Thursday, December 31, 2009

An Almost Goodbye to 2009




How is it possible that on one hand, I cannot believe how fast this year has flown by, and on the other, I am ecstatic to be ringing in a new year and new decade in just a few short hours? When 2009 began, I was in such a different place than I am as the year ends (and I’m even writing this on an airplane to prove my point!) and it has been quite a journey.

This year has included:

  • being appointed Chair of a new leadership development program for SDT
  • a Quarter-Life Crisis
  • being laid-off from my job
  • attending Inaugural festivities
  • my grandmother passing away
  • completing the Avon 2-Day walk (39.3 miles) with my mom!
  • Travels to: Dallas (x7 - that I can remember), Pittsburgh (x2), Tampa, Houston (x2), New York (x2), Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Ft. Lauderdale, ISRAEL
  • Being part of a professional development program that really helped me take a step forward in my professional identity
  • a new part-time job
  • Numerous resumes and cover letters written and jobs interviewed for
  • Starting a personal blog that has morphed into a gluten-free food blog
  • Realizing what I hope to do professionally one day
  • Realizing what's important in life and who some of my truest friends are
Calling this year a roller coaster may be an understatement, but just like a kid who's exhilarated after riding a scary amusement park ride, I feel like I am a stronger, more confident me who is ushering in a new era. Ok, maybe it's not that dramatic, but I feel as though the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the year have taught me important life lessons that will help me continue to be a better person with each and every day.

I'm hoping that 2010 will bring new challenges, adventures, and successes that are different from this past year. There's something to be said for the peace-of-mind that a full-time job brings!

Last year, instead of making New Year's resolutions, I set a few goals for myself that I was hoping to achieve. I recently discovered this list and am excited to say that, despite them all being on-going characteristics to embody and habits to act upon, I have successfully accomplished 2.5 of my 3 goals!

This year, I hope to continue to make progress on last year's goals and also to accomplish a few more things, including running a 5K race without any walking breaks and to practice being bold and taking risks when they are worth taking and to take advantage of opportunities that feel right to me.

Thank yo to those of you who have been my support system, cheerleaders, loyal blog readers, friends, and family (both true family and "adopted") over this past year. There were tons of reasons to smile over the year, and it's the people I was with that made those experiences even more special!!

What are some of your goals for the new year? Highlights from 2009?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

White Christmas... in Dallas of all places!

Merry Christmas and Happy Chinese Food and a Movie Day! It's a white Christmas here which brings my snow storm count to two storms in a week. Brrrr. The good news is that the sun is shining and the snow is beginning to melt!


It's been a great vacation so far! I've seen family, friends, and had plenty of time to relax (and exercise too!). Yesterday was the start of the snow, so after the gym, we spent the afternoon at home. In keeping with tradition, my mom and I set to work in the kitchen, baking and relaxing. My 2 creations of the day were dark chocolate drizzled gluten-free pretzels and chocolate dipped strawberries.

We went for Chinese food (I had steamed chicken and veggies with brown rice) and came home on icy roads to watch Julie and Julia with a fire going in the fire place.

Today will be nice and relaxing. So far, another movie in pjs and maybe out for one this afternoon. Tonight, we are heading to a neighbor's holiday party. Tomorrow morning we will head to Houston for our family's Chanukah celebration, and then it's almost time to head back to the tundr, I mean DC!

The amazing gluten free aisle at Central Market:And amazing salad from their prepared foods bar:
Happy birthday Stenz!!Some yummy eats!
A few bowls of hot cereal w/ 1 tbsp sweet potato, 1/2 tbsp PB, and 1 tsp fig jam have been consumed this week:
Erev Christmas:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Trying to stay "good"

Things are good and well on Day 3 of vacation. I will devote some time later to a more complete update but here's a few highlights from yesterday:
  • shopping at the University Coop. I purchased some great UT spirit wear, including this, this, this, and these!! I got a bit carried away but I guess I'm entitled since my alma mater is going to the National Championship this year :-)
  • a Central Market salad
  • seeing 2 great friends from college for a night of fun, food, and a bit of shopping!! Love you guys!
In other news, my motivation to workout has completely gone down the drain since Monday night. I'm trying to make smart food choices and avoid the traps all over my house (aka lots of chocolate, snacks, and the Chex mix from Thanksgiving - another batch, not the leftovers) but I can't help but have a few nibbles. BUT, the sun is coming out and I'm about to head to the gym and lunch with my dad, so hopefully that will remind me that I like being active. I definitely want to keep on the bandwagon despite being on vacation!

What's your best motivation to go be active? Favorite food to have when you visit home?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sun and Fun

After a snow-filled weekend, I was absolutely delighted to be able to leave my house without a coat yesterday! I spent a majority of the day with my grandparents which was quite fun - I always enjoy getting to spend time with them.
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I unpacked a bit before getting picked up by my grandmother and we headed off for our day. I joined her at the nail salon (my grandfather too!) for a manicure and pedicure. It's amazing how good I feel after a little bit of pampering :-) From there we headed to lunch, which was a huge salad (I had missed out of veggies Sunday during my day of traveling). I was one happy camper! It was a ton of fun and I was glad I got to catch up with them.

The rest of the day consisted of a couple of errands with Mom, a Kickbox Cardio class at the gym that kicked my booty, and a night of relaxing at home. I am determined to stay on track as much as I can while I'm home, which means smart choices during the day, exercise when possible (Dallas is not a walk-to-do-your-errands city like DC), and of course, enjoy my favorite foods I can't get in DC!

Today I have a list full of errands that I only get to do at home / are easier with a car. I'm excited for my day of running around town. Food pictures have been lacking, but there haven't been any super exciting meals yet. I did discover my grandmother's homemade fig jam (using figs from our fig trees in the yard) which was a delicious addition to my morning hot cereal!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Made it home

Today was one of those travel nightmare days, thanks to all of the snow. However, rather than complaining any more, I will just say that I'm glad that I was able to finally get out of DC and arrive safely at home where it's warmer, there's no snow, and temperatures will be in the 60s tomorrow!

On tap is a day with the grandparents including the gym (I'm in dire need of a workout or 2 after being cooped up during the blizzard and airport adventure), lunch, a trip to the nail salon, and some holiday errands with Mom.

Other highlights for the week will include:
  • Texas barbeque
  • Mexican food
  • a quick trip to Houston
  • X-mas Eve Chinese food and a movie
and much, much more!

More to come soon. To those of you still in DC, enjoy your snow day tomorrow!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

DC's Snowpocalypse 2009

The snow has arrived!! The thundersnow began around 9pm last night and I don't think it's stopped since then. I was kind of excited to see how much snow we'd get overnight, but it doesn't look too different from my last peek at 1:30am. Then again, I have a birds'-eye view.

The winter wonderland is quite pretty and I actually enjoyed being out in the storm on my way to and from my party last night. I had a great time - it was soooo nice to catch up with my Cali friends and old neighbors after not seeing them for a few months!

Here's some pictures I took on my "hike" to and from the party. You can definitely tell the different in accumulation after just a few hours!

I hope that those of you who have snow are staying warm and safe. If you're in warmer weather, I'm pretty jealous :-)

Today's agenda consists of:
  • ABC Family's holiday movie line up - currently watching Home Alone 2, next up is Happy Feet!
  • cleaning the apartment
  • writing a couple of special blog posts
  • playing in the snow!!!
  • working out in my apartment - maybe pilates or a workout DVD, courtesy of youtube
  • lots of hot tea and warm, cozy foods
  • packing for Texas tomorrow!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow is on its way?

The big talk of the day is the impending snow storm that's expected to hit DC tonight and tomorrow. They're predicting 10 - 15 inches, yikes!! I am definitely not too excited about the snow but we shall see how much we get. Tonight is the last night of Chanukah - I can't believe that the 8 nights have come and gone! It was a great holiday this year filled with friends and fun. I'm looking forward to stretching the celebrations even longer by celebrating with my family in Texas next week :-) Tonight I'm off to my final holiday party of the week and then I'm getting ready for my trip!

This morning I had toast with an egg white and PB, and a pear and then took care of a few errands including laundry and adjusting my cable bill. Woo hoo!

I then headed in to work for the afternoon, with the university holiday party on the agenda. My breakfast held me over until the party began (surprisingly) and I didn't leave feeling stuffed at all. There was a carving station with turkey and roast beef, salads, Asian food - egg rolls, friend rice, General Tso's chicken, etc, and dips with pita, chips, and marinated veggies. I had a small sampling of spinach artichoke dip with tortilla chips, a bunch of salad, and some frosting from a piece of red velvet cake. Otherwise, I just enjoyed seeing some co-workers and meeting a few other university staffers.

I went back to the office for a bit, then left with a couple of errands to run before the storm hits. I came home after picking up a few essentials and have been relaxing on the couch, trying to catch up on my posting, etc. Exciting news - my Larabar sampler box arrived today! I was part of a holiday giveaway that Larabar did online earlier this week and was happy to have received my treats so promptly! The pack included 4 bars - Cashew Cookie, Lemon Pie, new Peanut Butter and Jelly, and raw Coconut Cream Pie. I've only tried one of these (PB&J) so I look forward to expanding my repertoire! Thanks Larabar!

Dinner was the start of trying to use up some leftovers - acorn squash, salad, and then brown rice and lentils mixed with some roasted chickpeas. I roasted them on 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. They're sprayed with cooking spray and seasoned with cinnamon, garlic powder, and paprika. The mixture was actually a bit dry so I added hot sauce and then some curry sauce I discovered in my cupboard, but I didn't like it and dumped about half of the serving.

Now it's time to get ready for my party. I'm hoping that the snow isn't too bad so that I can get in a workout tomorrow but we shall see.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Almost at the finish line!

I'm a bit behind in my blogging so will do my best to recap. There's been a lot of excitement over the past few days, some healthy eats, and some special treats for the holiday season. I have been trying out my newly learned tips for healthy eats and have sometimes been successful and at other times, I've enjoyed whatever I've had!

Wednesday's festivities began nice and light with a pear, PB toast, and an egg white. I headed into work and was productive up until a holiday potluck. I actually ate lunch before hand because I didn't think that there would be much for me to eat at the party and it ended up being a good decision! I had a stir fry which consisted of tofu, corn, asparagus, edamame, and bell peppers. It was yummy and a bit spicy! At the part I had one of my peanut butter cookies with the frosting from a cupcake and the toppings of a slice of Mediterranean pizza.

I worked right up until the end of the day and then headed to dinner at a new restaurant. My friend S and I tried BGR which just opened in our neighborhood. I had a burger (no bun) and actually used lettuce as my bun instead which worked quite well. We tried their Yukon fries (yum) and grilled asparagus (double yum) which were great compliments to our burgers. We then headed to a Chanukah party for more festivities!

I came home to the tail-end of my building's party and brought up a little treat to enjoy for my evening snack.

Thursday started bright and early with 1/4c yogurt with a bit of Gorilla Munch and AB before a morning Cardio Sculpt class. I was still sore from class on Tuesday but wanted to make sure to get a workout in after some of the junk foods I ate the day before. I definitely wasn't feeling as pumped up throughout it, but I felt really good after the workout.

I came home and had another breakfast of sweet potato hot cereal (see Monday's post), then headed off to work a bit later. I had a lunch date which was great (repeat of lunch Tuesday except with a plain garden salad) and then had another late evening of work.

I came home and snacked on an apple with AB, contemplated doing workout #2 and instead decided to catch up on sleep, life, and have a quiet night in. Dinner was baked beans, acorn squash, 3oz red potatoes and some salad. It was the perfect night for how I was feeling and I finally got some good sleep!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ready, Set, Go!!

Wow, the past couple of days have flown by, and what fun it's been!!

Sunday night was my first Chanukah party of the week and it was a blast! The latkes and meatballs were yummy, the company fantastic, and I was so sad that I had to leave early to go babysit (and miss the fondue). There was a station for making your own snowman which was cute and clever. Kudos to our hostess, JS, for a great time!

Yesterday began with a delicious new twist on a regular breakfast. A lot of people recommend mixing pumpkin puree into their oatmeal for added thickness and fiber. Sadly, I'm allergic to pumpkin but decided to try something similar - smashed sweet potato! I had baked a sweet potato on Sunday to try at some point in the week. I must say, this is a great addition to my BRM hot cereal!
1/4c BRM GF hot cereal
1 c water
drizzle of sugar-free syrup
a few raisins
1 tbsp baked sweet potato (stirred in after cereal is cooked)
1/2 tbsp PB
lots of cinnamon
This bowl was quite fantastic. It tasted warm and cozy, just like Thanksgiving! There was a touch of sweetness from the sweet potato and the spice of the cinnamon really completed this combo!

I had a productive afternoon at work. Lunch was the rest of last week's adobo beef atop a salad for extra veggies.

After a quick stop at the store, I got ready for another holiday happy celebration. I met up with L and friend and we headed to the big party. The entire bar was rented out and all 3 floors were packed. I had a great time - I got to catch up with so many friends that I haven't gotten to see in a while which was great! It was late when I got home and I snacked on a bit of stir fry I had cooked up earlier, a couple of clementines, and some cereal.

I headed to bed early because today was another full day.

I had the same breakfast as yesterday, complete with egg white and pear, but couldn't finish all of my fruit and cereal so I packed it to bring with me. I headed out to meet a former colleague for coffee but we unfortunately mixed up our days so I ran a quick errand and headed into work early! I'm not sure if it was the coffee I had or the early start, but I was extremely productive all day long, which felt great!!

I left mid-afternoon and stopped home for a quick change into gym clothes, a snack, and then it was off to see a good friend, N, who was in town for a whirlwind visit. I really enjoyed hearing about his adventures in graduate school and catching up on our lives. Great conversations with friends always make me appreciate the quality people I have in my life. I'm grateful for the many friendships I have and the fact that I still get to see people from all parts of my life! It's especially nice getting to see a lot of these people over the holiday season!

My snack was the same on both Monday and Tuesday - an apple with cinnamon and a slice of GF toast with cheese melted on top. I was hoping for the same boost I had last week before my gym class.

Class tonight kicked my butt and I meandered home, in colder and windier weather than when I set out this morning, and have spent the night cooking up all sorts of veggies. Dinner was 1/2c Bush's vegetarian baked beans with some roasted red potatoes (and BBQ sauce, aka best condiment ever, yeehaw!) and broccoli. Dessert was 1/4c Greek yogurt with a small bit of a PB cookie crumbled up and chocolate Chex.

My cooking included sweet potato, some sweet potato chips, and an acorn squash, yum!

I'm off to bed in preparation for another full day - work, a holiday pot luck lunch, dinner with a friend, and holiday party #4!