Sunday, March 11, 2012

New Directions

I am excited to finally announce that....

I'm officially a Graduate Student!!

I have been accepted to the Master's program in Occupational Therapy for the Fall of 2012 at Winston-Salem State University. I'm very excited and relieved after receiving the admissions letter Saturday, the day after my birthday.

As for my birthday, I started the day with a new bootcamp class at the gym and was thrilled to get back to doing some strength training. I carpooled with MW to work and was treated to a wonderful lunch with my two friends/co-workers. I picked The Basil Leaf, a new Thai place near our office. I was not disappointed and neither were my friends. I was happy to have introduced them to a new lunch spot.

After work, MW picked me up and we went to Haute Chocolate to pick out my birthday truffles. I picked the Earl Grey Tea truffle (a house specialty) and a Chipotle Cherry truffle.

(Earl Grey was gone at this point. MW's are on the top: 
Creme Brulee and White Raspberry Truffle)

 From there, we ran into City Beverage to pick out a beer for the weekend, but found out that the credit card machine wasn't working. We decided to run over to First Street Draught House to get a beer before grabbing cash and returning to City Bev. However, as we ordered our beer I heard a yell from across the bar

Bewildered, I looked across and saw our friend (and MW's former NY neighbor) Heather. We hadn't seen Heather since the summer, so we made our way over and started chatting. She invited us to stay and meet her friends, so we did. Several hours later, any plans of salmon and city bev had been tossed aside, without hesitation or dismay. We had a great time catching up with Heather and making new friends. Salmon can always wait. 

Despite getting home around 9:30pm, I was pooped after a long day of exercise, work, and beer. I did, however, manage to eat my Earl Grey Tea truffle, completely savoring each bite before drifting off to pleasant sleep. It was smooth but also gritty in surprisingly enjoyable way. Needless to say, I'm excited to have my second truffle, possibly with a Hopslam and new Walking Dead episode. 

Saturday we woke up and MW made me a famous MW breakfast. I grabbed some hot sage sausage at the local farm market and made little sausage patties. MW also re-upped our bagel stash for my birthday, which was a welcome surprise. We are some bagel lovers in this house. Thanks to Joseph, we had awesome eggs to dunk the bagels in and the sausage completed the whole meal. Best birthday breakfast ever. I ate it so fast, pictures didn't even stand a chance.

We had planned to go to my parents' house in Charlotte Saturday in order to see them for dinner and return my mom's car (which I had borrowed). I wanted to clean up a bit before we left, so I took the trash out and grabbed our mail key just to check for coupons or magazines. And surprisingly enough, there was a package from WSSU admissions. Our mail actually comes later in the afternoon, so it must have been delivered on Friday. I tore it open on the spot like a high school senior and nearly busted my face running up the apartment steps to show MW. He was, of course, ecstatic. What a great birthday gift!

I was so happy to be able to go down and tell my parents in person, especially since we were having a nice steak dinner. It gave us even more reason to celebrate. It was the best way to share the news: Dad's steaks are the best and the wine was phenomenal! I am so lucky to have my parents close by for exciting events like this.

Steak, roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli

Dad the photographer

My beautiful mommy!

MW posing

Unfortunately, the best I could do was Facetime with my sister, but at least I got to see her reaction. I also was able to show off the new Ugg slippers she got me for my birthday.
(which I love, love, love and am currently wearing)

Gus smells Riley on my new slippers
Zoe watches from a safe distance

After being chided about my lack of photos, I've quickly remedied the error of my ways.
My apologies, loyal followers. Thanks for all the encouraging responses!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Keeping my balance

Goodbye February, Hello March! 
I enjoy March for some pretty obvious reasons: my birthday, official first day of spring, warm weather, march madness. Daylight Savings Time can get lost, though. I'm glad February is over. How did you spend your leap day? I didn't do anything exciting but after watching all our favorite shows, I feel like I was supposed to use the extra day in a fun way! Next time, I guess. 

Usually, it is MW who reminds me that I'm slacking on my blogging duties. This time, however, it was my own mother. I know, I'm embarrassed to admit it. But I'm happy that she checks regularly enough to know there hasn't been a post recently!

Since my last post, I've been quite successful in my no-sugar diet. I admit to eating sweets 3 times during the whole experiment. I'm actually surprised I was able to hold out when times were tough. Especially since this time has included Valentine's day, for which my dad always sends me and my sister the Godiva Valentine's day bear complete with chocolate. I haven't touched a single one! I'm starting my 9th week and it's only been getting easier. From what I read, most people get over cravings during week 3 or 4, but honestly, I didn't stop craving until week 6 or 7. It took a long time, ya'll. I was that enmeshed with sugar. For the first 6 weeks, I would crave it during stressful days (which there have been), rainy days, tired days and almost everyday at 3pm. It got rough at times. But I pulled through with  hot tea, fruit, and other tactics I found useful. 

As I near the end of the trial (which I extended by 2 weeks) -and my birthday- I've been thinking about how I want to continue this and in what fashion. I recently decided that I would have a sweet treat for my birthday and took some time to figure out what I wanted. A local truffle shop opened in April of last year and I've never had a chance to make it there. I thought, if I'm going to break my sugar-free streak I want it to be on something out of this world delicious and positively decadent. What better way than truffles? So this Friday, I will be heading over to Haute Chocolate to pick a truffle for my birthday treat after work. I've already decided to make salmon for dinner, so the whole evening will be savory and wonderful!

Afterwards, however, I plan to continue being mostly (refined) sugar-free. I am going to add some honey in as a natural sweetener, though now most foods taste naturally sweet. But also because the granola bars I make are nice to have when I'm out and about and in need of energy reserves and they use honey to glue them together. I also plan to partake in small amounts of ice cream (since I love it) but desserts will mainly be for special occasions. I still won't be mindlessly eating chocolate at the office. I may decide to tweak this later, and either add or subtract more sugary foods, but for the most part I've felt great. I have fewer headaches and less shaky moments of low blood sugar. I eat regularly and fill up on veggies and fruit and whole grains, just as I think we were meant to. Like I said, this year is about balance, and I plan to use that as a guide as I eat. 

Speaking of eating, check out these awesome lunch boxes I got for MW and myself:

They have two 1-cup containers and an ice pack, with extra space on top (or bottom, depending where you put the small containers). Last week I started meal planning, and these little buggers made it extra simple. Each night I would pack our super fresh and healthy lunches. This particular day we had a turkey, veggie, hummus wrap; salt and vinegar chips; grapes and almonds; and veggie sticks with hummus. I'm a hungry girl, so I always include a morning and afternoon snack. I'd rather eat a little bit often than a large amount two or three times a day. 

One day for lunch, I made Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes, which were great for packing. I found the recipe  here on a blog I enjoy reading. They're an awesome vegetarian meal and are extremely tasty. I froze the extras, wrapping each individually. 

One night I ate them plain with some apple slices, but the next day I took one to work on a bed of spinach. It was perfect!

Zoe continues to adapt to our new little family. She chases Gus all over the house, he hasn't slept so well since he was a kitten! She also continues to wake up at 5am and demand food by chasing our feet in the blankets. 

They've been pretty lazy beans this weekend. 

Last weekend we had the opportunity to go visit our friend Joseph and new baby Jobi and feed them for a night. Unfortunately, Miranda was sick and we're sad we missed out on time with her. But now we'll have to go back and feed her as well. 

Joseph lives near a goat farm and I want to steal them (and give one to Miranda). But he says they aren't milk goats, they are eating goats and I don't like that. This one has a wee baby underneath drinking milk!

Baby Jobi and dad!! 
I just love his dinosaur outfit. 
Joseph had been taking care of Jobi for a few days solo, so I was happy to step in and give him a reprieve, including one free diaper change. I love babies, so I was thrilled to have a whole day with one. 

We took our pasta maker and made Joseph a double batch of spaghetti. 

...then we ate some. 

Porter was happy to get the pieces that fell

We love visiting Joseph and Miranda. Theirs is pretty much the life we want to live someday. Joseph has chickens that we visited when they were itty bitty guys roaming around. Or, I guess they're mostly girls.
These are from last fall when we first saw them. 

This is the mack daddy of the coup

Porter thinks he is a chicken

MW feeds some hungry ladies

Miranda with a chickadee, precious.

Now they're all big and grown and laying eggs. Delicious, fresh, nutrient rich eggs.
Check these guys out!! Luckily for us, Joseph likes us enough to provide a generous stream of fresh eggs. 

You don't get eggs with yolks this rich from the store. 

They make for a super tasty breakfast, like the one MW cooked me this morning:

Thanks Joseph and Miranda!