Friday, June 29, 2012

I Promise I'm Still Alive

It's been an intermittent month, but mostly because I've been busy. With changes to my life and business travel mixing, it means my fun time has taken a hit. But in the mean time, here's a short blog post to catch you up. What have I been doing? Here's a hint:

I was working our new booth for my company. That's my team beside me (I'm in the striped jacket). For more than a year, we've been working with our staff, booth companies and vendors to make this happen. It was a great moment of pride for us. Not too shabby and under budget. We promptly spent 5 days in the booth working and meeting with customers. But it was still a good time in Anaheim.

The convention was the American Library Association. It's not only academic publishers, but also commercial publishers pimping new books. And because I'm always a fan of books and had just read the last of my free books from the ALA in January, I took a few trips around the convention floor to get some new titles. Another plus of it being a local convention is that I didn't have to worry about luggage space for my books so I grabbed them up. I ended up with 13 new (free) galleys to read and review.

I am now on my 13th straight day of work (another reason --or excuse--for my lack of blogging). But tomorrow I'm off all day! What should I do? (besides read, of course).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why Am I Reinventing the Wheel? (Or using tired cliches?)

This was under the lid of a box of
mini-pies I bought last week. 
My experiment in trying all new healthy recipes hit a snag last week that lead to my downfall. I had three bad recipes in row which in my head gave me a legitimate reason to give up and order a Domino's Bread Bowl--which is the ultimate in nasty carb overload. I've also been a touch down which again lead to the carb chowdown.

I was thinking about where I went wrong and then I realized that I'm not new to this. I've lost weight before and I will lose weight again. I took a step back and thought: What were the habits I had when I successful in losing weight? What made it seem not so hard back then? And so, now I'm gonna write them down here and make the commitment to replicate them for a month to see how I do. Here goes:

  • Track--truthfully--every calorie I consume
  • Don't beat myself up about a bad meal--just don't let one meal turn into a day or a week or a month. 
  • Eat things I love. Just healthier versions. If I don't say NO to anything in particular then I'm not really denying myself. I just need to eat better versions.
  • Eat at least 3 fruits and veggies a day. (Yes, I know it's a 5 a day limit, but I've always been behind on that one).
  • Mix up the exercise. Do a regular bout of cardio (running, walking, elliptical) each day and some weight training or other exercises at least 3 times a week. 
  • Limit my alcohol.
  • Look at menus of where I'm planning on eating before I go out so that I can make my healthy choice before I walk through the door. 
  • Eat 5 times a day--3 meals and two small snacks. 
  • Weight myself only twice a week. (not daily. yes, I'm that neurotic)
So that's it. These were the things that helped me do well before. They helped me focus on gaining healthy habits and not just on weight loss. They made being healthier easier and fun. And I didn't dread what I was supposed to be eating. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stop Trying to Sell or Distract Me

Can you see the stain?
Last week I fell in love. With a purse. It doesn't happen often. In fact, I had been looking for a new purse for at least the last six months and hadn't had much luck. But I was hanging out before I got my hair done on Friday, passed a store and love this cute yellow purse. I debated it while I got my hair done and then decided that that was the purse. 

I kept the purse in its package all weekend until I switched out my old purse on Sunday night. I wanted to have something fun on Monday to look froward to. And I did. Until I was leaving to run an errand at lunch and saw that three small specks of cola had landed on the front of my bright yellow purse. Then opening the flap saw a larger stain. I freaked. It's been less than a week. PLUS the company I got it from sent me a coupon on Monday--three days after I had bought the purse--for 25 percent off. it was a timed promotion and I was more than a little pissed that the sales person hadn't mentioned it when I bought the purse. 

But I digress. In my panic of the cola stain, I took it to a branch of the store i bought it at and asked if their leather cleaner would do the trick. One of the sales women grabbed my purse, looked at the company care instructions for the leather and then told me their leather moisturizer should work. She then asked me if I wanted her to try and get it out. I said yes. The other sales woman took the opportunity to pull a matching coin purse for my purse and proceeded to try and sell it to me. 

Me: I don't want a coin purse.I just want my purse to not have a cola stain.

Her: But this is a limited color and will probably sell out quickly.

Me: I don't care. Actually, I'm more than a little pissed that I bought this purse at full price on Friday and you all had the 25 percent off for Facebook fans and key customers promotion that started Monday. Do you do any price adjustments?

Her: I love your green shoes. (she then flitted off. I turned back to the woman trying to get the stain off of my bag). 

Me:Is it working?

Her: It is, but it's going to take a while to get it out. This leather is delicate, so you have to work on a small area without getting it too wet and then let it dry to really see if the stain comes up. 

Me: How long is that going to take?

Her: A really long time. This is really on there.  I can give you a bottle of the moisturizer and a cloth. 

The other sales woman heard this and then said that I would need to pay for the moisturizer. I asked if I could use the 25 percent off discount for FB fans and she said that I would need to print out the coupon and come back to get it. She then proceeded to ask where I worked (I had told her I was on a lunch break) and said it sounded like a fun job. 

In the end, I was happy with the lady that actually tried to help me but I will never go into THAT store again because of the woman who tried to distract me or sell me something (she asked me AGAIN on my way out if I wanted that damn coin purse). How about you just try and get the damn coke stain off my purse so I don't explode?

I am still sick about this. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sometimes You Score. Sometimes You Want to Vomit.

Black Bean Nacho Pizza
I'm still doing the cooking every day thing (for the most part). Week three of this so I'm giving myself a pat on the back for keeping it up. I had a pretty good score last week: Black Bean Nacho Pizza. It was delicious. Black beans all mushed up with enough cheese to feel like a guilty pleasure, but not enough to cause constipation. Which to me sounds just right.

This pizza was a good low-cal alternative. I used a pre-made Boboli whole wheat thin crust instead of making my own pizza crust. Because I'm adventurous, but I'm not gonna pretend like I'm Martha Stewart. Because I'm not. Not even a little bit. I guess that gene skips a generation.

The pizza was a score, but I also did a Quick Shrimp Enchilada Bake and just the thought of it makes me want to vomit. It sounded like a decent idea, but I actually used fresh shrimp (hello, I live near the sea for a reason) and that was a waste of good shrimp. Anyway, the cooking and then baking gave the whole thing this weird sloppy, chewy texture and nasty taste that made me gag in my mouth. Seriously, Chef only had a bite or two. I swallowed nearly a whole portion but made Chef chuck the rest and gagged the next day when I thought of it. Maybe I was just getting sick because I didn't eat anything substantial again until dinner last night.

I hope tonight is better. Last night's four cheese pasta and cauliflower was decent, but I need a win.

What's your most spectacular dish that hits a homerun every time?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

I Like the Spice

Golden Chicken with spicy refried beans
Last night Chef opted to forgo my dinner. I don't blame him. Not my most stellar dinner. Mostly because I overcooked the chicken (it was a little dry) and he's not a jalapeno fan, so that knocked the spicy refried beans from his plate too. But we have a pact. he supports my efforts and if he doesn't want what I'm making, he can take care of himself. This helps take some of the pressure off of me. If I royally fuck up dinner, at least he won't starve.

Last night I had "Golden chicken with spicy refried beans". I added the salad greens because it needed some more green.  I would probably make this again, if only to work on how I cook chicken. To be honest, up until a few years ago, I couldn't even cut raw chicken. I used to gag and nearly vomit doing it in college. I always pictured myself cutting up human flesh. I realize this is irrational, but I kind of take pride in the fact that I can literally say that I don't have the stomach to become a serial killer. And can you really say that LITERALLY?

Anyway, I am proud that getting back in the kitchen has gotten me to eat things that I normally would've bypassed. For example, last night was my first time trying Cannellini beans. They were delicious. I also had Kale for the first time last week. Also delicious when roasted. I intend to keep trying more things and am open to sharing. Unless you start leaving "You never had Kale before?!?!" comments. I was not a very adventurous or healthy eater, people. This shouldn't shock you.

Can't wait to try tonight's black bean nacho pizza. Hope your dinner is delicious too!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

How I imagine Taylor Swift and John Mayer's Relationship to Have Been

John Mayer- Getty Images
Some afternoons on the long ride home,  I can't help myself and listen to Taylor Swift. Her vocal range isn't ridiculous so I can sing along and remember what it felt like to be 16 driving my fun (but shitty) Cutlass Supreme and ridiculing people who listened to music like Taylor Swift makes.

And since I'm driving my mind can wander into places it shouldn't. I hear "Dear John" and I immediately imagine John Mayer and Taylor Swift's relationship. And sadly, I've probably spent more time thinking of it than either of them did. Here's what I think of when they were deciding to get together:

Inside John Mayer's head: Sure, she's only 19, but she's mature. And hot. Okay, mostly it's the hot thing. Plus we both write songs. So it's not like we have nothing in common. It'd be nice to date a musician. Who's hot.

Inside Taylor's head: He said he liked my dress. He must be into me. He's super cute and fun to work with and I haven't dated an older celebrity yet.

JM head: I like her ass. That dress is atrocious.

Maybe I'm just too concerned, but in light of John's big "revelation" today, I wanted to post. Can a 30-something dude not take a little public ribbing from a teen girl without being "kicked when he was at his lowest point"? He goes on "media silence" for TWO YEARS and this is the first shit that he brings up. two years and the first thing he wants to clear up is "Dear John". Doesn't that one action just confirm about every hunch you had about John Mayer? All of this just makes me wish he'd now go back into media silence.

Also seeing his new look makes me think he wants to get confused with Orlando Bloom. Or a child molester.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Is it okay to touch my hair? I'm not sure

My hair in rollers
I've already outlined how my hair is one of my biggest vanities. Despite my battle with psoriasis, I still take pride in swinging the locks from side to side as I strut, er, walk around the office. Plus I love the color. And apparently other people do too because I get complimented on it from strangers quite a bit. I wish this were my natural color, but c'est la vie.

What I don't normally get is people who randomly put their hands in my hair. I was shopping at Ulta the other weekend with Chef and a sales clerk came up to me and said "I love your hair color. Whoever did this is amazing. I'm a colorist myself. Where did you get this done?" While all of that was coming out of her mouth, her hands were going through my hair. It seemed like the sort of thing only done by stylists who are actually consulting on your hair (I was just walking through the store shopping for nail polish) or toddlers whom you've picked up. The coincidental thing about it was that she had her hair tied back and wrapped for religious reasons.

My hair after rollers
The last time someone randomly combed through my hair with their hands, I was in high school gym class (not being very active, but rather sitting on the bleachers) and they found a bald spot on the back underside of my head. This turned out to be alopecia areata and the treatment was about 30 small injections of steroids into the bald spot which hurt like hell. The dermatologist said one of the causes was stress; I was 16. From then on whenever I got a little nervous about something, my mom would hug me and say "Don't stress out. I can't afford for you to go bald again." Which undoubtedly made me stress out.

When was the last time you had a stranger run their hands through your hair?

Monday, June 04, 2012

Last Week's Meals

Herb Rubbed Roast with Root Vegetables
Chef had a birthday yesterday, which meant that I wasn't super healthy over the weekend. We were celebrating, and I took advantage. I tried to keep my choices beyond the outrageous line, but I'm sure I crossed it.

However, before his birthday, I was doing pretty well cooking. I made this herb rubbed roast and was planning on just doing some roasted cauliflower instead of the root veggies, but Chef asked that I try some parsnips, so I did the whole root veggie thing.

I like parsnips; I like sweet potatoes. I like roast. But there was something not quite working with this combination. Chef is a beef purist so the rub idea on a roast was not his favorite. Overall, I'm glad I tried it, but not a huge fan.

Tonight's dinner is a simple baked sweet potato with black bean chili. I made some cauliflower gratin for Chef's birthday which I think I'll warm up to have. I'm trying the whole Meatless Monday for a change. Any good meatless recipes that I should try? I'm keeping the recipes that I do and ones that I want to try on my pinterest board. Check it out here and feel free to keep the suggestions coming!


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