Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Day, Go Grizz, FF

It's Friday, which means a couple things...

1) It's royal wedding day!!!  Woo hoo!

2) The Grizzlies are going to hopefully beat the Spurs tonight.  We'll be at the game and I couldn't be more excited!  This city is going to FREAK OUT if they win!  Go Grizz!!!

-----------------------------------------

And Friday also means "Fitness Friday," of course.  I don't have the best fitness/health week to report, though.  For some reason, I've been having some crazy food cravings all week.  I went to Walgreens yesterday in desperate search of Cadbury Eggs on after-Easter sale.  There were none.  In fact, in my desperation, I probably would've settled for a number of different Easter candies, and basically all that was still in stock was Peeps (blah), Easter-themed suckers, and Skittles in an egg-shaped container.  No dice.

The one highlight of the week, fitness-wise, was that I was able to do 40 minute runs on Sunday and Wednesday.  My knee didn't feel 100%, but it also didn't feel awful.

And I've been having this weird thing with yoga lately.  So for a long time, I was paying for my classes because I had bought a Groupon thing where classes cost either $2 or $4 (different deals - and I bought a ton of classes with each one).  Well, now that I'm done using those, classes cost $10.  And it's not that $10 is a ton, but it's also quite a bit more than $2.  So I've been having trouble (mentally) justifying a ton of classes every week because it feels a little too expensive.  Grrr.  I hope Groupon does another deal soon!

Anyway - happy Friday, everyone!  I hope you have good weekends!

(Gooooo Grizzzzz!)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

C-R-A-Z-Y Rains!

Memphis has had some ridiculous weather the past three days!  Hours upon hours upon hours of rain and thunderstorms and tornadoes.  During many daytime hours the sky has been as black as night.  And similarly, I've been woken up a few times in the middle of the night because of the blinding lightening outside.  It's been wild.

There's so, so much flooding, and it's only predicted to get worse.  In fact, BBQ Fest this year (scheduled for the weekend of May 13th) will potentially have to move locations.  The river is expected to crest on May 10th at 45 feet (which is the highest it's been for some crazy amount of time - maybe 100-ish years?).  They're saying that if it does in fact reach that high, Riverside Drive could be under water!  Insane!

It's especially weird because I've found in my almost-decade in Memphis that May tends to be the rainiest month.  That is, April shower don't usually bring May flowers - May flowers are usually already bloomed and get extra water during the month.

All this watching of the Action News 5 Weather Team has made me wonder what happened when there were really bad storms in the "olden days."  When there wasn't a tv to watch with updates, how did people get their weather information?  Did a lot more people die back then in really bad storms?

(In other news, we're seeing Arcade Fire at the Orpheum tonight!  Woo hoo!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why I'm Excited About the Royal Wedding

I'm very excited about the royal wedding on Friday.  Seriously.  Really excited.

And now I'll preface. 

I'm not someone who's generally into pop culture.  I don't ever buy magazines (US Weekly, People, Entertainment Weekly) or watch tv shows (Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, etc.) or check the websites (I don't even know?  Perez Hilton?  TMZ?).  So I would say that my excitement is somewhat oddly out of character.  Not to mention I have a college degree from a good college, I hold a good, stable job at an investment bank, and I don't have any history of royal stalking or collecting memorabilia.  In other words, I don't think I'm the "type" of person one would imagine is super excited about Friday.  But I am.  So, so excited, actually.

I've heard all these naysayers on facebook and on the news talking about how dumb all the hype is.  In fact, my friend Tiffany (who has lived in the UK for the past 4 years) said on her facebook page, "The US is obsessed with the royal wedding.  I just don't understand the appeal."  Well, here I am to explain the appeal, at least from my point of view...

1) It's exciting!  I grew up alongside Prince William - I think just about any girl my age at one point wondered if she could somehow meet the prince on a vacation or something and become the next princess.  And now, he actually is getting married and that's exciting!  Our mothers watched Diana & Charles get married, now it's our turn to have a royal wedding of our generation.

2) We don't have royalty in the US.  The closest we have (I guess?) is Hollywood.  And we never get to see Hollywood weddings, they're always hidden and secretive.  But also, I think because we don't have royalty, we've embraced the British monarch.  What old-enough US citizen can't remember where they were when they heard about Princess Diana's death? 

3) It's international news that's actually good.  How many times do the news correspondents come on and tell us about warfare/deaths/famine/natural disasters/horrible things that are happening internationally?  It's a nice break to actually be excited about something internationally.

4) It's getting tons of news coverage here.  Again, going back to point 3, I'm happy to jump on board with news coverage that's actually light and happy in content.

5) William and Kate seem so likable!  I mean, seriously.  They are two attractive, smiley, happy people who are in love.  I'm happy for them.  I'm happy to see their lives unfold together and hopefully avoid the dreaded royal-divorce epidemic.

6) The element of the unknown.  There are some British traditions and some distinctly royal traditions that are interesting to hear about.  Maybe it's because I'm in the wedding phase of my life (that is, lots of people are getting married all around me), but I find all the wedding traditions fascinating.  (I very seriously wish I would've worn a hat to Tiffany's wedding 2 weekends ago - I think it's one of the only weddings I'll even attend where that would've actually been ok.)

7) The fashion.  As Princess Diana was known for her fashion during her life, Kate Middleton has the potential to step into her shoes.  I can't wait to see the dress!  And I can't wait to watch Kate (as our mothers did Diana) unfold as the fashionable princess.

I hate that it's implied by the haters that if you're American and excited about the royal wedding, you're sort of pathetic.  It's almost like admitting you like watching a soap opera or something - the person who does that must be 1) uneducated, 2) not doing much with their lives, 3) cheesy.  I don't think I'm any of those things.  And you know what?  I'm almost giddy with excitement!  I can't wait to set my DVR for all the daytime coverage, and then for Oprah, and then for Dateline that night.  And I'm perfectly comfortable admitting that.

Will you guys be tuning in?  Are you sick of all the hype?

(And just for the record, this is no way attacks Tiffany.  In fact, she only had the one facebook post about it.  Lots of others have had more strongly worded facebook posts about the wedding.  And Whoopie Goldberg and her big fat mouth had some words.  As did a whole special news segment of CNN making fun of how all American channels that talk about the royal wedding are doing so with a British accent [which actually is pretty funny if you start to listen for it].  I even think Perez Hilton was making fun of the US hype, which, I mean, dude, look at your life.  So anyway - not hating on Tiffany.  I'm hating on the haters.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Topics Revisited

I thought I'd follow up with a couple topics of past, just to keep you all informed.

The Great Till
Friday went about as expected, which was, back-breaking and hard.  Tilling the soil was really, really tough.  Imagine mud that hasn't been turned up in at least 9 years, that has some mossy-mold growing on the top of it, that has crazy roots right under the surface.  Then imagine breaking all that up using a metal rake - not a machine.  Really, the only way to do it was to throw my body weight into the corner two prongs of the rake and rip into it.  It was sloooooow moving because my arms and back couldn't take continuous work - I had to till a little, and then rest a little.

BUT - it's done now.

Laying the seed also posed a little problem, more or less because of inexperience.  I bought one of those seed distributor things that you push, which was great.  But because I'd never done this before or seen it done, I had no idea how many seeds to lay down and/or how thickly to distribute them.  We shall see.  (I should also mention that yesterday Memphis had awful storms and got about 4 inches of rain, and similar storms are predicted for tonight and tomorrow.  I'm really nervous about the seeds!  I'll be so mad if they wash away!)

The Pursuit of Romper
On Saturday this past weekend, I finally made it over to the new Urban Outfitters down the street.  And just for the record, the store is gorgeous!  They turned the space into something awesome - I was so impressed.  While I was there and wandering aimlessly thinking to myself how extremely un-trendy I dress I decided to try on some rompers!  I grabbed a casual one and two dressy ones.

The verdict?  No. Dice.

Boo.  But yeah, as I originally predicted, they were all so so so short on my tall body.  And not just short as in shorter than what I usually wear.  They were so short that they hit a really unfortunate part of my upper thigh making my legs look really, really bad.  And size didn't remedy anything - on one of the dressy ones I tried a medium and a large.  The large was slightly longer (I guess?), still too short though, and then way too big on the upper half.

I guess the pursuit continues, although I don't have high hopes...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hallelujah!

Jesus Christ is risen today, alleluia,
Our triumphant holy day, alleluia,
Who did once upon the cross, alleluia,
Suffer to redeem our loss, alleluia.

Happy belated Easter!  What a glorious day - the tomb was empty, Christ is risen!

We had a wonderful service at our church (that included a group sing-along of the Hallelujah Chorus at the end).  And then a lovely lunch at Jonathan's parent's house.  The weather yesterday, and really, the whole weekend, was gorgeous.  Contrasted with the Easter message, it was the perfect reminder of God's abounding love for us.

I hope you all had wonderful, worshipful days!  Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's A Good Friday To...

Not go to work!  Woo hoo - I love you, stock market holidays!

But actually, I'm hoping to accomplish a major task on my day off even though I'd rather be shopping, relaxing, reading a book, watching DVRed tv, baking, doing yoga, just about anything else.  I'm going to till our backyard with a metal rake and then lay grass seeds.

Yeah.  I know.  And no, I've never done it before.  Aside from internet research, I know nothing.  I don't even have a firsthand account from someone who has done this before.  BUT, I'm confident.  I think it will be fine, and it will be a good example of how some sweat equity can really save you $$$ in the end.  It's been super rainy all week, which I'm hoping will make the tilling process quite a bit easier (and muddier) than if the ground were more dry.  (And in case you're going to suggest it, Home Depot doesn't have a tool to rent that can do what we need it to do.  The only machine they have that has a control for settings [since we don't need the ground super ripped up] is huge and requires a truck to move.  No dice.)

So stay tuned!  I'm hoping it will be a good upper body workout.  And I think if I wear headphones and rock out, it might be a little more fun.  Send your nice lawn vibes my way!

Happy Good Friday!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vicksburg Weekend

I sort of unintentionally fell off the face of the blog Earth this week.  I've been super busy, yada yada yada.  But with that to say, I have to backtrack a little and talk about my fun last weekend in Vicksburg, Mississippi for Tiffany's wedding.

I arrived on Friday around 6:30.  Katie and I were sharing a room at the local Vicksburg Hampton Inn (which, surprisingly, was really nice - I mean, shockingly so - and it only cost $100/night).  We freshened up and headed over to Tiffany's aunt's house for the rehearsal dinner.  It was waaaaay out in the country, and was really lovely.  We were mostly outside on their beautiful land.  The night concluded with a huge bonfire and all the rehearsal dinner toasts around it.  How fun!  We also had s'mores.  (Note, I ate one s'more and about four charred marshmallows, which are so freaking good!)  A funny thing to mention about this wedding is that most of Tiffany's family is from Mississippi and the groom & his family are from the UK.  There was a nice England meets Mississippi component to the whole thing - southern accents contrasted with British ones; suits contrasted with kilts; American phrases contrasted with English ones - good stuff.  This is the three of us at the rehearsal dinner.

On Saturday, Katie and I had a packed day of taking in Vicksburg.  We started with an exercise walk through a war memorial park.  (Vicksburg was a key city in the Civil War for those who don't remember their history lessons that well.)  It was lovely.  Then we headed over to the big Vicksburg Riverfest, which was more or less a street of "downtown" blocked off from traffic and loaded with vendors selling fair food.  We had a laughably awful dining experience at lunch that essentially took an hour and a half for 2 pieces of fried chicken and a tuna sandwich.  And following lunch, we toured the Biedenharn Coca Cola Museum.  Not the most amazing museum experience I've ever had, but something to do.  Here's looking down the street at Riverfest.


And here's the coke museum and a cool looking old building:




After Riverfest, we ventured over to the flea market that was in town.  And then we walked around the old courthouse (but passed on paying the $5 admission for another "museum").  We attempted to tour some old, beautiful, historic mansions that were on a little street downtown, but couldn't really figure out where to go or what the deal was.  The day ended at Payless shoes.  It seemed like a well-rounded Vicksburg experience.  Here's a pretty view of the old courthouse through the trees.
Then Saturday night was the lovely wedding and reception.  The bride looked absolutely gorgeous!  Her dress was simple and lacy, with just the right amount of blingy sparkle.  She and the groom were completely smitten all night - so cute to see!


The reception was held at the B'Nai Brith Literary Club, a gorgeous former Jewish literary club.  We were in the downstairs portion of the club.  It was just really beautiful: original hardwood floors, rich wood paneling, high ceilings, beautiful moldings and chandeliers, etc.  And let me tell you, the food was awesome!  As were the cakes - I mean, this was fantastic wedding cake - so moist and flavorful.  But yeah, as expected, we danced most of the night and had an awesome time.  Great wedding, guys!  And afterwards, all the "kids" who attended came back and hung out in the hotel lobby with the leftover alcohol from the wedding!  It was a pretty late night - but we really enjoyed hanging out with our new British friends.


All in all, it was a fun weekend and a good little getaway with Katie.  Congrats to Tipper and Graham!
Note: all these pictures were taken with the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone.  I realized Friday afternoon that I had forgotten to pack our real camera.  Since I've never been overjoyed with the straight-up iPhone camera, I decided to try a picture app.  I really like the way some of these look.  Others (note to self: people do not picture well in Hipstamatic), not so much.  Live and learn (and don't forget your camera).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

HG Diversity

There was a fascinating little segment on Morning Edition yesterday about diversity on tv.  It said that oftentimes, minorities are type-cast into certain roles.  Black people play either cops or crooks.  Latinos play the sex pot, detective, or dealer, etc.

But apparently there's one place on tv where minorities are represented as hard-working, successful, and equal to their white counterparts: HGTV.  And it's so true!

Do you guys watch much HGTV?  I enjoy it for fluff tv and/or something to watch on the treadmill (it moves surprisingly fast - on numerous occasions, actually, I've ended up doing longer runs because I was sucked into an HGTV show or two [since on the renovation ones, you can't not watch the end]).  It's pretty cool when you think about it from a racial diversity standpoint, though.  They are constantly featuring black, white, asian, latino, and gay homeowners for both the renovation and house hunting shows.  And they also have many ethnicities hosting the different shows.  But even more remarkable, perhaps, is that it all blends seamlessly.  It doesn't seem like the network is trying too hard, as is the case in some commercials where you see 4 friends hanging out, and it just so happens that one friend is white, one black, one asian, and one latino. On HGTV, as a viewer, it just feels like a good representation of the general population, in my opinion.

According to the NPR segment, the increase of african american viewers of HGTV has increased 50% in the past year!  50!  It would be nice if other networks took the hint: your viewership will go up if you stop typecasting.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Flavor Changes

When Amanda was having lunch with us this past weekend, it came up that she hates bananas.  After we all lightly teased her a little (because come on, bananas are awesome), she mentioned how she really wishes she liked them.  And that actually, her aversion has lessened slightly.  She used to get grossed out just smelling them, but now she can at least tolerate being in the same room as them.

This made me wonder about the evolution of our taste buds at different phases of our lives.  How, quite literally, our food-flavor preferences change as we get older.  (It's illustrated by Amanda slowly warming up to bananas.  I'd bet money that at some point in her life, she'll at least find the taste tolerable, if not enjoy them.)

Anyway, when I think about it, I can think of three foods off hand (but I'm sure there are more), where I've had a 180 degree taste-preference change over the years.

1) Bananas
I said earlier that bananas are awesome, but I didn't always think so.  According to my mom, I ate a ton of bananas as a baby.  Like, they were my favorite food.  But my earliest memory of a banana is a dislike.  I'd say I spent ages 5-15 really, really disliking them.  I didn't want to eat them, but I also didn't even want them near the other food I was eating.

I warmed up to them by adding them to smoothies with a ton of other flavors.  By doing this, there would be a ton of fruity deliciousness, with a slight hint of banana in the background.  I eventually worked my way up from there, and now I'm a banana fiend.  I love them!

2) Tomatoes
I wouldn't say that I hated tomatoes when I was younger.  But I also didn't like them and would pick them off food I was eating.  (I've always loved ketchup, as we all know, so I'm not sure if my tomato issue was a texture thing or what.)  Anyway, I never really gave them a fair chance, because in my mind, "I didn't eat tomatoes."

Well, when I became a vegetarian after my junior year of college, I realized that I needed to start eating tomatoes.  It was that simple.  I remember being in a Lenny's with Katie's family, and I was ordering my veggie sub, and it just occurred to me, "I can't be a vegetarian and not eat tomatoes" - so I ordered them on my sub.  I've been eating them ever since, and I'm definitely a big fan now. 

3) Blue Cheese
I should start by saying that I love blue cheese now.  Love.  More than the average person.  I will buy a container of blue cheese crumbles and eat them with a spoon.  I put blue cheese on anything and everything it could possibly add flavor to.  I love it.

But I didn't always.  I think "stinky cheeses" might be one of those tastes that you grow into later in life (because really, how many little kids love a big slice of super moldy blue cheese?).  Also, I'm not sure that my parents, even today, are big blue cheese fans; so I'm not sure I was ever exposed to it other than at restaurants when the options were ranch and blue cheese, and I was told, "you don't want blue cheese."

I remember I first warmed up to it when Sarah worked at Einstein's in high school and she would make my favorite sandwich, The Cobby, for me.  (Side note - The Cobby was an incredible sandwich that should still be on the Einstein's menu.*)  But anyway, one slice of bread of the sandwich was slathered in gorgonzola spread.  I remember thinking that I didn't love the spread, but I also sort of liked the way it worked with the rest of the sandwich.  It wasn't until college that I would just pile blue cheese on a salad at the salad bar, but when I did, it was instant love.

I'm wondering if I could eventually warm myself up to pickles, since I don't like them now, but really wish I did.  I'm starting by first warming up more to cucumbers.  All week, I'm planning to incorporate a cucumber into something that I eat.  Thus far, I've been putting them on my salads at lunch.  Baby steps.

Are there any foods that you guys love now that you used to hate when you were younger?  Or any foods you hate that you wish you liked?

*Maybe you guys are wondering what was on The Cobby?  This is how I remember it, Sare, correct me if I'm wrong...
-it was on a challah roll
-one side of bread had gorgonzola spread
-the other side had avocado spread
-lettuce
-tomato
-red onion
-turkey
-pepper-encrusted bacon

Mmmmmm!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So Excited!

Ever since I went to the Chicago Diner a few years ago, I've been obsessed with the concept.  It's an all-vegetarian restaurant, but stuff on the menu is listed like it isn't.  So there are things like "bacon cheeseburgers" and "chicken tenders" and "Philly cheese steaks" - but all are made with vegetarian sources of protein.  I found it so cool because it was what one would typically classify as "diner" food - junky, greasy, and totally splurge-worthy.  While many restaurants have awesome vegetarian options on their menus, most of the vegetarian food tends to be more "healthful" than some of the other menu items.

WELL...  Guess what??  Memphis is getting its own all-vegan restaurant with junky, greasy diner food!  I'm so freaking excited!

Imagine Vegan Cafe will open in the Cooper Young area of Memphis.  This is the neighborhood next to mine (read: this diner will be in long-walking distance of my house) that is sort of funky/art-y/cool.  It's the perfect location - arguably the only possible location - for an all-vegan restaurant.

It's set to open next week, I think.  I have really high hopes - it better live up to my excitement!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fun Times

We had a lovely weekend!

Saturday was jam-packed with stuff.  First, we had our dear friends Amanda and Stephen over for lunch.  They live in Austin, TX, but were in town for a wedding.  It was so nice to have them to our house and share a couple hours together on the deck in the wonderful (but windy!) weather.

Then at 4pm, we went to the wedding of more dear friends, Anna and Kevin.  They got married at our church, Idlewild, and the reception was at the Hi-Tone.  It was fun for us to attend a wedding at Idlewild because we hadn't been to one there since our own.

The Hi-Tone was a really interesting, uncommon location for a reception.  It's a bar/nightclub/music venue in midtown Memphis.  (We've seen a few good shows there, as it tends to be the locale that gets a lot of random, indie bands that my husband loves.)  Anna and Kevin wanted something cool, casual, and unusual for their reception - and this definitely fit the bill.  I was completely shocked how well the place cleaned up - but it looked great and was really transformed into a cool, shabby-chic reception venue.

The bride looked gorgeous, the couple was giddy with happiness, and everyone who attended seemed to have a great time.  The food was good (very vegetarian friendly), the drinks flowed, and the band was awesome.  All in all, I'd call it wedding success! Congrats, guys!  (I think they both read my blog.)

So normally our night would've ended after a wedding, but we actually had another party to attend afterwards (we're quite the social butterflies).  This one was a surprise 40th birthday party for yet another dear friend.  (We really got a good fill of friends we love this weekend.)

We didn't make it for the actual surprise portion, but arrived a little bit late to an incredible house that overlooks the Mississippi River.  It was extremely modern (in both construction and interior design).  The first floor had probably 30 foot ceilings, and the whole back wall was windows overlooking the river.  One of the bathrooms had leather walls.  The shower in the master bedroom was crescent shaped and was sort of like a walk-thru carwash - the whole length of the crescent was full of jets at different levels.  (And the shower was next to the in-house sauna and the hot tub that had open air above it.)

Anyway, awesome house aside, the party was really fun.  We had tons of friends there, so it was fun to hang out and catch up with some people we don't see all that often.  There was a cool, big patio overlooking the river and it was a gorgeous night so I spent a lot of time out there.  The birthday boy was on cloud nine (he'd actually had a surprise family party the night before, and was off to St. Lucia for a week to celebrate I'd be on cloud nine, too).

All in all, what a wonderful way to spend a Saturday.  I had an incredibly bad headache for most of Sunday, though.  It felt like I was hungover, which is pretty annoying when you don't drink anything the night before.  I blame either the pounds of pollen that are coating every outdoor surface in sight, or the pounds of cheese I ate on Saturday night (since I've been trying to lay low on my dairy consumption of late).

Hope you guys had good weekends, too.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fitness Friday

This was a great week in terms of diet and exercise.  I worked out every day (walking or yoga).  And I made very meticulous healthy eating choices, including not eating out at all, except for a trip to YoLo. 

One thing that has been concerning me, though, is the possibility that I'm not eating enough calories every day.  This week I tried to remedy it by upping the calories of my after-work, pre-workout snack.  One day I tried a slice of Genesis bread with natural peanut butter and a glass of almond milk (probably around 350 calories because I was pretty generous with the PB both on the bread and shoveled into my mouth via spoon).  And I also bought some delicious hummus in the prepared foods section of Whole Foods - it's called something like, "Jessie's super spicy hummus" and is, in fact, "super spicy," which is just how I like it.  I've been dipping veggies into that.  (When you get as much hummus onto each bite as I do, it becomes a more calorically-dense snack than the average person's dip to veg ratio.)

Other things I've thought about to get more calories without feeling like I'm jamming myself with food: 1) add more oats when making oatmeal, because I'm always hungry enough to eat a big breakfast; 2) add more olive oil to my homemade salad dressing at lunch; 3) eat more nuts; or 4) make smoothies with added protein powder.

In other news, I'm in the market for a supplement form of fish oil.  Either capsules or flavored oil.  Do you guys supp fish oil?  And if so, are you brand loyal to something awesome I should know about?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Romping Around: Just Child's Play?

I never really thought these words would come out of my mouth, but...I'm sort of interested in buying a "romper" ie, a onesie.

My interest was piqued during an episode of What Not To Wear a week or two ago when a woman came out of the dressing room in an adorable, chambray-type onesie with a cute belted tie at the waist.

I'm unsure where exactly a romper would fit into my wardrobe.  Would I want a casual one that I could wear on the weekends for errands, etc. - maybe something that would work in the same way that shorts and a tank top do in the summer?  Or would I want something a little nicer (maybe in a lush fabric?) that would work for maybe a nice restaurant/casual-ish party, thus replacing a summer dress?

I have two major concerns, though:
1) age appropriateness
2) length

The lengths on all the ones I see online look super short.  Now I know this isn't a dress, so a little shortness isn't as shocking.  But I definitely wouldn't want something shorter than the shorts I already own. 

(For the record: I know that some people love to wear really short things [and that mini-stuff is in style right now], but just for my own personal taste, and considering how tall I am, I don't love things that are super, super mini.)

But here's my big question: are rompers age appropriate for me?  This might be correlated with the length issue, as well.  I've not really seen many women wearing them in Memphis.  This makes me wonder if that's because the people wearing them are aged 15-25 and we aren't really frequenting the same places.

Thoughts, my fashionista friends?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Escape to the Islands

Of late, I've been trying to cut back on my sugar intake.  It's not all that difficult.  But one place where I find myself constantly craving a sweet treat is after dinner.  I'm sure it's from years of dessert growing up, but my body likes to have a little taste of sweetness after dinner.  Fruit doesn't exactly sate the craving.  So, intrigued, I bought this at the grocery store.
All I have to say about this is holycrapamazingawesome!  Seriously.  It tastes like a pina colada.  Add a dash of Stevia (or your sweetener of choice), a dash of some kind of milk/cream product (I use soy creamer), and you're taken to the islands.  (I'm not sure if pina colada-flavored tea sounds gross in explanation, but I promise, it works.)  And it does a good job with my after-dinner sweet tooth; it's also nice to have a big cup of tea to sit and relax with.  I'm thinking when it's hotter outside, this will also be awesome on ice.

I was just so pleasantly surprised - especially given my somewhat shaky relationship with tea - I had to share with everyone.

(In other news, I'm pretty sure I saw the Lafayette Lancers play better basketball when I was in high school than the championship game last night.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend

We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend!  The weather was perfect: sunny and in the high 70s/low 80s.

I also feel like we got a fair amount of stuff accomplished.  Friday night we stayed in.  I cooked an awesome coconut shrimp dish and we watched the first two episodes of the new HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce (it airs on Sunday nights and we'd DVRed it from the previous week).  It looks like it will be really good - I recommend trying to watch it if you guys have HBO - it stars Kate Winslet.

Saturday morning I went for a long walk outside.  Then Jonathan and I cleaned up the deck & deck furniture so we can start sitting out there.  We ate dinner outside Sunday night and it was awesome.  We're in prime deck season because the bugs haven't come yet.

Saturday night Jonathan went to a friend's house to watch basketball and I had a friend over to our house to do the same.  She and I managed to pause the game for a second to grab some YoLo as well.  I must say, I was pretty happy to see Kentucky lose (sorry Patti!).  And I'm also excited for the game tonight - I hope it's a good one.

Sunday we did about 3000 loads of laundry (from vacation clothes to our "normal" week's worth of stuff to our winter sweaters to our sheets).  And we spent some time at Home Depot.  We're trying to accomplish two things with the house.  One, we want to get new window coverings (shades, shutters, or blinds) for our family room/den.  It's not the easiest task because whatever we get can't be mounted internally (if that means nothing to you, don't worry about it), and it's hard to find something we like that won't cost $1000.  And two, we need to address some issues with our backyard lawn.  Basically, we have grass in the middle of the yard, but everything on the outside has been worn down to dirt.  It's tricky because we have a pretty high fence that casts a shadow for most of the afternoon on the muddy sections.  We're trying to decide between laying seeds (which requires some labor-intensive tilling) or laying sod (which is more expensive) and we need to figure out which grass will do alright without full-on sunlight (and we need to know if that kind will match up with the kind we already have in the center of the yard).  I really had no idea that one's yard could require so much thought.

Anyway, it was a nice weekend.  It's amazing how some sun and warm weather can lift one's spirit (or make a trip to Home Depot, dare I say, enjoyable?).

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fitness Friday

I know I've been doing Fitness Fridays on and off on the blog.  If I ever don't do one, it's most likely because not much has changed in my fitness/health routine, so I won't bore you with "I walked/jogged/yogaed this week."

But this week, I had to get on here and toot my little horn (TOOT TOOT) because I feel so proud of myself:

I worked out on our vacation!

Quite possibly, this is one of the first vacations ever where I brought workout clothes and actually used them.  I worked out every morning except one - and I even went to the gym on my birthday!

A huge contributing factor to this was the time change.  Arizona is 2 hours behind Memphis.  So as hard as I tried, I was up tossing & turning everyday around 5:30am and up for good by 6:15.  (And we went to bed accordingly early - so it wasn't like I was sleeping poorly, for the most part.)  Another contributing factor: no alcohol.  When you don't drink a lot the night before, it's not difficult to wake up early and/or hit the gym.  Also, I think the dynamic of the family vacation was pretty conducive to working out.  My half brother & sister are 16 & 17, so they typically sleep late, and we were at a hotel with a free breakfast from 7-10.  So if I was done working out by 8, a) breakfast was still being served, and b) most of the family was in the dining room since the kids had just woken up.

On the opposite end of healthfulness, though, was my eating.  Holy crap.  I mean, I obviously knew going into a vacation that I wouldn't be eating all that well.  And I'm not beating myself up about it.  But wow.  Lots of food.  I hadn't eaten french fries in a long time and I had them twice.  I hadn't eaten fast food in probably 3-4 years and we went to In & Out Burger one day (I got the grilled cheese off the "secret menu").  Add in birthday cake at my aunt's house, dessert at the restaurant the night of my birthday, Cadbury Eggs we bought for our room, and freaking delicious hashbrown potatoes on the breakfast buffet every morning, and I was in over my head.  But it's cool.  I'm back on the healthy eating wagon now and trying to de-bloat.

Another thing related to health/fitness was the two beers I had on my birthday.  Yeah, those

So...I can honestly say this trip was the first time in two months I really had a problem with the no drinking thing.  It's just that my dad's side of the family are big drinkers.  And there was the jovial atmosphere since we all hadn't seen each other in so long.  (And the slight awkwardness, too, of not seeing each other.)  And the general vacation feel - literally, every family group had bought alcohol for their own hotel rooms (including Jonathan getting some brews for ours).  We had beer out by the pool.  Beer in the afternoon.  Beer in the rooms before we left for the night.  Drinks before dinner.  Wine with dinner.  After dinner drinks.  You name it.

So by the time we got to dinner on my birthday - after there had been all day pool drinking and a couple hours of wine on an awesome patio - I couldn't stand it anymore!  We walked into the restaurant and it was one of those places that has ~75 interesting beers on tap.  You guys know how I love beer.  So Jonathan and I chatted it over and decided that a couple beers on my birthday wouldn't kill me.

And they didn't.  I had two pints.  Two delicious, dark, thick, smooth stouts.  And they were good.  They were enough.

One thing I did reflect on, somewhat happily, was how many calories I saved by not drinking.  Thinking about the birthday, for example, I bet we'd be looking at ~3 light beers in the afternoon, 2 glasses of wine at the patio bar, and maybe 3 pints at the restaurant.  Probably around 1000 calories!  I knew not drinking was good for something!

I'm hoping to yoga a lot this upcoming week and potentially do some more running, which I've been gently trying to re-incorporate into my routine.  The knee is holding out so far.

Did you guys have good health/fitness weeks?  Do you usually work out when you're on vacation?