Friday, May 29, 2015

Gearin' up for grillin' and what I'm reading this week

Well, it's been a long, week and I'm ready for the weekend.

Let's get right to it and see...

16 Kitchen Skills Every Home Chef Must Know  (I knew quite a few and learned a few things)

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Wedding Surprise!  (Very cool!)

When Things in Your Pantry Will Actually Expire  (Good stuff to know)

6  Ways to Make Your Deodorant and Anti-Perspirant Work Harder  (I never thought of some of these but I'm definitely doing the hairline thing when we're out with others in the summer)

The 21 Germiest Places You're Not Cleaning  (Ugh, apparently we're just surrounded by disease 24/7 and it's a wonder we're all still alive!)

Can't Get a Grip on Your Diet? Follow These 13 No-Cheat Recommendations  (Duly noted)

9 Tips that Make Tiny Backyards Feel Bigger  (Even the "tiny" yards in this are twice the size of mine!)

You're Doing it Wrong: How to Get the Most Out of Your Food  (Who knew?)

Skin Cancer: Why You Need to Get That Mole Checked (Maybe Twice)  (This is kind of terrifying)

Melissa McCarthy Says Malls "Segregate" Plus-Size Women's Clothing Stores, but "People Don't Stop at Size 12"  (I'm interested to see what her line will look like but I have to say some of her pattern choices in the past haven't been flattering.  Lord knows it'll be better than Target's line)

Nail Every Goal You Set: The Best Advice You've Probably Never Heard  (Good advice)

20 Awesome Facts About the Golden Gate Bridge  (Missing San Fran)

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.  (Courtesy of the Mr.  It's pretty long but basically why I don't really rely on anything more than common sense when it comes to food trends.  We eat a few squares of dark chocolate a few times a week not because someone told us we should but because we like it and enjoy it in moderation.  But this is a great example of how the media passes along crap because they need content, not because they researched to see if it's actually true.)

Bill Paxton Reminisces About 15 Key Roles   (We quote Bill quite often.  "You're stewed, buttwad"  "You took 'er ya damn thief!")

I, along with the rest of the country, am stoked to get in more grilling.  It's grocery weekend so I'll be perusing ads today to get the most for our moolah.  I think I inspired myself to get to World Market after our video and we picked up some Hawaiian goodies so we can have people over for cookouts this summer.  I'm in the mood for chicken kebobs so I'm thinking huli huli chicken and some veggies between rainstorms.  I also ordered some stone ground yellow grits from Charleston and I'll be testing my version of shrimp and cheese grits soon.  I just want to find the perfect cheese for my inaugural go.

What's on tap for y'all this weekend?

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Movie mania

We have been on a renting spree the past two weeks.  On vacation we rented Mortdecai with Johnny Depp.  Our local video store is now doing rent three, get one free.  They hooked us.  So our last day of vacation once home, we rented four movies:  Just Before I Go, Cake, The Boy Next Door and Fifty Shades of Grey.  Then last night, we rented Taken 3, The Loft and Hot Tub Time Machine 2.

Here's my two cents on the movies.

Mortdecai -  Johnny Depp, Gwenyth Paltrow.  Honestly, this movie looked completely stupid so we went in with no expectations.  I am always intrigued when Johnny Depp does comedy though so it's kind of a moral imperative.  Depp plays a shady art dealer seeking a stolen painting that has a code for a Nazi bank account that supposedly has a ton of riches inside.  Since he's in dire financial straits, he goes on quite the jet setting adventure.  It's all so absurd, it's actually funny.  The Mr and I laughed quite a bit and while it's not one we'd need to own, it was a good rent in the right mindset.

Cake - Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington- I was looking forward to seeing Jennifer Aniston in this role.  I heard she was excellent.  She plays a woman in chronic pain after a car accident.  When she finds out a fellow group member killed herself, she becomes obsessed to find out why.  It's not exactly the most uplifting movie but it is a role in which she truly should've gotten more recognition for.

Just Before I Go - Seann William Scott, Kate Walsh - I love Seann and I was glad to see he had a newer movie out.  Seann plays a man who was left by his wife for being too boring.  He goes back to confront the people in his childhood who made his life hell before he kills himself.  It sounds like a depressing movie but it was actually our favorite of that batch of four.  Completely strange, funny, heartwarming in a twisted way and we'd both highly recommend it if you're in the mood to say "WTF did I just watch?" and then laugh your ass off at how it all somehow was pulled off.

The Boy Next Door - Jennifer Lopez, John Corbett - Lopez plays a jilted wife whose husband wants her to give him a second chance.  A hot, young dude moves in next door to help take care of his ailing uncle.  In a moment of weakness, hot sex ensues and we learn hot dude isn't quite so stable.  This movie was full of action in and out of the sheets.  Recommended.

Fifty Shades of Grey - Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan- I don't really think I need to go into backstory.  You'd have to be living under a rock to not know what this is about.  No, I didn't read the book.  I read a few pages in the Amazon 'sneak peek' inside and the writing was so horrible that I felt I might lose brain cells if I proceeded.  But not wanting to be out of the pop culture loop, I caved on the movie.  This movie was the most boring movie I've ever seen.  Quite frankly, the three minute sex scene in The Boy Next Door was more erotic than this entire movie.  I know Christian is supposed to be cold and mechanic to a degree but Dornan played him horribly and this was like watching a girl with a lip biting tick try to get romantic with a cardboard cut out.  These two have the chemistry of oil and water.  Thankfully the Mr felt the same and had no desires to try anything new in the sack.  I made it quite clear that flogging my mons pubis is likely grounds for divorce.

Taken 3 - Liam Neesan - If you've seen the other Takens, this is the third one.  Lots of fighting, lots of unrealistic plots that you must suspend your disbelief for but you love Liam so much that you watch anyway.  He brings some weird humanity to it and because of the tragedies he's suffered both in the movies and personally, you find yourself yelling "can't Liam Neeson just catch a break!?"  If you liked the other Takens, you'll like this one.  Even if the ending leaves you screaming "there is no way in hell that would happen!"

The Loft - James Marsden, Eric Stonestreet - I was looking forward to this one.  It looked like a good thriller and to a degree it was.  But from the get go you don't really care what happens to this group of cheaters.  Karma, yo.  Half the cast are really horrible actors/actresses so it makes it hard to get past that, the other half do what they can with what they were given.  It comes down to good plot, bad casting.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 - I hated the first movie so I have no idea why I thought it'd be a good idea to rent this.  I'm going to blame the trailer.  This was lame.  A few funny parts but nothing that really made me laugh.  I just kept thinking "we spent $2.15 on this and that was too much."

Rent any movies lately?  

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Product Review: Vegetable Spiralizer

I love pasta but when it's 210 calories for 2 ounces and let's face it, 4 ounces is the typical serving, 420 calories for pasta alone doesn't always fit into the calorie bank.  I'm not one of those people who can do spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles only and be like "voila...pasta!"  

Uh's faux pasta that is limp and my mouth knows the difference.  

But I decided to try a half pasta, half zucchini hybrid and that we can do and only have about 220 calories invested in noodles.  I was using my mandoline on the julienne setting but when it got down to the thinner part, I always wondered how long it would be until I took a finger with it.  Well, it happened.  I got my thumb and it went a wee deep for my liking.  I figured giving a Spiralizer a shot wouldn't be a bad idea if it meant keeping my digits in tact especially at under $20.

Here's what it looks like.

I washed and cut the ends off of my zucchini.

Then I stuck it in the top of the zucchini, held the metal sides and started twisting from the top.  There is a thicker setting...

...and a slightly thinner one.

It takes a little getting used to your first time and when the noodles got long enough, I'd cut them with my kitchen shears.  The only gripe I had was the seeded pulp plug leftover.

But OF COURSE after I bought it, they now include a bristle brush to pop it out.  I had to use a small knife.  The link I have to it includes the brush.

The top is for when you get to the top of the veggie and can't really turn it with your hands any more.  It gets an extra twist or two out of a zucchini but I assume it works better on something a little harder.

When you're done, you have this little nubbin left so I just cut off the point and cut up the rest for the Mr's salads.

This is three regular zucchinis worth of noodles.

My verdict:  The Spiralizer does just fine if noodles are your goal.  I am a little disappointed at how long it took compared to my mandoline but if it keeps me from making my finger into a mangled mess, I'll do the prep early!  I suspect I'll speed up with practice.  Mixing one serving of whole wheat pasta with 1 to 1 1/2 zucchini's worth of noodles gives that pasta taste but bulked up with veggies!

I will say that zucchini noodles are very water dense so if you don't want watery sauce, drain them for about 10-15 minutes in cheesecloth or paper towels before adding them to the spaghetti noodles and cook them a little longer.  

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On the same bad page

About two weeks before we left for vacation, I started to get this horrible feeling.  It was like bottomless pit syndrome.  I felt like I wanted to eat everything and anything I could get my hands on.  I was diligent about planning my meals throughout the week so I could continue my weight loss.  I was meticulous about my food, exercise and water on the week before we left so I could finally for once in my life hit a weight loss goal I set out to hit.  I only had one pound to lose and lost nothing.

It sent me mentally on a spiral of...pardon my French those with delicate eyes...F*CK IT!!  I still did well during the week but the day before we left was gynie day.  So we stopped by my absolute favorite donut place afterward because 1) I just got the news the best doc ever was no longer going to be my doc and 2) I wasn't weighing in again before the trip so what the hell did I care?   Oh and for the record, totally worth it.  It was seriously one of the best cream sticks I've ever gotten from them.  Not a single regret.  Then we did our workout which was a 5K around the historic district.  We passed a favorite patisserie that we walk by many times and always pass up because it's not on a high cal day so there's no room for it.  But did I on that day?  Nope.  I wanted one of their baby chocolate mousse thingys and 1) it was for all the times we were good and passed it up and 2) I wasn't weighing in again before the trip so what did I care?

This was just the beginning of a slew of gluttony that followed for basically 2 1/2 weeks.  We lost that weight before the trip because we knew we were going to a place we weren't likely to go to again and would probably gain a lot of weight.  I just didn't want to pile that weight on top of weight we hadn't lost before like previous trips.  I know...makes perfect sense, right?


So while we're on the trip, we're walking a crap ton.  It's no 12 miles in one day kind of thing like San Francisco last year or Chicago in January but probably 5 miles a day on many days and 2-3 on the other days.  So we're not exactly twiddling our thumbs but we're also having dessert after almost every meal so you can imagine that things didn't exactly even out.

I got quite the scare whilst on the tail end of Charleston into the Outer Banks.  You know how runners train for marathons and stuff?  Well, we should train before our vacations because I basically go from sharing a blood supply with the couch except when we're exercising 30-60 minutes a day to walking anywhere from 5-8 hours a day without warning.  I got a HUGE bruise on the back of my calf for no apparent reason and this is the third year that's happened.  It seriously looked like I got hit by a rubber bullet or something.  I didn't even know I had it until we were going upstairs and the Mr freaked out over it.  It didn't hurt so obviously it was my blood vessels having a hissy.  Then when you go from drinking a gallon of water a day to a pint because you don't want to spend all day walking around looking for a restroom (and trust me, the places we went didn't seem to have many.  All we kept seeing were signs on doors saying NO PUBLIC RESTROOM!)  So I would only drink water at restaurants.  Well that was once we got to Charleston because Savannah's tap water is gross.  It tastes like 300 year old pipe...probably because that's what it's running through but still.

So by the time we were almost ready to leave Charleston, my legs were over it and they doubled in size.  I'm talking my skin was so tight it looked like saran wrap was over them and I thought my skin was going to split.  I tried to convey my terror to the Mr but I think he thought me over-dramatic.  If it felt like someone was pumping YOUR legs with a bike pump and didn't stop, you'd feel much different.  I began looking for the nearest sporting goods store on our way to Rehoboth Beach because I knew it was either that or a hospital after a few doses of water pills failed to work.  So we found a Sports Authority in Norfolk, VA and I checked to make sure they had compression sleeves in stock before we made a beeline there.  I paid for them and slapped them on for the car ride up.  Thankfully wearing them every day for 6-8 hours kept my gigantor leg situation at bay for the rest of the trip but you can bet that pair is going in the suitcase and actually being used on any trip we take.

Oh, I have a pair but totally forgot to bring them.  Did I remember my balance board?  Yes.  Did I use it?  Not once.  Did I remember the crappy version of the hard roller stick I bought for trips?  Yes.  Did I use it?  3x but needed it at least twice a day.  Did I do the arch massages I need daily?  Nope.  Are my legs effed up severely now?  Yep.  Only have myself to blame.

When we came home, we didn't even bother to weigh in.  We used to do that but then found it did more psychological damage than not.  We were still on vacation the day after we got back and continued our graze fest even though I told myself we wouldn't.  We did get right back into exercise which was good but water wasn't a priority.  That first week back, we don't track.  We just slide back into better eating and detoxing from having all of that crap.  I wanted to get right back into old water habits but that didn't happen.  I was drinking a half a gallon and that was just going to have to be good enough.  Then you come into Memorial Day weekend.  When you want to grill everything that mooed, clucked or gobbled in it's former incarnation.  We did that...and then stuffed our faces with sweets as though we were still on vacation.  When I told myself we'd be good on Sunday, we mostly were...until I somehow felt entitled to a pizza.  The Mr justified it as well.  So we're on the same bad page.

Monday should've been the saving grace because we were going to track...and I did.  I even worked in a little treat of a DQ kiddie cone.  But when faced with driving all the way into town, that didn't sound as good as getting a scoop at a closer ice cream place that I thought was comparable calorie wise.  Nope.  80 and 100 calories more respectively.  Then because we watched Forrest Gump, I felt entitled to popcorn and while it was only 80 calories, it was 80 calories I didn't plan and I'd already gone over 80 calories with the ice cream.


On a positive note, I got in my old water numbers...a gallon.  I must continue that streak and I must just think of the big picture and try to push this pie hole demon that is trying to sabotage us to the back of the brain.  Because I suggest something I know is bad and the Mr will either agree right away or agree to keep me happy.  This is how we got uber fat as opposed to the fat we are now.

I've got a date with a scale Saturday and I'm super afraid to see what stuck but if I allow this demon to win, I will be back to square one.  WE must get this under control and I need the Mr to step up as well and just say no when he knows that is the right answer, no matter how mad I get at him in the moment.

Do you have a pie hole demon that rears its head out of nowhere?

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Monday, May 25, 2015

The best laid plans...patio edition

Happy Memorial Day all.  Let's take a second to remember why most of us get today off.

Every Memorial Day weekend we, like millions of Americans, get our patio/yard together for the season.  I had the bright idea of doing everything on Friday.

"We'll do the cleaning while the Mr has lulls in teleworking!"  (ha...they are rare)

"We'll do our herb/flower shopping at night so when the rest of the world is out on Saturday, we'll already be done!"

We drove to one nursery that had the best sale, sat in traffic only to find that they only had 3 herbs in the sale containers and all the rest were $1.00 more.  Then the flats were $5 more than the sale I missed at my favorite nursery in the city.  So I decided to grab the herbs that I use most instead of forcing 12 of them for a sale price that I would never use.  Chives, oregano, thyme, rosemary and basil it is.  I thought I'd try my hand at zucchini this year.  I'm sure because it grows so well for everyone else, it'll tank for me but we'll see.  I also got some jalapenos for one pot and because we just came from a vacation in the south, pimento peppers in the other so I can make my own pimento cheese when they ripen.  At least that's the plan.  I say every year I'm going to make a mondo batch of homemade pesto and before I know it, the basil has bolted and so have my plans.

The Mr unloaded the furniture to the yard while I swept up a winter and early spring's worth of crap from the tree from our outdoor rug.  Then I was left with the pretty algae and stains so it was on with the gloves, a dump of Mr Clean and liberal watering so I could scrub away with the stiff brush.  I burned 1100+ calories doing that chore.  We got everything planted and by the nights end, we were pretty much done with the main stuff.  We did have some side plants to get but those would wait until later.

Cue the next day, we're already out and I decide to go to a nursery up the street for a banana plant.  I spy one so we grab that...and some portulacas...and I spied some star jasmine that aren't rated for my zone but I want to see how long they'll bloom anyway and it'll remind me of Charleston.

I told myself I would only spend $100 on the lanai this year.

I think I spent $230.  *face palm*

So I was planting crap in pots well into the night Saturday.  Then that left Sunday.  Usually that is when we're doing stuff like the last of things that need cleaned up, planted, etc.  Instead, it just left us with nothing to do and in a mood.  I was bored.  I was irritated because I know we need to de-clutter but it'll all basically fall on me because come on ladies, when you and your spouse are cleaning things out, how many things does he hold up and say "where do you want this?" or try to throw away something you know you need but he has no idea what it is.  I also knew our cushion of videos for the other site was dwindling and we are almost in a do it or lose momentum situation.  We're both in an "eff it" frame of mind on a lot of things so it's not good.

We decided to throw together a video to check something off the list.  Then we were giving half assed answers to what kind of workout to do so we ended up doing a circuit since we only did one strength last week.

It was a classic struggle over what you want to do versus what you have to do.

I'll just warn you guys, my posts may get a little vinegary over the next few days as I'm going into an Aunt Flo visit after skipping one for vacation so that always doubles the bitch switch.

How was your holiday weekend?

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Back to reality and what I'm reading this week

Sigh, first week back from vacay, always so trying going from doing what you want all day with seemingly unlimited funds back to being in your usual routine like you never left.  


But enough of my post vacation complaining, let's get to...

45 Reasons to Exercise and Eat Right That Aren't About Weight Loss  (Awesome!)

Is Sclerotherapy For Leg Veins Worth The Burn?  (I hope so because thanks to my dad's side and lard pushing against them, my legs are a wreck)

10 Common Symptoms That Could Be Cancer  (Good to know!)

Desserts With a Surprising High-Protein Ingredient You Can't Even Taste  (I'm so making those strawberries)

I Want to Lose Weight, BUT my Significant Other Sabotages My Weight Loss!  (I'm glad I'm not in this boat but I know many are)

5-year-old's touching gesture feeds homeless man at Waffle House  (Faith in the future, restored)

9 Ways to Make an Old Home Feel New  (Cool schtuff)

5 Surprising Mosquito Repellants You Already Have   (Bye bye skeeters!)

Delicious Picnic Recipes  (So ready for picnic season!)

Melissa McCarthy Explains How She Taught a Critic Who Trashed Her Looks to Not "Tear Down Women" Anymore   (Get it girl!)

This Photo Could Save Your Life: The Subtle Sign That Tipped This Woman Off to Breast Cancer
(Never even thought of this!)

Why Your Sunscreen May Not Protect You as Much as You Think  (Just go outside in a hazmat suit)

Why Should I Continue To Workout?  (A good answer from one of our favorite workout peeps)

25 Reasons Why Savannah, GA is the Most Utterly Enchanting Place in the South  (I can't believe it's been 3 weeks)

Do you need to wash new clothes before you wear them? Here's the verdict  (*madly throws all shirts purchased on vacation in the washer)

How to Stay on Vacation Forever — These People Did It!  (I'm down)

We don't really have any plans for the holiday weekend.  Typically we plant flowers and herbs this weekend but it's been a rough transition week for the Mr back into work life so I'm going to let him decide if he's up for getting the lanai together or not.  I know a Trader Joe's run is in the future as we need chicken dogs to cook out and not feel like we're missing anything.

What's on your agenda this weekend?

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

A step in the right direction


When we got together with my mom a few weeks ago for dinner, talk inevitably mentioned Grandma a few times.  I've told you before how sometimes as a family we're not on the same page where including her is concerned.  It's important for her to be in a routine even if it doesn't appear like much of a routine to some of us.  Sleeping, sitting and not saying much is her routine.  When she is out of that element, it can be confusing and irritating to her.  At that point it isn't about her but getting my grandpa out and with other people which was fine for a time.

What I'm going to say may sound mean or selfish to those not familiar with the disease but when the person with the disease and their caretaker are at an event, the event changes.  It's no longer a family's tending to her, taking her to the bathroom, trying to explain why her husband isn't at her side and trying to stop her from going to get him so he can have a few minutes of conversation with people.  This applies to every event from holidays to birthday dinners and honestly, it turns what is supposed to be a celebration into quite frankly, a bummer.  Obviously we don't hold the constant attention she needs with this disease against her and the last thing we want is to dread time with her.  But if every single time the family gets together, it all becomes about her disease and trying to pretend everything is normal, the dynamics of the family begin to shift.  I've read all about this stuff and I feel that tug at times especially since the holidays weren't so great from our perspective last year.

I was quite relieved when my mom said that when we celebrate her birthday this year in a few weeks that she won't be inviting the grandparents because no offense, she wants to actually celebrate her birthday.  The Mr and I both said "thank God you said it first!"  We were both of the same mindset that if people were going to be offended by us not inviting the grandparents because we wanted to not have that reminder at a small family dinner then we were just going to make birthday dinners now a thing that we did with my mom.  (As it stands, that's who it normally is plus my aunt and maybe a stray cousin or two so it's not like a ton of people would be left out.)  She said birthday dinners need to be about celebrating the person and everyone there should be available to socialize, have fun and not be about relieving Grandpa of his duties, listening to him nitpick as he tends to do when there's an audience or having to interrupt things if she's not having a good day.

My grandpa was never the one to keep track of birthdays and he couldn't tell you whose birthday is when so he won't have a clue he's missing anything and obviously grandma doesn't know any of us anymore.  My mom and aunt are there 1-2x week and have to deal with seeing their mother in that state so they especially deserve to have their birthdays celebrated without one of them having to take on caretaker duties on their day or someone missing out on conversation and tomfoolery.

More importantly, going out in public restaurants is no longer an option.  She has accidents, she needs everything cut and sometimes fed to her, she needs to be reminded how to eat.  Literally she will look at her food after just having taken a bite and say 'what do I do?'  They used to be able to eat out even a year ago but it's not an option anymore so having a family dinner out for an hour or two is just not something she can handle anymore.  I wish I would've thought to say that to mom when she said that.  There's really nothing to feel guilty over because it's physically impossible for her to be out for more than 10 minutes anymore.  At holidays, she's in a house where she can be tended to in a private bathroom and such.

I know this is a long way from the holiday stance that the Mr and I feel need to be taken to keep her in her routine but we both feel this is a step in the right direction.  Just as caretakers needs that break, sometimes the family needs that break to come together as a family and bond over something other than a disease.

Even with her not at birthday dinners, she will always still be there in spirit...mispronouncing fettucini alfredo as feggucini and a nice spoonful of birthday ice cream will be left in her honor.

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