Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chocolate Goodness

Finding decent tasting, lower calorie ways to satisfy a sweet tooth is particulary challenging.

However, I'm have come across two products that have sufficiently satisfied mine.

First up...Chocolate Cheerios!

How are they, you ask? Delicious. Chocolatey. Make your plain skim milk into CHOCOLATE MILK. Only 100 calories per serving. Plus, they taste heavenly with strawberries. Any given morning at 8:15 this week, you could see me in my cubicle enjoying this tasty treat for breakfast.

Next up...another great product from Skinny Cow...Ice Cream Cups!

WOW! Honestly, these are awesome. They come in a few different flavors:

  • Chocolate Fudge Brownie

  • Strawberry Cheesecake

  • Cookies and Cream

  • Dulce de Leche

  • Caramel Cone
I can only personally review the chocolate fudge brownie, strawberry cheesecake, and cookies and cream. All three...heaven in my mouth. I would have to say, at this juncture, strawberry cheesecake is my favorite. Nile's is chocolate fudge brownie. They sell for $1.49 (at Giant) and are only 150 calories each.

Now, $1.49 is a little steep for about 1/2 cup of ice cream. I could buy it in a tub and only give myself 1/2 a cup. However, that's not going to happen. Eating 1/2 cup of ice cream, when I have access to an entire tub is virtually impossible. Perhaps you have the willpower, but I do not. You wouldn't put a pound (or gram or kilo or whatever you call it) of heroin in front of an addict and ask them to only take one hit, right? Ice cream=heroin for me. Case closed.

In conclusion, buy this stuff. You'll like it.

Adventures in Babysitting

This weekend, I found out that one of my very best friends is pregnant!!!

She's the first close friend I've had that's been pregnant and I couldn't be more excited to be a pseudo-aunt to her little budding baby!

When I found out, I was so excited I couldn't sleep! It's so unreal to think that for so long, my friends and I have made our lives our own, not worrying about anyone but ourselves...going where we want to go, when we want. Spending our money the way we please, because we don't have to think about buying diapers or formula. Going to dinner on a Saturday night isn't hard because we don't have to find a babysitter.

It made me think about some of my babysitting experiences. My sister and I had the pleasure of babysitting many children. We often shared charges, because if one of us was busy, the other was there to fill in.

For the most part, I never had any major emergencies. But one of my first babysitting experiences was a complete disaster.

There was only supposed to be one kid. Age 10ish. No problem. Kids of that age practically take care of themselves, right?

Well, when I got to the house, the kid had his friend over for the afternoon. Great, I thought, now I really don't have to do much at all but keep these kids out of trouble.

They asked me if I wanted to play cops and robbers. Sure, why not. I'll be the robber, I said.

The next thing I knew, I was being handcuffed and tied up to a clothesline in the backyard. You got me, I said.

The two weasels then looked at me and went inside the house. Leaving me handcuffed and tied to a clothesline.

You have GOT to be kidding me?

I wriggled and wrestled with the handcuffs (plastic) and strings, but these kids had me tied up good. How could I possibly let this happen? Didn't I watch movies? Tying up the babysitter never ends well.

I started screaming at the kids to come untie me or I would make sure that when mom came back, they would be grounded into next year. They would never see their beloved Super Nintendo again.

So, they taunted me from the kitchen window. Drinking Mountain Dew, a specifically forbidden beverage.

I wanted to sit down and cry and admit defeat. I was a total babysitting failure.

But just as I thought all was lost, the kids came out, sticky from Mountain Dew and Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies, and untied me. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was the threat of getting grounded, the possibility of not seeing Donkey Kong for a month, or the extremely sad look in my eyes.

Either way, I never babysat for the family ever again.

Saturday, March 27, 2010 Where Have You Been All My Life?

I just found out about an awesome site called

Perhaps I've been living in a hole, because it seems like I was the only one in the conversation that had never heard about it. However, I'm going to share it anyway, because it's AMAZING!

All you do it put in your zip code, decide the distance from the zip code you want to travel, and it displays restaurants that have gift certificates available for half price or less! So, you can get a $50 gift certificate to a restaurant for $20!

I just searched my area, and there's an impressive selection for the Baltimore and surrounding areas. Restaurants choose to participate, so your fave place might not be there yet, but this is a great way to try new places!

I'll definitely be using it, because let's face it, we can all stand to save a little money!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

April Fools!

April Fools' Day is upon us.

It's no secret that Nile and I are pranksters. We like to play pranks on our friends, family, co-workers, and obviously each other.

In 2006, I believe it was, Nile got me good. We were laying in bed on a Sunday morning, and Nile says "I have to talk to you about something."

Ok, nothing EVER good comes after that phrase. Immediately I'm thinking...he cheated on me, he doesn't want to get married anymore (since we were recently engaged)...

Then he says, "I've been keeping this from you for a long time, and I think it's time to tell you."

Literally, my heart sank to the floor. I just thought to myself, "This is it. Hand over the's over."

Nile: "When we were in college, before I knew you, I kind of had this thing for someone else."

Ok, another girl in college before me, whatever...I can handle that.

Nile: "It was a guy."

WHOAAAA! RED ALERT! I think I almost threw up all over his face.

Me: "Oh my God, are you gay? Is that what you're telling me?"

Nile: "Well I don't think was just this thing that happened."


I threw off the covers and was on a rampage around the room to throw things and cry. Then, he looks at me, smiles deviously and says:


He got me. I believed him. I thought he was going to piddle his pants from laughing so hard at me. At first I was mad, because I had just been up and down a very bumpy emotional roller coaster for the past 3 minutes of my life. But then, I laughed...hard. I think I snorted.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


March 22, 1983
8:04 AM
The #1 song in the country was "Every Breath You Take" by The Police
And after many long hours of labor, and a C-Section later, I blessed my family with my arrival. 

It seems so long ago...

This birthday I turn 27, which means I'm officially in my LATE 20's! MY LATE 20's! For some reason, 27 sounds so much older than 26. To welcome me into my late 20's will be some of my close friends here in Maryland (and Funk!), where we'll probably have a few...ish...cocktails and play fun games. Because that's what I like to do.

Anyway, my mother always made my sister and I cakes when we were little, from scratch and then hand-decorated them. The one that I remember the most was my Cabbage Patch Doll cake for perhaps my 5th birthday? Probably because I was OBSESSED with my Cabbage Patch Doll (Beatrice...and yes, we celebrated her birthday too.) We always had parties, with plenty of family, friends, fun games, and lots of gifts. Those were the days.

Come with me and take a stroll down memory lane, as I reflect on birthdays of my youth:

Age 6: This is the year that I was finally allowed to get my ears pierced. I don't remember the details of the piercing experience, but I do remember that my first pair of earrings I got were bunnies from Avon, from my momma.

Age 7: This was the year of the McDonald's party! Everyone LOVED a good McDonald's birthday party. I'm not so sure they have them anymore...probably because of the whole childhood obesity epidemic. But at these parties, you got to pick a hamburger or chicken nuggets, fries, and orange or red Hi-C....AND they gave you a super special birthday cake with all the McDonald's characters on it (my fave was definitely Grimace.) Pretty much, you and 12 of your closest friends sat in the middle of McDonald's and made a giant scene. It was awesome.

Age 8-12: Roller skating parties at the Roller's Roost. I had one or two between the ages of 8-12. The highlight of the party was always the dice game (a giant stuffed dice with colored sides) and the birthday girl/boy, always got to roll it. Also, cotton candy, and several other junky, fruity, sticky confections from the snack bar. Andddd, the occasionally hand-holding with a cute boy.

Age 13: I got my very own phone! Too bad that phone later had the cord cut because I wouldn't get off...and the cord was given to my science teacher (who attended my church)...and presented it to me in front of my entire class. All that was courtesy of my father.

Age 16: Yes, friends, I had a Sweet Sixteen party. At the Burnham Lions Club, just like everyone else in Lewistown. No, it wasn't MTV worthy, but it did have a DJ, many bowls of Hartley's chips, and boys. AND, I got a pair of diamond earrings from my Aunt Wendy and Uncle Dan! THEN, I got a CAR! Yes, Steve (dad) bought me a car. A maroon 1996 Saturn, that lasted me the rest of my high school days, and into my first year of college. I would have been able to drive it sooner had I not failed my test 3 times...but that's a story for another day.

Age 21: THE birthday of all birthdays. I celebrated twice. Once at home, and once at college. Yes, I drank WAY too much both times...mostly shots. Which led me to ask my mother the day after if I was in fact going to die, because I certainly felt like it. "No honey, that's just the feeling of you being stupid." Yep, pretty much. And that hangover lasted for a solid 2 days. Too much alcohol (particularly the Liquid Cocaine shot, which included Jaeger, Barcardi 151, and Goldschlager)...and not enough water.

Well, those are the truly memorable birthdays. This year could make the list too, you never know! Happy Birfday to meeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Yesterday, I saw a commercial that reminded me of yet another reason I love Spring. Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. Which made me start to think of all my guilty pleasures. Those which I will now share with you, and hope you don't judge me in the process (but I'll understand if you do.)

1. Peanut butter and chocolate...duh. - Whoever thought of putting these two ingredients together deserves to have my first-born child named after them.

2. Miley Cyrus - Yup, that's right. You cannot tell me that when "Party in the USA" comes on the radio, you don't tap your toes. If you say no, you are a liar. This song makes me super happy, and yes, I blast it in my car driving home from work. And sing. Loudly.

3. Real Housewives of Orange County - This show is chock-full of women who are a complete train wreck, but I love it.

4. 16 and Pregnant - I LOVE this show. I haven't quite pin-pointed exactly why yet. I remember one night, it got me so angry, I was yelling at the baby daddy on the screen. Enter Nile, who shakes his head, tells me that I perpetuate these crazy shows, and walks away.

5. Trashy Celebrity Gossip Magazines - When I used to travel for work, these were my favorite traveling companions. Nothing turns your mind off like finding out how many plastic surgeries Heidi Montag had that week, or finding out the newest scandal of Kate and Jon Gosselin's divorce. I haven't indulged in the magazine portion for a while, but I do religiously check every single day for the lastest and greatest. My friend Katie and I share a passion for this, and pride ourselves in reporting breaking celebrity news to each other. I called her the minute I heard Michael Jackson died, and Tuesday, she called to tell me that Corey Haim died of an overdose. Yep, there are wars, and starving children, but sometimes, I just want to know who Kate Hudson is dating.

6. - This website is full of cute puppies, kittens and other small creatures. Seriously, you can spend hours just baby-talking to the screen. So many cute little puppy faces and paw-paws, with little scrunchy noses. Ahem. I's really cute. You should definitely check it out for pics like this:

Working on My Fitness

Well, friends, I took my measurements 2 days ago to see how I'm doing with my flab break-up and it appears that I've lost an inch in my waist and half an inch in my thighs and arms! Woohoo!

I'm measuring every 2 weeks, upon recommendation from Amanda. I'm almost 4 weeks into this adventure, so I'm happy with the progress I've made. I've definitely seen my fitness level increase. I'm taking the "challenging" options at Spinning class, and definitely pushing myself on my own. I was actually sweating so much at Spinning the other night I could smell myself. Ew. I'm pretty sure the chick next to me smelled me too. I'm not ashamed though...that was the smell of fitness success.

Speaking of Spinning, I was pleasantly surprised that my first-time instructor Tom showed up to sub for one of the instructors the other night. I also noticed that he got his ear pierced. Complete with a gold hoop. Sorry, Tom, 1989 called and they want their man-pierced ear back. The only thing that could have made that better was if he had a gold dangly cross earring. Those are my favorite throw-back man earrings. I'm pretty sure they were made famous by George Michael.

Anyway, other than that, my only complaint was that there were THREE Nickleback songs in the mix. Hey Nickleback...the dream is dead. Let's just move on, okay?

Tom totally kicked my ass in all his padded spandex, cycling jersey-wearing glory. It makes me think about switching from Tuesday to Thursday just to take his class. Maybe I'll buy him a new earring.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Small Victories

My new motto is "Small Victories."

Whenever I would get frustrated with something, or feel completely overwhelmed about something in my life, my mom would always remind me to "take it one day at a time." That phrase is so cliche, but truer words have never been spoken.

When I feel like something is completely unattainable, such as losing 40 pounds, I have to remember to take it one day at a time and break it down into more managable chunks.

Small victories for my weight loss can be as simple as saying "No thanks" to a piece of office birthday cake or going 5 more minutes on the Elliptical, or dragging my ass to the gym when all I want to do it sit on the couch and watch Real Housewives of Orange County (don't judge me.)

In keeping with that theme, my small victory for today was dragging my sorry behind to the gym, even though I had a massive headache.

My workout looked a little something like this:

30 minutes of cardio (15 elliptical, 15 treadmill)
5 sets of 10 bicep curls
5 sets of 10 tricep dips
5 sets of 20 on the ab machine at 35 pounds
5 sets of 20 crunches on the floor
3 full body planks held for 30 seconds each

Nile busted his ass on the elliptical for 35-40 minutes, so that's his small victory for the day.

And then we nommed on a healthy dinner of Tomato-Basil Chicken with Brown Rice and Snow Peas.

The tomato-basil sauce on the chicken is a recipe courtesy of my friend Amanda (super health and fitness nazi, and totally an inspiration to me). I've used this sauce on chicken, fish, and on pasta. Totally delicious and really easy to make.

Tomato Basil Sauce

2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, or half tube of basil (found in the produce section...LOVE this stuff)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Place all of the above ingredients in the food processor and give it a whirl! Yep, it's that simple.

For that little morsel, you are welcome. Time to shower off my stink.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Self Defense 101

Last year (right around this time), Nile and I got up in the middle of the night and thought we heard someone breaking into the house. So, naturally, I said to Nile, "You better go check it out."

First, we needed to look for a weapon, in case the burglar were to jump Nile. He needed a way to defend himself. Luckily, we just so happened to have 3 bed slats handy because our bed frame had recently broken. We both took one and went downstairs in our PJs and creeped around the house with our bed slats, ready to jump anyone that came around the corner. Picture that in your head.

We didn't find burglar (thank God), but noted to ourselves that we should keep some sort of baseball bat type object in the bedroom in case we're ever faced with another nightime creepy noise.

Fast forward a year.

Last night, Nile and I are watching TV (actually I had just passed out.) Nile gets up, mutes the TV and stands at the door to listen. He swears there is someone in our house. Again I say, "You better go check it out." And yet again, we find ourselves looking for a weapon.

This time, no bed slats. I look around the room and the only thing I see that could do any damage is an iron. That's right, a clothing iron. This probably doesn't even make sense for those of you that know me, because you know I don't iron. I think it's a foolish waste of time, however, I happened to have a shirt that was wrinkled beyond recognition that I decided needed pressed...on my bed...because that's what I use as an ironing board.

Anyway, Nile goes downstairs, finds no burglar. He comes back and looks at me and says, "How exactly did you think I was going to defend myself with an iron...a cold iron?"

I say, "Well, the image in my head was you swinging it around by the cord and klobbering said burglar in the face."

Nile: "That would never work."

Again, we vowed to put a baseball bat in our bedroom. I'll let you know how that works out. Maybe we should just let out our attack dogs next time.

Week 3 - Get Some!

We're in the beginning of Week 3 since the breakup with my flab, and I have to say that things are going pretty well.

Today, not one, but two different people told me that I looked like I was losing weight! Woohoo! I wish I knew if I actually was. You're probably thinking, "Well, stupid, just go weight yourself." Easier said than done.

I now officially own two scales that do not work. The first, a digital scale that I purchased a while ago at Walmart, started to malfunction. I'd step on it one minute, and it would tell me I lost 10 pounds. The next would tell me I gained 15. Now, I know I gain weight easily, but COME ON!

The other is not digital (but I can't remember what you call it.) You know, it's the old school kind with the red pointer that shows you your doom (aka your weight.) Well, I stepped on that, and it was 10 pounds heavier than I was on the other scale. I recalibrated it...then I was 15 pounds heavier. Nile even stepped on so I could confirm I wasn't some freak of nature.

The moral of my story is I need to find a decent scale to measure my progress. One that won't malfunction on me the minute I buy it. 

I've also been working out pretty hard and keeping a food journal, so that's been helping a lot. 

My current favorite diet foods have included:

String Cheese - 2% Polly-O

Skinny Cow French Vanilla Truffle Bars. Only 100 calories. Delicious.

Yoplait Light Pineapple Upside Down Cake. My current fave flavor of yogurt. Until I eat too much of it and can't stand the sight of it. Which might happen soon.

Cascadian Farms Organic Honey and Oat Granola. This goes in the above yogurty treat to make my everyday breakfast at my desk.