Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Letter to My Body

Dear Body:
You and I have not always gotten along. In fact, I'm sure sometimes we've been on entirely different pages. For example, I'm not known for my grace and that's partly because of my lack of balance. And do you remember when puberty hit and you made my boobs grow from an A cup to a DD cup in the eighth grade? Or how about the psoriasis that leaves me looking like it's snowing in July when I don't use my medicine (okay, I'll take some of the blame there). There was that lovely bout of adult acne you surprised me with a few months ago, and the poor eyesight you blessed me with.

I was pretty sure you were being an asshole once again, Body, these last few weeks. I was ready to blame you and Weight Watchers for my mental anguish, but I think you could sense my frustration. I have been on Weight Watchers for a little more than 8 weeks now.

While I hadn't been perfect in my eating habits, I had been under my points goal each week (meaning I had not completely depleted my "weekly bonus points" and my banked activity points--and if you haven't done Weight Watchers, just take that to mean that I had done what I was supposed to to lose weight). I had lost a few pounds (a little over 3 to be exact) and while Chef was doing a good job of talking me off the ledge, my inner monologue was less forgiving. How the hell could I NOT be losing weight when I had cut out multiple indulgences in bad fast food decisions and baked good runs? But I didn't lose every week. In fact, I had gained more than a pound and half when I was at wit's end.

"I lost more weight when I just counted calories FOR FREE," I thought to myself and said aloud. A few naive but well-meaning people tried to talk me through the weight loss process. I tried not to bite back with a "I'm familiar. I did lose 90 lbs in one chunk before, so I know how this goes."  But since they didn't really know that and I wanted to keep friends and encouraging people in my life, I bit my tongue.

But Body, this week it's like you knew. You knew I was at wit's end and decided that now was the time to kick it in gear. You motivated me with extra energy and rewarded me this week with a 3 lb weight loss on weigh-in day (and then shed another 1.4 lbs the day after because you know that I'm obsessive and weigh in every day). So now I'm more motivated than ever. I have lost just over 8 lbs and am almost at 1 lb per week, which seems so much better than just under half a pound per week.

And because you knew that I needed it, you shed some lbs where people would notice so that I got not one but three comments on my weight loss by different, random people.

To show there's no hard feelings, I'll keep up the exercise and healthy living. But in return if you could turn some of this flab into muscle and just get rid of some of the fat, I'd appreciate it.

Thank you!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Better than Domino's

The finished lightened up white pizza.
We've been on a kick of eating from recipes we've gotten off of Pinterest. (And to clarify the "we", Chef cooks and I find the recipes--as if you hadn't guessed that already). I was thinking of trying the cheesy quinoa tonight, but we ran out of milk. So I was kept late at an appointment and Chef was left to try to make something else--without any protein thawed or ready. We have a weekly list of recipes that we use to pull our nightly selection from. Typically, I've pulled chicken or beef or whatnot from the fridge to have it ready.

In this case, Chef whipped up a white pizza that I'd pinned recently from the blog Emily Bites. Being that I know my husband, I told him to look it over and jazz it up. And jazz it up he did.

He seasoned the crap out of the chicken breasts and cooked them in a pan then de-glazed the pan with a little white wine. He then carmelized some garlic (like 3 times as much as the recipe calls for because I LOVE garlic) and added some red pepper flake. He then added that to the Classico Light Alfredo sauce the recipe called for. He substituted basil for spinach (because he could just pluck the basil from our patio) and it was a masterpiece. Seriously it was one of the best pizzas I've ever had and definitely the best pizza I've had in LA. It was cheaper, more delicious, healthier and quicker than any delivery or frozen pie. And that's saying something. From the moment I walked in the door to the moment I was stuffing my face with pizza, it was 15 minutes (he did, however, cook the chicken and prep the topping before I got home to keep me from getting hangry).

Results are pictured and my waistline is still the same size, yet completely satisfied. It felt so decadent. I feel like Oprah when she had Bob Greene and Dr. Phil and the whole damn team helping her lose weight. Except I've got Chef and he's all of them rolled into one. I'm so lucky.

If the picture doesn't convince you, your stomach will--you should be following me on Pinterest.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Saw the Biggest Star in Hollywood Today

It wasn't Ryan Gosling or Channing Tatum or Amanda Bynes. It was the space shuttle Endeavor. The shuttle was taking it's last flight to end up at the California Science Center to be on exhibit. But it's not everyday that a space shuttle is riding on the back of a ginormous jet with two small jets flanking it at only about 1500 feet. It made a bunch of loops around the city. People were camping out at the Griffith Observatory just to get a glimpse. But being in Hollywood on the 7th floor of a building has its privileges. We got to see the shuttle go by five times and once it was right over our building. So close you could hear the roar of the engines clearly.

Needless to say, it was hard to concentrate on work again after that.

It was hard to take good pictures, but here are a few that I snapped:

From when it went over Universal Studios

On its way back over our area

As it's heading up to circle the Hollywood Sign (covered by trees on the left)

You can't see it but this was the shot after it had flown over our building.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wow. Look at Those Cans!

Chef and I were in Orange County this past weekend and dipped into a local mall to soothe my shopping-loving soul. We were surprised and amazed when we came upon these can sculptures. Made entirely of cans, these things are built by local design firms and the food is donated to charity. Pretty cool, huh? We only saw two, but in my opinion the best two. The Facebook page for Canstruction Orange County that has all 20 photos.

The back of the M&Ms bag sculpture

The front of the M& M's bag structure

Hope you like tune and soup!

Winnie the Pooh sleeping on some honey

The honey pot runneth over

Monday, September 17, 2012

It was a Month since I Slept in A Bed

California Hot
This is a little embarrassing to admit, but last night was the first night in more than a month that I slept in a bed. You might ask why and the answer is simple: it's been hot as balls.

Or at least "California hot." I firmly believe that each state has it's own version of hot. In Indiana, hot meant that it felt like you were stepping into a bath tub when the front door opened and you were on things like "Ozone alerts" when it got really hot. For those of you not in the know, an "ozone alert" day meant that you should not go to the drive-thru or mow your lawn. I assume as to not contribute to more ozone-destroying behavior, but I can't be entirely too sure.

In Tennessee, hot was similar to that of Indiana but with a valley that just managed to recycle heat over and over. It also had a tendency to rain for a few hours which just made it hotter.

California hot is easily the most bearable of the hots I'm most accustomed to (I'm not even going to mention the week I was in New Orleans in June--that's just a swampland of crazy people). It's undeniably hot--lately it's been over 100 degrees each day, but it's not necessarily humid so it feels nicer. It's hard to explain that to people who've lived here their whole lives, but any transplant from the South knows what I'm talking about.

Anyway, it's been hot here and part of being in California where it's only normally hot like 5 days a year means that there aren't a lot of apartments or condos or houses with central heat and air. It's just not a necessity which means that they don't invest in it. So, our apartment has a window AC unit in the living room which doesn't get the bedroom cool AT ALL. Usually we just turn the AC off and open the bedroom windows. But after two days of tossing and turning because I was roasting in my sleep, I decided to take matters into my own hands and move my bedding into the living room where I could sleep in direct air-shot of the air conditioning.

At first it felt like camping out to have our stuff strewn in our living room. And I LOVED snuggling down at night and watching TV with Chef and not worrying about when he was coming to bed. Plus we trained the cats to sleep together instead of alternating some to leave out of the bedroom. It felt like a pallet of loveliness. So much so that I just kept it out. Who needs a living room floor anyway? We don't have kids so it's not hurting anyone. It's kind of like having cereal for dinner for a week straight. As an adult, it's my prerogative.

I was getting ready to pick it up last week and then a huge heatwave came in and it was back to 100-plus degree temperatures, so that wasn't happening. Last night, I finally threw in the comforter and picked it up. Our living room has never looked so big. And you'd like that I would've missed my bed more than I have, but I have to say, it was nice to change things up for a while. A new scene. Plus if I ever had to get rid of my bed, I know that I could handle it just fine.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Flashback Friday: 1999

Thanks Natalie for digging this relic up.
It's hard to look at this picture. Mostly because I look at it and it's hard to believe. It's hard to believe this picture was taken 13 years ago. What the hell? Where did the time go?

It's hard to believe that I was that different looking. Fine, I'll be honest. It's hard to believe that I was that fat. The sad (or happy?) thing was that I got even fatter before I turned it around.

It's also hard to believe that at my height I thought I could pull of a floor length skirt for work wear.

But I digress. To give you some context, this picture was taken in Evansville (I'm guessing you deduced that but just in case) in 1999 in my second year of interning for the local paper, The Evansville Courier & Press. It was my first real look into having a real job (well, technically my second look since I had had the internship the year before and loved it). I realized at that point whether it was working for a newspaper or just working that I needed to be in the communications field. I wanted to write, talk to people, and tell stories. Also I realized that despite it being the second round of people that I was exposed to, I liked them just as much as the first. That was the first time it dawned on me that most people drawn to the communications or media field have fairly similar and congenial personalities. There are some exceptions, but all in all it seems to be true.

You know how people are always looking at themselves younger and say "If I knew then what I know now. . . " or "I wish I could tell my younger self. . .". I'm not sure I feel either way. I mean, I've seen enough time travel movies in my day (and I believe them to be almost like documentaries in their depiction of how time travel would work) to know that telling my younger self things about the future could derail me from the track I went on. And honestly, I like my life. Plus if I told myself that I was going to live in Nashville for almost a decade and then move to LA, I would've thought that future me was severe drug addict. Because I'd only been to Nashville twice in my life at that point--once to go to Opryland and once to go to a basketball tournament-both as a child--and I had never been to LA.

The one thing I would say to me in 1999 is this: Things are going to get really shitty for while and it's going to be really sudden, but it'll be okay. You'll be okay. Just do what you do because you're instincts aren't too shabby.

Hopefully me in 13 years will look back and say the same thing to 2012 me. Minus the shitty part.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hello. My name is Alicia.

Have you ever let something get so far along that by the time you realize what's happened it's too late? That's kind of where I'm at right now. It's one of those awkward social moments that would inspire Larry David or Jerry Seinfeld to write something brilliant. But for me, it's my daily life.

I've been on the new job for about two months now (still loving it). The office is on the seventh floor of a building on Hollywood Blvd. The fun thing is that weird shit happens around here nearly every day. It might be just a random false fire alarm or having a traffic stop trap outside our window or the religious protesters who walk up and down the street every day chanting around noon (it's how I know it's lunch time) or a helicopter going down. It's never dull.

But we have a security guard that patrols the grounds and sits in the lobby to protect us from any errant homeless that might roll up. It happens. It happened in Nashville too. Not so much in Thousand Oaks, but that's a different story. The security guard is a very nice man who has a slight accent. His name is Rocqui (pronounced Rocky, but he's from the Philippines so it's their version spelling). Since my dad's name is Rocky, it's easy for me to remember.

However, when we were introduced, he must of misheard my name. And because he has a slight accent it wasn't until three weeks into the job that I realized that Rocqui thought my name was Alicia. And now he says hi and bye to Alicia every day. It's been two months.Too late to correct him without us both feeling awkward. And honestly, do I really care if someone thinks my name is Alicia? It only matters in those brief moments in the day when I walk by the security desk.

At this point, I am Alicia. At least twice a day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

There's One Rule

I was cracking up watching a Little Caesar's commercial the other day and Chef asked me to replay it. Not only did he chuckle, but at the end he said "That's my friend!". Turns out one of his buddies, a funny dude who occasionally does gigs like this, is the guy who must abide by one rule. Check it out and chuckle.


Monday, September 10, 2012

My New Crack

My Skinny Funfetti Dip
Yesterday I made crack. For the first time. Because it's crack, I'll probably be drawn to making it again, but I have plenty of it right now, so I'm good for a while.

By crack, I mean MY crack. Not actual crack cocaine. But my version: Skinny Funfetti Dip. It's like taking cake batter and making it less guilty. And it's stupid simple. I was scooping the hell out of it with some mini Teddy Grahams last night. Clearly it still has calories, but let's just say those little Teddy mofos were covered in the dip.

I got it from Pinterest. (Yesterday was my Pinterest experiment day: Kale chips, Bubble Up Enchiladas, lower cal white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, and the funfetti dip). And it was stupid simple to make: Funfetti cake mix, yogurt and cool whip. I used vanilla yogurt instead of the plain, but whatever floats your boat. Here's the link from the Eat Yourself Skinny blog that made my crack possible.

If you want to check out the other recipes, they're on my Pinterest board, which just hit 200 pins. Which means that I have so many more dinners and snacks and desserts to try out. Or have Chef make too.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Trying Not To Get Frustrated: Weight Loss Edition

I'm seriously trying not to get down or frustrated. I am losing weight, but not a lot. And I don't mean "I'm not losing the 10 lbs this week promised by this cleanse." I mean, I've lost weight before and when I make a concerted effort, I lose about 1-2 lbs a week. Normal, nicely paced weight loss.

Since I've been on Weight Watchers, I've lost 3.4 lbs. Total. Over five weeks. Look, I know all that lifestyle change stuff and I get it. I don't typically get too down about a bad weigh-in, but I was hoping that at least one week on Weight Watchers that I would see a nice chunk drop. And that hasn't happened yet, which is why I'm frustrated. And hence why I'm venting. (It also doesn't help that all I see are success stories about Weight Watchers. Has anyone failed on this program? Makes me feel like I'm the only one who is struggling.)

Does this mean that I've lost sight of the long term benefits or that I'm throwing in the towel? No. Does it mean that I care more about a number than other benefits? No. But I'm numbers driven. Always have been. It's the quantifiable way for me to measure success and I like seeing success. Who doesn't? Right now I'm not as successful in this field as in the rest of my life, which is frustrating. Because I'm spoiled. I'm used to being successful.

Okay, so now is where I have the logical side of my brain say all the things that weight loss and healthy living does. So here goes:

  • Even nominal weight loss lowers risks for health complications like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. 
  • Establishing a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable is much better than establishing one that will only help me lose weight. Once the weight is gone, the lifestyle needs to stay. 
  • I am eating more fruits and vegetables now than I was before. 
  • I am paying more attention to things like carbs and protein and fiber, although not obsessively.
  • Chef is being 100 percent supportive and I am exceptionally lucky to have someone who will not only go on the ride with me, but will also cook a lot of my meals. It's like I'm Oprah with Bob Greene.
  • To be honest, I am still cheating way too much. I am using my weekly bonus points (not all, but a good hunk) and eating crap food less often in a day than eating more good food.
  • I could ramp up my exercise.
  • I need to be more precise on my food measurement for portion purposes. 
So I'm not 100 percent in the clear here. This week I will try my best not to use any bonus points and to remember the big picture. Even at the slow and not so steady rate of weight loss I'm at now, I'd still be more than 30 lbs down by the same time next year. And who wouldn't like that?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

It's Working So Far

The Sticky Buddy- post use and rinse
I love infomercials. If my tribute to Billy Mays and my frequent comments on products isn't a testimony, then let this be one. I think it started in college when infomercials were relegated to late night fare. Now they're more commonplace, but back then was the first time they were in my regular viewing cycle. I was enamored. My roommates in college and I bought the PVA 10x mop that could clean up an entire can coke on a hard floor without wringing out the super-absorbent head just because we had seen the ad so many times. (It also boasted a "one-finger ringer" which was said repeatedly by a guy with an Australian accent so it sounded like "one finga-ringa" which I hear in my head every time I think of that mop).

Seriously, when I see an item in the store that I've seen the infomercial for, it's almost like spotting a celebrity. I want to see if the real version is as good in person as I imagine it in my head (sadly in both cases, they rarely are).

Anyway, I fell prey again to the pitch of the Schticky (in a comeback by Vince Offer). Except I ended up buying the Sticky Buddy, which turned out to be a better deal. I have a plethora of cats and with that comes an abundance of cat hair. This thing promised that we could pick up lint and cat hair, wash it off, and it would be sticky again.

After several uses, I can safely say, this one worked. The Schticky (and the travel version it came with as a bonus) have gotten just as sticky after the use and rinse than before. So, two thumbs up. It only has to last a few months to be a better investment than a regular lint roller, so here's hoping.

What infomercial product have you fallen victim to? How did it turn out?

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