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Monday, September 30, 2013



Summer is over and for us, the colder seasons mean more meals at home. That means more grocery shopping and recipe experimentation (read: a higher grocery bill) so I am always looking for a good deal. A good deal for me is one that is easy to incorporate into my lifestyle and by “easy to incorporate” I mean I don’t want to have to order a paper newspaper (almost 100% of what I read is digital) and spend hours looking at and clipping coupons for products I wouldn’t generally buy in the first place.  So for this month’s Money Matters post, the focus is on saving on groceries.

                               

      List Before You Shop: Maybe it’s just me but I have definitely gone out to buy ketchup when a perfectly good bottle was in the pantry. I’m bad at keeping up with what I have…especially when I am shopping for a specific recipe or just too hungry.  Make sure to either keep a running list of things you need on your fridge or make a list before you leave the house so you can make sure you really need the stuff you’re planning to shop for. Making a list also allows you to shop your pantry and perhaps cut your grocery list for the week. Use what you have, buy only what you need.

      Membership Rewards Cards: Nearly every grocery store (even small chains) has some sort of membership rewards program.  Joining will save you money on select products each month. Most larger chains will also give you coupons at checkout for items that show up in your purchase history. As a bonus, some stores (like Stop & Shop) even offer rewards points, which can save you money on everyday needs like gas. These rewards cards are super easy to sign up for and a great way to save a few bucks each time you shop.

Visit Big Box Stores (Target, Walmart): Check out deals at your local big box stores. If they have a grocery section (and most do these days), you can often find better deals than those offered at your local supermarket. Check out apps for these stores too. You can get weekly sale alerts to keep a few extra dollars in your pockets. 



Join a Wholesale Store (BJ’s, Costco, Sam’s Club): When Ash and I first moved to the burbs, the first thing we did was join Costco. We were enticed by being able to buy muffins the size of your head, a dozen fresh baked croissants and large apples in sets of 15 for under $8.00. We quickly realized that only two people live in our house and fresh produce and baked goods spoil quickly. So we pulled back. We generally shop at a regular grocery store BUT we use the wholesale store for things we eat/drink everyday and frozen foods. As a bonus, we also save about 30 cents a gallon on gas by pumping at the wholesale store. 

Eat Foods that are In Season: Foods that are in season are always a cheaper buy because grocery stores don’t have any extra importing fees. There is a pretty good list of what’s in season at Eat the Seasons

Go Generic: I am sure there are some brands you are totally loyal to.  I am absolutely loyal to certain products. That said, I save money where I can by buying the store brand of certain items. They work just as well and can be as much as $1 cheaper in some instances.

There’s an App for That: There are apps that will tell you the best price in your area for certain products. Take advantage. You can also find coupons using apps and have then stored on your phone. I use RedLaser but you can find a variety of price saving apps here

Go to Farmer’s Markets: Most are only in season for the warmer months but shop there for fresh produce while you can. I always find them to be cheaper for organic fruits and veggies.  Find Farmer’s Markets near you at LocalHarvest


Shop Online: Certain non-perishable or hard to find items are cheaper online and if you spend a certain amount, you can get free shipping. I use Amazon a lot for things like that. You can also save on household cleaning products, toiletries and paper goods.

Go Frozen: If you go to the grocery store with a plan to buy fresh produce on Saturday and by the following Friday, that fresh produce is still sitting in the fridge wilting and turning colors, go frozen. You can find organic frozen veggies and they are often much cheaper than their fresh counterparts. 

Monday Quotable


This weekend, Ash and I went to the DUMBO Arts Festival. I will admit that when I woke up, I wanted to be lazy and lay in bed for as long as possible but Ash pushed and I gave in. I am so glad I did. It was a beautiful day and truth be told, I'd spent the weekend before in bed watching TV. I regretted it when Monday rolled around because I didn't get a chance to enjoy the beautiful early fall weather. If I did that for another weekend, I would kick myself when the miserable cold rolls in and I have to stay inside to avoid frostbite (read: there are only so many days left in NYC before it gets too cold to hang out comfortably).

So, we went. I saw tons of cool artwork and even got a  medallion that the artists of the the Manhattan Iron Project cast on the spot for an audience. We danced in the street at an outdoor party and enjoyed delicious food and took a moonlit stroll through Brooklyn Bridge park (which is where the picture above was taken). It was a beautiful, romantic night. SOOOO much better than laying in bed watching another miscellaneous reality show marathon on TV. Look out for some photos from the art festival in the next Life Lately post (later this week).

Sunday, we made a bunch of small plates to celebrate the series finale of Breaking Bad (which was PERFECTION!!!). Look out for recipes from the night over at Scalded Pot later in the week. 

Friday, September 27, 2013



For this Friday's playlist, we're continuing the Throwback series with songs from the late 90s. Oh the memories (good and bad)!! I'll be listening to this all weekend. Happy Friday!!

p/s After trying several embedded music players, I decided my go-to will be Grooveshark. It's free and you don't have to download an app (though you could if you have an android device). I know the player doesn't work on Apple products (argh!) but you can go to their website (click the link below) and stream the playlist from there. 




Thursday, September 26, 2013


1. The Walking Dead is one of my favorite shows so when I found out The Walking Dead Escape was coming to NYC, I knew I had to participate...especially now that I am training for a 5K. I feel strong enough to get through it and if I don't, I can hobble myself zombie-style to the finish line.

2. Thinking of trying out glass etching. This tutorial made it seem simple.

3. Love the contrast of gray and camel on this coat from Zara.

4. Loving jewel tone on my nails lately. My fave of the moment is this emerald shade (SaGreena the Teenage Witch) by Wet n' Wild. It dries fast and is surprisingly chip resistant even without a top coat.

5. This necklace is made of washers. I clipped the image about a year ago. For whatever reason, I am now obsessed with making it.

6. Just got this full finger ring from H&M. I love how delicate it is.

7. This is an art print made from a sound recording. I'm loving this as a sentimental holiday gift. You can record anything (baby laughing, favorite song, a line of poetry) and Born of Sound will make a print based on the mechanical vibrations of the sound.

8. It's going to be boot season in 3...2...and I am in LOVE with these navy blue Tory Burch riding boots. They are a beautiful twist on the standard black or brown boot and on the top of my wish list. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Being Supremely Happy


I was reading an article today about the habits of supremely happy people, because…I mean, who doesn’t want to be SUPREMELY happy? No hands raised? I thought not.

Anyway, I was reading and thinking I can claim a lot of the habits on the list. For example, I actively try to be happy, I am mindful of the good things in my life (and actively look for and appreciate them), I give back with time and money, and I prefer deep conversation with friends over small talk (I save the general “What’s up?” and “How’s your day?” for texts and e-mails).  I talk a lot on this blog about making a choice to be happy because I truly believe it is a choice. But, (yes, there is a “but”—this isn’t exactly a sunshine and rainbows post), despite all that active happiness, there are instances when I fail to be my usual shiny, happy self. 

For example, last week, I realized that I blinked and the world moved forward without me. Suddenly, all my married friends either have children or are expecting—even those who got married after me. First, it was exciting because I was next on deck. I couldn't wait to join the mommy club. But my story went left and now goes something like "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes nada, zip, zilch but illness and no baby carriage.  Sounds pitiful right? It is. So last week, I allowed myself a little pity party. I even cried a little, which...well, lets just say  this girl isn't a crier—at least not over the spilled milk (i.e. the things I can't control) dripping off the table of my life. After I cried, I reached out to my mama. Yeah...it was that bad. 


And then, I walked out of the pity party (or got dragged out by my mom and Ash) and walked into some perspective. What does that mean? I took a step back and realized nothing had really changed. I was in the same situation I was in the moment right before my realization. I also really believe I will be a mom one day so why waste time being sad? Things rarely go according to plan. It makes for an interesting life but not a failed one. And maybe that’s why I’d consider myself a happy person. There are things in my life that aren’t exactly the source of sunshine but I look at them as what they are. They are the things that make up a life but they aren’t the focus of my whole life. Faith, perspective and optimism can balance just about anything and that’s what got me back to center…and back to a place where I could read an article about supremely happy people and think that I am one. And really, that’s all I can ask for at the end of any given day. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weekly Weigh In: See Jane Exceed her Expectations


Hi there. Happy Wednesday. Let's go. 


Robyn:

Well, I am down .8 this week for a grand total of 1.2 pounds.  Its progress...and, once again, I will take it.  

On the other front - I just returned from my 34 minute - run/walk.  They expect me to be able to run in 5 minute intervals.  And I never expected I would get through it. But I did.  Not easily and certainly not fast enough to pass a turtle. But I did manage to do the runs (or, slow jogs).


 While I was running/walking, I figured out that during the past 5 weeks or so, I have managed to get off the couch and run/walk 11 times.  I can’t remember the last time I did that over the course of a month or so.  So, even if I just HAVE to try the new low fat fries at Burger King, or whether or not I HAVE to have wine this week, or whether or not Arthur Avenue is calling my name, at least I am getting some exercise in and starting a healthier routine.

That said, I am not really enjoying the runs like the runners I know.  As such, I have decided on my HoBOOken 5K costume. (During the HoBOOken 5k many runners dress in costume since its Halloween theme.).  Wait for it..Wait for it...I am going to dress up as a RUNNER.....I figured, I am not really a runner, but I will be a runner for one day this October.


That’s all for this week.  Stay tuned next for next week to see if I survived Wine Tasting Night Thursday or a Stella and Dot party on Friday?  We shall see what the scale holds on Saturday.



 Nicole: 

Another week down in this 8-week journey and I’m starting to really look at exercising as a habit. They say 21 days makes a habit and I figure I’m pretty much there between the couch to 5K and going to the gym for circuit training. While I have a habit, I can’t say I’ve had a high. Week 4 of couch to 5K has been the most challenging yet. It is now half running (or slow jogging as Robyn noted) and half walking for 34-36 minutes.  I’m proud for getting through the workouts but I’m not feeling all euphoric—or however runner’s high is supposed to make you feel.  Post workout, this girl feels like dragging her 5K conquering self into the house and collapsing onto the couch, sweaty clothes and all. Yep. I said it and I am DREAMING of operating in reverse—5K to couch. I'm not ashamed! It's all I can do to stand.


 Maybe one day, I will be one of those runners with excellent form who NEEDS to put my feet to the pavement at least 5 times a week.  For now, I’m that slow-going, shuffling runner that everyone is passing but at least I’m out there!!

In terms of weight loss, I am down .6 this week. It’s not a lot but it’s movement in the right direction. I think I was able to do it by really planning meals and watching meal times. I have been trying not to eat after 9:30 pm, which is damn near impossible in my world but I worked it out last night. I went to sleep hungry a couple of times (I usually fall asleep around 2:00 a.m.) but I made it through (sounds like I was starving in the desert, right? “made it through”…I can be so dramatic). 


For breakfast, I’ve been having carrot-apple-ginger juice or 10 ounces of Naked green machine juice.  For lunch, I do a big salad with tons of veggie add ins (yesterday was beets, roasted butternut squash, feta cheese, apples, broccoli, pumpkin seeds and whole grain croutons) and sometimes add a soup. For dinner, I eat a big dinner but it’s usually heavy on the vegetables and light on pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous, or whatever other carb I’m incorporating.  It’s working….and allowing me to enjoy date night without obsessing about every glass of wine or every bite of…shall we say less than fat free food.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, tonight’s run (shuffle) is calling. 

p/s I may dress up as a turtle for HoBOOken. It's fitting at this point. 

p/p/s We're skipping the Weekly Weigh In recipe this week. Robyn can't cook because she's having a backsplash installed in her kitchen (picture below) and I...well, I was pretty lazy and did a lot of repeats (roasted brussel sprouts, roasted asparagus, quinoa, brown rice, salad...nothing to write home (or online) about. Check Scalded Pot anyway though...the alphabet series is back for the Fall. 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Quotable


I love this quote. It sparks a lovely image in my mind and in all honesty, I do think happy people glow just a little. Their energy is contagious. So, on this crisp, cool Monday when I overslept, had to rush like a mad woman to get to work on time and am functioning on about 3 hours of sleep, I am going to try my best to think good thoughts and glow. Maybe all that sunshine bursting through will keep me alert. Happy Monday!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Playlist


Ahhhhhh. (that's a relaxed, post-sigh stretch). Say it with me...IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!!!

You'll have to excuse my enthusiasm. Actually, no you won't. Get on board. Weekend ahead.

It has been a long, emotionally and physically taxing week and I need a couple of days to rest...and by rest, I mean going to Wine Riot! Sounds restful right? LOL! Seriously though, I am going to try to check out a film or two at either the Coney Island Film Festival or the Greenpoint Film Festival and I was serious about Wine Riot...assuming I can shake this cold that is trying to knock me out. Sunday, Ash and I are going to go for a run (read: slow jog) to track our progress towards running a 5K. Gotta get ready for HoBOOken!

Now that you have my itinerary (sorry if that bored you to tears), let's get to the playlist. Last week, Ash and I roadtripped (that's a word in my world) to my cousin's wedding. On the way down, we tried some new (to us) I Heart Radio stations (I generally stick to the Elvis Duran and Kane Show replay channels). Somehow, we found a string of hits from the 90s and it took me right back to high school. As I was singing along and smiling back at the memories connected to the songs, I knew I had to make this week's playlist a throwback.

Today, the focus is on the early and mid 90s but this is the start of a series that will go through 2003, which is when I said goodbye to the hallowed halls of law school and became a real, working, rent paying adult.

And the music stopped...

KIDDING!! The music plays on but the 2004 forward songs (the Ash Era) hold a different space in my heart.

Ok, enough babbling. Happy Friday!! Enjoy the playlist and enjoy your weekend! What are your favorite throwback hits?

*If you don't have Spotify, there is a Grooveshark playlist/link below it. 

                                          
                                             

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What I'm Reading: Fame, A Novel in Nine Episodes by Daniel Kehlmann


I added Fame: A Novel in Nine Episodes by Daniel Kehlmann after it popped up as a book I might like on Amazon. This is the description:
 
“Imagine being famous. Being recognized on the street, adored by people who have never even met you, known the world over. Wouldn’t that be great?
 
But what if, one day, you got stuck in a country where celebrity means nothing, where no one spoke your language and you didn’t speak theirs, where no one knew your face (no book jackets, no TV) and you had no way of calling home? How would your fame help you then?
 
What if someone got hold of your cell phone? What if they spoke to your girlfriends, your agent, your director, and started making decisions for you? And worse, what if no one believed you were you anymore? When you saw a look-alike acting your roles for you, what would you do? 
 
And what if one day you realized your magnum opus, like everything else you’d ever written, was a total waste of time, empty nonsense? What would you do next? Would your audience of seven million people keep you going? Or would you lose the capacity to keep on doing it?


Fame and facelessness, truth and deception, spin their way through all nine episodes of this captivating, wickedly funny, and perpetually surprising novel as paths cross and plots thicken, as characters become real people and real people morph into characters. The result is a dazzling tour de force by one of Europe’s finest young writers.

I snatched up the book—well, I downloaded it—for what I thought would be some fun, light reading at summer’s end. Unfortunately, it didn’t exactly deliver. I do not think the book was a bad read or even a difficult one. I just don’t think the intersection between the characters is developed enough to make the book a cohesive piece of work. I also feel like certain characters disappeared too soon (read: just as I was getting wrapped up in their plot lines).  Maybe, my hopes were too high based on the description? The writing is good and the stories are interesting and complex despite their brevity. I just needed a little more to tie everything together. I was sort of left reeling (and in some cases hanging) on the precipice of a really great story only to have it end and pick up in something totally disconnected. If you read it, think of it as short stories without the luxury of a complete wrap up rather than connected episodes. Yes, there are some characters who cross paths but it doesn’t happen enough that I would highlight it as a selling point for the book.

So how do I really feel about the book? I wouldn’t tell you not to read it but it wouldn’t be on the top of my list of recommendations. I got through the book. That I didn’t away from it says it’s not a terrible read. It just left me needing a little something more. In looking at other book reviews, I noticed that some people felt a bit of the book’s beauty gets lost in translation (it was originally written in German).  Have you read Fame? What are your thoughts?


I am working out my reading list for the rest of the year. Any suggestions? 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


1. American Horror Story is easily one of my favorite shows. It is starting October 9 and I couldn’t be more excited. This season is called Coven and will take place in New Orleans. Rumors say the season will center on a war between Salem witches and local Voodoo practitioners. Check out the trailer here.

2. Ever since I saw Brene Brown’s TED talks (here and here), I’ve been interested in her work on vulnerability. When I found out she was doing a 6-week e-course (The Gifts of Imperfection) through Oprah’s Lifeclass, I knew I had to sign up…and I did. Class starts in October. You can pre-register here.

3. You know I did a LOT juicing last week. Still can’t believe it was only 3 days with all the hours I clocked in front of my juicer (Breville Juice Fountain Plus). That said, my juicer was phenomenal and easy to clean, which is good since I had to clean 5 times a night (in between recipes). Love it and highly recommend it…though it may be sitting quietly on the counter for a couple of weeks.

4. Are you into Million Second Quiz? It ends tomorrow, so I suppose it doesn’t matter. I did have fun working my brain out on the trivia in my down (read: unfocused and bored) time. How long were you able to stay in the virtual money chair?

5. This list of Simple Things Everyone Needs to be Happy made me smile, which I guess is the point. Seriously though, is there anything better than comfort food, a hot shower and a person who gets it at the end of a hard day?

6. You know from the last love list that I like cool accessories—especially when they are repurposed from unlikely materials (like the Urban Lace bicycle inner tubes).  This week, I’m loving a lot of the pieces from Native Trashion but the keychains are my favorite.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

See Jane Juice and Fast

Whassup peeps! Happy Tuesday. Though weighing in is never fun, Robyn and I are fresh off the scale and back to share a little more of our weight loss journey. Here are this week's tales. 

Robyn: 

Sadly, I do not have much to report this week for our loyal Nicole and Robyn running readers.  I only managed to run once this past week – and it was tough.  I am planning to try to go today and tomorrow – but we will see if that happens.

I will give you all one update – I managed to find the long lost sports bra!  Of course, it was in my actual bra drawer where it belonged.....so I guess the housekeeper did not steal it.  That was one positive for the week. 













I also managed to lose .4 this week.  Of course, I didn’t eat for a full day in observance of Yom Kippur – but I will  take it!  As Nicole and I have discussed, I think years and years of immobility has caused my metabolism to slow down so much that losing weight has been extremely slow.  This week, I am focused on tracking all of the food I eat (I do weight watchers online) and avoiding situations which may lead me down a path I don’t want to go down (i.e., no after-work drinks for me).



 I will share one recipe I love that I did make this week: Weight Watchers Dijon Roasted New Potatoes – delish! 


Nicole: 

Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes…how do you measure a year in the life (while juicing)? You measure it in time spent in front of the damn juicer, that’s how. BECAUSE IT IS ALL YOU WILL BE DOING. FOR HOURS ON END.


OK. I am being dramatic but that’s really what last week felt like for me. Last time I checked in with you, I was starting a three day juice cleanse to flush my system of all the alcohol laced hot dog and onion ring revelry that I crammed in the week before.

I’ve did a detox before but was able to use my blender for most of it because the “drinks” had a smoothie like consistency and included bananas, avocados, coconut water (you know…things you have to blend). This time, juicing was quick but prep and clean up were a PAIN.  I’m talking almost two hours a night type of pain. Five juices (10 servings) with a full juicer cleaning in between each juice so the flavors wouldn’t mingle. I’m getting tired just remembering it.

Let me get to what you want to hear. Results!

Weight Loss:  6 pounds. Let me say this: I didn’t do this cleanse to lose weight. I realize that juicing—at least for the short period of time I did it (it was a 3-day cleanse) only leads to the loss of water weight. BUT I won’t lie. It was nice to see the scale drop that low given how hard I’ve been working.

Energy Level: I felt pretty good. My energy level was high enough to continue with Couch to 5K (though I realized later I was supposed to take it easy while juicing).

Flavor: Despite their appearance (the lunch juice was brown), they tasted pretty great. I loved the breakfast juice (apple, carrot, ginger) and the pre-dinner juice (sweet potato, carrot, bell pepper, beets, apples and oranges). The mid-morning, lunch and afternoon juices are more savory. I wouldn’t run to buy them off the shelf but they are highly tolerable. Dinner was the one solid meal of the day. I stuck to salads (tomato, avocado, cucumber), stuffed peppers, brown rice and roasted veggies (oodles of oven roasted asparagus and brussel sprouts). 

Cravings: The only thing I found myself craving was salt. I sprinkled it on my roasted asparagus and brussel sprouts to cure that. Didn't crave sweets at all. SHOCKING! 

Repeat: I don’t know if I will repeat the cleanse. First, it is super expensive. Costco made a fortune off of us last week. Second, I got what I needed and don’t plan on having a meat relapse. What the juicing did do for me was regulate my appetite and suppress my cravings for all things junk.  I feel like I can go back to eating a vegan diet 90% of the time with allowances for a little cheese and eggs on the weekends. I did have a post-cleanse diet breakdown (more on that below) while traveling but I’m back on track now.

Post Cleanse Breakdown: I went back to eating balanced meals for a very short period (breakfast and lunch) the day after the cleanse ended because we got on the road Friday afternoon to travel to a wedding.  Friday night’s dinner in the south? Curly fries from Arby’s at 10:00 PM. I know! I know!  Ash was craving Arby’s after his juicing experience so we stopped and, well, fries are all they have at that restaurant for moi.  Saturday, I was better balanced until the wedding where southern favorites were on the menu. I had mac and cheese but otherwise it was salad and roasted veggies.  That said, later, while hanging out with family, I had pizza and wine.  Again, I know but a girl’s gotta eat and when you’re at someone else’s mercy…and it’s late night in the suburbs of the south, there aren’t a million delivery options. I can hear you saying “excuses, excuses.” Hey, don’t be so judgy. My pizza fest didn’t totally derail my results…

NET WEIGHT LOSS: 4 pounds (as of today’s weigh in)!!

Last night, I made a healthy dinner (Southwestern Quinoa and roasted veggies). Ash made carrot-apple-celery- orange-beet juice to go with it. My poor baby is missing his sugary drinks.

Wanna know how the running is going? It’s going. I start the week 4 workouts tomorrow. Jelly legs and heavy breathing await. I am less short of breath than I was in the beginning of this but I am still struggling to keep my stamina up past the 2 minute mark. Normally, when asked about the workout, I just say it’s hard and I’m exhausted. This week, it’s still hard but I feel the tiniest bit better.

p/s I know there are tons of studies on how your body cleanses itself and how there is no need for juicing or the sugar spikes it can bring. I did what I needed to do for me. You do the same for you. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Quotable


About 10 years ago, I found myself out in the real world repeating certain habits in my life, and particularly in my relationships, that I’d cultivated as far back as high school. I was living in the muck of the stories I told myself.

“I’m not girlfriend material.”

“I’m not looking for anything exclusive either.”

“It’s cool you stood me up. No biggie. I know how it is when stuff comes up.”

Those stories came from little bits of broken heart left over by my high school and college boyfriends. After college, when I moved to NY, I went on dates with a few guys and each time, they put their crap right on the table. “I’m not looking for anything serious” which loosely translates into I’m not going to be your boyfriend but I will gladly be your bed buddy and be here for every ounce of attention and affection you want to shower on me. The first few times, I bowed out but eventually, I scooped their crap up off of the table and took it with me to a delusional little place called “He’ll change his mind-ville.”

When law school ended, I moved into the city, ready to live my Sex and the City life. I dated a couple of guys (neither made it past one date) and I realized I was attracting the same types. I was interested but inevitably it would lead to the “nothing serious” talk. Frustrated, I started to wonder what about me said “Fun times here. No need for commitment!”

I concluded it wasn’t me. It was them. I was opening the door too wide and letting in guys who had no business getting past the velvet rope. You know the quote, “You teach people how to treat you?” Well, I taught each of them they didn’t have to treat me with the respect I deserved. I was the fun girl. All the fun of a girlfriend with no commitment at the end of the day. It had to stop.

SO, I closed the door to my life and decided to date myself for a year. In that time, I focused on my own growth and worked on believing in myself rather than looking to others for validation. In the process, I discovered that I was holding on to certain things from my past—as far back as my childhood—and telling myself I didn’t deserve a real relationship (or love) because of those things. In my year of being single, I discovered it was TOTAL bull. I just needed to love me first. So I did…and it changed everything.


When I heard today’s quotable (shout out to Oprah's Lifeclass), it reminded me of this time in my life and how holding on to my history might have cost me a large portion of the happiness I have today. The work to get rid of the bad baggage continues but let’s just say my luggage set is pretty light these days. Totally worth the single year. 

* Today's photo is one I took of the sunset in the side window of the car as we were driving home one night last weekend. It's grainy but I like the shot. It's a metaphor for seeing only the beauty in what's behind you and leaving everything else forgotten in the darkness. Too deep for a Monday? Sorry! That's me. Sometimes you're going to get a spotlight on a cool new water bottle and cocktail recipe and sometimes, you're going to get a page out of my diary. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spread a Little Love Today


I can't believe today marks 12 years since 9/11. I still vividly remember the day and each year in the midst of the remembrance ceremonies and news coverage, my mind travels right back to how I felt that day and in the weeks following. Today, as you can see in the photo above, the World Trade Center site looks very different and is beautiful in its own right. The spirit of rebuilding is strong and inspiring.

On this day, there is always a call for people to honor the memory of those that were lost by doing a good deed. It can be something as simple as making a donation to a cause you support, spending time with a friend who has been down, or making cookies for your local first responders. No matter what you do, it's good enough if it is done with love. I know I sound like a hippie but love is the most important of our needs. I won't say it's ALL we need in this modern society but it's pretty close to exclusive. Get out there and love a little. God bless!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Weekly Weigh In: See Jane Clean Up Her Act

It's time for another Weekly Weigh In. No need for a long intro. Let's just dive right in. 

Robyn:

So, week 2 of the blog and the start of week 3 of Couch to 5K.  Let’s just say, again I weighed myself and now I am up 1 lb.  That can’t be good.  BUT I did manage to get myself starting on week 3 which was no easy task.  That day started out with the search for my favorite sports bra.... 20 minutes later and I still could not find it.  Did I stuff it in the back of some random kitchen drawer?  Could my housekeeper have stolen it?  Could I have burned it in the oven in a fit of sleepy anger at 3 a.m.?  (I digress).  I still cant find it  -- but I did manage not to use that as an excuse and found another sports bra to run in (who knew I even had it?!).

Then, the 2.5 minute runs could have knocked me down.  Nope.  

Could the Hoboken Italian festival featuring fried Oreos, zeppolis and Italian sandwiches that I had to run past knock me down? Nope. I just stopped, laughed, took a quick pic and continued. 


 I did it. And I was proud of myself.

Now is time to focus on nutrition.  I have made a promise to myself to really—yes really—try not to have any wine until a few weeks from now – except for the occasional bad days or dinners with friends.  I am hoping that helps.  Stay tuned – I am hoping for a turn around on the nasty scale next week.


Nicole: 

Do I look fat in this guilt?

This was a tough week. I had a medical procedure on Monday (and by medical procedure, I mean I had a catheter shoved through my neck, heart and lungs to measure the pressures between my heart and pulmonary artery…while I was awake). Sounds awesome right? I know you’re jealous.

After the procedure, I couldn’t lift anything for 3 days. No strenuous activity (driving is considered strenuous, by the way) allowed. So, NO EXERCISE FOR ME. All I did between Wednesday and Friday was go to work and lay in bed. I won’t pretend that I wasn’t a wee bit excited to lounge around for a few days but I knew the whole time it would make this week that much harder (and boy was I right—more on that later).  
I did manage to eat well balanced meals during the week. Even date night was innocent enough with veggie fajitas (onions, mushrooms, broccoli). Even with the flour tortillas and guacamole, it wasn’t that bad on the calorie scale. I did have wine but I walked away feeling fine with my choices. Then Saturday rolled around. Ash and I were running errands in the city when he suggested going down to the Seaport for drinks.
That night, went a little something like this: one drink, two drink, three drink, FRIES. Then that led to a visit to an old haunt of ours from when we lived in Midtown: Virgil’s. We haven’t been there in at least 5 years. A vegetarian in a barbecue spot isn’t wise—especially when that vegetarian used to love chicken, burgers…and hot dogs. You see where this is going, right?

I started out with onion rings. I can eat that. Not healthy but they’re vegetarian. But as Ash sat there grubbing on grilled chicken wings, the intoxicating smell of the grill took over and I ordered my old usual: 2 flat dogs (basically hot dogs split down the center and grilled) with mustard and coleslaw. Now, I won’t lie. I fall off the wagon (read: I make purposeful decisions to “cheat”) a couple of times a year. Usually, they occur on vacation and they ALWAYS—at least until Saturday—involved seafood. A crab cake sandwich here, some grilled ship there. That’s where I draw the line despite craving some of the things I miss like bacon. So there I was in our old restaurant, recounting old memories, and falling back to old, terrible habits right in the middle of training for a 5K.

At this week’s weigh-in, I was up 1.4 pounds. It was time for an intervention courtesy of my guilt slinging inner voice. At the end of her rant, I decided it was time to detox. Really detox. I decided to dust off the Dr. Oz three day detox that I wrote about in January. Then I remembered how involved it was with the Epsom salt baths and what not. I went to Google and discovered that Dr. Oz has an updated cleanse on his site created by Joe Cross (Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead) and his doctor. No baths required, which is good since I am a shower girl--and my house was made in the 80s and has a bathtub better suited for a girl MUCH shorter than me. Here’s the menu/shopping list.
Yesterday, I worked out (start of week 3 of Couch to 5K). It was super hard after doing nothing for a week...especially since this week, the runs I'm used to were extended by a minute. I did a water fast during the day and ramped up for the fast by drinking warm water with lemon and herbal tea. I had tomato and avocado salad for dinner. Today, I started on the juices. For the next three days, I will detox by drinking 5 juices throughout the day. At night, I can have a light meal made with unprocessed ingredients. Friday, I can go back to eating regularly but I’m sticking with unprocessed foods for the rest of the week. I figure my body needs at least a week to recover from Saturday night. Going forward (or at least until that ginormous Costco bag of carrots in my fridge is gone), I will drink one juice a day—and it will be the breakfast juice (carrot, apple, ginger) since it is the only one I can honestly say I like.  It would be great with vodka, but I digress. Ok, enough blogging. I’m going to drink my lunch juice (wretch)…which is supposed to taste like gazpacho. It's brown. Don’t be jealous. 


p/s I’ve made homemade juice several times but never made 5 different juices (each containing at least 5 ingredients) for 2 people in one night...after working out. It’s exhausting. I have a great juicer (if you’re interested, you can find it here) but I still stood in front of that friggin’ thing for over an hour between cutting apples in quarters to fit down the shoot, peeling citrus fruit, and rinsing pulp between juices. I now see why people pay hundreds of dollars for pre-made juice detox packages. One click on Amazon vs. hours (ok, not HOURS but it takes a while) of shoving fruits and veggies down a chute.    



Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Quotable


A few (ok, at this point, many) years ago, my boss at my school work study job gave me a gift just before I graduated. In the card, she included this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” (Look at that, you got two for one this week.)  I loved the hopefulness of the quote and it was a great stamp on the end of one chapter of my life as I started a new one.

When I came across today’s quote, it reminded me of that same feeling.  This time, I’m not starting a new chapter—at least not yet, but I am making some changes to better my life. I may have to sacrifice some of my routine to do it but I feel like it will be worth it.

More importantly, the quote gave me a chance to reflect. There are many people and things/habits I’ve left behind. At the time, it hurt—especially when it wasn’t my choice. Looking back now, I wouldn’t change any of it. I passed that same sentiment on to a friend going through a breakup this weekend.

Leaving things behind can suck but there’s a reason why there’s no room for certain crap in our “baggage.” Better things are waiting ahead. Cut the dead weight and make room for the goodness ahead. Happy Monday!


*Today's photo is one I took this weekend down at South Street Seaport. I liked the juxtaposition of old and new and thought it was suitable for today's quote. Sometimes, the things that remind you of the past are enough. You don't have to hold on to them. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Playlist

Another week, another embedded player. I decided to try Spotify this week. Better? Anyway, this week's playlist highlights the performers at the Made in America festival. Whether you like Pop, R&B, EDM, or Hip Hop, there is something for you. Enjoy and Happy Friday!! Cheers!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Grab a Tissue


I am not a sniffly, weepy woman (unless Beaches or The Color Purple are on)--especially in public but when I saw this...extended commercial (?) for The Cleveland Clinic, tears welled up in my eyes. I even got that burning knot in my throat that forms right before the flood gates open and I was not in the privacy of my home.  I am not sure if it is because of what I've dealt with health wise over the last few years or if it's because of it's beautiful message but something about it really got me.

I'll confess that I went in for a test earlier this week to see how all these meds I'm on are impacting my PAH. I fully expected a miraculous and glowing report. I mean, last year, I could barely walk 100 feet without feeling faint and now I am running (RUNNING!!) so I knew I would get stellar news. That's logical, right? Well, things didn't turn out that way. My numbers are better but they are not where my doctor wanted them to be. She increased one of my medications and we'll see how my numbers look in a few months.

I'm grateful to God for getting me to such a better place physically (and in all honesty, mentally) than I was this time last year but, this girl wasn't prepared for the "meh" response from the doctor. Of course, I also have to acknowledge that I haven't been as disciplined with one medication as I should be because life gets in the way. I've gotten past that in recent months but maybe too late for it to help with this week's test. Hopefully, the next report will be that glowing one I was hoping for this time around.

Hmmm...that felt kinda good to get off of my chest. I've been playing this to everyone--including myself--as good news because the numbers were "better" than last year but in truth, I had nothing in my system at the time of the last test so anything would be "better." And quite frankly, it better be better after spending thousands of dollars on medication. Thanks for letting me process...but I digress.

As I gathered my feelings and walked out of the hospital with my phone in one hand and Asher's hand in the other, I noticed people milling about the hospital a little more than I did on the way in. I said little prayers for people I could see struggling and wondered about those that seemed fine. I thought that to the outside world, I could be one of those people who seem fine.

The point is a face rarely shows a story. We all have something bubbling under the surface that makes us who we are. It's what we wish people could see before they make up their minds that we fit in a certain box and treat us accordingly.

         

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


It's time for another Love List. Here's what I'm loving this week:

1. Can you tell I'm looking for interesting workouts that are in the caloric superburn category? Kettlebells (after some research) seem to fit the bill while offering some variation to my routine. You can get details on this set by Ader here. P/s It's only $95.

2. When I hosted my first Thanksgiving, we had lots of out of town guests. I got fancy and did a little basket in the guest bathroom with travel sized toiletries and fancy artisan soaps and lotions. It was a hit. IMAGINE if I did a whole cart for the guest room complete with snacks, drinks. Totally stealing this from A Beautiful Mess.

3. Make cosmetics present a neutral palate with extremely bold pops of color for your greatest cosmetic moments of inspiration. A portion of the proceeds go to We See Beauty, which focuses on empowering local economies and strengthening communities. Make was started in NYC.

4. I posted a couple of weeks ago about wanting a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans. Well, I went on the hunt and couldn't find exactly what I wanted. Rather than continuing to shop, I decided to DIY (or DIM). I got a great tutorial from I Spy DIY. Check it out here.

5. I've always wanted to have fresh flowers all over my house. It's one of those things (like throwing awesome dinner parties and keeping the house looking like it just got staged for a home tour shoot) that I aspire to. Luckily, buying and arranging fresh flowers is easy thanks to this tutorial courtesy of Martha Stewart (because, who else?). I see some pretty fall arrangements coming soon...even if I only do it for Thanksgiving.

6. I roast asparagus (with olive oil and salt) all the time. (Spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with a healthy amount of olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and cook at 425 for 20 minutes) When I saw this recipe for grilled asparagus, I had to try it. Good stuff.

7. I already look at Popsugar for fashion but didn't happen upon their fitness blog (aptly named FitSugar) until this week when it made the Top Twenty Weight Loss Blogs of 2013. I found tons of information and videos there. Great site that I will visit again and again.

8. This is one of my favorite looks for fall. You really can't go wrong with vintage concert tees, skinny jeans and a motorcycle jacket. Effortless. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Weekly Weigh In: See Jane(s) Run…Away from the Scale


Last week, I mentioned the start of a new feature co-starring my friend Robyn. Well, it’s time for the kickoff (cue the confetti).

Nicole:

My ongoing journey with being healthy (and by association a healthy weight) has been ongoing since that ever so fast metabolism of my twenties took a bow and exited stage right. I stick to my tried and true programs but anything beyond the first 10 pounds of weight loss remains just out of my reach. I think a large part of it is lack of exercise. I make lots of excuses about not having time but at the end of the day, this girl is just tired…and lazy…and addicted to reality TV. To get out of that, I decided I was going to do a Couch to 5K program. Basically, you do a walk/run 3 times a week for at least 8 weeks increasing your running time as the weeks go on. Genius, right? I thought so—at least for about 6 minutes into my first workout. After my first run (the second half of which was in the rain) I literally thought my heart might explode. For those of you who are familiar with my health issues, you know it’s not outside of the realm of possibility…ok—maybe my ticker won’t explode but I could pass out or something equally horrific. Ultimately, I made it through and after gathering myself, I was kinda proud. More importantly, I decided to keep going but I didn’t want to do it alone. 

I recruited my friend Robyn and Ash to do the program with me. Ash is an athlete and works out everyday (yes, EVERY day) but he slows down to do the jogging with me. Robyn and I are pretty much on equal footing (code for: we want to die after every run BUT we’re doing it and I am confident we will get to a place where all of this is easy (please God, pretty please let it be soon!). Robyn talked me into doing a real 5K at the end of October (cutely dubbed HoBOOken) so it better get easier or we’ll be with the walking crew.

As for weight loss, let’s just say the 30’s are unkind. During the first week of “running,” I actually GAINED a pound. Of course, that could have something to do with date night wine and spinach dip consumption (I know, I know but a girl’s gotta live a little after eating healthy, whole foods all week). Week two was much better. I am officially down 2.2 pounds. It may not seem like a lot to you but I was happy dancing all over my room after that weigh in. I think it helped that in addition to my run, I tagged along with Ash to the gym (a mythical place in a land far away that I pay for but never visit) a couple of times and did a little weight training (3 sets of 10 reps for bicep curls, tricep extensions, leg press, hamstring curl and overhead press) and 100 crunches using a stability ball. One night I even punched the punching bag for little bit. When I say good stress relief….

Finally, I track what I eat on Sparkpeople. Years ago, I was a Weight Watchers online girl and it worked VERY well for me. Sparkpeople offers the components I need (online weight and exercise tracking, food journaling) for free. Win, win. So what did I eat? Lots of grains and greens. On date night, I still knocked back the wine like a champ but I had chips and guacamole to munch on instead of spinach dip. Guac is not light on the fat but it’s healthy fat. That’s a thing, right? Saturday, I was too hung over to do anything (don’t judge—that’s my body’s way of telling me I should have opted for the friggin’ spinach dip or better yet, pizza). Sunday and Monday, I was pretty good despite the holiday weekend. It helped that I had a medical procedure Tuesday and couldn’t go crazy. Again, don’t judge. I’ll take discipline any way I can get it.


Robyn:

OK.  End of summer. Start of fall.  What better time to start a new, healthier routine to shed some pounds and to fit into my winter clothes from 3 (?!?!?) years ago?

This all started with a commitment to finally RUN a 5K. I have walked one before.  But I have not run one before.  So I committed. Two weeks later -- let's call it a mini success -- Mini Couch to 5K (mini because I have not yet committed to 3x per week).

So after cutting out the wine as much as possible, and walking/running at least 5 times, I got on the scale.  Down .2...NOT 2.... POINT 2.  

Well, that was a disappointment.  But, maybe it takes a few weeks.  So after eating whatever I wanted this weekend and drinking some wine, Sunday night I committed to waking up fresh and ready for my recommitment to diet and Couch to 5K.  Instead, I woke up, calves hurting (from climbing steps at the U.S. Open all day in the heat Sunday in flip flops - not too smart), looking out the window at a rainy Labor Day. Then I met Nicole and Ash for an early dinner out at Pier115.

Maybe I’ll start again today.  Good enough I started the exercise/food blog right?


What's Cooking?

Our favorite dishes from this week were Quinoa with Wilted Kale (Nicole) and Pasta and Broccoli (Robyn). Exciting right? We see your mouth watering. C’mon. Get excited. No? OK…pretend it’s a burger and fries and while you’re in the depths of your food fantasy, click here for recipes.