Thailand 20 Tuesday – Week 4

Hello Friends:
I didn’t really know how to approach this week’s weigh in – because while there was a lot I did right this week, it was kind of a weird week. I didn’t go overboard on anything, but I got tied up and didn’t track on MyFitnessPal for two days, and then I exercised and was active but took it down a notch over the weekend because I was sad (my cousin passed away unexpectedly this weekend. Bummer. A reminder for all of us to live our lives with purpose because you really truly never know when your number is going to be called.) So, I’m not altogether surprised that I didn’t hit 2 pounds down, but I’m not devastated either – because I hit 1 pound down. I know what I need to fix for next week – which as usual – is more cardio. I’m behind on my goal but I feel good about keeping consistent with my weigh-ins and definitely making more progress than I was before. I try and think that even if the scale isn’t showing what I want, I’m noticing other things – like more energy from working out, or my jeans feeling a little bit looser. And hey – a pound lost is a pound lost – so that’s great!

Here are some of the weight loss high points from this week:

Cucumber and Tomato Feta Salad

1) I ate TONS of veggies this week. This was a yummy and simple cucumber, tomato and feta salad with some green bell peppers. So good and so filling.

A nice sunset stroll in my snazzy new workout jacket.

On the day we got news of my cousin Josh passing, I didn’t want to work out – but Matt and I took a nice sunset stroll through the park. It was lowkey and we ended up clocking in a 3 mile walk – just enough to make me feel a little bit better and burn up a small sweat.

Very Veggie Pasta


I had a craving for spaghetti on Sunday night but knew that the way we usually make it (ground beef, wine, olive oil) would be too fattening. So I did half the amount of ground beef, a tsp of olive oil, and EIGHT different kinds of vegetables. It came out amazing – super chunky and filling but chock full of veggies, so I needed very few noodles. So good.

This next week is going to be interesting as I’m getting on a plane Friday to head to Josh’s funeral – so I’ll be surrounded by family and food. I’ll need to remember not to eat my emotions! How is your week going?

A triple surprise in Phoenix

Aunt Karolyn, Kathy and Uncle Keith, the birthday triplets!

Hello, bloggies! How is everyone doing? This weekend was a whirlwind for Matt and I, as we jetted off to Phoenix for 24 hours to attend our aunt’s and uncle’s 60th surprise birthday party! Karolyn, Kathy and Keith were the first triplets born in Phoenix, and to celebrate, the family decided to give them a very big surprise.

The party was held at a country club, and once people walked down the stairs they were greeted by this banner giving a little hint to what was to come. The banner says… “A lap full of joy, two girls and a boy. The triplets were born September 5, 1952 and grew up as Children of the 60s.”

Matt’s awesome aunt Gina arranged all of the decoration and concept, going for a groovy psychedelic 60’s bash with a little bit of Alice in Wonderland flair.There were balloon center pieces at every table made up of daisy balloons, and each table had a jar full of vintage candy like Zots, buttons, candy cigarettes, chocostix, necco wafers and lemonheads. I picked out all of the zots and now my teeth are suffering! There were also vintage records and album posters placed around the room. It was a blast from the past!

There was a very nice buffet of fruit, salad, cookies and cold cuts – a nice light and yummy dinner.

I got the lucky task of decorating the cakes… with food coloring gel. Not my usual supplies, but hey, I made it work! Does any one get the reference to Alice on here? Name that band and song. Matt had to explain it to me. I’m not quite up to date on my 60’s references.

When Karolyn, Kathy and Keith walked in, I think it was safe to say they were pretty surprised- here they are right when they walked in!

It was really cool because Matt and I haven’t seen them since our wedding two years ago, so were also a big part of the surprise! It was so fun to be around that side of the family and celebrate with them. Here I am with Matt and my awesome in-laws, having a blast.

We had so much fun in hot hot Arizona, but sadly we only got to stay for one night. After the party, we dragged our butts out of bed and flew back to Los Angeles to change eras once again. Sunday night we were guests at a 1920’s themed bash! Stay tuned for the next post to see how Matt and I got Hollywood Glam!

(I know these posts aren’t weight loss related, but they’re fun! They’ll also show why my posts are going to be a little light this month. This weekend we were in Arizona and then went to a wedding. Next week I’ll be working on site in San Francisco for four days then flying directly to Baltimore for Fitbloggin’. After that we come home for a few more days and then it’s back up to Northern California for Matt’s birthday. We are busy beyond belief! Add in a thesis in its final stages and a full-time job and it’s true that life is what happens when you’re busy making plans :) How lucky we are though to get to do all these exciting things! )

 

 

San Diego Summer

Cousin Mark and his wife Debbie with us! <3

Hey everybody! Hope you had a fun and safe 4th of July. Last weekend, Matt and I drove south to San Diego to attend a going away party for my cousin Mark and his wife Debbie, and their awesome two kids (who were flower girls in our wedding!). They’re moving to Colorado so we wanted to make sure we stopped by to wish them well before they head out!

 

Flashback - Here's Mark and Debbie's girls, Dylan and Gwen as our flower girls!

Before the going away party, Matt and I got some lunch – and when in San Diego, you eat tacos! A few yelp reviews later, we landed at Los Honchos Tacos where I nommed on some pollo asado tacos loaded with cilantro and onions. When they got to the table I was a little surprised to see how oily the tortillas were, so I only ate one tortilla – they were wrapped in two tortillas. Calorie-buster #1!

Then, we headed to Koby’s Swap Meet, where I saw some very random things being sold – like a half used canister of italian seasoning and a 3-legged live bullfrog. I bought these stunna shades for a whopping $4, some cucumbers (3 for $1! who could resist?), a vintage tea pot for $5 (it now has an african violet planted in it), a car wash sponge, and a hoodie. All of that for like $30. I love flea markets.

My new stunna shades and my cutie-pie Gwennie!

Once we got to the party, we had a good time catching up with our cousins and enjoying the amazzzzzing feast of Filipino delights! Debbie is filipino, and I secretly hoped the party would have Lumpia. Lumpia are kind of like egg rolls – usually filled with spiced pork and other things and deep fried. Well – my hopes were fulfilled when my nose led me to this gigantic dish of dreams:

I only had three, but believe me, it took major restraint to not make like a klepto and stuff them in my purse on the way out. In addition to lumpia, there was every type of dish you could dream of: cupcakes, curry, some sort of beef/blood thing, roast beef, fresh fruit, fried rice, sushi type things, chicken katsu, bacon wrapped hot dogs, teriyaki chicken, strudels, pies…. the list goes on!

Nom nom nom

While I sampled a little bit of everything, I realized something that usually doesn’t dawn on me until it’s too late – I don’t need to finish everything I took. It feels wasteful, but there’s nobody standing over me scolding me if I don’t finish every bite of my hot dog. I ate until I was full, but not gross full.

The dessert table

Since it was my second-cousin Dylan’s 9th birthday party too, we got to watch all of the kids in attendance whack the pinata. I have to say, if you ever want to see craziness, watch kids attack a fallen pinata. It was incredibly amusing and made me slightly fear for the future…. because if Matt and I have a child that has even half of my smart-assness and his mischief, we’re gonna be in trouble.

In summary, it was a great weekend and it was so nice to connect with Debbie and Mark and the girls before they move. What’d you do last weekend?

 

My adventures in Seattle

This weekend, I took an adventure up the Pacific Northwest to the lovely wet city of Seattle. My friend Monique is getting her MSW (Social Work – isn’t that awesome?!) at the University of Washington, and I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time! Matt was supposed to be going with me, but his company just had to go and win a technical achievement Academy Award, so he was schmoozing with stars while I ate freshly fried mini doughnuts and posed with trolls. I flew in Saturday morning with my long underwear ready to go (I had been egged on by other Southern Californians about how cold I would be.)

Yummy things at Pike Place Market

Monique and I dropped my stuff off at her place and headed downtown via bus to the world famous Pike Place market. This place is a foodie’s dream, with stalls heaping with colorful fruit and glossy-eyed fish draped on ice. We shopped around, sampling the various goods and stopping for lunch at a Japanese stall. I got the vegetarian yakisoba and it was delicious – hot and sweet with fresh, crunchy cabbage and thin peels of carrot. We had dessert of mini-doughnuts – powdered sugar, sprinkled and cinnamon sugar.

Miss Monique samples a dougnnut

I also had to buy some dark chocolate pasta, just because the idea was so novel to me. I’ll be making chocolate pasta for dessert the next few weeks – I’m thinking chocolate linguine with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. I’ll blog it! I posed for a picture next to the famous Pike pig, and then we headed back to the bus so we could check out one of my favorite novelty stores, Archie McPhee. If you haven’t heard of Archie McPhee, I highly recommend you visit their online store. It’s a great place to buy all kinds of things you don’t need, like pickle finger puppets and potato guns.

Bronze pig appreciates bag of freshly fried doughnuts in hand!

After Archie McPhee, we walked a mile to the Fremont Troll. The troll is a piece of community art commissioned by a Fremont resident. The troll was a popular attraction and we had to get our picture taken a few times to make it troll-gawker free.

TROLLLL!

After the troll, we headed back towards the Northgate area and then had dinner at Taste of India. This place was awesome because they gave us free chai and pakoras while we waited for our table. I had the butter paneer masala and it was amaaaaazing – so creamy, tangy and rich over the basmati rice. We sopped up the sauces with piping hot garlic naan. When our bellies were full, we headed over to the local $3 movie theatre and watched Midnight in Paris. The plot of the movie was charming but I thought the ending was poo-poolicious. After the movie I passed out on Monique’s lovely futon. We woke up Sunday morning and picked up a sandwich at Jimmy John’s, where I was delighted to order a giant dill pickle. Sadly, my pickle had a hair on it of mysterious origins (discovered after my first bite), so I lost my pep for pickles, but my sandwich was still deee-lish.

Moments before I discovered the hairy pickle.

We drove 30 minutes to Snoqualmie Falls, where the air was frigid, wet and cold. The view of these giant manmade waterfalls was breathtaking – the water crashed angrily onto the river below, and rocks broke the surface among the crystal blue water. We explored the park area around Snoqualmie falls for a bit, shopped in the gift shop, (I scored a cast iron bumble bee – yeah!), and then went back towards Monique’s house for some more local adventuring of my favorite kind – shopping!!!

Breathtaking Snoqualimie Falls

We shopped till we dropped and then swung by Cupcake Royale, where I picked up a “Dance Party” cupcake, with vanilla frosting. It was pretty amazing with a glass of wine! We also got ingredients to make homemade tacos! Here’s a sneak peek – but tune in next time to learn how to make flour tortillas that are a million times better than the packaged ones.

Yummy homemade tacos

On Monday, I ventured to the university district to see my Uncle Daniel, who works downtown. We had a good time eating lunch and bantering back and forth about why California was the superior state. Okay, fine, we never agreed on that, but I have decided that although Washington is lovely, California wins with its sunshine and perpetual blue skies. It was fun to see him on the west coast, as I usually only see him in Minnesota on short family vacations when we’re visiting my grandmother.

My Uncle Daniel and I

This weekend was exactly what I needed – a long weekend to decompress, enjoy some girl time, and do fun things instead of laundry, thesis writing and errand-running. I definitely did not track my meals which will probably get me into trouble this week at the scale, but I’m taking full responsibility for my actions and can say with very little regret…damn, I ate well and enjoyed it! Cest la vie.

Tune in soon to see us get our tortilla on! I hope you had an amazing weekend and are having an even better week!

Grad students DO smile! See?

A merry merry christmas

Hello everyone! Hope you had a fantastic Christmas (if ya celebrate). Matt and I celebrated Santa’s arrival by heading up to Petaluma, a little town north of San Francisco where both sets of parents live.

We woke up bright and early at 8 AM at Matt’s parents to open gifts. Santa generously gifted us with a beautiful Cuisinart juicer… which we’ve already used to make fresh orange juice, and my favorite, apple pear juice. This will be making frequent guest appearances on the blog in the next couple of weeks! Matt’s dad surprised Shirley, my mother in law, with a month long cruise to Tahiti and Fiji to kick off their retirement next year! Here she is after she opened up her gift – a mini cruise ship!

So cute!

After gifts at the Currans, we headed over to the Lofgrens to celebrate Christmas there, too. My dad made bacon egg cups – bacon cooked in a muffin pan, filled with a whole egg and baked with cheese on top. It was a protein-packed, heart attack of a breakfast – and an enjoyable one, at that. Here’s the recipe!

 After breakfast we opened gifts from the Lofgrens, and we scored all sorts of great things like a pair of calf-high boots, an adorable olive oil and vinegar cruet, underwear and cute sweaters. Everybody spoiled us – as they do every year – and despite the mountain of new stuff we got, I was reminded all day about the generosity and love that’s so abundant on both sides of our families. We are truly, truly lucky!

PRESENTS!

After gift opening was complete, we (the kids) saw the Muppets at the $3 theatre (WOCKA WOCKA!) and then we headed back to the Currans’ house for an amazing dinner of prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, creamed spinach, creamed corn and potato wedges. I made a pecan pie for dessert, and we also had some of my mom’s homemade fudge and kolacky, a Czech jam cookie. Matt’s dad is also quite the cook and I consider it a huge bonus that I married into such a food-loving family – now I’m surrounded by foodies on either side!

After dinner we headed back to the Lofgrens’ house where we had to play the annual game of Monopoly. The game started off slow for me, and I was bored within five minutes, assuming I’d be monopoly-less and broke after my second turn around the board. However… I scored $1200 from the free parking kitty, and before I knew it, I was rollin’ high – and claimed the official title of REIGNING MONOPOLY CHAMPION.

I woke up the next day with a raging stomach ache thanks to my celebratory feasting, and then it was back on the road to return to Los Angeles. I had a vacation day from work today but tomorrow it’s back to the grind. This was a wonderful Christmas holiday with both of our families, and now, with a few days left of work until the new year, I’m beginning to reflect on 2011 and think about small changes I can make in 2012. I hope you had a wonderful holiday, too – what was your favorite memory?

 

 

 

Giving Thanks

Hey Bloggies! I’m back after an awesome long weekend in Petaluma with my family. Matt and I are blessed to have amazing parents, two sweet siblings, and wonderful close friends. I have a lot to be thankful for! It was so nice to have a few days off and actually spend extended periods of time with them – and in true Thanksgiving tradition, much of our quality time spent together revolved around food!

Thanksgiving Feast #1

On Thursday, my in-laws came over to my parent’s house to have dinner with my parents and my sister and brother. Matt and I are so lucky that our parents all get along – in fact, they often have dinner together and hang out with out us being around! We’ve even been on vacation together. It’s really cool. My dad smoked a turkey, and we had mashed potatoes, cranberries, crescent rolls, wild rice, green bean casserole, yams and stuffing to go with it. I think I got a little bit of everything on this plate…

Feast #2

On Saturday, we had Thanksgiving feast #2 at the in-law’s house. Matt’s dad barbequed a turkey, and we had two types of stuffing (but they call it dressing – do you call it stuffing or dressing? Just curious!). There was a cornbread jalapeno stuffing that was kind of sweet, and a more savory spinach stuffing with sausage and olives. Tasty, tasty. The star of the night in my opinion were Matt’s dad’s prosciutto green beans. He sauteed the green beans with prosciutto, olive oil and marsala wine. They were incredibly delicious… and I had seconds. I’ll definitely be trying to make them!

Prosciutto green beans

We’re going to be having Thanksgiving feast #3 soon, because I’m a glutton. No, really it’s because we got a free turkey at work, and I’m not one to turn down free food! I picked up all the fixings and we’ll be hopefully preparing our own feast this week. Then, I can survive on leftovers for my last two weeks of grad school for the year of 2011.

This long Thanksgiving weekend was the perfect thing to get me in the Christmas spirit, and today I decorated the house with shimmering evergreen garlands and our mini tree. The house smells nicely of cinnamon and holly – and we’re feeling very jolly. Below is a sneak peek of our holiday card image… courtesy of Lynnette Joy photography. Aren’t we just the classiest couple on earth? ;)

How was your Thanksgiving weekend? What was the best thing you ate?