Low Cost Bounty

  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale
  • 2 leeks
  • 8 turnips
  • 2 beets (my new obsession – for some reason i thought i didn’t like them. They’re so tasty!)
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 pounds of apples (for juicing)
  • 5 pounds of satsumas (these are like candy!)
  • 2 pounds brussel sprouts (roasted with lemon and evoo -yum)
  • 1/4 pound dried peaches (a delicious snack)
  • 2 pounds broccoli
  • 1 cluster of ginger

That’s a lot of food, right? For $25, Matt and I strolled out of the Farmer’s Market with stuffed bags and hungry bellies. Did I mention it’s all organic? One of my favorite community activities is going to the farmer’s market. I think it’s an amazing way to support local businesses and operations, and you really score awesome savings on produce. (And we saw Gwyneth Paltrow and her mom there this week!)

This food would have easily cost me double what it had if I had gotten it at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Tonight I was in Trader Joes and their trimmed leeks were $2.89 for two of them. I paid $1.50 at the farmer’s market. TJ’s beets were $2.50 for two. I paid $2 for two. Their ginger was $1.89 for a tiny little cluster – we paid $1.

When I first started eating healthy, I used to complain that it cost way more money to eat healthy. Today I realize I’m wrong. It only costs more money in that when you buy healthy things, like fruit and vegetables, you eat more of it because it goes bad faster. In that regards, yes, healthy food can add up because you’re buying more of it. But when I think about how much better I feel after eating a clementine compared to a candy bar? So worth the tiny bump in price.

To save on things like lettuce that last a little bit longer, I buy the jumbo pack of romaine hearts from Costco. It’s $2.89 for six romaine hearts. I chop them up and spin and dry them and then I have tons of salad ready to go for the week. I buy some perishables at the 99c store, because often times, they’ve got overstocked organic mushrooms or bell peppers waiting for someone to take them home. Sure, they might be lopsided or have a little ding in them, but who cares? It all ends up in my belly anyways.

How do you save money when you’re eating healthy? Do you think it’s more expensive to eat healthy? Why or why not?

 

A Bee-utiful Tattoo

Reid at Yoni Tattoo perfects the design

I’ve wanted a tattoo for a long time. When I was in high school, my best friend and I would draw all over our legs with sharpies to imagine what tattoos would look like. At the time, I was fixated on a frilly little ivy that I saw in the CD booklet of one of my favorite bands. My brother later told me it was an icon from Photoshop. I didn’t want that as a tattoo any more… After the ivy, I wanted a sea horse. The seahorse was a short-lived fantasy as I eventually realized that seahorses were sort of just a passing fad, much like my 6-year-old obsession with porcelain dolls and then Winnie the Pooh.

Bee earrings for good luck

However, as I grew older, I started thinking about a tattoo I would like, and decided I’d like a bee. Bees have long been a symbol of good luck and royalty in the world. Bees pollinate plants and trees and flowers, and help us get our food. Bees help me in my garden, and bees make honey, one of the most delicious substances on earth. I love the book  The Secret Life of Bees  and I love the artist Mark Ryden, who features many bees in his work. In addition, it was long thought that bees are scientific wonders, because their tiny wing span should theoretically not be able to support their heavy, large bodies. In this regard, they have long represented achieving the impossible. (Science has it figured out now – The bee flies more like a helicopter than an airplane in that its wings vibrate up and down rather than side to side). We had bees on our favor bags at our wedding, and as we said our vows among rows of Victorian roses, bumble bees flitted over the masses of flowers like tiny fairies. I also think bumble bees are cute looking, with their fuzzy, bulbous abdomens and gorgeous yellow and black stripes. Matt also thinks bees are cool, and in fact, now has a bee adornment on himself as well (doesn’t look at all like mine – but it’s a bee just the same!). So there you have it – I had decided, a bee tattoo it would be.

The tattoo process begins!

We chose Reid at Yoni Tattoo because of his laid-back demeanor, awesome yelp reviews and enthusiasm for the art we wanted. He’s also an ex-nurse from Minnesota, so he has Midwestern pride on his side. I was a little bit jittery, mostly about the fact that I wasn’t 100% set on my design yet. The bee itself was amazing and perfect, but I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted one hydrangea or two. In the end, I found some cool swirl flourishes from the internet, and Reid reworked the design to be one hydrangea flower (the flower of my wedding bouquet) with an awesome spiral vine embellishment coming out of it. I loved it – It’s unique, colorful and beautiful. We were ready to begin!

This is a staged shot! The pain is totally not worthy of dramatic facial expressions!

I had asked many people about the pain of getting a tattoo, and I got answers ranging from “it’s like a cat scratch” to “it’s horrible horrible pain and I will never do it again.” I was expecting the worst, but as someone who suffers an average of 12 allergy shots a month, I’m not too fearful of needles. I also went through braces and had the inside of my nose burned out with a laser (yay for constant congestion), so it’s safe to say I’ve dealt with some gnarly pain. Here’s how the first 30 seconds went – “Oh. It’s not that bad. That’s it?!” After a minute, you realize it’s not an enjoyable feeling by any means – it’s not like you’re getting a massage, but it’s really not horrible. It’s just like a bee sting, actually. Some slight burning and a little prickling, but it’s really not awful. The most painful part was the bottom of my hydrangea flower near the ankle. For anybody who’s been avoiding a tattoo because of fear of the pain – DO IT! Especially if you’re a woman – I promise you’ve had worse monthly cramps. The pain is manageable, for sure – and a good tattoo artist will let you take breaks if you need them. Check out this super cool time lapse from stencil to tattoo that my pal Julie put together!

Adrenaline and endorphins have kicked in, and I'm feelin' good!

I had originally thought I wanted to go a bit smaller on the design, but the detail in the bee was important to me, and if I went smaller, I’d lose a lot of the beautiful details like the fuzz and wing patterns. I chose above the ankle because it’s a good spot to hide if I need to for work or other professional events. The tattoo took about an hour to complete, and today I’ve been a good girl and have been doing the whole Aquaphor moisturizing thing and keeping it clean. I am thrilled to finally have a beautiful and symbolic bumble bee on my leg, and it looks wicked cool when I’m wearing capris and flip-flops!

Bumble Bee Tattoo with Hydrangea

One of the questions a few people have asked me is, “Isn’t it scary to think you’ll have that forever?” My answer is no, not at all. I thought about what I wanted for a long time, and the best way to sum it up is an Ani DiFranco lyric that says, “a tattoo is no more permanent than I am.” This is one of the first times I actually have no “buyer’s remorse” at all – I spazzed out about buying my new car, and I’m even having buyer’s remorse on a $20 pair of rain boots I bought last week. I love my new tattoo, and I’m proud that I went and did it. If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo for the first time, make sure you’ve researched the parlor and artist, and it’s clean and sterile. Our parlor guarantees their work, and in a couple weeks I get to go back for free for a touch up on some of the color. Make sure you get along well with your artist, and that the design is 100% what you love. It is permanent, so there’s no going back when it’s etched into your skin.

So – let’s hear it – do you have a tattoo? If not, would you ever get one? Why or why not?

***Special thanks to Julie Bien for her amazing photos and moral support of the tattoo process! All photos credited to Julie Bien except for the crappy iPhone pic on the bottom of the post that I took. :)

Update: Here’s the tattoo 2 months after I got it. Healed, and beeeeautiful!


Weekly Weigh In #1

Hey hey -

I’m starting weekly weigh ins again at #1 since I’m just beginning weight watchers…again. Today was a good day because I weighed in… and I am down

2.4 pounds!

Yay! I’m so glad I had good results, becuse now I’m motivated to keep it up and keep on trackin’. I want to be down another two next week – and I can do it if I stay strong, positive and focused.

Here’s one thing I love about Weight Watchers – you can still indulge. I just had some air-popped popcorn with real melted butter on it, and that was no biggie, because it fit into my daily points. I lost weight this week and was still able to eat Chicken Parmesan, drink two hard apple ciders, and eat candy. They’re not always healthy choices, but they’re realistic choices when at an event. I love that nothing is “off limits” and I can splurge as long as I’m honest about it and make sacrifices elsewhere, like having fruit instead of crackers.

My 2.4 pound loss was definitely the highlight of my day, because I feel inspired and encouraged. What was the highlight of your day today?

YouTube search "Fat Fighters Little Britain". You won't regret it.

Weight Watchers Recap, Week 1

Hey everybody! Tomorrow is my first weigh-in on Weight Watchers… and I’m here to report back on the week, so that tomorrow I can’t get a number and scratch my head in surprise. I have NO CLUE how it’s going to go. Here’s why: I tracked EVERYTHING I ate, from the handfuls of different marinated olives from Whole Foods to the five licks of orange cake batter to the Salami sandwich my boss brought me for lunch. (My boss just showed up today with a sandwich for my officemate and I – no rhyme or reason- isn’t that nice?! Matt also brought me home a beautiful mum plant last night after a rough day. I <3 thoughtful people.)

Salami, Mortadella and Capacolo Sandwich

So I tracked all week. That’s great, right? Weight Watchers is all about tracking. The reason why I don’t know this is going to go was that on Saturday I was at a memorial party for Matt’s grandfather, and I ate a 5-course Italian lunch – complete with chicken parmesan, antipasti, wine, bread and rigatoni. I tracked it all, but I’m worried that with restaurant tracking, you never know how accurate you’re really tracking. I earned several activity points throughout the week from exercise, but I used all of those and my weekly “flex” points (kind of like extra credit, for those not familiar with WW).

Orange Zest cake, made with greek yogurt!

Regardless of what the scale shows, I have a few “key learnings”, as we like to say in Marketing land.

1) Eating a small, low-point breakfast like greek yogurt and a piece of fruit is perfect to get me through to lunch and doesn’t destroy my points.

2) Eatings lots of fruit keeps me full and satisfied, and if it’s something super yummy like pineapple, it feels like a treat. (FRUIT is ZERO points!)

3) Keeping check on my emotions is worth more than any diet pill could ever be. I had a stressful day yesterday, and my first impulse was to eat. And not eat daintily – I wanted to stuff my piehole full of carbs and go all Cookie Monster. But I took a few deep breaths, drank some water, and moved on. Moved on to life without Ben and Jerry. And I was fine, and now I feel good about moving past that urge.

So – even if tomorrow isn’t very impressive, or worse, slightly disappointing, it was a thoughtful, conscientious week for me in terms of eating, tracking and Weight Watchers. This week is all about focusing on the positive – an activity that I like to do on a daily basis!

How was your week in terms of eating healthy?

Mini Indulgences that I can’t eat

I am my mother’s daughter, and from a young age I was taught how an hour spent cruising the aisles of local discount stores could brighten up even the darkest day. I can openly admit that shopping makes me SMILE! Wheeee, shopping! I know the joy of scoring an awesome pair of rainboots for 60% off, or stumbling upon a one of a kind treasure buried deep in the shelves of TJ Maxx. I wanted to share some of my favorite little trinkety finds, related to food!

Sweet Erasers

I found these erasers at “The One Spot” in Target. They were only a buck! Considering I always shell out 50c a piece for these little food erasers at our local burger joint, I had to get them. I keep these at work and re-assemble the little cake layers or ice cream tops when I’m on a boring conference call or need something to do with my hands. Plus, they’re sickeningly cute. Too bad they don’t help me erase my cravings for sweets…. Oh, that pun was bad.

Shrimp Sushi!

Here’s another awesome One Spot find – shrimp sushi magnets! I don’t know the actual name of this type of sushi (Anybody?), and I don’t even like sushi, but they were so cute and realistic I had to get them. And for only a dollar?! How could I refuse? They look fabulous next to my apple magnet, and they’re appropriately placed next to the magnet that says “Whoever says money can’t buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop.”

Eggers

This is another thing I really didn’t NEED – like all of the things up above – but for only $2.49 at Ross, I thought it was so novel in its concept that I had to have it. I eat a lot of hard boiled eggs, and I hate adding them to the raw egg carton, and I hate having them roll around in the little egg cabinet on the side of the refridgerator door. This neat ceramic egg holder has six slots and fits perfectly in the aforementioned egg cabinet. Tres cute, no?

Do you find yourself buying silly little things like shrimp magnets, egg holders or food erasers? If not, what’s the trivial little thing you often find yourself buying? (I’m going to out Matt’s habit – candy bars! There’s currently a king-sized pack of Reese’s staring at me from the kitchen counter. Resistance is futile. Good thing I’m on Weight Watchers. Candy got nothin’ on me.)

 

Reality Check

Today, I got a reality check. When I weighed in at the gym three weeks ago, I wasn’t happy about what I saw. Today, I REALLY got a reality check at my first Weight Watchers meeting at work. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I gotta keep it real, because that’s my promise to you, reader. That’s what blog is for. I’ve gained about 9 pounds back out of the 12 I’ve recently lost. Ugh. It sucks. But I can’t sit here and whine and pretend that I don’t know why it happened. It happened because I celebrated the end of my semester with delicious things like Bailey’s Irish Cream, and because I ate gooey brie cheese on top of triscuits at midnight while playing Monopoly. It happened because I took a break from the treadmill in favor of my couch, and because I got so wrapped up in buying gifts and taking finals and traveling and sleeping and this and that, that I forgot about the real goal.

What’s the silver lining? The silver lining is that it’s never too late to start over – and today, I started over. I am committing to you, to this blog, and most importantly, to myself, that next week I will have lost some weight. It doesn’t matter if it’s half of a pound or four, but next week, the scale will be ticking downwards. It has to be. There’s no better time than now – while I have the support of my co-workers as we all battle the bulge together, and while I have the clean slate of a fresh new year

. I’m going to be tracking my points on my iPhone, and working out at least three times a week. I’ll use my little sticker calendar plan to chart my work outs, and I’ll drink more water. I’ll try to avoid snacks as a remedy for stress, and more than ever, I’ll use this blog as an outlet. I have to do this, because I realized with some remorse the other day, that every year, my resolution is the same. To lose weight. Next year, I don’t want the same resolution. I want to do this now, while I’m young and sparky. Several of my more “mature” friends have warned me that it’s a million times better to shed the weight now, so I gotta do it. I must. I can. I will.

What was the last reality check you had about something you’ve been avoiding, ignoring or had just plain forgotten about?