Archive for January, 2010

Doing my best

I’m not sure how this post will come across, but hopefully those of you who read regularly will understand.

Most people who know me would categorize my body type as thin or slim. Some might say, that I’m skinny. I’m also tall enough (5’7″) for a girl.

But about two weeks ago, I stepped on the scale for the first time in many months. I admit I was sort of in denial. My clothes were fitting a little way tighter. I sometimes wished a little before putting on my work clothes in the morning…”dear clothes, please don’t be too tight.”

Well, when I stepped on the scale, it was a wake up call. I was about 10 pounds heavier than I thought I would be.

So, I decided to do something about it. I started tracking my calories and exercise. In about 15 days, I’ve tracked exercise for 12 of those days, and been watching what I eat. I’ve been stocking up on healthier snacks, and trying to be more aware of portion sizes.

Just a few days ago for the first time ever in my whole life, I jogged a whole mile, without stopping. It was a slow pace, but I did it. And I did it again the next day. Then last night I went a mile, and then decided to keep going until I had jogged for 20 minutes. I got up to a mile and a half. I might have been able to keep going, but I didn’t want to injure myself or push too far, too early. I can’t believe it. I have never, ever run. Maybe I’ll be able to run a 5k with my sister sometime sooner than never.

Anyway, I’m super proud of myself. And even thought the pounds aren’t quite melting away yet, and the pants are still a tad snug, I know I’m doing my body good. And I know I’ll see a difference, slowly but surely.


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So what if it’s leftovers and cheap wine.

I’m sitting here eating a delicious dinner of roast, rice and gravy and sampling a new wine I found at the store on sale for $3.99. Originally the wine is $11.99, which is on the high end of wines I purchase for everyday consumption. Actually, who am I kidding, $11.99 is high for wines I purchase for special occasions. The exceptions I can think of are wines purchased at the winery where we had our wedding reception and from vineyards in California on our honeymoon. But I digress.

The wine is called Tiz Red. It’s a somewhat sweet blend of yummy reds. I’d probably buy it again if it were under $8, most definitely if it continued to be $3.99.

If you’re looking for an easy crockpot roast recipe, look no further. The ingredients list is short:

1 Roast
2 cans, cream of mushroom soup
2 packets, onion soup mix (like Lipton)

Here are the (probably too detailed) directions.

Take 1 roast of your liking, and almost any weight will do. I prefer beef, eye of round because it’s not as fatty as some other cuts.  And I think I usually get between a 1.5 and 2.5 pound roast. Think about the size of your crockpot, just to make sure everything will fit, but also not be too small.

Put the roast in the crockpot. (The roast can be frozen or thawed.) Dump the cream of mushroom soup on top and around the roast, and pour the seasoning packets on top of that. You don’t have to mix the cream of mushroom and the onion soup packets together but you can if you want. Pour in a couple cans of water to fill the crock pot up about halfway. Turn the crock pot on low, and set the timer for about 10 hours.

I’ll prepare everything the night before if I think about it, put it in the fridge and then just put the crock (?) in the warmer (is this the right terminology?) in the morning and set the timer. My crockpot has a timer built-in, so it automatically switches to warm after the time is up, but if yours doesn’t you might want to test everything out on a day you’ll be home, just to observe everything.

You could probably also do this on low heat on the stove all day if you don’t have a crock pot, and you’ll be home.

After 10 hours or so, the meat is super tender, and usually starting to fall apart. Fix a pot of rice, and voila…dinner is served. And this makes for good leftovers too!

(On a side note, anyone who is thinking of trying this, or I guess even if you aren’t…are my instructions too complicated, or do you think they explain what I mean sufficiently?)

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Worth a visit

Since this past weekend was a 3-day weekend for me, I visited my parents, sans husband. He stayed home to visit his parents, and to watch a very important football game. Unfortunately his team lost.

Saturday afternoon I went shopping with my sister, Jacque to spend some gift cards I had. We spent so much time laughing and even developed the concept for a workout video based on rolling up and down a manual window. The concept was conceived when Jacque was lamenting about her manual windows. In one move, you sit on the console (or the area between the seats) and grab one handle in each hand. Then you roll the windows up or down using a rowing motion. Works the back and shoulders. 🙂 I know, we’re dorks. That evening, we went to a Houston Aeros Hockey game with my parents. Jacque did my make up in the car on the way to dinner. Luckily it didn’t turn out bad, because at that point I didn’t have many options.

My lovely sister ran in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon on Sunday, so a large portion of my visit was dedicated to cheering her on. She finished in the middle of the pack, and pretty much kicked ass for someone who has never run that far. Since the parents and I were up at 5am to bring Jacque to the race, then spent the morning waiting trying to get out of town, so we could find the spot to cheer her on.  After the race was over, we all went back home and took a nap. We stayed in the rest of the night, played Mario Bros. on Wii and caught up on my parent’s DVR’d shows.

Monday, after a delicious breakfast with Jacque at Panera Bread and packing up my stuff, I went to lunch with my best friend/roommate/sorority sister from college. We finally exchanged Christmas presents, and I finally gave her her birthday present…her birthday was in October! After lunch we went shopping at our favorite place, Sephora.

Despite all the fun I had, there was one thing that almost topped the whole visit. A house two streets over looks like it could be on the show Hoarders.  (If you haven’t seen the show, and you don’t get grossed out too easily, you should check it out.) We had to drive by twice to get the full scope of it all. There was more stuff on each side of the house, and in the bushes on the front.


I realize that compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder, but it is very unbelievable, and many times saddening to watch. I hope the show might help bring the issue to light, and help other hoarders want to get help.

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NYC NYE Part 3

If you’re just joining the party, you can find Part 1 of the New York City New Year’s Eve story here and Part 2 here.

New Year’s Day, there weren’t too many signs of New Year’s Eve festivities in the streets the next morning, but we did spy a little bit of leftover confetti.

We went to the Brooklyn Bridge,

saw the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park,

 took pictures by a fake Statue of Liberty,

laughed at people standing in a line at Abercrombie that wrapped around the building,

saw the Love sculpture on 6th Avenue,

attempted to go to the Empire State Building,

and went to Macy’s.

At Macy’s we decided that we didn’t think we’d be able to entertain ourselves much longer. We were exhausted and dragging, and our Vamoose reservation wasn’t until 7:00PM. So we switched our tickets to 5:30PM, went and picked up our stuff from the hotel, and lined up for the bus ride home. I fell in and out of sleep, as well as one can on a charter bus, and before I knew it we were back in Virginia.

We crashed pretty soon after getting back to Linsi’s.

The next morning, before I left to come back to Texas, we ate brunch at Whitlow’s on Wilson. It’s a really neat place, and apparently is a brunch place/restaurant by day, a bar by night, 

I was sad to have to leave, knowing I’d be returning to work so soon. But the trip was everything I imagined, and more. I had so much fun, saw so much and laughed a lot. I’d highly recommend New York in the winter if you have the chance.

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In case you missed it, Part 1 of my New York City New Year’s Eve can be found here.

When we woke up it was New Year’s Eve.  While we were showering and getting ready, we noticed it had started snowing outside. Here’s the roof of the building across from our hotel room.

It was so exciting for a bunch of Texans. We got all bundled up for the cold and snow. It wasn’t terribly bad wearing a beanie…that means you don’t have to fix your hair too much.

After getting all bundled up we headed out exploring. Not a minute from our hotel, I spotted this artwork on a store front.

We went to the real Rockefeller Center to see the tree and go ice skating. It was magical ice skating in the snow. Totally worth the $28 and forcing our way through the 100 pe0ple in the skate rental/storage room. Here’s me waiting in line.

After we left Rockefeller Center (honestly it felt like we were there a long time…breakfast, trying to find the ice skating rink, standing in line, getting skate, ice skating, returning skate, trying to find the way out) we wandered around the city for a while.

We ended up at Central Park. It was more beautiful than I remembered…I think the snow had something to do with that. Linsi and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stage a snowball fight.

Here’s my favorite shot of the whole trip. Is my wallpaper on my computer at work. Are you ready?

Soon enough we were starving, so we set off to a place recommended by one of Taylor’s friends. It’s called Westville NYC and we visited the West location at 210 W. 10th Street in Greenwich Village. Luckily we got our names on the list before the 3:00PM cutoff for New Year’s Eve. The food was great and the atmosphere was even more awesome. This was honestly one of the best spots of the trip. I got a burger, but if I had it to do over, I would have tried the market veggies. 

After eating our late lunch at Westville NYC, we went back to the hotel to rest for a bit. Linsi and I ran a few errands (printing our bus ticket confirmation and buying some NYE Prosecco and wine) before heading out again for New Year’s Eve.

We hopped on the subway…

 and headed toward Times Square. Once we got there, we stayed for a few minutes after getting through the security checks. Here I am with the ball in the background… 

and a super close up of the ball. 

After just a few minutes, we decided we were going to find something else to do, since the ball was so far away and small anyway. Besides, it was at least 3 hours until midnight, and with no food or bathrooms, we were better off doing something else.

 We found finally found Jack Russell’s Pub. Where we enjoyed a few beers and a good amount of people watching. I don’t know what time it was when we left, but we decided to get some food and head back to the hotel to watch the ball drop. Thank goodness for late night New York Pizza joints!

Back at the hotel, we turned on the tv to catch the festivities…

and popped open our prosecco for a midnight toast to the new year.

Not long after the ball dropped, we went to bed. We had a long day and another full day ahead of us.

To be continued…

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Going to New York City for New Year’s Eve has been one of the top things on my travel wish list for some time. Many would argue that it is too cold and too crowded to bother. Not me. And Taylor was nice enough to let me book a trip with my pal Linsi.

Oh, hey. Before we go any further, why don’t you take a minute to get you a drink, and maybe a snack, and settle in for the rest of the storythis may take a while…and to think, this is just the first of 3 parts.

Where were we….So, just a few days after Christmas (December 28th), I hopped on a plane to Washington, D.C. (actually with Linsi and actually to Arlington where she lives) and our adventure started. Since she had to work, I had good intentions of getting out and exploring the DC area in winter. But her couch and celebrity magazines lulled me into a lovely afternoon nap, and before I knew it she was off work, so we went to the mall instead. We had a delicious dinner of spaghetti, some wine, and a couple episodes of “I didn’t know I was pregnant,” then decided to call it a night since the next evening we’d be taking the train to New York.

I got up the next morning and met Linsi’s longtime pal, Nolan, who had never flown before, at the airport. I love traveling with a newbie. It’s so fun to be with others who are experiencing new things, and showing them the ropes. Over the course of our whole trip we took practically every form of transportation available, Metro/subway, taxi, train, bus, plane, feet (the best way to see stuff).

When Linsi got off work, we gathered the last of our stuff and headed for the metro station…next stop Union Station! We were taking the Amtrak to New York City.

I’ll just say, taking the Amtrak to NYC was AWESOME! There is about 2.5 times as much leg room as on an airplane and they may or may not sell beer in the concessions car (wink!) Nolan’s seatmate left pretty quickly after the ride started.

Once we got to New York City, we checked into our hotel, the Hotel Chelsea. It was built in 1883 and was first opened as an apartment building and there are actually a few people who still have apartments in the building (and I think we saw some of them). Many famous artists and musicians have stayed at Hotel Chelsea throughout the years.

The lobby was decorated for Christmas and the whole place showcased tons of artwork. When we arrived it was already dark and we got heckled by the club goers waiting to get into the club next door.

We crammed into the tiny elevator and were escorted to our room by the bellman. Room 720 was our home for the next two nights. It was small and especially cozy after we added a cot.

We were warned that there was not much we could do about the heat, so we turned on the ceiling fan and propped open the window with a coat hanger almost immediately. We tried the tray first, but found that the coat hanger was sturdier.

I did not take a picture of the sketchy, nasty SHARED bathroom. Think, mildewed, peeling paint on the walls, shower curtain from 1973 and large portion of the porcelain worn off the old cast iron tub that looked like it could have been a puddle of blood around the drain. Yeah, we shared with a few other people in the hallway. Luckily, I think we only ran into a conflict once or twice. Our second morning there (after New Year’s Eve) we all elected to not to shower just to not have to get back in that tub. Thank goodness for my college experience with community showers…I brought flip flops.

I did my best to ignore the rumors of hauntings at the hotel, but late at night it’s hard to fall asleep when you hear every.little.creak. Trust me, if you have trouble falling asleep at home, it’s easy to creep yourself out in a foreign place.

Also, there were these little shutter doors just outside of the door to our room. One time, someone opened the door to leave, and the shutters were closed. We all accused one another of playing tricks, and likely it was another person in the hallway who closed them when we were inside, but it was still creepy. Thankfully, I slept more soundly the second night (New Year’s Eve) thanks to the relaxing effects of a few beers.

Anyhow, like I said before, there were tons of different art pieces displayed all over the hotel, especially the stairwells. It honestly was pretty cool.

Our first night, after checking in, we didn’t plan to go too far from the hotel to find something to eat. We ended up finding Seven Bar & Grill after wandering around for a little bit. The three of us split 7 tapas items, thinking they were regular (small) tapas. We looked like we were super starved and barely had enough room on the table once everything came. We tried quesadillas, pizza, dumplings, calamari, tuna and salmon tartar, goat cheese and tomato fondue, cajun shrimp. I almost didn’t try the tuna and salmon tartar, but got bold and went for it. I don’t think I would order it on my own, but I am proud that I tried something new. Here’s our full table.

Linsi and I split a bottle of Periquita Portuguese wine, which was delicious.

After dinner we continued to walk down to Times Square, where we thought we saw the Rockefeller Center Tree and Ice Skating Rink.

We were pretty much done walking around the area when I recognized that I didn’t think we were at Rockefeller Center. (We were in fact at the Bryant Park rink.) After that we started to get cold, and since we hadn’t planned on being out too long, we decided to head back to the hotel for the night.

To be continued…

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