Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chicken Wing Hat: part 2

I mentioned yesterday that we took a minor detour from our pledge to eat better to sample some of Buffalo's finest chicken wings, but it wasn't the only time I deviated on our trip. I discovered that eating great at home is a breeze compared to trying to make healthy choices on the road.

I had a cheeseburger Friday and a donut on Sunday and with a few wings in between, I was more than ready to get back on track this week. I was back to my oatmeal and berry breakfast on Monday and I actually realized that I enjoy my oatmeal much more than a donut — I didn't want to be "that girl" and bring my own food when we were staying with friends, but I may just do so next time.

I did resist their generous offer of coffee each morning, and it's been a few weeks since I've had any at all. I satisfied my craving this morning with green tea, made sweeter with a bit of honey and served in my favorite office mug, featuring the Wiener Mobile.

Pro-tip: every thing tastes better in a Wiener Mobile cup. Every thing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chicken Wing Hat: part 1

This weekend, the man and I visited two good friends (and their two Boston Terriers) in Salamanca, NY. We share a love of records, antiques and good food so Saturday was spent in Buffalo with plenty of all three.

While the men were combing through crate after crate of records, the ladies were scouting treasures — some of which will make it into the shop, while others are far too precious to sell. In Antique Man alone, we found bird claw-foot candlestick holders, a mini brass blade GE fan, vintage black and white nudie pics and a metal bust of Wagner that is headed directly to my Wagner-obsessed Uncle's house.

After a long day scouring the shops, we headed to the Anchor Bar, home of the original Buffalo chicken wing — when in Rome, right? I realize chicken wings may not exactly jive with our new healthy lifestyle, but we ate responsibly and despite being at a bar, drank nothing but water (this makes it totally ok, right?).

Here's the part where I show you a picture of our table, thereby visually negating my last statement.

So, now we can say that we've had original Buffalo wings (which were delicious) but more importantly, we also picked up some loot from the gift shop including a couple of shirts and...

A chicken wing hat. Totally worth it right? Now we just have to go to Wisconsin for one of these and we're on our way to having a complete, wearable meal.

No one even seemed to mind when our friend gestured wildly, sending our plate of nearly 50 wings into his wife's lap. Well, she minded a little, but mostly people just took advantage of the chaos to snap pics of my man looking dapper as ever in his C.W.H., myself included.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blue Carrot Bits

Bought this chef today during a lunchtime shopping trip to the Bomb Shelter — if you live anywhere near Akron and love cool things you should definitely go to there.

The Seduction of Joe Tynan is one of the last of the Streep movies to come out on DVD (and also one of her first, and sexiest performances) — now, thanks to Amazon, I own it and so can you.

I got my man this Rifle Paper Co. card for Valentine's Day, and if you remember our Halloween costumes, you'll see how perfect it is.

Oh, and here is a dozen roses that my man got me (in addition to this), because I'm a girl and I think I'm required to post at least two hundred pictures of my Valentine's haul. I hope two will suffice.

I've been mixing my stripes a lot lately — fashion people: is this allowed? I think I'm going to keep doing it either way because STRIPES.

Look at her shamelessly posing. Oh hi, I didn't see you come in. Whatta ham.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Eating Well: Day Four

As I mentioned on Monday, the man and I are making the effort to change our eating habits for the long term — we'd fallen into a bad routine of crappy foods, large portions and late-night eating and were feeling the ill-effects. Although this is only day four, I thought I'd share some of what we've been doing (or not doing) and what I've learned already.

The Plan

We're not doing anything drastic, but here are a few guidelines that we're trying to follow:

  • No more coffee - I haven't had coffee in about a week, and surprisingly I've survived. I still think about stopping at Starbucks on the way to work, but saving ten (plus!) dollars every day we pass, makes me feel like we're doing the right thing. Also surprisingly, I don't feel as tired as I had been and I certainly don't miss the pre-lunch, jittery, sickness that results when all you've consumed is a latte.
  • Always eat breakfast - Eating breakfast has never been hard for me — I actually joke that the only reason I get out of bed is for the promise of food. Lately, though, I'd either been skipping this meal altogether in lieu of coffee or consuming something as awful (for you) and as wonderful (tasting) as a Cinnabon. For the past four days I've had a bowl of Old Fashioned Quaker Oatmeal sweetened with nothing but berries (blueberries, strawberries and black raspberries), and not only is it delicious, but it fills me up without putting me in a post-donut coma.
  • Snack Smart - I also like to joke that I have to eat every two hours or I'll die, which is an exaggeration obviously, but also pretty true. At least, I feel like dying if I haven't eaten for a while and I think anyone who knows me would agree — a hungry me = a cranky me. In the depths of my hunger rage, I usually grab a Twix or some other bad-for-me snack, but we've stocked up on nuts, fruits and natural peanut butter (i.e. made exclusively from peanuts) to ward off any unpleasantness. 
  • Drink Water - I've never been a huge soda drinker, but with two, fully-stocked Coke machines in our office, it's been hard to avoid. I actually stopped drinking soda a while ago, but I've been really trying lately to drink more water. It's hard, because it seems like I have to pee every five seconds, but I suppose that extra exercise I get walking to the bathroom doesn't hurt either.
  • Eat More Veggies, Fiber - I mentioned in my last post that I've consumed more carrots this week than I had in my entire life, thanks to the miracle that is juicing. I've also "eaten" kale, parsley and spinach, cleverly disguised in delicious juices. Along with actual solid veggies (snow peas, mushrooms and broccoli in pasta), I stocked our cabinets with brown rice, whole wheat pasta and Raisin Bran — a bowl of which has 29% of your daily fiber (did you know this? I didn't).
  • Avoid Fast Food, Process Foods - No one loves Wendy's Spicy Nugs or Kraft Mac n Cheese more than this girl, but at some point you have to realize how not-great those foods are for your body. I'm sure I'll eat a cheeseburger eventually (we do live right next to both a Swenson's and a Sonic), but we're thinking of those foods more as occasional treats, and not everyday staples as they had become. I don't pretend to be a nutritionist, but it seems to me that the less chemicals and odd-sounding ingredients in a food, the better it probably is for you.

Lessons Learned
  • I despise celery, which I knew already, but I recently found out that I also despise celery juice. The same magic that happens when and carrot goes through the juicer, alas does not happen with a stalk of celery.
  • Kale is weird. It may be a trendy, super food, but apparently the craze hasn't hit Ohio just yet — when we went to buy it at the store my man had no idea what to look for, and the cashier inspected our bag before asking "What... is... this...?" I'm still not even exactly sure what it tastes like because I've only had it blended with other flavors. Also, apparently kale chips are a thing but whether they're as good as a Sour Cream and Onion Sunchip remains to be seen.
  • Juicing is fun, but very messy. I found orange pulp on the ceiling this weekend.
  • If you buy candy for your co-workers for Valentine's Day, and keep all of the red Starbursts for yourself, you will eat them all in one day. And by you, I mean I did that yesterday.
I'll keep posting updates about our progress (and failures), and if anyone has any advice, juicing recipes or knows exactly what a kale chip is, let me know. If you need me, I'll be cleaning fruit pulp off our walls.

*This is not my actual counter — it's an image from Hoarders, a show you should watch if you're ever feeling bad about yourself, or need a reason to clean your house.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentines

I have very specific theories about Valentine's Day, namely being that it is strictly a holiday to express your love and appreciation — an opportunity to expend effort, not necessarily just dollars. Now, that's not to say I don't like to be showered with expensive gifts (show me someone who doesn't) but sometimes the most heartfelt things don't cost a cent. In the past, I've made scavenger hunts, books of hand-drawn song lyrics and a fancy dinner (including this cake) to show my man how much I care.

This year, I enlisted the help of my uber-talented friend Rachael to help me make something for my man that I couldn't make myself — a portrait of our two cats. I've always loved and admired Rachael's unique style, and I trusted her completely to capture the personality of two wild animals that she's never even met. From an (extensive) archive of photos and a brief (okay, it was a few pages) description of their unique qualities, she created this masterpiece:

I couldn't be happier with how it turned out, from the watercolor washes that so accurately capture their coloring, to the dominance of Queen Mozart, she really nailed it. My man agrees, and he responded with an equally heartfelt, albeit much more pricey, gift for me:

And as beautiful as the packaging was, would you believe that inside was an even more wonderful and incredibly sweet silver heart locket? It's my first Tiffany piece, and I couldn't have asked for a better one — or a better man, really.

We don't have any plans tonight but maybe we'll pick two perfect photos to put inside my locket, hang up our beautiful kitty portrait and watch a shark documentary. I hope your Valentine's Day is just as wonderful.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Healthy, Happy and Streepy

I took a break from this blog for a while — maybe you noticed, or maybe you didn't, but either way here I am. It wasn't a conscious break, but the busy-ness of the holidays turned into the post-Christmas blues which turned into the "I don't have energy to do much of anythings", if that's even a thing.

But, that thing stops now — mostly because I say it does, and if I don't have a say in how I feel about life, than who does? Here are a few things that have been instrumental in improving my outlook lately:

Eating Healthier

It wasn't such a huge leap to make the connection between feeling like crap and eating crap, so the man and I recently decided to be much smarter about what we consume. I had made a few minor improvements — no sugar syrups in my lattes, eliminating sodas, no brown sugar in my oatmeal — but it was time to dive in for real. So, we bought a juicer, cleaned our cabinets, filled our fridge with veggies and fruits and we're feeling great.

Of course, this is only day two, but I've already "eaten" (aka drank) more carrots and kale than I had in my entire 26 years and juicing is surprisingly fun, easy and incredibly delicious. This is the point where I tell you I am now gladly accepting any and all juice recipes, particularly those that trick me into liking vegetables.

Downton Abbey

How could I possibly feel bad about my life while watching the adorable Mr. Bates and Anna fight to be together, Mary and Matthew dance around their true feelings, or Maggie Smith pose the question "What is a week-end?"? That's right, I can't and neither can you. The first installment is available on Netflix, and current episodes directly from PBS.

Pro-tip: Can't find Downton on your DVR? Try searching "Masterpiece" — that only confused and infuriated me for like, two months.

Vacation Planning

Nothing cheers me up more than planning for vacations — real or imagined. My man (finally!) agreed to let me show him Cape Cod this summer, and I immediately began planning our adventures. I would love to stay in an authentic cottage via Airbnb (we had such a great experience last summer in Brooklyn), go whale-watching and eat sandwiches (with chips?) in East Sandwich. Provincetown is a must, as well as antiquing and Martha's Vineyard — is it summer yet???

Meryl Streep Losing Her Shoe