Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One Tough Hump

Was it just me or was Wednesday tough for anyone else?  After another 8.5 hours of sleep I could barely pry myself out of bed. I'm seriously starting to think that I might need to go to bed right after work so I can catch up from last week's trip! I guess that would really make me a grandma...

When I finally coerced myself out of bed, I worked up an appetite for some hot cereal while getting ready for work. This is my basic blueberry mixed topped with some crushed almond slices and 1/2T peanut butter.  I have decided that there's nothing better than warm, plain PB - it's smooth, creamy, and oh so satisfying!

For some reason, this hasn't been holding me over as well as it has in the past but I'm blaming that on my tiredness. It also didn't help that I spent my morning in a horrible cloud of 5 different perfumes. I know I've said this before but, Ladies - if you wear perfume, less is more! Especially when you are at work, there are no windows to be open, and you're in confined quarters. Seriously - it's beyond rude to expect people to want to smell you all day. *steps off allergic headache soapbox for the morning*

In an attempt to regain consciousness, I walked home for lunch where the breathing air was clean.  I had a huge salad with spinach and romaine, yellow bell pepper, a carrot, and 2oz turkey breast with TJs red pepper spread, dill, 21 seasoning salute, and black pepper. On the side I had a serving of Cuban black beans with a 1/4c brown rice.

This power lunch had great staying power and pushed me through til the end of the day! I love when that happens!

I want to rewind back to last night for a moment. Since I was out of town on my actual birthday, I had planned a dinner to celebrate with some close friends when I got back. In true Sarah fashion, I have stretched my birthday almost 3 weeks and counting :) That's what happens when your birthday is while you are at camp and parents want to celebrate in August... No complaints here though.

We had a reservation here but I met my friend Shelby a bit earlier for happy hour. She enjoyed a Mai Thai and I got my favorite - a Lychee Martini. It was amazing and I stretched it over the course of dinner along with tons of water. I feel like I'm making up on hydration from last week's travels!

I got my favorite dish here, Prik Khing, which is broccoli, green bean, and carrot stir fried with spicy paste, thai herbs and kirfir leaves. I ate all my veggies and ~1/2c rice.

I treated myself to a little birthday dessert too of Garrett's caramel popcorn and some raisins. Random yet exactly what I wanted!

Flash forward back to this afternoon...

When I was finally ready for a snack around 5 I sliced a peach and topped it with a couple of tablespoons of plain yogurt, a pinch of cereal, and light drop of almond butter.

I ran a few errands before meeting a friend, Alex for dinner at Pete's A Pizza. I've been wanting to try them for a long time and was excited about being able to order pizza out. The only time I've ever done that is in New York.

I started with a side salad, no croutons and dressing on the side. I actually left most of the cheese too since I knew it was coming on my pizza.

In no time, our pies arrived! I got the gluten free pizza with tomato sauce, broccoli rabe, artichoke, caramelized onion, bell pepper, and buffalo mozzarella. This is a 12" pie as compared to their larger glutenous pizzas.

This was great! I definitely made quite a mess while eating it but I don't think Alex minded. I felt a little pang in my stomach after the first slice but thought nothing of it and happily ate the crust and toppings from a second slice.

That's when it all went down hill.  I'm currently lying on my couch with my stomach in pain, my ears hot and itchy, and some other symptoms, drinking ginger ale = allergic reaction. I was assured and reassured that there was no way my pizza came in contact with anything glutenous (they have separate ovens, bakeware, slicers for gluten free orders) and I really want to believe them. I just have no idea what's causing this reaction.

Needless to say, it's been kind of a rough Wednesday so I'm heading to bed and hope to be asleep by 10:30pm at the latest. This lady is most definitely ready to catch up on sleep, etc. this weekend!

Do you ever get sick from things that you know you shouldn't? What's your favorite cure for a stomach ache? How was your Wednesday? Hopefully easier than mine...

Recap of the Windy City

Wow, I have to say, I am really impressed with the city of Chicago and wish that I had more time to explore and sight see. I will just have to go back I guess!

On Wednesday night I met my friend Lindy for dinner and drinks for my birthday. There was one place on my mind, literally for months that I just had to go to: Frontera Grill.  I became interested after watching Rick Bayless on Top Chef Masters and how positively he reacted to folks with food allergies and special diets. Any chef that's willing to adapt and from a place of understanding is top-notch in my book.

I started with the Gold Margarita and had this one plus another ~1/3 over the course of our dinner.

A huge storm had just rolled in on my way to the restaurant so the wait was less than it might have been otherwise. However, we decided to eat at the bar since we had a table and an attentive server.

Lindy insisted that we order the guacamole to start and oh my, this was hands down the best guacamole I've ever eaten. It was smooth, creamy, had just the right amount of saltiness, a rich flavor, and overall amazing. I got really excited once this arrived because I could only imagine what the rest of our meal would be like!

I ordered 2 appetizers for my dinner that had caught my eye repeatedly when I checked the menu online. Our waiter made sure that the dishes would be gluten free as well as avoiding contact with a few other random allergies of mine.

First up, the Ensalada Frontera: romaine, arugula, radish, grilled knob onion with garlic-lime dressing. Mexican aged queso anejo cheese, crispy tortilla angel hair, cilantro. Mine did not have the tortilla angel hair but was fantastic and fresh!

Next was the Tamal Primaveral: vegetarian tamal filled with Swiss chard and mushrooms (shiitake, oyster), steamed in banana leaves. Tangy hoja santa-flavored tomatillo sauce, arugula salad, queso anejo. Oh. My. Gosh. It was tangy, light, had a depth of flavors that all complimented each other well. I finished this and was more than ready to order another it was so good!!

Thank you Frontera Grill for a fabulous meal. I can't wait to go back!! This was far better than any Mexican food I've had in Texas!

My conference kicked off that night after dinner and ran through late Sunday morning. I didn't really photograph meals because there weren't any exciting ones... where the camera was handy at least. There was a lot of berries, plain Greek yogurt, and cereal and AB that I had brought with me for breakfasts. Plain salads with grilled chicken for lunch. And then a couple of exciting dinners but not that I'd write home about. Let's just say I was thankful I had practiced my own travel tips!

My parents arrived on Friday evening because my mom was being initiated as an honorary member of the sorority. She was really excited to receive this honor and it was special for me to be able to initiate her :)  It also was great getting to see my parents for a weekend.

We ate at this restaurant, Bandera, on Friday night. I had a beautiful vegetable platter that was beyond amazing. They had a gluten free menu and the server was very knowledgeable which earned extra points in my book!

On Sunday before flying out we went to lunch at Hub 51, another restaurant that was recommended to me. They had a gluten free menu and I really enjoyed what I ordered. I split the brussel sprouts salad with my dad and our friend and then had the vegetable tacos for my main course. SO. GOOD. I will be replicating the brussel sprouts salad later this week. It was phenomenal.

I'm sorry I don't have pictures of meals to share but here are some of my favorite snapshots of the weekend. I am so proud of my leadership team for doing an outstanding job and of course, had a blast with our collegians and other friends who are also on the board.

Now I'm back in the real world and trying to catch up on sleep, life, and fun celebrations with friends!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

All Mixed Up

When I woke up yesterday, it was as if 8 hours of sleep had only been 3 or 4. I am definitely still trying to catch up on sleep and adjust back to work! I got 9 hours of sleep last night and it wasn't enough either. Oh well... I can sleep this weekend, right?

It was slim pickings in my fridge yesterday but that didn't matter because I only had 1 things in mind for breakfast. A date with Bob's Red Mill GF Hot Cereal. I had seriously missed this breakfast after a week of other stuff and it hit the spot. I made my usual mix of 1/4c BRM and buckwheat with 1/4c almond milk, 1/2c water, 1/2T chia seeds. I added some farm-fresh frozen bluerries and 1/2T of PB on top plus an egg white. I wasn't hungry when I woke up so I packed my breakfast to eat at the office, which ended up being smart and pushing my through later than it would have otherwise. I picked up a large iced green tea too - caffeine was extremely necessary!

I spent the morning catching up on 3 days away and broke for lunch when my stomach started rumbling. I picked up a salad from Mix't Greens that contained: spinach and romaine, black beans, roasted golden beets, red bell pepper, hearts of palm, roasted zucchini, and parmesan with balsamic on the side.  I ate half for lunch and another quarter for a snack.

I had my last physical therapy appointment (for now at least!!) and got caught in the massive storm that blew through the DC area. We are talking shoes soaked through, pants wet, and a hot mess when I arrived. I looked like I had drowned outside. Charming :)

After work I hit up my 2 grocery stores and restocked my fridge with produce and a few staples. It feels good to have fresh fruits and veggies on hand again!  I nibbled on a few things while at Whole Foods which when combined with being tired, made for a pretty boring dinner.

This would be a plate of the last few blue corn chips, red pepper dip and salsa, a carrot, and a cup of TJs split pea soup with hot sauce. I also had some brown rice that I stirred in.

My "dessert" was a hot rice pudding of 1/4c brown rice, 1-2T of almond milk, a few raisins, and some crunch roasted flax almond butter (it's baaack!).

This morning was another bowl of hot cereal, this time with 1/4c halved frozen cherries and 1/2T crack AB :-)  I also thought it was Wednesday until I checked my calendar around10:30am... I really need to get more sleep.

And lunch was a mixture of things: last 1/3ish cup of split pea soup (which tastes much better cold than hot), last bit of salad from yesterday, rice with peas and corn, and 1c sliced watermelon, thanks to someone at the office.

Snack was a pear and the last drop of popcorn.

Tonight I'm having a birthday dinner with friends here since I was gone last week. I'm looking forward to catching up with them and celebrating!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Catch Up and a Blank Canvas!

Hi everyone! Happy Monday.  I am finally back from Chicago after a great 5 days. I'll share a full re-cap with y'all soon. For now, I am excited to show you this picture:

Yes, that's my empty fridge. The only things it contains are my Brita, condiments, cheeses, brown rice tortillas, carrots and beets, and yogurt. That means it's free for me to stock with some of my favorite healthy staples + some new summery foods for the week.

After traveling and eating [although somewhat healthy] conference foods plus some treats, I'm ready to get back on track as much as possible. Even if I have a few fun dinners this week.

I'm putting a call out to you guys - what are some of your favorite things that I might want to stock up on this week??

Have a great day!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

24 Things I've Learned as a 24 Year Old

  1. The wind may get taken out of your sails but have faith, it'll come back at just the right time.
  2. Friends and family are more important than any laptop, piece of jewelry, etc.
  3. Eat real food - it'll do you wonders.
  4. Own who you are.
  5. It's ok if that changes over time too :)
  6. Don't be afraid to try new things. After all, if I had succumb to my fears, this blog wouldn't exist!
  8. Travel! You can have just as much fun in the next town or city as you can across the country or ocean.
  9. The power of a compliment lasts beyond anything I've come across this year. In fact, when I replay one I received last summer, I smile just the same as I did when I was first lucky enough to receive it.
  10. Find a mentor. Or a few. The things you will learn will make you a better person, whether or not you realize it in the moment.
  11. Be proud of where you come from. It might even be ok if you slowly start turning into your parents. For me, I wouldn't be as organized, dedicated, or willing to take a stand for something if it wasn't for my parents. Plus, there's no denying we're related when you see us :)
  12. You're never to old to play like a kid!
  13. Don't let yourself get too depressed about something. It may suck for the time being but eventually, you'll tire of feeling that way and look for the good in things.
  14. Look for the good in things! There may be an unexpected silver lining just waiting for you.
  15. It's ok to look out for yourself. If you don't, who will?
  16. It never hurts to ask.
  17. Quarter-life crises don't have to come at 25. If fact, if it happens at 24, you may be setting yourself up for an even better 25!
  18. Yes, you might be old enough to have a child. That fact does not preclude you from acting like one every now and then :)
  19. Own what you know. Don't be afraid to be confident in your abilities, even if you don't have a degree in it (unless you're a doctor or something...)
  20. Learning what you don't like is just as important as learning what you do like. If everything is always roses, you won't know how to cope with adversity.
  21. Don't burn bridges. People from your past will still be willing to help you out. I'm serious.
  22. Do something that makes you slightly uncomfortable. It'll expand your horizons.
  23. Kill 'em with kindness. Whether it gets you on a plane to escape a blizzard or brightens someone's day, being mean is far less effective.
  24. Love who you are and even if you don't love everything love what you can. Constant scrutiny just isn't worth it!
Here's to an even better 25!

All Growed Up

I'm here in Chicago spending the morning in meetings before leading an afternoon of training sessions and kicking off my sorority's national convention!  I'm so excited to be spending the big day with so many friends and family that I've known for so long. I can honestly say that I've gained amazing, life-long friends through the sorority.

I had the idea to share pictures with you all from various birthdays throughout my life. The benefit of a summer birthday was getting to have pool parties and other fun things. I hope you enjoy them!!

On the left is Lauren, my close friend since before we were born. I'm clearly upset about something at our 1st birthday party...

2 years old and celebrating at Chuck E. Cheese

My grandmother made this cake from scratch for my 3rd birthday


4 years old


Best birthday party ever for 5 - a carnival in our backyard with games, spin art, and more!


Turning 6 and a little gymnast


Celebrating 8 while on a family cruise in the Caribbean


Sometime as a teenager, 15 perhaps? Definitely had my awkward stage...


I can't wait to see what the next 25 years will bring!