Thursday, July 31, 2014
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
1. Enjoying this collection of love stories put together by The New Yorker. The magazine is doing several anthologies over the next few months. This is the first.
2. This handy little tool by OXO helps slice and quarter grapes, tomatoes and olives. You could just use a knife but, when there's a cute little gadget to help you, why not use it?
3. Restaurants are getting terrible reviews, but its not for what you might think. Read more here.
4. Keep my chips fresh without those chip clips that I'm constantly using? Yes, please.
5. Jess Lively's braille intention necklaces are back. I've always loved them. You can find the necklaces and other cool intention focused items here.
6. Yesterday was National Cheesecake Day (who knew??) and it inspired me to look for recipes. After all, cheesecake is my favorite dessert. Here is a collection of yummy variations on the classic.
7. It's not quite Fall (though the NY mornings currently feel that way) but warmer fashion choices are popping up everywhere. Check out Madewell's new cool weather pieces here.
8. The Commonwealth Cocktail was made to commemorate the XX Commonwealth Games and has 71 ingredients that apparently work together seamlessly. As a mixology enthusiast, I'm super impressed. You can find the ingredient list here.
9. If you've ever gotten aggravated separating egg whites and yolks (and I feel like every baker has), the Yolkr will change your life.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Hello everyone. I’m writing from the other side of the Color Me Rad “5K.” Let’s just say, there was no need to push ourselves for that one. And good thing – since I was utterly unprepared. I would call it the Color Me Rad “Stroll.” I thought (and maybe some would disagree) that it was sort of a waste of time and money. BUT, at least it did get me out of bed and moving after a long night.
My focus has now changed. I’m starting up Couch to 5K again this week and starting on Weight Watchers again. I have managed to count my points and I am keeping it honest. The goal is to start meetings again and get to gym at least 3 times a week. I have to be honest with myself – everyday is not going to happen, especially in the Summer.
I have realized the Summer is challenging. Between barbecues, outings, outdoor drinks, etc. life does get in the way. That said, I am going to TRY my best to focus—at least during the week.
My recipe for today is for Chicken Shishkabobs. I plan to make them for an upcoming barbecue. The recipe is easy and the results are delish. They are also a healthier option that will help me skip the fattening hot dogs.
You will need metal or wooden skewers. Metal ones are better because they are sturdy but you can buy wooden ones at the supermarket. You will need to soak them in water for at least an hour (but preferably overnight) so they don’t catch on fire.
4 lean, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 clove of garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
Mixed veggies of choice
Cut chicken breast into cubes. Whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, salt, pepper and garlic. Pour over chicken and let marinate for an hour or so. Put marinated chicken and mixed veggies on skewers. I like to use onion, tomato, mushrooms and green pepper (but you can use anything).
Grill until chicken is cooked through (about 12-15 minutes on medium high heat or until juices run clear).
TIP: You may want to grill the chicken on a skewer without the veggies since it may need longer to cook. You should also reserve some of the marinade to brush on the chicken while it is cooking to prevent it from drying out while grilling.
I will agree with Robyn that you didn’t need to be in tip top shape (or even good shape) to run/walk Color Me Rad. I’m also not sure it was quite a 5K based on the steps logged on my Fitbit. That said, the spirit of the thing was fun and like Robyn said, it was a good way to get moving early on a cloudy Sunday. It also gave us access to be down on the field at MetLife Stadium. When else will that happen?
I will note that Ash had fun and wants to do The Color Run in Brooklyn in October. He’s trying to rally his brothers and our nephew. With HoBOOken, that would give us two 5K's in a month. I hope to be a better runner (read: a jogger with enough stamina to keep it going for 3 miles) by then.
My biggest challenge since returning from vacation has been getting back on track. I’ve done a couple of workouts but every time I turn around, I’ve got an event to go to. I will also admit to willingly indulging in foods I should be avoiding. I had pizza on date night Friday, went to a birthday party/barbecue on Saturday where I had plenty of pasta salad, potato salad, cake and cocktails. Sunday? Smash Burger. Yesterday? Skipped the gym for a spontaneous date night with Ash and ate what? Another veggie burger with zucchini fries. And yes, I had a cocktail. It’s screaming out to me of my old patterns. Lose weight, feel great, take a break. The problem is in the break. SO, this week is about getting back on track.
Ash is starting another fitness challenge and I may do it with him. He’s much more fit than I am but I figure if I’m going to jump back in, I should go full steam ahead. I really don’t want to lose all the progress I’ve made in the first half of the year. Stay tuned for this week’s “Work.Out.” post to see what we’re doing. (Find last week's post here.)
This week’s recipe is for what PopSugar has dubbed the “Hangover Cure Smoothie.” Even if you aren’t hungover, this smoothie works well to replenish electrolytes, soothe your stomach and detox after any indulgence.
Hangover Cure Smoothie
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 small banana
½ cup frozen spinach or kale
½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup coconut water
Honey and cinnamon to taste
2-3 ice cubes
DirectionsMix ingredients together in a blender and serve.
p/s you can see some pics from our Color Me Rad experience on Ash's Instagram @ashermatthews35.
Monday, July 28, 2014
We all grow older. It is part of life but it doesn’t mean we grow up. It takes concerted effort to appreciate the lessons each year of life has to offer. It takes even more to pull them into the fabric of who we are. I feel like doing that over time helps us know who we are on a deeper level. That knowledge helps us identify who we truly are…or who we aspire to be.
The rest of life is a course in courage. Do we stay under the safety of the tree or do we climb up and go out on a limb in search of a life that honors who we are? The course on courage is one I’m constantly enrolled in. In many areas of my life, I’ve climbed the trunk. The limbs are another story. In other areas, I'm way out on a limb and loving it. I know to be happy, I have to reach beyond the safe places in every area of my life. I'm working on it by reminding myself of how bland and unfulfilling "risk free" can be.
When you’re a little stuck or afraid to go out on a limb/step out on faith, what do you do to shake off the fear and take a step out?
Friday, July 25, 2014
|Sunset at the dunes (Jockey's Ridge).|
|Moonrise over the Ocean on Day One.|
|Beautiful sunset while grilling.|
|Sunny beach day. You can't see it well but there is a huge piece of shipwreck debris just under the surface of the breaking wave. Made laying on the sand a more attractive option.|
|Wine cork. I couldn't have said it better myself.|
|Nothing goes better with fish tacos than a cold Corona.|
|Visited Studio 12 on a rainy day for a glass fusion course. I love it. They have a large assortment of classes and the shop is full of beautiful art and hand crafted jewelry. The owners are awesome too!|
|Flatbread Pizzas made to order.|
|The scary moment before the fire becomes manageable.|
|Ash walking back to the car after high soaring kite flying on the dunes at Jockey's Ridge. Totally reliving childhood. Lovely to watch.|
|Wright Brothers Museum and Memorial at Kitty Hawk.|
|Mini pineapple upside down cakes with vanilla gelato. Worth every calorie.|
|And on the way home in a farewell to the South, the HOT sign beckoned us into Krispy Kreme.|
I bookmark so many pages a week with the idea that I will come back to them as inspiration for an article or use them on a Love List. Then, the next week, there are tons of new things and the previous links are forgotten until I clean up my bookmarks. Ok, you're bored already. Let me put this in Friday speak:
New Feature. Links that peaked my interest this week. Enjoy.
1. How Much of a Grown-Up are you?
2. Funny article about the state of online dating. From what I hear from friends, this 2011 article still rings a bell.
3. Billionaires support a 3 day work week. You'd have to work long hours on those 3 days and well past the current retirement age but most people do that anyway. I'm kinda into it.
4. Really cool bar idea for a dinner party.
5. The latest in Deepak and Oprah's free (initially) 21 day meditation series is Expanding You Happiness. It starts August 11. You can sign up here.
There are moments in life that remind us life is short. All you have to do is turn on the news…or pull up the web. Most of us feel a stab of sadness and we hug our loved ones a little tighter. We talk about loving people while they’re here and changing our habits to get things done rather than putting them off. Then, slowly, those of us who are only indirectly affected move on with our lives. We are perhaps a little more conscious of the fact that life is fleeting but we generally fall back into old habits, forgetting our commitment to do better.
Sometimes, though you experience a loss that is closer to home and you’re compelled to get your shit together and really appreciate your life. That happened to Ash a couple of years ago when one of his closest friends was hit by a drunk driver. It happened again in the wee hours of this morning. We were laying in bed zoning out in front of our respective iPads when he sat straight up in shock. He handed me his iPad to read an Instagram entry and confirm what he’d just read. There it was in black and white: “RIP” under a picture of another good friend.
We both sat there in shock and silence for about a minute before we started wondering who we could call to confirm and to find out what happened. Over the next few minutes, the reality sunk in as people shared sentiments over social media and phone calls came through. He is gone after suffering a heart attack during a basketball game. We couldn’t believe it. We’re talking about an athlete. A seemingly healthy, young, vibrant, kind father and husband. A man whose last tweet was to thank God for another day of life.
It’s hard to know what sort of tribute to pay to a man gone far too soon but we agreed the best we can do is live our lives in a way that honors how precious it is. To celebrate each day and to really push for the fulfillment of purpose. To live this life in honor of the gift that it is and to lift those he left behind in any way we can.
Rest easy James “Stixx” Williams.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
I was on vacation last week and decided to take a break from working out. I know, I know. How dare I?? Ash on the other hand worked out all week. He even joined the OBX Sports Club to keep himself on track. I aspired to that…from beneath the covers in bed while enjoying sleeping in. I did get some swimming in (minimal since I was mostly just floating) and as always, we climbed Jockey’s Ridge.
On the way home, I was coming up with exercises to work myself back into my normal routine. In that conversation, Ash came up with a fitness challenge for me. Let’s just say, I’ll be coming back in like a warrior. I’d planned for something a little less intense but decided to go with it. Go hard or go home, right?
I decided to share it and will share a workout each week since the 6 Week Grind is over. Let’s keep each other motivated. Beast Mode…or whatever other equally crazy gym mantra you prefer. Here’s the kickoff workout.
Today I heard a story* about a professor administering a final exam. He started by saying the class did so well during the year that he wanted to give them the option to skip the final. Those skipping would receive a C. About half of the class volunteered for the C option and left without having to take the final. The professor handed out the final to the remaining students, placing it on their desks face down. He went back to the front of the classroom, thanked the students for staying and being willing to put in the hard work of taking the final exam. He noted their drive would get them far in life and he was excited about the possibilities in their future. He then sat down so they could take the exam. When the students turned over their tests, it said, “Congratulations. You just made an A.”
The point of the story was that life and the achievement of your goals is hard. Do the work. Go for the A. Don’t ever settle for the C (read: average, status quo, good enough). Make up your mind that good enough has been good enough for long enough and go for your dreams.
The message spoke loudly to me. I feel like there are many things in my life that I am working on that don’t fit into the dream I have for my life. I’m letting the things I settle for take up most of my time and leaving very little time to work on my dream s. There’s nothing wrong with occupying a temporary space in your life but if it’s not your dream, there is no time to rest on your laurels. You have to keep moving and not let the temporary things distract you from working towards your goals. Life isn’t meant to be good enough. We’re meant to be happy and no one has ever been happy after settling. Here’s to going for the A.
* Story was told by Joel Osteen.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
1. I'm a sucker for a good kitchen gadget. The Stem allows you to tap into any citrus fruit and spray directly from it.
2. This bucket list of vacations is pretty great. I dream of traveling through every place on it.
3. I love Battle Cry by Angel Haze f/ Sia. Get into it.
4. So, there's a TV that only works when you smile at it. The prototype of the Smile TV just flashes happy images but it's cool to think about where this technology can go. I am totally guilty of watching TV while looking at my iPad or working on the blog. Ash calls me the great rewinder. If I had to look at the TV for it to work, maybe I'd be present for my favorite shows.
5. Daily Routines of 26 of History's Most Creative Minds are detailed in this article. Cool read.
6. Refinery 29’s is doing a series called I am Icon. It follows Icona Pop on tour and tells a beautiful story of friendship and the rise to fame
7. I like the pretty metallic glow of Flash Tats. Good way to throw on a little sparkle without the weight of jewelry. Great for the beach.
8. I love the message (and the music) of Colbie Caillat's new song, Try. Check it out here.
9. I love the relaxed yet chic vibe kimonos add to an outfit. You can find them at all price points. Here are a couple (1/2) of my bargainista faves.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Alas, Nicole is back and so I guess it is time to refocus (yes, I am using Nicole’s vacation as an excuse). And it is probably too little too late. This Sunday, Nicole, Asher and I have the Color Me Rad 5K. Yes, I am utterly unprepared. Lucky for me, my coworker’s sister did this last year and said that it is mostly for amusement and it draws a bunch of walkers. In fact, I read they don’t even time it. That said, I really do plan to get into shape for the HoBOOken 5K in October this year. So that’s the new plan. And I am going to stick with it. Honestly, sick of seeing all these women in all these cute clothes I cant even fathom wearing.
So, I am kicking off this week on a healthy note. I have cut down on the wine, have been eating a lot of baked chicken and brown rice, and managed to only have 2 teaspoons of ice cream at an ice cream social yesterday. I also brought in my own low fat salad dressing to work so that I am not enticed by fattening, over-dressed salads! It’s the little things….
Hi guys! The Six Week Challenge is officially over. As of the last day of the challenge, I'd lost a total of 6 pounds on top of the 15 I lost over the course of the year so far. Last week's vacation boosted me back up a bit but I think it will even out by the end of the week. I'm pretty pleased with my results but I HAVE to say the whole slowing of the metabolism at 30 thing is VERY. VERY. REAL.
If I did the Six Week Challenge at 25, I'd be willing to bet I'd have lost double the weigh I did this time. Seriously, I'd wager at least $100. Think I'm too confident? Don't. I've lived in this body for a long time. At 23, I joined a gym with friends and lost 15 pounds in 2 months by just doing spin 3 times a week. I did strength training twice a week for half an hour. I wipe the floor with that stuff now. Yet, I'm still a little rounder than I want to be. Don't think I'm not super happy about my accomplishment, because I am. I've just learned a valuable lesson about what slid off my thighs in my 20s vs. what needs to be swatted away with a bat now.
This week's workout is jogging by any means necessary. Robyn, Ash and I are doing Color Me Rad this weekend and only one of us is prepared. I'll give you a guess which one. Hint: He's not me or Robyn. I've mentioned before that despite my fitness level, I struggle (to put it mildly) with running. If all else fails, Robyn and I plan to walk most of it but maybe the mood to run will hit us...if for nothing else, to avoid a fistful of neon green cornstarch in our faces, though I guess getting hit is sort of the point.
As for food, this week, it's all about the taco. While on vacation, I did a seafood taco bar one night for dinner. There was shrimp, fish (cod), lettuce, cotija cheese, pico de gallo (store bought), guacamole, and cilantro lime greek yogurt sauce. You can also make these vegetarian by subbing in black beans and rice for the seafood.
I seasoned the shrimp and fish with salt, pepper, fresh garlic and Old Bay seasoning. The fish was baked until flaky (about 20 minutes). The shrimp was sauteed in olive oil until firm and pink on both sides.
The guacamole is just 2 avocados, 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, 2 cloves garlic (minced), 1/2 red onion (diced), juice of 2 limes and salt and pepper to taste. Mash it up and serve.
Finally, for the greek yogurt sauce, I whisked the juice of half a lime and a tablespoon of chopped cilantro into 1/2 cup of yogurt.
It's fun to set everything up family style and let people make their own. I also recommend taco boats over taco shells when using such hearty ingredients. They stand up better for the overstuffers.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Today's quote says everything that needs to be said about real love. I don't just mean love for a partner or your friends--though it is certainly part of it--I mean all kinds of love. Love for your passions, love for your surroundings, love for yourself. To make any of them work, you truly have to give your all. Not only do you have to give your all, you have to do so knowing it could all be for naught. It makes for a crazy journey, but honestly, would you have it any other way? I wouldn't. I need to give everything so I don't have any regrets about what I could have done (worked harder, loved stronger, given more). So, I'm recommitting to love. Here's to working towards giving everything to the people and goals I love. Happy Monday!
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
So often, we associate Summer with vacation. It's the time when most of us can get away for an extended period without a raised eyebrow or expectation of constant checking in. This year, I am fortunate enough to have vacation time planned with friends and family and am determined to really get away and focus on the people who make my life great. I will confess that on my first true vacation of the year, I worked for several hours on the first 2 days while everyone else went sunning and swimming BUT I eventually managed some beach and pool time. Heck, I even worked in some glass art time (more on that next week). Now, I'm totally disconnected--except for posting to the blog. But hey, it's rainy, chilly and everyone is enjoying that lull in the day when the urge for napping creeps in.
When I was browsing for quotes, vacation was on my mind and this one hit home given the amount of work I sacrificed my first two days to. I needed a reminder that I am allowed to disconnect (and of course, Maya Angelou had the key). The world will not end or fall apart. It will move on and in the end, I'd rather sacrifice time spent towards my career than time spent with my people. I will still be posting quotes every Monday, but this one is governing my heart!
Friday, July 11, 2014
I mentioned Sia and Lake Street Dive in my Love List this week so they had to be on this week's playlist. I also added Michael O. I found his music after hearing "Champion Love" on a television show. After some research, I learned he won the Sing Off with the Dartmouth Aires and put an album out in August, 2013. I guess I'm late to the party! Oh well, better late than never. I love his sound. His EP will be blasting through my speakers in honor of Date Night tonight. And on that note, happy Friday!! Grasp the weekend by the horns and enjoy every minute! Blessings.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Shredded Brussels Sprouts make for a hearty lunch or dinner salad. To make this salad, I chopped 8 sprouts in a food processor and put them in a large bowl. Then I added sliced sun-dried tomatoes, roasted hazelnuts and a bit of fresh grated parmesan cheese.
Add as much or as little dressing as you want and toss. You will likely have some left over. Serve at room temperature.
1. Fly Art is billed as "an homage to the finer things in life: art and hip hop." The result is a quirky piece of digital art where the art and the lyrics speak together and make you look at each in a new way. You can find more of these creations by Gisella Velasco and Toni Potenciano on their Tumblr page.
2. The Urban Skyfarm is a farm on a skyscraper. Takes urban farming to a whole new level, right? It certainly puts my little deck garden tomatoes to shame, but I think it's a really cool concept with the potential to bring more fresh produce to congested urban centers. It also makes me want to expand my garden (but since my herbs bit the dust, I think I'll see how the tomatoes do first).
3. A girlfriend turned me on to Lake Street Dive this week. Their sound is right up my alley (if I can be said to have an alley with the eclectic mix currently filling my playlists).
4. This story about an elephant who cried upon rescue was so touching. I also learned a lot about elephants and their emotional IQ.
5. I've loved Sia and her work for a long time. So happy 1000 Forms of Fear is finally out.
6. I heard about Rack & Ruin on the Elvis Duran Show this week and decided to check it out. In the 25 minutes it took me to watch the first 5 episodes, I went from curious to obsessed. Love Saffron.!!
7. Spiritual Gangster is a clothing line that appeals to the yogi in me and I love the message. I mean if you must be a gangster (and you must be for something in your life), why not be one on behalf of spirituality.
8. This may be the easiest way to peel a mango I've ever seen. Now, if there was only something for cleanly getting rid of the seed/pit.
9. I'm kinda loving watermelon granita lately. It only has 3 components: watermelon, sugar and lime juice (though you can add alcohol if you want it) and is really simple to make (just freeze and agitate). It's the perfect refreshing treat for the super hot days of July.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
How do you spell "weigh in" over the past two weeks? R-E-V-E-R-S-E. Yes, my friends, I have gone in reverse. Last week, I was all set to report a major milestone. Well, that will have to wait. After a week (or two) of indulging on burgers, wine, chips, more burgers and yes, wait for it—NO exercise, I have gained back plenty of weight in the past week. Sigh. Nevermind the fact that Nicole, Asher and I are supposedly doing a 5K in less than 3 weeks that I am utterly unprepared for (especially with the heat). Double sigh.
In any event, I am trying to get back on track. I'm watching my food intake again. One thing that is keeping me hopeful is that unlike other times when I have tried to lose weight, I have no milestone event to reach for. So, no pressure to lose “X” amount in “Y” days.
I'm in the last week of this whole Six Week Grind thing and I averaged about a pound a week. Not amazing but not too shabby. I feel healthy and strong, and I've lost several inches overall. I'll share the full report next week when the program is officially complete.
You'd think I'd be up for some nice low impact (think Richard Simmons) aerobics and a break. BUT NOOOOOO!!!!! Instead, I am jumping into another fitness challenge thanks to Robyn. Months ago, she said "Hey, let's sign up for another 5K." I happily agreed since I still felt a need to redeem myself from HoBOOken. Now that Color Me Rad is just around the corner, I fear I am WOEFULLY UNPREPARED!! You must think I'm crazy after all the exercise I've logged in the last 5 weeks. I am in good shape. I can spin, dance and jump with the best of them. But running (much like burpees) is my Achilles heel. No matter how I try to breathe and pace myself, I feel overcome every time I switch from walking to running--even if my jogging is at the same pace as a swift power walk. So, I'm nervous, but if I can't run, I can always walk. I will get through it.
This week's workout is an great one for first thing in the morning, hence the name. Neila Rey's Rise & Shine routine even includes a little stretching. You don't need anything but a little space to get it done. You'll be energized for the day but not worn out.
Monday, July 7, 2014
Her experience reminded me that there is often strength in silence. When you quiet down, the aggressor in an argument, only has themselves to contend with. Where the agitator is your own inner voice, your silence can shut down the madness. You can create your own peace by choosing to shut down an argument and quieting your mind. If you have trouble getting silent, try meditation or breathing exercises. I usually try to meditate but if I can't focus because I'm mad or hurt and those thoughts are playing in my mind on repeat, I'll try a breathing exercise. Here are a couple of tools from Gabby Bernstein that I've tried.
As always, I am not a physician or nutritionist. I am just sharing what works for me. You should consult a physician before starting any new fitness program.
2 hard boiled eggs
TLAT (Tempeh Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato) on Ezekiel Bread
45-60 minutes of Barre
Oatmeal or quinoa with nuts and fruit of your choice
Carrot Zucchini Mini Muffins and Green Tea
Mini Mushroom Fritattas with Fruit Salad
45-60 Minutes Yoga