Thursday, April 30, 2009
Yes, I know that there has been some controversy surrounding Curves because of the owner's pro-life beliefs. Reportedly, he has donated a ton of money to anti-abortion agencies, and people are upset that the money he makes from his pro-woman Curves franchises supports something that by many is considered to be very anti-woman. This makes people upset. I'll admit that this makes me upset. However, it is his right to use his money how he chooses. The women who own these franchises (and many, if not all - I can't find the data - of the franchise-owners are women) have a right to support organizations that are pro-choice, pro-life, or not to support any organizations at all. So do the members. Yes, I feel conflicted at times, knowing that a small percentage of my membership fees are going towards pro-life groups. But then again, I can always counter that with a donation or volunteer work. I can continue to support pro-choice organizations on my own. Check out this website for more information about this whole thing.
Wow. That was a lot more Curves-Controversy talk than I was planning on writing. The whole point of this post was supposed to be telling you all how excited I am about my new Fitness & Weight Management Plan! I recently joined Curves in Rockridge through their $30 for 30 Days Trial Plan. It includes 3 days a week with a trainer (though you can go as many days a week as you want), and evaluations, and a 30 day free trial with Curves Complete. Today, I picked up the Curves Fitness & Weight Management Plan book, which comes with a ton of recipes for use with the Plan. I plan on starting the plan (ha. ha. ha.) next week. Basically, it works in 3 phases, with different caloric intakes for each phase, to train your body and trick it into thinking you're not dieting. Phase 1 is 7 days, Phase 2 is 23 days, and Phase 3 is 2-4 weeks. You do the 30 day cycle (Phases 1-2), and then (in theory) you stick to Phase 3 for the rest of your life, until you gain 3+ pounds, and then you go back to Phase 1 for 2-3 days.
Sounds more complicated than it is. For more information, click here. They provide a lot of food options; it's really a wide-ranging menu. The meals look good. It looks pretty easy. I mean, I will have to commit to it, and it won't be easy to resist my standard treats, but if I just follow the recipes (and figure out their substitution tables for when I want to eat something that's not on the list), I should be ok. My goal weight (that I pulled out of nowhere) is 130 lbs. I currently weigh 154 lbs. My trainer says she can help me drop 20 lbs in 3 months pretty easily if I follow the diet and come in 3 times a week (and Curves recommends walking 30 min a day most days as well). My BMI (ratio of muscle to fat) is a little higher than it should be, but that should come down too. My plan is to come in 5-6 times a week, so that plus my occasional hikes/walks and walks to the grocery store, in addition to the "diet," should put me in a pretty good position.
I have never actively tried to lose weight before, so this should be interesting. I've started a new label called SuperFit to keep track of my blog posts on the subject, and yes, I plan to blog this whole experience. I'll take pictures of food sometimes, and report what's going on with my weight loss and such.
I'm sure it won't be SuperEasy, but I like the support system that Curves provides. The trainers who work there take an active interest in your life, and many have gone through the diet and exercise programs as well, and can offer tips and personal stories about how they lost weight. They motivate you and cheer you on while you work out, and they push you to work harder.
So, I have high hopes. Now is the time to start something like this - while I have a lot of time on my hands, and the desire to stop spending my days eating and watching TV (two months was enough!). This weekend, I am going to go through the Phase 1 recipes and menus, make a shopping list (cottage cheese! vegetables! egg substitute!), and get psyched up. Most of the things on the menu are things I already eat...I have a feeling my portions are just going to get smaller. Oh, portion control... :-)
Wish me luck, and feel free to share any diet/exercise tips you have!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
The plan is to head to a nursery and tell them about my crazy, over-sunny yard and see what they suggest. My basil tends to live a pretty short life, and the lemon verbena and oregano died quickly as well, and I don't want my tomatoes to suffer the same fate. I've thought about getting a little umbrella to clip on to the edge of the window box just to protect them from the direct rays of the sun. Is that crazy?
Any thoughts or suggestions on starting a small garden in an even smaller space with bright and direct sunlight all day long are much appreciated :)
I really like the shutter and grate ideas here, so now I may try to find one...any ideas?
Sunday, April 26, 2009
And now, after that self-indulgent ramble of How I Spent My Weekend, I'm going to bed. I hope you all had restful weekends!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
It's a little scary, this new technology, but I'm sure we'll all be used to it at some point, right? I just can't believe it's actually so close! Check the video out - well worth the 8 minute watch.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Dana, Kate and I were talking animated choreography today (what? doesn't everyone?), and Dana mentioned this video she saw that shows how Disney basically (entirely) recycled its animated choreography in several movies. Check out the video. It's only 3.5 minutes long, and well worth the watch.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Being unemployed comes with a weird set of emotional responses. Some days, I feel antsy and restless, like if I don't get a job and start working soon, I'm going to go insane. Some days, I love it. I have the day to myself, I can go to the grocery store when it's totally empty, and I have been keeping up (for the most part) with my apartment-cleaning. Some days, I feel guilty for enjoying the unemployment, but if I'm being honest, I think it's not so bad. This kind of everyday freedom is something I haven't had since before I started preschool, I think. Of course, it was my choice to fill my afternoons and summers with activities, and I loved it. But now I am experiencing this odd situation of having no commitments. No obligations. It's kind of nice.
I mean, obviously I need to get a job. The checks from the state are enough to get me by for a while, but it's not quite enough. And I can't exactly save for retirement this way, not to mention pay for health care. But in the meantime, I'm going to try to keep enjoying this time. I'm going to start exercising (soon, I swear) and try to stay motivated. It's easy to slip into a couch potato routine, but I want to get out and do things - watching TV for hours on end doesn't feel too good at the end of the day.
So...there's my update. Things are plodding along, and it's not amazing, but it could certainly be worse. So far, not bad. And hey, let me know if you have any leads for jobs in the SF Bay Area!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
On a more serious note...recently on Twitter, I learned about the Spohr family, who recently lost their baby girl. Madeline was not even two years old, and from all the support shown online, she was quite a kid. You can read more about Maddie and the Spohr family at http://remembermaddie.com/ - or by following @mamaspohr and @newbornidentity on Twitter.
The outpouring of support from people who don't know the Spohrs personally is truly inspiring. Search #maddie on Twitter or visit Purple for Maddie Spohr and you'll see what I mean. There are no words to describe how they must be feeling, but at least they have the warm arms of the internet community that has formed around this tragedy to hold them up.
If you feel so inclined, please send some love their way as today is the funeral, and I'm sure they can use all the support they can get.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I'm going home for Passover tomorrow, big family Seder and all that. I'm not big on the religion thing, but I do really like family and tradition. As much as I'm not a strict Jew or a religious Jew, but my trip to Israel in 2007 reminded me of the rich history of the Jewish people. I'm proud to be connected to that history, and I like Passover because it reminds us of where we come from. I don't necessarily believe in the parting of the seas or the plagues and all that, but it's a nice story and telling it is a nice way to come together as a family and participate in versions of the rituals of our ancestors (our Seder is usually about 30 minutes and involves a lot of singing, and when we were little, puppets). Rebecca from Girls Gone Child wrote a post that pretty much sums up my views on the subject.
Also, A funny thing happened just now. So funny that I felt I had to blog about it. I am washing my rug, as I wrote about earlier, and I only had one of the three rugs in the washer (only two fit at a time). It was on the spin cycle, and I guess it was off-balance, and it was making a loud banging-thumping noise. I went in to check on it and the machine had moved - it was facing the outside of the room on a diagonal - it moved about two feet away from the wall it's usually backed up against! WHOA! My spin cycle is spinnier than I had thought! :-)
I would have taken a picture, but I was too much in shock and decided to just move it back into place. I turned off the washer and shoved that thing back to the wall - it took a few back and forth pushes, but wasn't too hard. I feel like the strongest woman on Earth! The cycle wasn't complete, so I added a few towels and turned it back on. It's humming quietly now, and I think my rug-washing experiment will be a success!
My good friend Dana came over this morning, and helped me to take on a project that has been a LONG time in the making. If you remember, My "No Excuses - You're Unemployed" list had something on it that said "(finally) sort through the box under my keyboard - Erm...this isn't going so well. This is a case of "someone come hang out with me while I do it." I am happy to report that it is done. Finally done. I moved in to this apartment in July of 2007, and this box has been under the keyboard ever since. Seriously. It was the "junk etc." box that was always sort of a catchall for anything I couldn't find a place for - and my keyboard was functioning more as a table, and it was a big mess of a pile. So big thanks to Dana for keeping me company and helping me fill an entire trash bag of junk.
In a fit of motivated homeyness, I took on the project of washing my living room rug. It is actually three small rugs duct-taped together, and cleaning it is a bit of a challenge. Usually I take it outside and shake/brush it out, but that doesn't actually work too well, and today I finally un-duct-taped it (a challenge in and of itself) and threw it in the washer. It's a "jersey shag rug" like this one but in magenta, and says to "spot clean only," but I'm hoping for the best here because spot cleaning was just not doing it. The first two are in the wash right now... fingers crossed!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I used 409, Arm & Hammer, Tilex, Windex, Ajax, and an environmentally friendly toilet bowl cleaner. A sponge that has officially been retired and a few paper towels. Rubber gloves that turned out to have a hole in one hand, and my trusty toilet brush. I need to make some lunch, open a window and breathe a little fresh air! When I run out of all these cleaners I think I will switch over to entirely environmentally friendly products, though there is something that just feels right about bathroom cleaners that involve hardcore bleach. I've been using Clorox Green Works in the kitchen - anyone have experience with specific eco-friendly products? I read a whole Real Simple article about using baking soda and vinegar and all that, but I'm just not sure I'd be ready to go quite that far. Though I'm guessing lemon juice and Dr. Bronners won't give me a headache.
So today, I will deep-clean the bathroom. Watch out, bathtub, because I'm putting on the rubber gloves and comin' at you with Arm & Hammer!
In other homey news, I have this lovely floral display going on right now - a centerpiece from this year's Berkeley Rep Narsai Toast. It fit perfectly in this little IKEA pot I had hanging around, and is quite enjoyable. I think most of it is edible, too. Fun!
Anyone have a recipe using green cabbage like this?
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Rather than attempt to describe in just words how incredibly, incredibly awesome they are, I thought I would chronicle the night in photographs, and use them to tell our story. So enjoy. Thank you.
#1: dough getting stuck in the wine bottle we were using to punch holes in the cookies.
#2: to save counter space, I stacked our chocolate chip bowl and coconut bag on top of the caramel bowl. I hadn't anticipated the bowls sticking together (duh. caramel + bowl = sticky). Kate and I trying to pull the bowls apart was laughable. In fact, this was the first time we laughed so hard we cried - but it would not be the last. You can see the imprint the bowl made on the caramel in the photo above.
So that's the story. A few more photos below just for fun. And boy, was it fun.
Our finished racks of cookies. If you can call them that.
"One of these things is not like the other..."
(hint: it's a *real* Samoa)
And that's that.
Friday, April 3, 2009
I should note that I do not work for Product Body, nor was I compensated for this post. I am simply trying to spread the gospel of Product Body because oh dear lord I love this stuff.
So, without further ado, here are the products I've tried and loved (emphasis on Crush on You because I might be a little addicted to it):
- Crush on You (which is officially the company's top seller): I first learned about this magical* substance through Not Martha and BUST Magazine - and since two of my trusted resources stood behind it, I thought I'd give it a try. Oh boy. Wow. It's like heaven. I have tried Yuzu, Lemon Essential and Sexy Laundry Day, and they are all wonderful. Sexy Laundry Day smells like it sounds - it's hard to explain, but just think of laundry day. But sexy. Yeah. It's good. I hope Jo makes more Lemon Essential because omg that stuff makes me want to eat it right up! Yuzu was a bit too sweet smelling for me, but it's pretty dang good too. The trial sizes last a good month or two, depending on how often you use it, and at $13.50 a pop, they're a worthy splurge. Get a few, test out the scents, see what you like. Warning: You may love them all. Marvelous in the shower, obvi, but according to other reviewers, it's good as a facewash, or as a kitchen soap, or for a multitude of other reasons. So. So. Good. It exfoliates without drying, and moisturizes without leaving an oily residue. And after 20 years of "suffering" with Keratosis Pilaris, I have found that this is the only thing that actually minimizes the little bumps. So there you go. That was a long and gushing review, but I can't recommend this stuff highly enough.
- Sugarfoot: Real Simple raved about this stuff in their article about easy at-home pedicures, and for good reason. Great for calloused feet, dry heels, and pampering your tootsies. Dancer-friends of mine have confirmed that it is a godsend to their overworked feet, and I agree.
- Cream: I have this in Sexy Laundry Day, and it is a post-shower luxury. $13 a tub, and lasts a long time. Or a very, very short time, depending on how frequently you use it. And you will want to use it a lot. Rich and delicious, infused with Shea Butter, you will moisturize to your heart's content.
Oh, and did I mention that Product Body products are all natural? Sometimes made with organic/sustainable/made with local-ingredients? Minimally processed and never tested on animals? Yeah. Her Mama Bomb line is safe for newborns, and babies-in-utero (containing no parabens, preservatives or chemicals - so it's safe to be absorbed into your skin). It's really a body care system you can feel good using.
You can follow her at www.twitter.com/productbody, and also on her blog, where she will sometimes post discounts (like the recent 15% off for Facebook/Twitter followers) or information about the store she opened in Florida. Joanna Schmidt is a savvy and talented business owner, and I fully support her efforts.
More press here if you're still not convinced.
*note: magical powers have not been scientifically proven
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I made a few adjustments to the recipe, and maybe that was the fatal error. Ok, that's a bit dramatic. But it didn't turn out great, just ok. And usually, I am a genius in the kitchen! Kidding, but it was odd to use my usual method of following a recipe and tweaking it a bit and to not see the results be amazing. The Boy would be proud of me for not "Pollyanna-ing" the situation here, but seriously, it was just not that good. It was edible, but the garlic was overpowering, and the bread broke down almost completely, giving it a weird and mushy texture. Sadface.
Anyway, we used 4 cups of chicken broth instead of 5 cups of chicken stock, and added a few pieces of Trader Joe's "Just Chicken" strips. I may have used too much garlic. I added a bit of Chardonnay to combat the garlic (I don't know why - I think I just thought adding wine to the situation would help). Sigh.
There are, of course, leftovers. Not one to waste, I've been trying to think of ways to re-use the leftover garlic mush "soup" - to repurpose it and transform it into a magnificent meal! Can She Do It??? She can! And she will! Determination, people! It's what happens when you are unemployed and hungry :-)
After talking to Raelene, my thoughts of adding sausage or tomatoes to it are confirmed "yeah that might help" ideas, but I am also armed with some nice alternatives that I think would work even better. I think the best way to approach the situation it is to think of it as a sauce, not a soup. It's really not great on its own, but used as a pasta sauce (with chicken or Italian sausage) or a pizza sauce (on some fresh whole wheat dough), it might really be tasty. She suggested searing some chicken in olive oil so it gets a nice caramely crunch on the outside, and topping with fresh herbs and/or fresh parmesan cheese. I have some fresh sage and parsley that would accent it nicely. She suggested lemon juice (or other citrus juice) to "bring it to life" a bit, and whaddya know, I happen to have both lemon and lime juice in my fridge? :-)
So...I've got some ideas now, and I will put them to use! Do any of you guys out there have any ideas?