Thursday, April 30, 2009

Short but sweet

Hey hey! Happy Thursday! I'm keeping my post brief tonight, since yours truly has had a headache off and on all day (and trying Power Yoga for the first time didn't make matters much better... I kept looking up to try to follow the instructor, and I got a bit dizzy! LOL), and have just been in kind of a blah mood all day... no real reason, nothing happened to put me in that state, it was just one of those days, you know? Oh well- it's nothing that a l'il Parks and Recreation, The Office, and 30 Rock can't fix!  :-P   Luckily, the Phillies were kind enough to take the night off so I could watch my shows uninterrupted... because, you know, their playing schedule is all about me.  :-D  

Plus I'm behind in reading all of your blogs, and trust me, you all have way more exciting lives than mine.  :-D

I will say this, though- I'm actually a little more than halfway through Sickened already! And I only started it yesterday! Even I'm impressed with myself, LOL! Nah, not really- it's not a long book (256 pages), the font size is pretty big, and I'm skimming over some of the icky medical procedures and medical records/letters from doctors that have a bunch of medical abbreviations and jargon that my simple little mind doesn't understand.  :-D I wouldn't be surprised if I had this finished up by tomorrow or Saturday, so I'll give my review and thoughts then.

I'm off to go bond with my Motrin and make myself a nice tasty dinner before my shows... have a good night, and happy almost-Friday!!!   :-)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Busy little bee

Man oh man... is anyone else having a seriously crazy busy week??? I need more hours in the day, I tell you! (for fun, though, not work- they get enough of my time as it is, haha!) Anyway, here's what I've been up to for the past few days in a nutshell:

*Watching a lot of amazing baseball- the Phillies are kicking ASS so far this year! Although, what do you expect from the 2008 World Series Champs??? :-P Seriously though, they've just been unstoppable lately... the other night, they had TWO grand slams in ONE game! I've never seen that before! I <3 my Phils. Although sometimes I get a little sad, because it reminds me of my dad... I grew up watching baseball with him, we'd play wiffle ball and softball, and he's the one who taught me to love the game... his birthday is coming up next week, May 7, so I've had that on my mind as well.

*Work's been superbusy this week... which I'm not minding, as it makes the day fly by (as much fun as downtime is, too much of it can be a bad thing, because it makes the day drag by soooo s-l-o-w-l-y).

*I picked up mt t-shirt and registration number for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure taking place in Philly on May 10- does anyone else do this race, in Philly or other places? I do it every year. It's a cause that I feel really passionate about as a woman, and it has affected me personally as well- I lost a grandmother to breast cancer (I'm named after her). She died from the disease back in the 1960s, before there was much really known about it in terms of symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Had she been been a few decades later, she might have lived because it's become such an commonly known disease. Unfortunately, because of the time period, she was diagnosed in a late stage, and there was not much they could do for her when she was finally diagnosed. I also lost a former neighbor/family friend to the disease- Rosemary- she fought it so, so bravely, and wasn't able to overcome it in the end, and she left behind a loving, devoted husband, and two precious, sweet little boys (both, I believe, were under the age of ten at the time, but don't quote me- this was a long time ago, like mid/late 90s'). So it's a disease that I'm passionate about for many reasons. I do the walk every single year. I walk and don't run. I'm not a runner. I admire and applaud all the runners out there- I really wish I could be one- but it's never been my thing. Believe me, I've tried. The Philly Race for the Cure takes place every single year on Mother's Day. I've been doing it for about three years now, and plan on doing it every single year until there is a cure. I'm lucky in the sense that I live near a train station that takes me right into Philly- I made the mistake of driving once, and it was a disaster. Not only were major roads blocked off for the walk, but two colleges were having Graduation Day that same day. Major fiasco. Thousands and thousands of people, and, like, five parking spots for those thousands people. You do the math. :-D Never again! And the cool thing is that the company that I work for not only pays my registration fee and pay for my T-shirt, but they also sell discounted bus and train passes for the event. My company takes a vast interest in community events and health care for employees- we have our annual Health Fair coming up next week, which I love and go to every year. They really make an effort, and I really like that!

*Played around with a few new sweet potato combos (at least, I think they're new, it's getting hard to keep track!!!):

DSCI1344 Sweet potato + broccoli + Boca Tomato Bruschetta Parmesan Patty + roasted red pepper hummus= fabulousity.

*Last but not least, I finished Sense and Sensibility... I LOVED IT!!! I was having a hard time getting into it at first- the language was dense and it was definitely a book that required my undivided attention- but the more I read it, the more I loved it! Ah! So good! Now I get why women worship Jane Austen! I can't wait to read more of her books! I think the next book of hers I want to read is Emma. I know that the movie Clueless is based on Emma, and I love the movie Clueless (come on, who doesn't???), so I think it would be a really fun read! I'll be on the lookout for Jane Austen books at used book sales from now on!

*And I'll conclude my recap with my latest read:

DSCI1341 I thought it was funny that I randomly picked this book, because I just bought it two weeks ago! Sickened, by Julie Gregory. The memoir of a girl whose mother purposefully sickened her because she had Munchausen disease and was psychologically ill- she made Julie sick on purpose and made up false symptoms, because she craved the attention she received from nurses and doctors. I'm actually already about sixty pages into it, and man, did this poor girl have it rough! Not just from her mother, but it sounds like her father was definitely troubled as well, he came from a broken home, the parents had a miserable marriage, the mother was (obvi) psychologically troubled, they lived in a secluded cabin in rural Ohio because her parents were suspicious of other people (and, incidentally, racist= NOT cool). They hurt Julie both psychologically and physically, and clearly seemed to favor her younger brother. And she's only ten years old at this point. My heart is just breaking for this poor kid!

Well, the blog isn't the only writing I've been neglecting lately- my journal has been ignored as well, so I'm off to go take care of that right now! Happy Hump Day!!!! :-)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunshiny days

Wow... if this weekend's weather is any indication of the upcoming weather in the months ahead, then I think it's pretty safe to say sayonara to winter... which means I can finally put away my space heater!!!! Good riddance, winter!!!!   :-D

What a beautiful  weekend we had here!!!! Clear skies, warm but not humid, and an abundance of sunshine!!! It was perfect weather.... all I wanted to do was play outside.  :-)   But I settled for sitting on my balcony and reading Sense and Sensibility, which I am still LOVING!!!!  I can't believe it took me so long to jump on the Jane Austen bandwagon... now I get why she's a classic and a favorite and why women sing her praises. Though the writing is a lot denser than I'm used to (keep in mind I read a lot of books about shopaholics and momzillas, haha!), I find it absolutely beautiful, and prolific, and some of what she writes still rings true in society today- all the shenanigans that those a-holes Edward and Willoughby pull on the poor wonderful Dashwood sisters? Yeah, guys are still pulling crap like that today- maybe not the exact same things for the same reasons (land, money), but they've managed to accumulate plenty of other games and moves along the years! And when Elinor tells Marianne that it is impossible for anyone to expect to rely on one sole person for their unfulfilled happiness, I was like, amen, sister!!!!   :-D  I only have about sixty pages or so left... and I can't wait to finish it!

BTW, my sister had a great time at her junior prom! She called me and told me about it on Saturday. The boy kissed her... twice.   :-D   (I hope she doesn't kill me for putting that on my blog... but I think it's safe to say that not too many sixteen-year-old boys out there are reading this blog!!!) So yeah, she's on cloud nine right now. I can't wait to see pics!!! I'm so glad she had such a wonderful time... after all she's been through lately, and the fact that she's pretty awesome in general, she just deserved a really awesome prom, and a really nice guy, and I'm so glad she did.  :-)


My weekend's been pretty quiet and low-key, not much to blog home about... watched the Phillies kick some Marlins' boo-tay, went to Target and Wegmans and Trader Joe's, ate a lot of sweet potatoes... you know, the usual.     ;-)   I wish I were a more interesting blogger! What can I say... I dig routine!  :-)

Speaking of routine, my tummy is letting me know that it could use some dinner right about now!

Happy birthday wishes to Caitlin and Yasmin, two fine and fabulous ladies!  :-)

And on a sadder note, I want to take the time to again express my deepest sympathy and condolences to Jenna and her family for the devastating loss they endured over the weekend. There are no words to even express the heartbreak and tragedy, as there are no words in the English language that will ever suffice. Jenna, we love you and are here for you and your family. God bless.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's that time of year again...

... I'm talking about prom season, kids. That's where my little sister is tonight- at her junior prom! And she's going with the boy she likes- he asked her- so it's especially exciting (cause that certainly never happened to me! I never snagged my crushes, LOL!) I can't wait to hear all about it and see pictures! She was so excited, and I'm so excited for her. Did you go to your prom/proms? Did you have fun? I went to my junior and senior proms. I went to my junior prom with a friend and I had a blast. I went to my senior prom with my boyfriend at the time (whom I remember not even liking all that much at the time), AND my wisdom teeth were coming in, so yeah, that was not as much fun for me!

So while my sixteen-year-old sister is shakin' her booty at her prom, I'm spending my Friday evening chilling at home after a tiring work week, watching some baseball, and making my grocery list for tomorrow morning, and unloading the dishwasher when it stops running- ah, adulthood.   :-)

Happy Friday to all!!! It's going to be absolutely beautiful here all weekend- almost ninety degrees!- and I'm damn sure going to make the most of it!!!! I've been waiting for this weather all year- THIS IS MY WEATHER!!!  Seriously, I think I might have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I am just inconsolably miserable in the winter months from always being so cold, and happy as a little clam in the hot and humid months. People complain about July and August being so hot, but I love it!!!! Last year I didn't use my car's air conditioner all summer, not once. I'm a windows-down kind of girl.  :-)

Whatever you're doing tonight and this weekend, and whatever the weather is like where you are, I hope you're having fun!   :-)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Recapping the week (so far)

I haven't really been blogging much this week, because, well, I've been lazy and just haven't had a whole lot going on, and I didn't want to bore you all! ;-) But so far this week, I've:

*Been productive at work (this gal earned her paycheck this week, let me tell you!)

*Not gotten too far in Sense and Sensibility, not because I'm not enjoying it; quite the opposite, actually- the more I read, the more I'm liking it! But fact-checking data all day long in a teeny tiny font makes for very tired eyes at night! So magazines are about all I can handle at night this week, LOL. I've been catching up on back issues of Rachael Ray's magazine, though (my boss gives me her back issues). But it's great and I can't wait to read more of it this week? Why did you all let me go so long without reading Jane Austen??? ;-D

*Had my annual routine exam at the OB/GYN (does anyone else still get a little uncomfortable and feel sorta awkward at their yearly exams, or do I just need to get over it already???)

*Started to slowly get sucked into The Real Housewives of New York City (because I don't watch ENOUGH crap TV shows, right? LOL! But ever since I read Naturally Thin, I've been very curious about this show, and I've slowly starting watching it... and kind of liking it... but also kind of hating it. It's weird).

*Did Sara Ivanhoe's Candlelight Yoga on Instant Netflix (LOVE her!!!)

*Started watching (and loving!!!) my new DVD, the second season of Knots Landing... cheesy 80s' drama at its finest, folks. :-)

*Enjoyed a new sweet potato combination of joy and excitement:

DSCI1327 (sauteed shrimp, peppers, and onions, on top of a sweet potato, with a little side cup of roasted red pepper hummus... this just rocked my world)

*Watched the Phillies lose. A lot.

*Wrote in my journal. A lot.

*Missed my dad extra-much this week. :-(

*Read all of your lovely blogs. :-) Looks like lots of bloggers are busy little bees this week!

It's almost the weekend!!! We made it!!! What are you doing this weekend? They're calling for BEAUTIFUL weather this weekend- in the eighties!!!- so whatever I do, I assure you, it'll be outdoors!!! :-D

I'm off to watch some 30 Rock and hopefully do a little reading!!!! I'm at such a good part in the book- the Dashwood sisters have just met the Steele sisters, and talk about some personality clashing!- have a good rest of the night!!! Friday's just a few hours away!!! :-)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wear Your Sneakers to Work Day

So it was "Wear Your Sneakers to Work Day" at my company today, and, like, four people participated. LOL. I was really surprised! Our dress code policy is business professional, so I thought this was a big deal and was looking forward to it, so I donned my Sketchers proudly all day long. I guess other people don't care as much, haha. Well, whatever. We never get the opportunity to do it, and it was nice to not have to wear heels or boots for a change.

My vacation day yesterday was nice! Not in terms of the weather, though. It was rainy and cold all day long... luckily, I only ventured to the gym and to get gas, and that was it. The rest of the day was spent writing in my journal and watching my new fun DVD, Knots Landing. Cheesy 80s' drama= perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.   :-D   Here's my problem with vacation days, though- as nice as they are, they make me wish that I never had to work, LOL. I want to be a housewife- only without the husband or the kids. Now, how do I make that work???  Haha.

Although coming back to work today was not so bad. I'm working on a project that comes in once a quarter, and it keeps me pretty busy for a few days, and I'm a fan of anything that makes time go by quickly at work! And the project itself isn't hard- it's mostly fact-checking data... and sad is it sounds, I like it! I don't mind fact-checking because it's so black-and-white. It's either right or it's wrong. A nice break from grammatical rules and verb tenses, haha.   :-)   How was your Tuesday? I hope it was pleasant!

So in honor of the new episode of The Real Housewives of New York City that is on tonight (I'm slowly getting into this show), I figured now is the time to share my thoughts on Naturally Thin.  I'm not much of a book critic- I either like something or I don't, LOL- but I had mixed emotions on this book that I wanted to share and see what other people thought of this book too. I know a lot of bloggeristas have read it recently, and we all seem to have a similar consensus.

At first, I was a little turned off by the title. I'm not really into "dieting" books because I don't believe in dieting. I believe in healthy eating as a lifestyle. I think that diets are deprivation, both physically and mentally. But the more I heard about this book and how it was more of a book about "lifestyle" changes and choices, I was intrigued and reserved a copy at my library (yes, I broke my "no-checking-books-out-of-the-library-until-I've-read-all-of-mine" rule, but I didn't want to spend money on this book, since I didn't know if I'd really like it or not; plus, based on reviews and excerpts I'd read, a lot of it sounded like stuff that I already know and incorporate into my own eating lifestyle, or common sense, or stuff you can easily find for free on the internet.

So the book was divided into two sections- the first section was about the ten "rules" that are actually more like "mindframes" than rules, that encourage you to practice certain habits to engage in healthy eating and healthy living. I like that right off the bat, Bethenny lays it right on the table. She shuns dieting, for the same reasons I do, she says that these rules work for her and she's not saying that they will work exactly the same for everyone else, says she is NOT a doctor, NOT a nutritionist, NOT a professionally trained chef, this is just what works for her and she just wants to share that info with other people. She admits that she doesn't even follow her own rules sometimes, that she's not perfect and doesn't expect anyone else to be, either. Take what you want, and leave the rest, and I pretty much did that for the most part. There were some rules that I really liked, and some I knew wouldn't really apply to me or how I like to eat. Section two was more of a "guideline" of Bethenny walking you through a week's worth of her food choices, along with suggestions for your own. This is the part I wasn't completely on board with, but more on that later. For now, let's start with the "rules". I'll lay out each one, and what I thought of it and how I will/will not apply it to me.

Rule 1: Your diet is a bank account. So this is basically what it sounds like- balance everything out. Moderation is our friend. Make "smart investments" with your eating choices, just as you would with your money. She makes the comparison that you wouldn't buy a sweater that didn't fit or didn't look good on you, so why waste calories on something that you don't really want or enjoy all that much? She also compares food noise to food voice- food noise is negative inner dialogue, and food voice is basically the good voice, the angel on your shoulder telling you what your body wants or needs in terms of food. She also explains the term differential, which is the difference between two choices, and whether or not that difference is worthwhile to you (the example she gives is beef chili vs. turkey chili vs. vegetarian chili, and how to make that choice based on your personal differential, if you don't mind giving up the beef chili for a leaner choice, or if it matters to you more and you do want the beef chili, than to choose that, but to remember to balance the rest of your food choices for the day in terms of fat, sodium, whatever). I thought that this was a great rule. If you balance your choices accordingly, you should be able to enjoy all the food that you want to eat. This makes sense. If you have a piece of cake at work for dessert, don't have cookies after dinner later. You haven't deprived yourself, you just made your choice. I liked this rule, and feel I already use it.

Rule 2: You Can Have It All, Just Not All At Once. This rule focused on listening to your "food voice" and making the choices that you really want. If you really want something decadent, don't deprive yourself- you're just setting yourself up for a binge later, and you'll feel bad mentally, and most likely overeat whatever you were craving in the first place. Ah, that demon food noise strikes again! Instead, go ahead and give in to your craving. Pick what you want, make sure it's what you really want, then have it, enjoy it, and make it count. Savor and enjoy it! Just balance out your other choices accordingly. This is actually a lot like Rule #1. They kind of go hand-in-hand.

Rule #3: Taste Everything, Eat Nothing. I thought this was a pretty interesting chapter. This rule encourages really "tasting" your food in terms of eating to feel "satisfied", not "full". To eat little bits of really great food that you enjoy. Also, the chapter talks about "switching lanes"- meaning to take a few bites of something you love, and then switch to a different taste so that your taste buds don't get bored. I confess, this is something I could work on. I notice that when I eat dinner, which usually consists of a sweet potato, a protein source like chicken or salmon, and a veggie, I notice that I tend to eat the veggie first, then the protein and a little of the sweet potato, but I leave most of the sweet potato for the end. I'm not sure why I do this- there's no reason or anything, although I think I like to leave most of the sweet potato until the end because it's my favorite part of the meal, haha. But it's something I could work on. I can see how my taste buds would want a little more excitement after ten bites of broccoli, LOL!

Rule #4: Pay Attention. Out of all the rules in this book, I loved this one the most, and it's the one I feel is the most important. This one focused on eating consciously, taking the time to chew and appreciate every bite, taking your time to eat and appreciate what you're putting into your body, etc. If you don't pay attention while you're eating, then your mind hasn't registered that you've eaten, and you won't feel mentally satisfied even if you're physically satiated. Make your food an "experience", take the time to appreciate your food, and don't multitask while eating (watching TV, reading, driving, using the computer, etc). And eat slowly! People eat way too quickly. I used to date a guy who would have his food downed before I even sat down to the table to eat,  not even kidding. It was appalling on many levels. Now, I've always been a slow eater. Seriously, I'd miss recess a lot as a kid because it took me so long to eat. It takes me about an hour to eat my lunch, and about 30-45 minutes to eat dinner usually. I've always been like this. Not that I've never eaten fast, obviously, but whenever I have, I've felt uncomfortably sick. I remember in high school, my Chemistry teacher told me that one day I'd consider that a "blessing", because I'd have really good metabolism as an adult. But also, I enjoy eating slowly, because I truly believe that eating is just as much an emotional experience as it is a physical one, and I enjoy eating foods that I take the time to prepare for myself, so I like to take the time to savor and appreciate it! But I do confess that I am guilty of multitasking while I eat. I like to read while I'm eating. I like to watch TV when I'm eating dinner. I usually eat up eating my preworkout snack in the car. I can certainly understand how multitasking takes away from the point of savoring and enjoying your food, but I LIKE to read and watch TV while I'm eating, and I figure, if I can do both at the same time, and I enjoy eating that way, I'll keep doing what makes me happy until it's not making me happy anymore, LOL. But if multitasking isn't your thing, and you are someone who really needs to focus just on the food and can't appreciate your meal while doing other things, this could be a helpful tool.

Rule #5: Downsize Now. This is pretty much what it sounds like- small portions of delicious food that you enjoy. And don't ever eat out of the bag- always put everything on a plate or a bowl. Truthfully, I feel this didn't really apply to me. I don't really go out to eat often, and when I do, it's places that are pretty portion-controlled, like sushi, or sandwiches, etc. I make all my meals at home for the most part- and I'm the one who's in control of the portion size and all that, so I didn't find this rule particularly applicable to me. But if you eat out a lot or are often in situations where you're not really able to figure out portions, this could be a good rule for you. Oh, and I never eat out of a bag- I put everything on a plate or a bowl, which I'm sure my roommate just loves since it means we have to run the dishwasher every other night, LOL- but I'm a big believer in that rule. Eating out of a bag isn't fun! I like to put everything on a pretty plate or blog. Why not? It's more fun that way. And food should be fun, always!   ;-D

Rule #6: Cancel Your Membership to the Clean Plate Club. Again, exactly what it sounds like- don't feel obligated to eat everything on your plate. Eat until you're satisfied. If there's anything left over, save it for later. This is a good tip if you eat at restaurants a lot, because their portions are crazy ridiculous. But, again, I rarely eat out, and when I do, it's stuff that's pretty portion-controlled. But I will confess that I am a member of the Clean Plate Club. Even at restaurants, I always tend to want to eat the whole thing, no matter what. And I usually do! I guess I figure, I'm paying for it, and I am not big on leftovers in general- they never taste the same to me- so I feel compelled to finish it. I've always been guilty of this one. It's something I could work on the next time I'm in this situation. But, again, since I eat at home most of the time, I'm in charge of the portions, and I portion stuff out, so I will finish off my whole meal and not care. I'm not going to leave, like, five bites of chicken on my plate- I figure, I might as well finish it off! Haha. A good rule, but probably not one I'll practice unless I'm served some crazy-ass portion of something the next time I'm at a restaurant.

Rule #7: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself. This rule encourages you to eat "real food", and not fake, processed foods. Your body and your mind will not be satisfied. We weren't built to eat fat-free cheese, kids. We just weren't. Eat a small portion of the real thing and you will feel much more satisfied on many levels. I like this rule and already follow it. This rule also talks about emotional eating and bingeing. I'm also really lucky in the sense that I have honestly never binged. You might not believe me, but it's true. I've never been a binge-eater. I'm someone who goes the other way- when I'm sad, upset, mad, stressed, I have no appetite at all. I've never been an emotional eater- my negative emotions tend to suppress my appetite. But I know that's really uncommon, and a lot of women struggle with emotional eating and bingeing, and so if you are one of them, this is a good chapter.

Rule #8: Know Thyself. This chapter focused on surrounding yourself with positive energy and influences, getting to know who you really are and what you really want out of life. That, in turn, will help you know your hunger. I liked this rule. Be friends with yourself!

Rule #9: Get Real. Eat real food, avoid packaged and processed foods whenever possible, care about what you eat, and eat high-volume "real" food- fruit, veggies, whole-grain pastas and cereals, beans, etc. Again, a rule I already follow. I'm real!  :-D

Rule #10:  Be Good To Yourself. I think I liked this rule the best. None of the other rules will ever work if you are not kind to yourself. Love yourself and treat yourself. I really try to be good to myself, but like most people, I know I could do a better job. I'm working on it.  :-)


So I really liked the rules. And I really liked the weekly "guidelines" that helped walk you through the different choices you could make based on your wants and needs and tastes. But then I got to Bethenny's food diary... and I was confused. For example, dinner one night was one glass of wine, a small crabcake, and the cheese and sauce off a soggy piece of pizza (she says the crust was "not worth eating"). Um, WHAT? Okay, this dinner would leave me completely unsatisfied physically and mentally. Where's the food??? Where are those fruits and veggies and whole grains she mentioned earlier? Personally, I'd rather have a real meal than four bites of fried food and liquor! But if that's what she wanted, then hey, great. She also says it's okay to skip a meal if you're not hungry for one- while she doesn't encourage it, she says if you're not hungry, don't eat. I do not endorse this idea.  I strongly oppose meal-skipping. It's bad for your body, bad for your metabolism, and could potentially set you up to overeat later. I eat three meals and two snacks a day, whether I'm hungry or not. I know my body well enough to know it needs to eat at least that often. While I would never tell anyone else how to live their life, I would never, ever encourage anyone to skip a meal. If you are not a breakfast person- the most skipped-over meal of the day, and ironically, the most important- make yourself a smoothie, have some yogurt, sip one of those Carnation Instant Breakfasts, something, anything. I couldn't believe she skipped meals sometimes! And some of her choices were just bizarre... but I guess that was the point. She made the choices she wanted and balanced her choices accordingly.

I don't know... my take on it is, I liked the rules, but I didn't think she really practiced what she preached in the end. She should have picked a different week to journal, haha. Her meals seemed really low in calories, vitamins/nutrients, fruits and veggies (but plentiful in alcohol... guess she wanted to save her calories for drinks, haha!). I'm glad I read this book, I definitely learned some things I want to incorporate into my own eating lifestyle and food choices, but let's just say I'm glad I borrowed this book from the library and that I didn't buy it.

So there's the review. I hope it was worth the wait. If you felt it wasn't, then I'm sorry I wasted your precious time.   :-P

Speaking of time, it's time for me to call it a night. Until we meet again, friends!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fabulous weekend

Sorry I've been MIA... I've been too busy having a glorious, kick-ass weekend. :-) This has honestly been the best weekend I've had all year, really. In so many ways. I've been dealing with so much personal stress lately, and it was really getting to me... so this is just what I needed to feel better! Here's why the weekend's been so awesome so far (and it's only halfway done for me, because I have a three-day weekend!!!) :-)

So let's start with yesterday morning. My sister and I went to one of our favorite semiannual used book sales at a local community center. And as usual, we both cleaned up! I got 16 books and 4 new workout tapes, for a total of $35! Trying doing THAT at Borders or Barnes and Noble! Haha. :-)

Here's what I got!


*The Good Life, by Jay McInerney (about two upper-class Manhattan couples and how the aftermath of 9/11 affects them)

*How We Got Here: The 70s- The Decade That Brought You Modern Life, For Better or Worse, by David Frum (about the social convulsions of the 70s and how that impacts us as a society today... I love the '70s, seriously, so I was excited for this find!)

*Irish America: Coming into Clover, by Maureen Dezell (a book about the history of Irish Americans... I'm mostly Irish and would love to know more about the culture!)

*For Laci: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss, and Justice, by Sharon Rocha (the story of Laci Peterson's life and murder, written by her mom)

*The Secret Language of Eating Disorders, by Peggy Claude-Pierre (I think the title of the book is pretty self-explanatory)

*Hurry Down Sunshine, by Michael Greenberg (a memoir in which the author writes about his fifteen-year-old daughter's psychotic breakdown and how the family copes with the aftermath)

*Waistland, by Deidre Barrett (a Harvard psychologist takes an in-depth look at the obesity and fitness crisis in America from an evolutional/biological standpoint... according to her, we are "basically hunter-gatherers lost in a jungle of burgers, lounge chairs, and TV remotes"... I'm very interested in reading her theories on this subject!)


*Bad Behaviour, by Sheila O'Flanagan (AUTOGRAPHED!!!- yes, I know how to spell "behavior" here in the USA, but this is an Irish chick lit novel... anyway, this is about the typical single-with-a-great-career-and-fabulous-apartment-and-great-friends-and-no-boyfriend-but-that's-okay gal who receives a wedding invitation to the wedding of her former best friend, who just happens to be marrying said gal's ex, whom he left for former BFF. Oh, the drama! I loves me some Irish chick lit, and I've never read this author, so I'm excited!!!)

*Free Food For Millionaires, by Min Jin Lee (a novel about the daughter of Korean immigrants who own a laundromat in Queens, is a Princeton grad with a degree in Economics, but doesn't have a job, yet is addicted to the expensive world of Manhattan, and the story is about her, her parents and their traditional values, and her friends of both Caucasian and Korean decent, and how the cultures intertwine and collide, while everyone's just trying to live... I'm not really doing the synopsis justice here, but it definitely sounds like an interesting book!)

*Picture Perfect, by Jodi Picoult (ya'll know how much I love my girl Jodi... this one's about is a seemingly "picture perfect" marriage, and something happens to make that fairy tale unravel. Jodi Picoult drama!!!! LOVE it!!!)

*Sickened, by Julie Gregory (a memoir of a girl whose mother had Munchausen by Proxy syndrome, the psychological disease where you make your child purposely sick in order for you to receive attention)

*What We Keep, by Elizabeth Berg (a novel about a woman who is flying home to see her mother, whom she has not spoken to in 35 years, and while on the plane, she recalls her childhood with her sister, and the series of events that divided their family)

*I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies): True Tales of a Loudmouth Girl, by Laurie Notaro (Laurie Notaro writes short essays/stories... think a female David Sedaris... anyway, this is a follow-up/sequel collection of essays to her other book, "Autobiography of a Fat Bride", which I read a while back and thoroughly enjoyed!)

*Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking, by Aiobheann Sweeney (a coming-of-age novel about a young girl who grows up in a very small town in Maine- her mother disappeared mysteriously when she was small, and she grew up with her father, who was mostly dedicated to his work- and after graduating from high school, she decides to embark on a journey to stay in Manhattan with some of her father's old friends, and learns a lot about her father, and about herself)

*Girls Night In, by various chick lit authors (exactly what it sounds like- a collection of short stories written by some of the best chick lit writers out there- Jennifer Weiner, Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, Marian Keyes, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, etc.... I know I'll love this!)

*Falcon Crest, by Patrick Mann (this is a novel based off the 1980s' cheesy primetime soap that ran on CBS from 1981-1990. I've never seen it, but I love those cheesy nighttime soap operas from the '80s, as we well know, so I figured, what the hell, why not? It'll be like a Danielle Steel novel with lots of wealthy people and over-the-top drama)

I also bought four new workout videos! I usually can find one or two at book sales, believe it or not, and it never hurts to add new workouts into the regime! :-D I got:

*Abs Yoga

*Back Care Yoga (I have lower back problems)

*Power Yoga for Flexibility

*Pilates: Target Specifics

All in all, I'd call the book sale a great success! My sister was happy with everything that she got too. We were two very happy bookworms. :-)

After the sale, we dropped off all our goodies in my car and walked around... it was such a beautiful day outside, it had to have been around 75 degrees. We stopped by a really cute cafe called Seven Stones for a while, and we swore that we saw Wanda Sykes- I mean, this woman not only looked just like her, but she sounded just like her too. We knew how ridiculous that would seriously be, but I'm telling you, the resemblance was really uncanny! :-D Still, unlikely. Then we walked to Trader Joe's and stocked up on some goodies- chipotle salsa, salmon burgers, chicken, Clif Kids Z-bars, etc., and I found a new item!

DSCI1321 Papaya chunks! Exciting! You know, I don't think I've ever had papaya before. I bought two bags and have already given them a try, and it's yummy, but I have to say, I like mango better... ah well... live and learn! I'll finish off the bags and then go back to my trusty mango and pineapple. :-D

We were pretty exhausted from getting up early and running around for most of the day, so we went back to my apartment and just took it easy the rest of the day/evening. We made grilled chicken wraps for dinner, and watched Zack and Miri Make a Porno... it was really funny! Very raunchy. Don't see this with your grandmother. And the storyline was cute... like a very obscene version of When Harry Met Sally, haha. But funny! Then again, any movie with Seth Rogen in it is guaranteed to have quite a few inappropriate laughs, LOL... I love him! :-)

We ended up not doing the Book Festival today. It didn't start until 11 a.m., my sister had a lot of homework and wanted to be back early, the trains would only be running once an hour on Sundays, and it would take an hour just to go one-way... we just realized that the timetable wasn't really going to work. Oh well... maybe next time!

I took my sister home after breakfast, and then decided to run all of my errands today so that I didn't have to do anything on my vacation day tomorrow except sit on my butt. :-) I'm so glad I decided to do that and get everything over with... there's nothing worse than taking a vacation day where you're so busy doing a ton of stuff, that it doesn't even feel like a day off! I went all out- vacuumed my room, did laundry, changed my sheets, changed the cat litter, ran and unloaded the dishwasher... and now it's all done and I don't have to do squat tomorrow! :-) The most productive thing I'll do is go to the gym. That's it! :-)

I haven't gotten very far in Sense and Sensibility yet. I'm discovering that it's really the kind of book that you have to sit down and give your undivided attention to, and I just haven't been able to do that lately, being busy all weekend, being too stressed out and tired from work to really concentrate, etc. But I really want to get more into it! So hopefully I can read a little more tomorrow.

I know I keep promising you reviews of Love the One You're With and Naturally Thin. I feel like a liar, LOL. I don't mean to be!!! I'll just sum up Love the One You're With like this- while I do enjoy Emily Giffin, I have to say that this was my least favorite of her books that I've read (and I'm pretty sure I've read them all). I just didn't care for the main character, Ellen, and when you don't care for the main character of a book, it's hard to feel for him/her throughout the story, you know? That being said, it was still an entertaining enough read, and if you like traditional chick lit, you'd like this- but I just didn't care for the main character, and I thought the ending was a little far-fetched.

Naturally Thin, on the other hand, I have a lot more to say about. Just give me a little more time to get all my thoughts together- I promise to try and make it worthwhile! But for now, it's late, the day has gotten away from me (multitasking will do that to you!), and right now, my bed and my new Knots Landing DVD are calling me name... soon, kids... bear with me!

Hope you all had super-fabulous weekends!!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I've been tagged!!!!

Sorry I've been MIA the past two days... this has been a severely stressful week on many, many levels, both personally and professionally. And on top of it all, I had the worst sleep last night... I tossed and turned until 2 am, and barely slept at all. I feel like a zombie right now. I probably won't even do the full post that I intended to, just because I'm so exhausted and I want to try to get to bed a little early. Because of this, book reviews will have to wait for another post... I'm sorry! I did finish Love the One You're With, and I picked a new book (I'll at least unveil that tonight... I won't be a total tease, LOL!), and I only have a few pages left of Naturally Thin. I have a lot of thoughts on both books, so that's why I really want to wait so I can post something more in-depth... if not tonight, before the weekend, I promise!!! :-)

But first things first... I've been tagged by the lovely Yasmin over at It's a Wrap! So here I go with some fun little tidbits about li'l old me! :)

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:

1. One of my favorite used book sales is this Saturday- I'm so jazzed!!! :-) I'm picking my sister up early so we can get there right when it opens and get the pick of the litter, so to speak! :-D

2. Going to the Philadelphia Book Festival this weekend with my sister, grandmom, and maybe my roommate... I've never been to this before, so I'm excited!

3. I have a vacation day coming up this Monday... I desperately need it!!!!

4. Getting my new Netflix movie (I ordered Zack and Miri Make a Porno, haha! Has anyone seen this? I've heard it's really funny!)

5. My sister's spending the night on Saturday... girls' slumber party!!!! :-)

6. Friday is Payday for me! :-)

7. Reading my new book (more to come on that)

8. Nice weather... it's been chilly and rainy here all week... blah!

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

1. Went to work

2. Went to the gym

3. Watched The Biggest Loser

4. Finished reading Love the One You're With

5. Picked a new book

6. Wrote in my journal

7. Finished the rest of a box of Peanut Butter Puffins for my bedtime snack (there was only one serving left; and don't worry, I still have another unopened box, courtesy of a 2/$5 my grocery store had a few weeks ago!)

8. Ran and unloaded the dishwasher

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:

1. Make more money (don't we all???)

2. Speak French

3. Knit (I've always wanted to learn!)

4. Go back to school and get my degree in Health/Nutrition (which brings me back to #1...)

5. Be more artistic/crafty

6. Overreact/stress less

7. Visit Europe

8. Live somewhere warmer (I'm not a fan of PA weather!)

8 Shows I Watch:

1. The Office

2. 30 Rock

3. Mad Men

4. The Big Bang Theory

5. The Golden Girls

6. Cold Case

7. The Amazing Race

8. Brothers and Sisters

8 People I Tag:

1. For the Love of Oats

2. Trying to Heal

3. Meals From the Girl in the Little Black Dress

4. Kristin's Nibbles

5. Chandra's Shenanigans

6. Eating Bender

7. Care's Online Book Club

8. Live Laugh Liss

I tried out yet another new sweet potato combo for dinner tonight, that I simply had to share with the group:

DSCI1311 Sweet potato, spinach, Trader Joe's turkey meatballs all cut up, chipotle salsa and chili pepper sauce on the side- winning combination right here! I figured the turkey meat would help me sleep tonight... let's hear it for tryptophan!

Also, check out what I got in the mail yesterday from my friends at amazon:

DSCI1309 Please tell me you've heard of this show! Most people my age or younger have not, LOL. Knots Landing was a primetime soap opera in the '80s and '90s- it was on for fourteen years!!! It was a spinoff of the even-older show Dallas (you know, "Who Shot J.R.?" LOL!). I grew up watching this show, and desperately wanting to live in the fictional Knots Landing, which was supposedly in a picturesque beach town in Southern California where everyone has beautiful homes and never have to work, haha! I wanted to grow up and live just like that... needless to say, that plan has yet to happen, for many reasons! But, I still love this show. I preordered Season 2 back in December as a little Christmas present to myself, and it arrived yesterday! Yay! I can't wait to tear into this baby... I have a feeling that my vacation day is going to involve my pajamas and this DVD!!!

And before I sign off for the night, I did promise to show you my new read:

DSCI1306 So, I have a confession to make... I've never read Jane Austen. I can practically hear my female bloggers gasping in horror. Yes, it's true. I've always wanted to, I just never got around to it! Anyway, this was my next pick. I admit, I was a little weary at first, because I wasn't sure if I was feeling a dense Victorian-historical British novel, especially after the massive letdown I felt from Atonement, but my roommate is a HUGE Jane Austen fan, and she assures me that I'll love it. And she is, after all, the original "chick lit" author, so I'm giving it a shot! I've tried to read a few pages here and there, and so far, I do like it, but I've just had such a stressful, horrible week, that I haven't really gotten too much into it so far. Right now, finishing up Naturally Thin is about all I can handle for the time being! Although I did try reading it a little bit at the gym... note to self: Sense and Sensibility is NOT a good pick for reading material on the elliptical machine. LOL. I could only read, like, ten pages, and I got a headache trying to read it while I was bouncing around. LOL. Oh well. The copy I have was a gift from my grandmother, who was an English professor and has given me a ton of awesome classic literature throughout the years for various holidays and occasions- on my 23rd birthday (she always writes something in the books she gives me, and when she gave them to me, which I love). And since I'll probably be seeing her this weekend at the Book Festival, this seems like a fitting pick!

Okay, I'm off to try and get some extra and much-needed rest (after I eat a Triple Chocolate Vitatop for dessert first, though, because after the week I've been having- and it's only WEDNESDAY- I need chocolate!!!), but I'll try to post tomorrow, if not Friday! Goodnight! ;-)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Philly lost a great one today...

Harry Kalas, the one of the Phillies game broadcasters for almost forty years, died today at the age of 73, very unexpectedly, one hour before the Phils were scheduled to play the Washington Nationals. They found him unconscious in the press box, tried to perform CPR, and rushed him to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The cause of death is not known at this time. The Phillies went on to play their scheduled game (which really surprised me... I just assumed they would cancel it, given the circumstances, but the game went on as planned with a brief moment of silence beforehand), and beat the Nationals 9-8... I caught the last few innings at the gym. It was a really good game, but I kind of kept listening for Harry's voice... as any Phillies fan will tell you, "Harry the K" had quite a distinct broadcasting voice, particularly, "Struck him out!" and "This ball is OUTTA here!" He also did the broadcasting for The Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. Everybody loved him... he will always be remembered as a great Philadelphia legend.

I'm really saddened and shook up about his passing, for many reasons. It was very sudden, first of all, and very unexpected. I mean, the day after Easter, collapsing in the press box just a few hours before the game (and it was the Nationals' home opening game at that)... but I don't know, in a way, at least he had his final moments in a place he loved.

Another reason I feel so saddened by this loss is because I feel like it's adding salt to an already-gaping wound. For any new or sporadic blog readers out there, my dad passed away in February, and I'm still trying to cope with that on pretty much a day-to-day basis. It's going to be like that for a while, I know, before this feeling passes. But baseball was something that my dad and I had in common. In fact, he's the one who instilled the love of the game in me. I grew up watching baseball games with my dad, he would play wiffle ball and softball with me in the backyard, he took me to my first Phillies game, he encouraged me to play little league (even though I flat-out sucked and it was very obvious, LOL, it didn't change my love for the game). While we certainly had our troubles and differences as I got older, baseball was one thing we always, always shared. And I've grown up watching these games with my dad, and listening to Harry Kalas broadcast them, and in the last two months, I've lost them both. Two great voices that meant so much to me, that I'll never hear again. It's rough... it's very rough. Hearing of Harry's death just makes me miss my dad more, and I didn't even know that was possible.

I'm off to go console myself with new episodes of The Big Bang Theory  and How I Met Yo' Mama. Laughter always helps, ya know?  :-)   I'll be back tomorrow with some happier thoughts. I'm very close to finishing both of my books, so I'll give reviews, and also my review of a new bar I tried today (well, it's new to me, but I'm sure a lot of you have already had it).

Until we meet again, my dears! 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter, peeps! :-)

Just popping in to wish everyone a happy Easter- hopefully the Easter Bunny was good to all of you! To the non-Easter-celebrating peeps, I hope you had a fun and fabulous weekend! I'll be back tomorrow with a more lengthy post!   :-)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Greetings on Good Friday

Hello, friends! Happy Good Friday! Did you have a nice day? If you had the day off, I hope you did something relaxing and fun. If you had to work, I hope it went by relatively quickly and painlessly.

I was one of the lucky souls who had today off. I woke up around 8:30 (for someone who gets up at 7 a.m. most days of the week, that's sleeping in!), had a fabulous bowl of oatmeal w/flaxseed, vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, and banana for breakfast, and then hit up the gym for some cardio while I caught up with one of my favorite daytime divas, Rachael Ray. She had Miley Cyrus on her show today. Maybe it's because I'm not fourteen years old, but I just don't get the Miley/Hannah Montana thing at all. Billy Ray Cyrus was on the show too. Not only were they on Rachael Ray, but a few TVs over, I noticed that they were on The Tyra Banks Show this morning as well. I've never seen the same guest on two talk shows at once (yes, I understand these shows are pre-taped in advance, I'm not an idiot, LOL... I've just never seen that!). Definitely Miley Mania on daytime TV this morning.

I was also productive around my apartment as well. I ran and unloaded the dishwasher, wiped down/straightened up the kitchen, did a load of laundry, took out the trash and recyclables, and vacuumed my room. I got my Donna Reed on a bit today. :-) I also watched the Phillies lose to the Rockies hard this afternoon- the final score was 10-2. Ouch. Ah well... we're only a few games into the season, and I've seen them come back from last place to World Series Champs. If there's one thing that can be said about Philadelphia sports teams, they tend to be the underdogs/the comeback kids... I call it the Rocky Balboa Syndrome. :-D

I started reading Naturally Thin last night. I'm actually really liking it so far! I'll give it a more in-depth review when I finish up with it, but I'm definitely enjoying it. A lot of it is common sense, really, but the thing is that it's common sense a lot of us need to be reminded of, or else why would we be reading this book? :-D I picked it up to address some of my own specific concerns/struggles with eating and my relationship with food, and so far, I'm finding that they're being addressed. What I especially like about this book so far is that it's reinforced repeatedly throughout the book that it is not a dieting book, and that there is no such thing as dieting, and as I've mentioned before, I am a firm believer of this attitude and philosophy. But aside from that, what I like about Bethenny's book so far is that she flat-out says in the introduction that she is NOT a doctor, NOT a nutritionist, NOT a professional chef, and NOT perfect- this is a lifestyle that works for her, and it will not necessarily work for everyone, and she is not telling anyone what to do, or what or how to eat, or how to live- she is simply sharing the tools and techniques she uses while living her life. In fact, she comes right out and admits in the intro section, "In fact, sometimes I set a really bad example!" She's not perfect, never claims to be, she admits she makes mistakes with food and eating like everyone else. I dig that kind of humble honesty. I think that's why I like Rachael Ray so much too- she admits she's not a professional chef, she has no training, and never claimed to have any, and she makes tons of cooking mistakes like everyone else. Anyway, those are my thoughts so far. Oh, and I'm also liking my other book, Love the One You're With. It's cute and mindless fluff that I can identify with. Anyone who's ever had that one "ex" that haunts you emotionally will want to read this book. In fact, I sympathize with the main character, Ellen, a lot, because she is reminiscing about her breakup with that "haunting ex", and how it all came down to a fight on New Year's Eve, which brings back some painful ex-boyfriend memories in my playbook, as I was dumped once on New Year's Eve by a boyfriend in college. As if that wasn't bad enough, I had stopped by to pick him up for a party we were supposed to go to, and if THAT wasn't bad enough, I had brought him soup because he had been sick. And then he dumped me. Yeah... that sucked. Needless to say, I'm not a huge fan of New Year's Eve. Not because of that one singular disastrous event, but because, literally, every single New Year's Eve after that has been absolutely horrible for one reason or another. That jackass put some sort of curse on that holiday for me, LOL. And that was a bad breakup. One of those breakups were you just wallow your pretty little head off in misery for a little more time than you should, you know? But that was a long, long time ago. I got over him, and successfully managed to date many more jackasses after that, LOL! In fact, out of all the relationships I've had in my ten years of dating, I really have only had one good one. A long time ago. And you wonder why I've chosen to voluntarily remain single for the past year! :-D But that's another post for another day.

Check out the yummy lunch I made myself! This lunch made me really happy:

DSCI1285 My roommate's been eating a lot of tuna lately, so it sparked a craving in my tummy for tuna. So I made myself a little tuna melt! I mixed low-sodium chunk tuna with spicy brown mustard and some spices, and grilled it up on TJ's sodium-free whole wheat bread with some reduced-fat Provolone, with carrots and chipotle salsa on the side. This was delish! I haven't had a grilled cheese in forever, so this satisfied two cravings at once, while getting in some veggies and healthy fat and protein. Good times all around!

Hope you're all having a wonderful day! I'm off to make some dinner and spend the rest of the evening vegging out! Have a good one! ;-)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

And now, it's time for a brief vocabulary lesson...

Tonight, I will be educating readers on the difference between the words subconscious and unconscious.

Subconscious means that part of your mind is not fully aware of something it is doing, yet it still influences your behavior (He subconsciously repressed a painful childhood memory; Mary subconsciously purchased the brand name of a cereal over the usual generic cereal she usually bought, even though it was more expensive, because she kept seeing the brand name cereal in a specific TV commercial all last week).

Unconscious means that you are not awake (The impact from the accident rendered him unconscious).

I see these two confused in text often and as a professional grammar and punctuation cop, I find this highly annoying. I stumbled across it today in my new read, Love the One You're With. The author used the word "unconscious" when she meant "subconscious." Grrrr. On the bright side, that's the worst complaint I have about the book so far! Well, that and a typo. But so far it's a cute little read, and just what I need to help me come down from the massive letdown that was Atonement. :-D

Also, I stopped by the library today and picked up a book that I had on reserve that had come in- Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel. I read an excerpt of the book on the TODAY show website, and it's been popping up a lot in Blogland, and it's definitely piqued my interest. I'm a little turned off by the title, and I don't want to read it to pick up any "dieting" tips. I don't believe in dieting. I personally don't think diets work. I think most diets are a form of deprivation in some way or another (with the exception of Weight Watchers) and helps lead to damaging and negative psychological and emotional relationship with food and eating, and worst of all, yourself. Not to say I don't have my own issues or hangups in these areas, I definitely have a checkered past, present, and most likely future with food and eating and self-esteem- but I don't believe in dieting and denying myself. I believe in making choices to fit your needs and your lifestyle, whatever they may be. I believe in balance and moderation, whatever that definition may be for you. I try hard to know and understand my body, and what works for MY life and MY body. I don't cut carbs. I choose carbs that I enjoy eating and that make me feel good. I don't believe in not eating after a certain hour. I'm going to eat when I'm hungry, regardless of what time of day or night it is. For example, I know that I need to have a snack every night before I go to bed. Some people have their snack or dessert right after dinner, or an hour after dinner, or if they're not hungry by the time they're ready for bed, they don't have anything at all. That works for them and that's cool. Me, I know my body at least well enough to know that if I don't put a little somethin'-somethin' in it before I go to sleep, then I'll either wake up hungry in the middle of the night, or ravenous in the morning, and I typically don't get to eat breakfast right away when I wake up during the week, because I wait to eat breakfast at work (weekends are another story, obvi!), and to me, waking up hungry in the middle of the night is the worst, because I can't get back to sleep, and am far too lazy to get out of bed and make something. By eating at least something before I go to sleep, even if it's something small like a cookie or a small serving of cereal, I go to bed happy and satisfied, and I wake up happy and satisfied enough to get me to work when I can have breakfast. I don't believe in taking a few bites of something and that will mentally satisfy whatever I'm craving. That works for some people, but I know myself well enough to know that if I want a cookie, two bites of that cookie won't cut it. That won't satisfy me mentally. It's enough for some people and I truly commend that, but I know that won't do it for me. I'll eat the whole cookie and enjoy and savor every bite. I believe in giving in to my craving in a way that satisfies me physically and emotionally. If I want a tasty treat, I'm not going to deprive myself. I'm going to give myself a tasty treat. Something I want. I'm not going to crave a piece of chocolate cake and force myself to eat carrot sticks instead. What I would do is eat a chocolate Vitamuffin. I'm giving in to my craving in a way that makes my body and my mind happy and healthy. That is not the solution for everyone. That is the solution for me. Some people would prefer to give in to that craving with a small piece of good-quality dark chocolate, or a piece of homemade cake, or a slice of cake from their favorite bakery, and that's great too. That's what works for them and their lives. You know? Everyone has their own definition of balance, lifestyles, moderation, etc. I know a lot of mine, but I'd love to be even more in touch with my body's wants and needs on a physical and emotional level. I find all of that very fascinating. I don't know if I'll get all the answers from a Real Housewife of New York City (and I'll admit, I tried to watch this show once, and just didn't get it; in fact, I got a little bitter over how rich and spoiled they were! If they saw the size of my work cubicle, they'd sob right into their Prada purses!), but I still want to give this book a go and see what Mademoiselle Bethenny has to say about all this. I'll probably start reading this later on tonight.

So woo-hoo for the three-day weekend!!!! I needed a day off in the WORST WAY. I was even debating taking a vacation day in the upcoming week or two, but we have a busy few weeks ahead at work, and so I'm going to wait until all that dies down and then I'm going to take a day off. I'll definitely appreciate it more after the crunch time, that's for sure! Anyway, I'm just going to focus on the day off tomorrow for now. I'm going to sleep in, hit up the gym, watch my daytime shows, and R-E-L-A-X!!!! The Phillies are playing tomorrow, but I'm not sure if they're playing an afternoon game or a nighttime game. Either way, my fine booty will be parked on my couch, rooting for my boys!!!!

Hope you all have fun and fabulous Fridays tomorrow!!!! To those of you who don't have off, I hope your work day is as pain-free as possible!!! :-)

Sidebar: How FUNNY was the NBC lineup tonight??? TWO new episodes of The Office, both hysterical, the new show Parks & Recreation was pretty funny too (Amy Poehler's character is like a female version of Michael Scott!), and funny NEW ep of 30 Rock! Such a great night for TV!!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's official...

... I'm emotionally dead inside. :-D Okay, that's a little extreme. But I finished Atonement today (although, I should use the word "finish" loosely here, as I basically skimmed the second part of the book). Honestly? I didn't like it at ALL!!! While I do think that Ian McEwan is, indeed, a beautiful writer, this book moved slower than a turtle. The first part was semi-interesting, but I just got so bored with it!!! It was a lot of vivid description, a beautifully or thoughtful sentence here and there, but to be honest, a lot of it almost felt like "filler" text (you know, where you need to write a 1,000-word essay for school, but you've only got 750 or so words, so you just draw out your thoughts as much as you can to meet the word count quota? Come on, we all did it in school at one time or another, LOL!) and hardly any dialogue or plot. I basically just kept turning pages and getting through it so I could get to the ending, as I was told by many people that McEwan is well-known for very surprising and emotional endings- and while the ending was, indeed, interesting and somewhat surprising (I had kind of guessed early on who attacked Lola- I actually had thought that was pretty obvious- but there were other parts of the ending that I didn't see coming), it just was an extraordinarily slow book that didn't seem to make a lot of sense to me. Eh. I will certainly give the author another try- I have another one of his books that I have yet to read, Saturday- but yeah, I was sorely disappointed with this! But almost everyone I know loved it! I must be a defective model! :-)

Ah, well, different strokes for different folks, I suppose. I wasn't into this at all. I'll probably give it away- I don't see myself ever re-reading it again. It was just too painful the first time around.

Okay, so I know I'm all about picking my new next-to-read book at random, but I have a confession to make here- I totally cherry-picked my new book. :-D Don't judge me. I HAD to. I was so disappointed and frustrated with Atonement, that I knew I needed something that would guarantee me a light, simple, fun read, from an author I know and trust. I picked a few self-help books and business books, and I was like, no, no, no, no, NO. Picking at random is fun and all, but sometimes, I know exactly what I'm in the mood to read next, and if I know what I want, picking something you don't want is a huge letdown. It's like giving in to a food craving. If you're craving something and deny yourself, you're just going to get angry, frustrated, sad, mad, depressed, not feel satisfied, whatever. Just give in and enjoy in moderation! I am a huge believer of this philosophy, not just in eating, but in life in general. And that includes books!

So yes, I kept picking books until I picked one that I knew would not let me down:


Feast your eyes on this: Love the One You're With, by Emily Giffin. I really enjoy this author. She's written fabulous chick-lit books such as Baby Proof (this is my favorite of hers), Something Borrowed, and Something Blue (I preferred Something Borrowed to Something Blue, but both were fun reads). Anyhow, this book's about a woman who's been happily married for about a year (or so she thinks... hello, foreshadowing!), and then she runs into a former luvah that she hasn't seen in over eight years, which has her all reminiscing and wondering if she truly made the right choice (and haven't we all done that at some point with a relationship? I know I have!) and begins questioning her choices in life in general. This is exactly what I need to read right now. Unlike some chick lit (Outtakes from a Marriage.... boo-hiss), I KNOW that this is going to be a delightful read. I'm going in with low expectations- it's chick lit here; you really can't expect too much from it! It is what it is. I look forward to starting this!

Speaking of giving in to cravings, I'd like to throw out a question. To all the healthy eaters that might stumble across my blog (please comment! I feel lonely!), do people at work give you a hard time about what you eat/don't eat? I'm a healthy eater by choice, I generally enjoy eating fresh, whole healthy foods, because I LIKE them, not because I'm watching my weight, on a diet, etc. I don't believe in dieting. But I don't eat junk food or fast food, avoid processed/packaged foods, don't use products with HCFS and trans fats in them, etc. That's how I like to eat. If I want a brownie or a cookie, I have one. But an Oreo, a Chips Ahoy, they don't appeal to me. I prefer the taste of a Vitamuffin, or a Newman's Organic cookie, or Annie's bunnies, etc. Because I eat treats and stuff I enjoy, I never feel "deprived", because, well, I'm not depriving myself. I love the food I eat. I eat the food I want to eat. If I wanted an Oreo, I'd have one. If I wanted a donut, I'd have one. There's nothing wrong with that, as far as I'm concerned. But people at work get on my case about how healthy I eat ALL THE TIME. To be honest, I think it's rude. Commenting on what I eat or don't eat is offensive. For example, every time my boss brings in donuts or cupcakes, she always says, "Oh, I know Anita won't have any." Well, she's right. If I'm going to have a dessert, I want a real dessert. Luckily, Dunkin' Donuts don't appeal to me all that much- I'll reach for a muffin or a piece of bread before a donut- so I don't consider it denying myself. If I wanted one, I'd take one. But why announce it? Especially each and every time. It's only funny once. So then she offers me one, knowing I'll say, "No, thank you," and then she makes a little tsk-tsk sound and says in this placating tone, "Gee, that's too bad." , or something along those lines. And it's like, why is that too bad? Because I'm politely declining a food that I don't want? I honestly prefer donuts from supermarkets and bakeries to DD, to be honest! They have way better ones! But to do this each and every time in front of a group of people? It's offensive. Why is it okay to comment on healthy eating habits, but if I turned around and asked someone if they really needed that donut or if they knew how many grams of fat and sugar they just put in their mouth, I'd be sent to HR in a heartbeat? Hello, double standard. I let people eat whatever and however they want to eat without any comments or criticism, because I feel it is not my place to judge others. So why is it for others to do it to me and assume I'm denying myself? Oy. I also get constant comments on my oatmeal in the morning- about how healthy I eat, how good my food looks, etc. At least those comments are polite, but still, it's like, leave me alone and let me eat! Anyway, rant over. LOL. Normally the positive comments don't bother me at all, but it's the times when there are cupcakes/brownies/donuts/cake that I always very politely turn down- it's not like I roll my eyes or say "ew" or make a gagging noise or anything- and then the comments come. I just think it's ridiculous and unnecessary. And then people wonder why I like to keep to myself at work. LOL.

Happy Hump Day! Who else has off this Friday? I do... Good Friday, indeed! Although, I tell ya, for a shorter work week, it sure is dragging by at the same speed Atonement did!!! :-D Oh well... just one day left!

Phillies beat the Braves tonight!!!! It was awesome!!!! They were losing badly, and they turned it all around and scored EIGHT runs in the 7th!!!! I watched it while I was at the gym getting my elliptical on. It was awesome! It's their first win of the season... I was WONDERING where my World Series champs were hiding!!!! :-) And Lindsay got to be there... I'm jealous!!!! :-)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Losing my virginity

Ha, I knew that post title would grab your attention. :-D

I'm talking about my Barney Butter virginity, of course!!!!

DSCI1280 I got my free samples of Barney Butter in the mail yesterday! I literally squealed with excitement when I opened this. It amused my roommate very much. :-D

Now here's the real question- how should I lose my Barney Butter virginity? What's your favorite way to eat Barney Butter? Oatmeal? A sandwich? On a vitamuffin/vitatop? Plain? Anyone? Bueller? Let me know!!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Disaster ball game... but successful dinner!!!!

The Phils are losing HARD right now. It's the bottom of the 6th inning and they're losing 4-0. Not a good way for the 2008 World Series Champions to be starting off their Home Opener Game!

Well, at least my dinner turned out awesome:

DSCI1267 DSCI1270 This is kind of a "healthified" version of one of Philly's favorite sandwiches- the meatball sub, a la potato. I microwaved a sweet potato, and added steamed broccoli, reduced-fat Provolone cheese, and two cut-up Trader Joe's Turkey Meatballs (LOVE these bad boys!), with a few dashes of oregano, pepper, crushed red pepper, and chopped onion pieces, along with some organic ketchup. This was super-delish!!!! I made a similar creation last night, only instead of ketchup, I had it with salsa and some peppers and onions. It was okay, but just a little too much. So I toned it down a little, and this combo was MUCH better! At least I could comfort myself from this sad first baseball game with an awesome dinner! I can't wait to make this again!

I'm off to watch the rest of the game- it's now the 7th and they have yet to score, but who knows, there's still two innings left! They could turn it around! Then it'll be time to get ready for bed. Where did the weekend go????????

My first-ever blog award!

My sweetheart friend Yasmin over at It's a Wrap gave me my first blog award today!!!

She gave me the FRIENDS award:

"FRIENDS... comes with the following description to be added & passed along: "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.” It also says : "Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

I felt really honored to be given this award. I know people give and get these awards on blogs all the time, but this is my first one ever. Even though I've had a blog for a few months and I've been able to meet a lot of sweet, nice, cool people as a result, sometimes I wish I were more involved and engaged in the blogging community. Now I feel one step closer to that. :-)

And I get to share this with eight awesome blogs. How on earth do I narrow it down??? I want to extend and share this award to eight blogs that constantly impress me with their creativity, honesty, and commitment to good emotional, physical, and spiritual health, along with the awesome great food finds and meals I've stolen picked up from them:

1. Yasmin from It's a Wrap

2. Chandra from Chandra's Shenanigans

3. Lindsay from For the Love of Oats (who is on her way to the Phillies Opening Day game as we speak... I am uber-jealous!!!)

4. Meghan from The Inner Workings of a College Graduate

5. Jenna from Eat, Live, Run

6. Jaime from Fearless, Fabulous, Full of Life

7. Rose from On a Lobster Placemat

8. Erin and Andrea from Care to Eat

But I seriously want to give this award to everyone on my blogroll, and then some, so if you weren't on the list, you can still have the award! :-)

So how has everyone's weekend been? Mine has been nice and relaxing... the exact OPPOSITE of what last weekend was, thank God! I got a lot of stuff done and errands accomplished, did some reading of Atonement (although I haven't gotten as far as I wanted to in it, unfortunately), watched my Netflix DVD, got in some great workouts, had a marathon phone sesh with my sister on Friday, chilled and bonded with my roommate, etc. All in all, a great weekend!

So yesterday I made my first foray into the protein powder world!

DSCI1266 I picked up a canister of Trader Joe's Vanilla Whey Protein Powder yesterday while picking up some other treats and grub. I tried it out for the first time this morning in my oatmeal. I didn't use a lot- not even a full scoop- just in case I didn't like it, and that way I didn't ruin my breakfast. I had a feeling that I would like it fine- it smelled really yummy, like vanilla-flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast- but better safe than sorry. Anyway, it doesn't matter, because I really liked it!!!! Maybe it was just because I didn't use a lot of it, or maybe protein powder just blends into the taste of whatever it's mixed with, but I didn't notice a huge taste difference, but my oats definitely tasted sweeter and extra-yummy! I was a happy, satisfied gal. And maybe it's a bit premature to notice this, but I thought I had a lot more energy- I kicked some great booty at the gym this morning, and I think the protein/carb combination is really what did it. Normally I just eat carbs at breakfast and feel a little sluggish and sleepy afterwards, which makes sense. And hello, can we talk about filling power for a moment here? I ate breakfast around 9:30 and wasn't hungry for lunch for 2:30, and didn't sit down to eat until almost 3 and wasn't hungry even then, but figured that I should just go ahead and eat lunch before it turned into dinnertime! Haha. Anyway, I really liked it. I already have some all packed up and ready to go to work tomorrow. Maybe it'll help me kick ass at work and I'll get a promotion. Well, that might be asking too much of the protein powder. At the very least, it'll help keep me from falling asleep at my desk in the morning! :-)

So today is the Opening Day game of The Philadelphia Phillies!!!!! The pregame show is getting underway in about an hour, and the actual game will get going at 8. I am so excited. I've been wearing my Phillies jersey all day. I still can't believe they won the World Series last year!!! Earlier today, though, I did get a little sad thinking about Opening Day, because I started thinking about my dad. My dad was the one who got me into baseball. He would pitch wiffle balls to me when I was little, and encouraged me to play Little League (I loved to play, but I totally sucked, haha- coordination was never my thing), and he took me to my first Phillies game. And I thought about how he at least got to see the Phillies win the World Series last year, which I know he loved (Philly's waited a L-O-N-G time for that), but it made me wish I could call him and remind him about Opening Day so that he would remember to watch the game. I broke down in tears and just let it all out for a few minutes, and then I was able to calm down. I've learned that when this happens, I need to just ride it out. Don't fight it or suppress it. That only makes it worse, and there's nothing wrong with feeling an emotion. It's how you handle it that can make or break it. So I'm feeling a little better, albeit still a little sad. But I'm just going to keep working through it, because what else can you do?

On a lighter note, today's lunch was excellent... or should I say, eggcellent (wow... I'm a little embarrassed for myself right now):

DSCI1265 I microwaved egg whites, frozen spinach, curry powder, and turmeric, and slapped it all together on my TJ's Sodium-Free Whole Wheat Bread slathered with Laughing Cow Light Garlic and Herb cheese. Along with some carrots and chipotle salsa on the side. Very, very tasty, and perfect for a nice light lunch on a beautiful day (65 degrees!)

I have an exciting dinner planned in honor of the Phillies. I tried a similar version last night, and it came out very well, but I want to make a few modifications to the dish for tonight in the hopes of making it even more kickass than it was last night. I'll post tonight with pics and a description. Hint: Obviously, it will involve a sweet potato. LOL.

Catch ya later!!!! :-)

Friday, April 3, 2009

"Rainbow Brite" Friday

Hey belles of the blogworld... happy TGIF!!! We made it through another work week, and now we will be rewarded with two days of R&R!!! What are your weekend plans??? I don't have anything set in stone, vut I desperately need to knock out a few errands- Trader Joe's, possibly K-Mart and Target, and, of course, my Holy Grail... Wegmans. :-)

I started off my weekend with a really awesome moment. It was gloomy and thunderstormy here all morning, but the sun decided to come out and play in the afternoon. I went to the gym after work, and I was sitting in my parked car, eating my preworkout snack bar, and what did I see... a rainbow!!!! It was so beautiful. I just sat there, smiling and looking at it. Who else remembers this cutie-patootie from their childhood days...

I loved Rainbow Brite!!! Hell, I still do!!! I remember that I had the Rainbow Brite colorforms, and one year I gave out little stuffed Sprites that my mom made as birthday party favors. And I am not at all ashamed to admit that sitting in my closet right now is a Rainbow Brite t-shirt, and in my sock drawer sits a pair of Rainbow Brite socks. I swear, the '80s were the BEST decade for toys!!!I really lucked out being a kid during that time!!!

What made the rainbow even better was that I was enjoying one of my favorite bars while I was sitting and admiring it... a Pure Protein Chocolate Deluxe Bar. Kids, if you haven't tried this flavor yet, you need to try it ASAP. It's simply delightful. It's sheer chocolate with tiny little chunks of chocolatey pieces in it. It is heaven.

I don't know about you, but I think looking at a rainbow while eating chocolate is a seriously good moment. :-)

So I'm a few chapters into Atonement, and it's still simply wonderful. Not too much into the story just yet- I'm hoping to read a little more of it tonight. But I am a little concerned. So far, everyone I've talked to has absolutely raved about Ian McEwen's writing, but at the same time, they've also said that his books are heart-wrenchingly devastating. One of my friends described his books as "haunting". Another friend told me that Ian McEwen is the only writer that makes her husband actually cry when he reads his books. My roommate told me that she read one book and thought it was fantastic, but was so emotionally gut-wrenching that she cannot bring herself to read another one of his books again, that she just can't do that to herself. This has me worried for two reasons. One, I'm a little, well, scared. Those are some very strong descriptions!!!! The only author that has ever truly moved me like that with her books is Jodi Picoult, and I have a feeling that she doesn't hold a candle compared to McEwen. But now, at the same time, I'm a little worried that if I don't have some sort of severe emotional reaction to this book, that there's something wrong with me and that I might be emotionally dead inside. Either way, I feel emotionally screwed. :-D To all the people out there who've read Mr. McEwen- did you have similar reactions to his novels? Or are my friends just really hypersensitive? LOL. The four people that expressed the same opinion are actually very, very different in terms of personality and character and emotions, and so I have a feeling that this is more of a universal opinion. Please let me know if I need to stock up on Kleenex while I'm out and about this weekend. :-)

All right, I'm off to do some laundry. Yes, I do laundry on Friday nights. Hey, you read blogs on Friday nights, so who are you to judge???? :-P

Have an awesome Friday night!!!! :-)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fourth time's the charm

So the mechanic finally secured a rim that wasn't all jacked up- yay! I left work a little early to go get that taken care of (double yay!), and so I'm glad to have all that taken care of so I can put all this behind me!

Happy almost-weekend! Is anyone else's week kind of dragging along, or is it just me??? Oh well, who cares... tomorrow's Friday! And my payday! Smiles all around! :-)

Ooh, and even more reasons to smile today: I got my coupon for a free Kashi entree in the mail! Free food is the best! Now, what should I get??? I can get any entree I want, excluding their pizzas. I don't eat frozen dinners- I find them kind of high in sodium, and I'd much rather just make my own grub- but I'm not letting a coupon like this go to waste! I have had a few Kashi meals here and there, and they're quite tasty and enjoyable- not to mention healthy and filling- especially for a frozen meal-in-a-box. The coupon doesn't expire until June 30, so I've got plenty of time to think about it. And who knows- they might come out with some new entrees between now and then!

I also got my latest Netflix DVD in the mail! I got the first disc of season one of American Dreams. Did anyone else watch that show? It was a show that ran on Sunday nights on NBC a few years ago. It only lasted two, maybe three seasons, but it was pretty damn good (sigh... why do they always cancel good shows???). It was about a family in Philadelphia in the 1960s, and one of the daughters was on the TV show American Bandstand, and one of the sons was in the Vietnam war, and the other had polio, and there was also an African-American family profiled in the show, so you got to see all the social ramifications this family had to endure during that time period. It was a really good show. I loved it. So I'll be watching that at some point this weekend!

So I'm about 40 pages into Atonement, and all I have to say so far is why have I not read any Ian McEwen before???? This man is a beautiful writer. The way he writes is completely captivating. I mean, check out some of the excerpts below, just from the pages I've read:

"A second thought always followed the first, one mystery bred another: Was everyone else really as alive as she was? For example, did her sister really matter to herself, was she as valuable to herself as Briony was? Was being Cecelia just as vivid an affair as being Briony? Did her sister also have a real sense of self concealed behind a breaking wave, and did she spend time thinking about it, with a finger held up to her face? Did everybody, including her father, Betty, Hardman? If the answer was yes, then the world, the social world, was unbearably complicated, with two billion voices, and everyone's thoughts striving in equal importance and everyone's claim on life as intense, and everyone thinking they were unique, when no one was. One could drown in irrelevance. But if the answer was no, then Briony was surrounded by machines, intelligent and pleasant enough on the outisde, but lacking the bright and private inside feeling she had. This was sinister and lonely, as well as unlikely. For, thought it offended her sense of order, she knew it was overwhelmingly probable that everyone else had thoughts like hers. She knew this, but only in a rather arid way; she didn't really feel it."

"...a story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it. Reading a sentence and understanding it were the same thing; as with the crooking of a finger, nothing lay between them. There was no gap during which the symbols were unraveled. You saw the word castle, and it was there, seen from some distance, with woods in high summer spread before it, the air bluish and soft with smoke rising from the blacksmith's forge, and a cobbled road twisting away into the green shade..."

This is truly mesmerizing and captivating writing. I could pull even more excerpts just from the few pages I've read, but to be honest, my roommate's yummy-smelling dinner is making me hungry for my own. So it's off to make a sweet potato concoction (on tonight's menu: Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle Burger- BTW, Yasmin, these burgers are absolutely INCREDIBLE... get your hands on them if you can!!!- carrots, salsa, and the star of the show- the sweet potato!)

We're just hours away from the weekend!!!!

P.S. It's not too late to enter Anna's Quaker Oats Giveaway... you have until tomorrow night to enter! I'd love to win, but I'm not holding my breath... this is about the fourth or fifth time I've entered one of the Quaker giveaways and I haven't won yet! :-(