Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What's Cooler Than Being Cool?

Well, it's been almost a week since I broke up with my flab. Things are going pretty well. The healing process has started. I've had my moments, but who doesn't? 

I made it to the gym 4 times last week, even on a Saturday! That's a big deal for me. Especially because I usually have every intention of going, but never actually do.

My big setback was going to a party on Saturday night. There was a lot of beer, artichoke dip and a brownie. But I got back on track on Sunday.

This week is off to a good start. I had a Spin class tonight that totally kicked my ass. The instructor was by far my favorite. She's a high school chemistry teacher...probably around my age. She was really nice and funny at the beginning of the class, but when we got started, it was nothing short of a serious ass whooping.

Her music was enjoyable, which is more than I can say for my last instructor...the warm-up song was "Hey Ya" by Outkast, so immediately I was ready to go. I don't care where you are, or what you're doing...when that song comes on, everyone in the room is at the very least, singing and clapping in their head.

And just because I said that...here's my happy gift to you. Outkast's "Hey Ya" as performed by the cast of Charlie Brown. You MUST watch this video...it will instantly brighten your day:


So, this bright, cheery high school teacher made me sweat like a pig. Every time I thought I had pushed myself enough I'd hear from the front of the room "Come on! I know you have more in you than THAT!" 

Anyway, tomorrow is Yoga and then free for all at the gym the rest of the week. I don't forsee any serious setbacks (office birthdays, major snowstorms, a giant plate of french fries dancing its way on to my desk), so let's hope for the best.

Until then, I'll celebrate small victories, and today my small victory is burning 800 calories at Spinning.

Tomorrow, I will find my inner peace at Yoga (which is much easier with my new Yoga mat that doesn't smell like toe jam and sweaty feet.)

Until then, Namaste, my friends.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Breaking Up with My Flab

Dear Flab-

This isn’t going to be easy, but it’s got to be done. You’ve been like an unwanted house guest. I want you to leave…you’ve overstayed your welcome…but I’m too much of a wimp to say “Get out of my life!” I’ve tried to tell you how I feel…to tell you that you aren’t wanted. But when I start, I end up stopping because it just seems too hard to let you go.

Well, fortunately for me, and unfortunately for you, I’ve had a change of heart. It’s time for you to go. So pack your bags, and don’t let my front door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!

It’s going to hurt at first when you see me with an apple instead of chocolate, but eventually the pain will go away. It will be a slow process, because we’ve been so attached to each other these last few years. But trust me, its better this way. You tempt me with French fries, and “Don’t go to the gym today! Stay at home on the couch with me and watch TV!”

You saucy minx, you. I’m done with your empty promises.

We’ve been nothing but bad for each other. First you started coming onto me lightly, then one day I woke up and you had totally consumed me…all 35 pounds of you. Well, my friend, your time is up. We can still be friends…we can see each other on Saturdays and share a tempting treat. But we can’t have the relationship we used to. No more birthday cake at the office…French fries at a lunch outing. It feels good at first, but the effects are detrimental to my emotional and physical being.

It will be a slow healing process, but it’s the best thing for both of us. It’s not you, it’s me. We can still be friends. I love you, I’m just not “in love” with you.

You’re truly bad for me, so I need to make a clean break. Goodbye, my friend. I’ll be dropping you one horrid pound at a time…and I won’t look back. You’ll find someone else who will love you more than I do. But until then, don’t come running back to me, because we’re through. For real this time.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

A few years back, Nile and I started a Valentine's Day tradition. Nile really loved Indian food, and he was just starting to introduce me to it. We happened to live near this Indian restaurant that no one ever went to...it was in a strip mall, dark windows. Not the kind of place you would drive by and would catch your eye.

Nile convinced me that it would be a great place, so I indulged him and went. When we walked in, we were the only two people there! Needless to say, I wanted to walk out, but before I could the host came and gave me a red carnation, sat us down and proceeded to give us the best service I've had at a restaurant. The food was great, and we had a great time....and from there our Valentine's Day tradition of Indian food was born.

Today, we're venturing to find a place in Maryland that we like. There aren't many around here, but I'm sure we'll find something.

In honor of Valentine's Day, here's some pictures of Nile and I throughout our relationship:

Toga party, senior year of college. We were probably together less than a year.

My cousin's wedding, Fall 2006.

New Year's party, 2006.

Nile proposing, Christmas 2005

After Nile proposed!

Nile and I with baby Wiggles, November 2005.

Our wedding rehearsal! May 2007

Our wedding! May 12, 2007

Honeymoon, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Honeymoon at the lobby bar. Dos Equis for Nile, Mimosa for me, and tequila shots for both of us!

Halloween 2008, in our first house!

Halloween 2007, Mario and the Princess

Happy New Year! Ringing in 2008

Ocean City 2008

Christmas 2009

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Weather Map

One of my colleagues just sent me this weather map, and I had to post it. Mostly because it sums up all of the Mid-Atlantic region's thoughts on this horrendous snow.

Blizzard Bound Low-Fat Mac and Cheese A La Heather

Being cooped up inside during a snowstorm always makes me want to cook for some reason. I was craving Mac and Cheese because it's my ultimate comfort food, but wanted something lower in fat and calories (since I obviously won't be going to Spinning anytime soon with all this snow.)

In my brief moments of Betty Crockerness, I came up with this low-fat recipe (with help from the Weight Watchers website), that was amazing...if I do say so myself. Nile says so too.

So for you all, I share my culinary creation:

Blizzard Bound Light Mac and Cheese A La Heather

1/2 pound Barilla Whole Grain Elbow Macaroni
3 tbsp light butter (I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
1 tbsp flour
2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup Asiago cheese, shredded
1/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup bread crumbs
 1 tsp nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni according to package directions.

In medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. When butter is melted, add flour, stirring constantly. Add milk gradually and bring to a boil. Add both cheeses, bring the heat to medium, stir until melted. Add sour cream, garlic powder, mustard, broccoli, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and combine with bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Combine macaroni and sauce, and pour into a greased casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes or until top has browned.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Nana's Memorial Fund

All this snow made me think of Nana. She loved the snow...particularly sitting in her chair watching it fall.

Which then reminded me about her memorial fund to the American Cancer Society. We're still taking donations to reach our goal of $1,000. We're a quarter of the way there with $305! Thanks to everyone that's donated so far!


Cornbread Topped Crockpot Chili

In honor of the Super Bowl yesterday, I made a chili in the crockpot. I found this recipe sometime last year. It's chili with cornbread on the top that's baked right in the crockpot. It's so easy, I thought I would share it!

Crockpot Cornbread Topped Chili

1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans, diced tomatoes
2 cans, kidney beans, drained
1/2 packet of McCormick Chili Seasoning
1/2 tsp of salt
1 box, Jiffy cornbread mix
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
Paper towel

Brown meat and drain fat. Add onion and cook until soft. Place the meat, onion, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, seasoning mix and salt into Crockpot. Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

During the last hour of cooking, mix cornbread mix, cheese, egg and milk, and place in spoonfuls on to the top of the chili. Place a paper towel over the top of the crockpot, and then cover with the lid. Cook for 40 minutes on high.


Seriously, Mother Nature?

Nile and I spent about 4 hours yesterday trying to dig our way out of the snow. My car proved to be particularly difficult because everyone took their snow and put it in a giant pile next to my car! But after much digging by my wonderful husband, we got it out!

Today, the state is still pretty much at a stand still. All the schools, colleges and universities, county governments, and public transportation are closed. Most of the main roads have only one lane open, and secondary roads are still barely passable. I can't even get out of my neighborhood today because it's a sheet of ice and snow. Ugh. Luckily, I'm able to take a personal day so I don't have to try and maneuver my car in this. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't make it very far. Toyota Camry's are not exactly snow-friendly vehicles.

One of the big problems is that there's no where to put all this snow. It's ending up in big piles on the sides of roads, and even in the middle of the street. Now, as if we haven't had enough, Mother Nature is pulling a big "screw you" and dumping another 8-12 inches on us Tuesday night into Wednesday!


Nile said it best yesterday as we were digging our way out..."Bears have the right idea. Winter hibernation is definitely the way to go."

I hear that. At this point, I feel defeated and just want to sit down and cry. How do people in say, Denver, do this all the time!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snowpacolypse 2010

The snow came and went, and left the Baltimore area with 30+ inches. Nile and I aren't sure if we're ever going to be able to dig our way out. 

Here's some pictures of our snowy neighborhood:

Here's our back deck. As you can see, it's definitely more covered than the December storm.

Here's Wiggles with his new pee pee cavern, dug out by yours truly at 8:30 AM.

Nile digging us a path to our cars...only so we can shovel nearly 3 feet of snow from them.

Wiggles successfully making yellow snow out front.

View from the neighbor's house.

Seriously...there's cars under there somewhere.

We had a jailbreak with Peanut. She found a path that was shoveled out to the street and took off. She bounded through 3 feet of snow, and Nile and I ran after her. Here's Nile, victorious and bringing her back to the house.

There you have it, folks. A historic snowstorm for the Mid-Atlantic region. It's literally paralyzed the state. Tomorrow...it's operation dig out the cars.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, we got 2.5 Peanuts worth of snow. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Adventures the Night Before a Blizzard

It's herrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeee!

The snow, that is. It started falling today at around 1:00 PM...a little later than the forecast predicted. Last night, Nile and I decided to be among the crazies and head to the grocery store. Of course, that was a bad idea.

Once we arrived, there were no unused carts in sight. So I stood in the parking lot and followed this poor woman to her car, watched her unload her groceries and pounced on her cart when she was done. She probably thought I was going to try and steal her toilet paper.

Nile and I had a list that had already been broken down by aisle, so we could efficiently weave through the store. The funny thing is...we actually needed bread and milk. We didn't buy it just because it was going to snow...we were physically out of it. But it didn't make me feel like any less of an idiot.

We made our way through the store and got all the way to the frozen foods, when disaster struck. I forgot to get the canned chicken. Party foul. The canned chicken was the whole way at the other end of the store. Normally, I would say, screw it. But the canned chicken is an intergral ingredient to the buffalo chicken dip I plan to make on Sunday for the Super Bowl. We made our way back (kudos to Nile for his excellent cart driving skills), and grabbed the chicken with minimal disruption. 

So, other than that little blunder, we made our way through. Then we promptly went to the liquor store (conveniently located next to the grocery store) where we got the following:
  • 2 cases of Miller Lite
  • 2 giant bottles of Riesling
  • 1 bottle of Gentleman Jack
Now, this may sound like a lot, but we are having a Super Bowl party on Sunday...and we needed to make sure we had enough for us :)

Then, we had to go to Target, because I needed snow boots. Obviously, they were out, so instead I got these gems:

Yes, these are indeed rain boots. However, I'm pretty sure they'll serve their purpose AND I can wear them anytime it rains. Brilliant.

We did end up having some excitment in Target. On our way our, we got to experience a shoplifter being restrained by a Target employee and two outstanding citizens. They wrestled him to the ground (only after he attempted to beat the crap out of them) and cuffed him. Yes, the Target employee had cuffs, which we thought was awesome. Unfortunately, Nile wouldn't let me stand around and stare, so we didn't get to see any more of the struggle. Sad face :(

In any case, we're now ready for a weekend of snowy fun...30 plus inches of snowy fun to be exact. Bring it, Mother Nature.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Remember When Snow Was Fun?

I'm beginning to develop a love/hate relationship with snow. When you were a kid, snow was fun! Mostly due to the fact that you got snow days. I remember waking up at 5 AM (an hour I usually didn't see), just to listen to the radio in hopes that they would say..."Mifflin County Schools are CLOSED!" Woohoo! Then you could spend the day making snowmen, going sledding, making snow angels, and then come back inside all snot-faced only to have your mother present you with a cup of steaming hot chocolate. With marshmallows. Maybe some Campbell's soup. Chicken noodle.

Anyway, I digress. What they don't tell you when you're a kid is that someday you'll grow up, and unless you're a teacher, snow days will no longer be a part of your life. Instead, they're replaced with immense amounts of shoveling and salting the sidewalks, and driving your non- 4 wheel drive vehicle through the streets of your town that were obviously neglected by the municipal plow. 

So, to my point...I still like the snow sometimes. Let's go over my list of pros and cons. 

I love snow when:
  • It's freshly fallen
  • It gets me out of doing something I don't want to do
  • I don't have to go anywhere but my couch
  • I can watch Nile shovel it
I hate snow when:
  • It's grossly mixed with mud, stones and dog feces
  • I have to drive in it
  • It's significant enough for me to have to drag my butt outside to help shovel
  • It fouls up my really fun weekend plans
This weekend, we're bracing for the next big snowstorm of the year. What's wrong with this statement? WEEKEND! Why does it always have to ruin my WEEKEND! According to the latest weather reports, the Baltimore metropolitan area is supposed to see at least a foot, possibly 20 inches.

Let's recap the last snowstorm that hit Baltimore on 12/19/09, setting records throughout Maryland:

Our area got 24 inches...yes...2 FEET of snow

This was our deck halfway through the day.

And here's Wiggles enjoying the view from the deck. He made yellow snow many times that day.

Here's Nile, super-excited about all the shoveling he had to do that day. I helped!...kinda :)

And this is Nile measuring the snow in lengths of "Peanut"... For example - "On December 19, 2009, we had approximately 2/3 of a Peanut worth of snow." Look how happy she is! Really...she loves the snow. Just not when we're holding her in it.

It looks like we'll be gearing up for more of the white stuff this weekend. I better go get my bread, milk and toilet paper.