton more pictures with a ton more awesomeness.

As per usual, the first thing we talked about was what we wanted to do. My response was the same as it has been every.single.time. we've gone to the beach for the last oh, 15 years or so: I want to eat crabs! Seriously, I don't know why they bother asking what I want to do. I'm so predictable. I want to lay around and be lazy, I want to be outside and get a tan, I want to catch up on my sleep and puzzles, and I want to eat crabs. And maybe do some shopping at the outlets. Fantastic. 

Since we all got in at different times Thursday night, there were no plans (the Boyfriend and I arrived around 10pm, my brother and the Girlfriend arrived around 1am). Friday morning my parents and brother played golf, so the Boyfriend was kind enough to drive with the Girlfriend and me down to the outlets for a bit of retail therapy. In my defense, I actually had a couple stores picked out that I needed to go to specifically. We ladies branched out a little (we're girls, it's what we do) and the Boyfriend went to stores better suiting him. I tried not to go overboard (I usually do the bulk of the year's shopping at the beach) since I know I'm going to do some damage in London, but I got a few great things, like this (which I'm so flippin' excited about):
A tiny bright green Kate Spade wallet! I'm totally in love with it. It's tan on the inside and the pockets are polka-dotted! My old wallet still has a special place in my heart, but it needs a break (and a trip to a repair shop). I've actually been eying this thing for about a year now.
After shopping we met up with the golfers for a poolside lunch.
 Brohim and Girlfriend
 Mama and Papa Bear
 Yours Truly and Boyfriend
 Sir Puppy Chester. Oh wait. He didn't go to lunch. Can you see how sad he is? It's all in the eye(s)...

Friday night we made a delicious dinner of a warm corn salad (corn, red onion, cherry tomatoes, piquillo peppers, butter and love) and seared ahi tuna. Nom!
 I love these coasters! I also love out of focus backgrounds! They make me feel artsy.
 Tuna marinading in Soy Vey. If you have never tried Soy Vey, go pick some up. Seriously.

While dinner was cooking (or rather, before we started cooking dinner) we snacked on an antipasto platter the Bro put together. Sun-dried tomatoes, two cheeses, two salamis, and gherkins.

 Then it was time to start making dinner! For the corn salad we used roughly this much onion:
 Why yes, this *is* a lame excuse for me to show off my camera skills.
 The final corn dish. Seriously, so good. Make it now.

Saturday was awesome, and kind of set the precedent for the remaining three days. I woke up at my leisure (read: when Chester decided it was time to wake up), putzed around the house for a bit (I probably read outside on the porch for a bit), and then went to the fitness center with the Boyfriend. Until this trip to the Beach House, I had never actually used the fitness center. Exercise on vacation? What's that? Well actually, it was pretty nice. The building is right next to the pool, which meant we could get in a really great workout and then spend the afternoon poolside. Perfection! I ended up doing this all four days from Saturday to Tuesday, and it's a good thing, too! We ate so much food over the course of the trip. Sure, most of it was healthy, but there was just so much of it. Also, chicken quesadillas and french fries from the club restaurant may not actually be considered healthy. 
Saturday night we just grilled a ton of veggies and ate leftover fried chicken (I didn't personally have any chicken with dinner), which was fantastic. Did I mention I ate french fries every day we were there? And still pulled off a loss at yesterday's WI? Booyah.

Sunday the family went to the beach, but I had little to no interest so the Boyfriend and I stayed around the house. We did the gym/pool thing, and went back to the house when everyone was home, in preparation for CRABS!!
 Wait, this is tomato mozzarella caprese!
 Ahhh that's better. CRABS!!! 

Crabs are a wonder food. There's barely any meat in each one, but you have to put so much effort into opening them up and finding the meat that you don't end up eating nearly as much as you would if it was already picked and sitting in front of you (possibly in the form of a crab cake). It's like built-in portion control! I'm not sure what it is about crabs, but it's one of my favorite dinners at the beach. I think it just reminds me so much of the first trips we used to take way back when. It's like, serious childhood throwback. I don't care how much work they are. They're totally worth it.

Monday was more of the same, with more delicious vegetate and seafood to feast on. I almost feel like it's blasphemous to eat any meat other than seafood while at the beach. I mean hello, the water is right there. 

Tuesday was home day. Sadface. As we were taking trips out to the car with our bags, Sasha decided it was time to leave. Sure, we weren't leaving for another 20 to 30 minutes, but she was ready. And when she sets her mind to something, she's really hard to dissuade. Clearly, she's a part of our family. Sasha took one of the open-door-opportunities to run out of the house and stand next to the car. And this is where she waited until we finally decided to listen to her and leave.
Oh you know, I'm just helping load the car! Can we get going please??
Overall the trip was fantastic. And I'm not saying "overall" in the way some people do when they mean there were some bad bits thrown in there but generally it was a good time. I mean we had a great time the whole time, in my humble (but not really) opinion. 
Because you probably haven't seen enough pictures, I'll leave you with one more, taken on the drive back. I was sitting in the backseat of my parents' car with the dogs (the Boyfriend had left the night before so he could work the next day. Boo.), and it was just too good to pass up:

Chester decided the most comfortable position for him to sleep in would be resting his head on Sasha's head. I guess all that hair makes for a comfy pillow!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ABCs of food

I saw this on Meagan's blog, and decided to...borrow it. Since I love food so much, I thought it would be fun (read: a good excuse to blog without having to upload pictures from my recent beach trip to blog about that instead. More on that later).

A is for Avocado: How do you like yours prepared?
I do love me some guacamole, but I'm also in love with an open-faced sandwich loaded with avocado, fresh tomato, and drunken goat's cheese (sprinkled with some good kosher salt or fleur de sel and oregano), toasted until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

B is for Bread: Regardless of nutrition, what is your favorite type?
I love a good, crusty sourdough. Nothing quite like a slice toasted with butter (butter pre-toast, of course). 

C is for Chocolate: What is your favorite kind currently?
Chocolate is growing on me, and I sort of kind of like it now. It's a good thing I didn't fill out this survey say, a few years ago. Right now I'm loving the Ghiradelli dark chocolate with sea salted caramel squares.

D is for Donuts: You might not currently eat them, but what kind do you fancy?
Classic cake donut. No frosting of any sort. I'm a simple gal.

E is for Eggs: How would you like yours prepared?
Fried, over easy. Eggs Benedict is always welcome, but I'm not one to make fancy pants breakfast. Toast and eggs is good by me.

F is for Falafel: Yay or nay?
An emphatic Yay (yea?)! I actually just had it for dinner here last week. If you live in the D.C. area and love falafel (or don't like it but are willing to try some real, authentic falafel to give it another chance, or if you just really love french fries because theirs are incredible), you must go here. Like, now. They give you your falafel (small or large) in a pita (white or wheat), and then you can go crazy at the toppings bar. Personal favorites include, but are certainly not limited to: hummus, tzatziki, tahini, purple cabbage, shepherds salad (tomato/cucumber/red onion), hot garlic herb sauce stuff.

G is for Groceries: Where do you purchase yours?
Depending on what I need, I split my time between Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Giant. If there's a farmer's market anywhere in the vicinity, I'm there.

H: is for Hot Beverages: What is your favorite hot drink?
I guess my response is somewhat seasonal. In the winter I love hot green tea, or Tazo's passion tea. The rest of the year I drink coffee. Give me a good latte or cappuccino and I'm a happy girl.

I is for Ice Cream: Pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.
A really good vanilla. That's all I ask! When I'm at the beach I'll go for praline or butter pecan. But mostly I just love vanilla ice cream.

J is for Jams or Jellies: Do you eat them? If so, what kind and flavor?
Ehhhh 350 days out of the year I don't eat it. I'm that kid who ate pb sandwiches with no j. But if I had to chose I'd say some combo of strawberry and/or rhubarb.

K is for Kashi: Name your favorite Kashi product?
I've actually never tried Kashi. Put down your stones!

L is for Lunch: What was yours today?
Egg salad sandwich on whole wheat bread and Lays potato chips. Both on the sandwich and on the side. My dad and brother would approve, my mom probably thinks we're all crazy. The crunch is so good though, I swear!

M is for microwave: What is your favorite microwave meal/snack?
I really love Amy's pesto tortellini. It's super delicious. Not entirely fantastic for you, but definitely tasty.

N is for nutrients: Do you like carbs, fats, or proteins best?
Carbs all the way. Preferably fatty carbs.

O is for oil: What kind do you like to use?
I use olive oil most often for cooking and canola in baking.  I bought peanut oil for a recipe recently and had unhealthy oil guilt.  If I have a coronary in the near future, you'll know why.

P is for protein: How do you get yours?
I usually have Greek yogurt for breakfast or lunch every week day, and try to have lean protein with the other meal as well. Breakfast for the last few weeks has been a turkey sandwich, courtesy of Jamie. Turkey, brie or goat cheese, fig (fresh when available, spread when not). Heavenly. I also love beans, when I remember to cook them (I store chickpeas and black beans dry so that takes some effort).

Q is for Quaker: How do you like your oats?
If I can't have them in an oatmeal raisin cookie, I'll take them in a bowl with a little brown sugar.
R is for roasting: What is your favorite thing to roast?
Potatoes! I absolutely adore roasted potatoes. Toss with olive oil, throw in a few whole (peeled) cloves of garlic, roast. Perfection. Roasted cauliflower would tie with roasted chickpeas for second. Cauliflower with olive oil and garlic (broken into small enough pieces that they turn nice and crispy), chickpeas with olive oil and chili powder.

S is for sandwich: What’s your favourite kind?
I am, for the most part, an equal opportunity sandwich eater. I probably do hold grilled cheeses in higher standing than others, but there are so many things you can do with cheese and bread. Buttered bread with a little mayo and some good cheddar make for a great classic, and you can never go wrong with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto grilled to ooey gooey deliciousness.

T is for travel: How do you handle eating while traveling?
Mostly, I go all out when traveling. I don't believe in denying my taste buds of local classics and traditional foods for the sake of weight loss. It just doesn't seem right! I do my best to control portion sizes, but you better believe I'm taking advantage of the fare.

U is for unique: What are some of the unique foods that you like?
I love chewing on raw rhubarb (peeled first, of course). People think I'm insane, because it's really sour, but I've been doing it since I was a wee one and would bake strawberry-rhubarb pies with my grandma with fruit from her garden. Also, while you will never (ever) see me order pancakes or waffles at a restaurant, I am head over heels for my family's sour cream waffle recipe. Not only are they savory-with-a-bit-o'-tang goodnes, but I eat them a little differently - plain (or possibly wrapped around some bacon), with my hands. My parents tried for roughly 23 years to get me to eat them with fork and knife, but I just don't see the point. It's not like I put syrup on them. Ew.

V is for vitamins: What kind do you take?
When I remember, I take Nutrilite's Double X multi. I feel 10000000x better when I'm taking it, I'm just a wee bit forgetful. I also take a hair, skin and nails supplement.

W is for Wiener Schnitzel: Do you ever recreate this traditional Czech food?
Not yet, but I'm sure someday I will.

X is X-RAY: If we xrayed your belly right now, what food would we see?
Seared tuna pizza and a spicy tuna roll from dinner at one of my fave restaurants, and some canary melon.

Y is for Youth: What foods remind you of your childhood?
Fried egg sandwiches, homemade popcorn, spaghetti with olive oil (or butter) and parmesan cheese, ritz crackers and triscuits, strawberry-rhubarb pie, icebox cookies.

Z is for Zucchini: How do you prepare it?
Lately I've just been brushing with olive oil and simply grilling, sprinkling with a little kosher salt. Yum!