Archive for April, 2008

Gimme A Head With Hair

April 30, 2008

I’m getting my hair cut and colored tomorrow. It’s been quite a while, and I feel like I want to do something different, but I’m not sure what. I really like longer hair, and I like having layers. In which case, all I’d ask for is a trim. But then I look the same! I want to do something cool, but I don’t know if it’s right for me. I’m pretty low maintenance with my hair. I like to blow-dry, brush, and go. Plus, I tend to wash my hair at night, because I hate getting up early.

Clairol’s website has this fun “try it on” studio. So I could post some crazy things I did to the picture I uploaded, but instead I’ll post these, which are actual possibilities. I’m at a loss when it comes to my own hair. My hair is weird. I have my dad’s texture, which makes it hold a curl really well, but it never really gets straight or soft and silky. Except of course right after I leave the salon. So at least tomorrow night while I’m eating dinner and continuing my house-cleaning, I’ll look fabulous!!

Here are the pictures. Go try it yourself. It’s fun! Especially some of the crazy curls and “glam” updos.

Every Now And Then

April 30, 2008

Every now and then I see a pair of shoes that takes my breath away. Today was one of those days, thanks to The Manolo.


These Roberto Cavalli shoes are drop dead gorgeous. Why couldn’t I find anything like this on my New York City trip a couple years ago? I went willing to spend about $500 on an incredible pair of shoes. But I couldn’t find anything quite right in that range.

Oh, there were Louboutins (which I would practically die for)…


And there were these beautiful Chanel platform sandals that looked like they wrapped your foot in black and gold ribbon. But these were all in the NINE HUNDRED dollar range. So instead I bought THREE pairs of shoes for about $500! I know I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t pass them up. Maroon suede Stuart Weitzman pumps, gray suede Isaac pumps, and this beautiful, but cheaper pair of Enzo Angiolini champagne satin sandals that I have yet to wear!! I’ll have to wear them this summer. They’re gorgeous, but they kind of look like “wedding shoes” so it’s been difficult to find a time to wear them.

I know I can’t buy those Cavalli shoes. Even if I got a huge tax rebate. $595 is just way too much for me right now. But my toes curled with delight when I saw them, picturing slipping them onto my feet and hitting the town. I’m definitely in shoe-love.

Motivation

April 29, 2008

I have quite the motivation problem. I don’t really know where it came from. But it sucks. It’s not like I sit at home and do nothing all the time… but sometimes I do! And sometimes that really is all I want to do! I think it comes from being so heavily involved in theater for the last few years. When almost every night is involved in rehearsals or performances, I tend to want to collapse into a ball of nothingness when it’s all over. I usually don’t have a problem doing things I want to do. Just the things I need to do.

Right now, this is causing a major battle with my apartment. It is messy, and dirty, and it makes me angry. But after a long day at work, it is SO difficult to work up the motivation to deal with it.

The problem is that we started off on the wrong foot. We live in the upper flat of a duplex where David and his family lived for many years. For the last handful of years, David’s dad lived in the upper, and his mom in the lower (they were all but divorced, but he stayed close to help with her medical needs.) Long story short, his dad decided to buy a foreclosed house/duplex down the street. He offered us his old apartment for a nice rental discount, providing we take care of basic house stuff.

So that’s where my living situation came from. We have a beautiful three bedroom duplex with a kitchen, dining room, and living room! It’s way more space than we needed. The house that David’s dad bought needed a lot of work, so although he moved in, he was working on renovating much of the house, including the foundation. So he didn’t need and didn’t have room for all of his stuff. So we moved it all into the front bedroom at our place.

We had moved in during a show (Grand Hotel) and during the hottest weekend of the year! There wasn’t much time for cleaning the place between David’s dad moving out and us moving in. Then, we stupidly decided to have a cast party/housewarming party ONE WEEK after we moved in. This was dumb. DUMB! We tried to get unpacked, but it just wasn’t going to happen. We put non-essential boxes and junk in the front bedroom and closed the door. We bought a ton of booze and food, and threw the party.

It was a great party, everyone had fun. But we were just never motivated then to go through the boxes and junk that had been shoved behind that bedroom door. Worse- we added to it! We never got the chance to really deep clean the apartment. Instead, it has felt like we’ve been living in a little bit of limbo. We plan to stay here for a long time, so this spring I am trying to really make it ours.

That means deep cleaning. And unpacking. And organizing. And uncluttering. And decorating. I’d love to be painting by June. That’s our goal. We are not in any major plays right now, so it should be attainable.

Last night I started deep cleaning the kitchen. I am using these spring cleaning checklists as a guide. I work better with a list. I didn’t get much done yesterday, due to a lack of sleep Sunday night. I started washing down the walls. I got one section done, and I washed out one set of cupboards that were not being used. We threw out excess serving utensils (we don’t need two ladles!) and moved our Tupperware containers from the pantry to the cabinets.

I hope to finish washing all the walls I can get to tonight. I don’t know if I’m just not cleaning hard enough, but there seems to be some stains on the walls that are NOT coming off. I hope that’s okay, and we can just paint over it.

I’d also like to finish organizing and cleaning the pantry. It’s nice to have, but we haven’t made the best use of it. Now that we have an extra shelf cleared from the Tupperware, we can spread out our pots and pans to make them more easily accessible. Also, we have many cabinets in there that aren’t being used because they need to be washed. I haven’t done this yet because… there are spider webs! And spider webs usually mean spiders. GROSS!

I’m really bad at organizing. I’m fine with washing dishes, cleaning walls, dusting window blinds, etc. But when it comes to putting things away, I’m at a loss. I like to be organized, but I have too much STUFF. I am trying to be objective and throw things away that I don’t need. This is difficult for me because of theater. You never know when something might come in handy. I could throw out this weird skirt, but what if I could use it for a costume down the road? Or what if that old cell phone could be used as a prop?

I am going to ask myself, “Can I easily buy something similar if I DO need it at some point?” If the answer is yes, I will toss it. If the answer is no, I’ll have a big bin of “theater stuff” for things like costumes and props that can be stored in the attic, NOT laying around my dining room.

I’ve been trying to embark on a cleaning and organizing mission like this for quite some time. I grew up in an orderly home, and I am determined to achieve that for myself!

Just An Entry

April 28, 2008

Twelve days into my diet, and I’m sticking to it! Wednesday will be the official end of my two-week Phase One. I’m so proud of myself! I really followed it closely. I had tiny bits of carbs (mostly sushi-roll related) a couple of times, but it probably was the equivalent of a tiny handful.

The biggest accomplishment, is I haven’t had any booze. I’m not a heavy drinker by any standard, but I do like to kick back with a micro-brew or a fruity fun drink when I hit the weekend. I was able to avoid going out to bars with friends, mostly because I was too busy.

I think I will continue following Phase One until I leave for Arizona (ON SUNDAY!!!!) so that I can allow myself a little leeway while I’m on vacation. I don’t plan on giving up the diet, but I will allow myself a couple small splurges. After all, it’s a vacation!

It will be HOT, so I’m sure I’ll have some ice cream at some point. I might be limited on what my breakfast options are (and I doubt I can get my usual egg muffin and V-8) so I will try to stick with fruit at the very least. I resisted chocolate cake at work today, I’m sure I can resist croissants. I will probably be eating out a lot. I will try to stick with South Beach foods, like salads and drinks like iced tea. I know we’ll be going outat least once, so I will allow myself a beer or a fruity drink or three. I just have to be aware and know in advance that I will not order carb-loaded, greasy food from a drive-thru at 3 in the morning.

I am undecided about the Midwest Airline’s chocolate chip cookies. I think I will give in, but only to one. Each way, that is.

Then, when I come back, if I fell off the wagon a little too much, I will go back on strict Phase One for another week, before venturing into Phase Two.

I am officially down 10 pounds according to my scale at home in the morning!!! It has been months since I’ve seen a number like this. And… I am right on the cusp of a breakthrough according to the (probably more correct) scale at the YMCA. In fact, when I go to workout tomorrow at lunch, I might break a barrier. I told myself if I could get below this number, I’d reveal my weight, out here, on the internet, so I can write about my weight loss in real pounds and numbers. I think I’ll do it. Tomorrow!

I am sorry I’ve turned into a diet-crazed person. I’m sure I talk about it to David way too often. But Phase One is such a drastic kick-start, that I just can’t help it. Once my weight loss slows down in Phase Two, I promise I won’t be so obsessed.

The one thing I really do hope is that I will be able to see my weight loss. I can’t tell any difference now. I hope that when I do manage to hit certain weight milestones, I will be able to see it when I look in the mirror. I don’t want to lose 30 pounds and still see my same fat body in the mirror. I hope that my eyes tell me the truth when it’s there to see. I imagine that, when I can fit comfortably into a size 10 or 12, my eyes will be forced to see the difference, but from what David says, my eyes deceive me (he tells me all the time how beautiful I am- my body included, and I just don’t see it).

I’ve never been a hugely confident person, but I noticed that as my weight grew, my confidence waned. I’ve been banking on feeling more confident and outgoing and more like my old self once I lost the weight. I’ve read horror stories about how people’s emotional state of mind doesn’t change when they get what they think they wanted, whether it be a smaller waistline or bigger boobs. I’m hoping I’m not in the same boat though, because I really am happy with most other areas of my life. I just want to lose the excess weight and feel more confident about who I am. I think I’ll be okay because I really am doing this for myself!

Foooood

April 24, 2008

The scale was not lower this morning. I directly attribute that to eating nuts. I overate cashews last night. I ate a huge handful. They’re so addictive, though! You’re allowed 15 on the South Beach Diet. 15? That’s such a measly little number. So I ate a lot more. And I didn’t feel too happy about it afterwards. From now on, when I buy cashews, I must immediately put them into “individual serving” bags. It’s just way too tempting when they’re all in one big bag. Towards the end I was like, well, I guess I should just finish them off.

I don’t know why I felt the need to snack on them after dinner. Funny how I just complained about not having any exciting dinner ideas left. Fortunately, David is amazing. He made dinner. And he described it as, “his favorite way [he’s] ever made chicken.” I think I might have to agree.

He bought chicken breasts and butterflied them, and laid them on the grill, cut side down. When that side was done cooking, he flipped them and smeared pesto all over the cooked side and laid a tomato slice over the top of it. He let it cook the rest of the way and, right at the end, sprinkled shredded mozzarella cheese over the whole thing and let it melt.

Oh my goodness, it was SO good! I’m on a diet! It almost seems unfair to eat food this delicious.

I had a great workout after work yesterday. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and some weight machines. David was nice enough to start dinner even before I got home. He even did the dishes!! I was thrilled!! I didn’t have the energy to do much else in terms of cleaning after dinner. So I showered and we watched some Scrubs and played Phase 10. It was nice. The past couple of nights we just sat next to each other and did our own thing on our separate computers. It was fun to connect and play a game. Having the porch door open and hearing the trees rustling outside was a nice bonus.

I’m getting very excited about my Arizona trip. I still feel squeemish about using up so many vacation days so early in the year. But Thailand was worth it, and I’m sure Phoenix will be too. I thought about getting a massage there, but it’s just too expensive. Instead, I’m going to treat myself to a mani/pedi here at home before I leave. It’s been a long time, and my hands and feet are wishing for it!

Good Times

April 23, 2008

Lately I feel like most of my blog posts could be titled with the word GREAT. I’m feeling GREAT. The weather is GREAT. I’m really enjoying life right now.

First my South Beach Diet. It’s going so well! I’ve officially been on it for one week and it’s working like a charm. I’m running out of new and exciting ideas for meals, but fortunately I like meat, cheese, and vegetables. So even if it’s not new, at least it’s good.

I’m sure David is getting tired of hearing me say every day, “Guess what the scale said this morning!” But it’s lower almost every day and that is so exciting. This morning was the lowest yet! I weighed myself at the YMCA today. I’m guessing their scale is more accurate, but it’s also about 4 pounds MORE than my scale at home. So I might not be positive what my number is right now, but I do know that from my heaviest, last week, until this morning, I am down EIGHT pounds.

I’m starting to feel like my clothes fit better. I put on a button down shirt this morning that I hadn’t worn in a while. It’s cute, but the last few times I’ve worn it, I’ve worn my SPANX (Higher Power!) to hold in my stomach and smooth everything out so the buttons wouldn’t be quite so strained. I thought I’d try it on without the miracle that is Spanx and see how it felt. It fit! I stood in front of the mirror and it fit the way it should! And the only buttons that were a little strained were the usual bust buttons. But hey, I’m used to that. When I sit, they all still pull, but I’m not worried about that. So I’m wearing this fitted button down shirt, and a skirt, and I am not wearing my Spanx. This is a huge step forward for me!

If I can fit comfortably into my cute blue jeans before Arizona, I will be thrilled!

I went to the Y at lunch yesterday. I really do love going at lunch, but it’s hard because of the time crunch. I enjoy my 15 minutes on the elliptical, but rushing to put my clothes back on before I’m done being sweaty is not fun.

I went again today, and… I plan on going AGAIN after work! I feel a little guilty working out inside on a gorgeous day, but it’s the best way for me to really work up a sweat. I could take a walk after work, but I don’t count a stroll around the neighborhood as much exercise. I hope to maybe pick up my bike this weekend. Now that is some good outdoor exercise!

When I first learned I’d be going to Phoenix (just over a week ago) I said I hoped to lose 10 or 15 pounds before I went. With TEN days left, I think I will get there! I have a huge willpower and motivation problem. So for me to stick to this is HUGE for me!

Goodbye Cravings

April 22, 2008

Yesterday I sat next to David while he ate a bagel. And we watched a “Good Eats” episode on fudge. And I didn’t crave carbs. And at work today, I didn’t want to get a candy bar out of the vending machine. I think I might be cured. Sure, I’d LIKE to eat all those things, but I no longer feel the desperate need for them. And that is a fantastic feeling! I had almost forgotten about this benefit of South Beach. He talks about it in the book, though. The first phase will get rid of your cravings for refined carbs. I’m feeling strong and confident that I can make it through another week and a half of this strict Phase One eating!

Grrrreat Weekend!

April 21, 2008

I had so much fun this weekend! It was just great all around.

I was feeling a little down on Friday by the time I left work. It had been a long day. I knew David was out having fun with his Aunt Lisa (from Iowa) and his Uncle Todd (from Hawaii) who were visiting Milwaukee. I went home and got ready to go meet them for dinner. They originally planned on Cubanitas, but I was so happy they changed their minds to Sake-Tumi. Cubanitas is pretty much my current favorite restaurant, but they have almost NOTHING that is truly South Beach friendly. And my favorite foods there (fried cassava, empanadas, guacamole with fried plantains, mojitos) are nowhere near my diet. But sashimi is most definitely on my diet!!

I met David and his family at the restaurant and pondered what to order. My favorite item, the Sexy Scallops roll, was definitely out. I went big and got the Sashimi Omakase dinner. It was 3 pieces each of 6 different kinds of sashimi! What can I say? I love raw fish! The mackerel (I think that’s what it was) was not so good. It was very tough and a little fishy. But the hamachi (yellow tail) made up for it. It was quite possibly the best hamachi ever. It was even better than the Super White Tuna, which is usually my favorite fish.

I did have a piece each of Sandy and Jeff’s sushi rolls and the creepy leg piece of our Spider Maki. But other than that, I behaved. I didn’t even order any booze!

Afterwards, we wandered to the Third Ward to check out a few Gallery Night locations before they closed. It was fun hanging out with everyone. I’ve known Lisa for a while, but this was my first time meeting Todd. He’s a funny guy. And his service dog, Luke, is totally adorable. Luke was quite the attraction at the galleries. I almost felt bad for the paintings that got ignored. I still swooned over some of the paintings, thinking how beautiful they’d look above our mantle. And I swooned over the photographs, wondering if any of my photos could or will ever fetch hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Afterwards, Todd, Lisa, Sandy, and Jeff came over to our place to hang out for a while. We sat around in the living room talking about anything and everything. We sat around talking until midnight! We commented the next day how it felt like we were just a group of good friends and how nice that was. Nevermind the fact that Todd is as old as my mother!

The next day, David and I slowly woke up and made more plans for the day. Todd and Lisa were going back to Iowa that evening. We headed over to Sandy’s house, picking up food from Apollo Cafe on our way there. I had the lamb shank. Yum! And I avoided eating the rice pilaf and their delicious pita.

David was planning on cooking Greek food for dinner, but based on our Greek lunch, we decided to alter plans. Everyone was really excited about the “Pimp my Pizza” idea. We’ve done this many times. It can be as simple as buying frozen cheese pizzas and adding yummy gourmet ingredients to it. We decided to buy frozen crusts and add our own sauces. Then someone realized that I wouldn’t be eating the pizza and they all felt bad and wanted to have something that I could eat too. The last thing I want is for my diet to be a problem for anyone else!! I convinced them that it was okay, and I would find something equally delicious for dinner.

Todd had plans to go to the Smart Car dealership. He’s on the waiting list for one. Ironically, our Smart Car is right near the Hummer dealership. Awesome! Sandy stayed home, recovering from a migraine. Jeff went with Todd. I was curious, but was much more interested in going grocery shopping with David and Lisa. We decided to take her on a bit of a grocery store tour! She lives near Iowa City, so it’s not like she’s without quality food and shopping, but they’re a step back from what we now have in our fair city.

First we went to Trader Joe’s, which is just fun. I don’t go there very often, because it’s pretty out of our way, but I love it. We bought some cheap goat cheese (seriously? $4.99 for a big tube of it?!) and diced pancetta for a pizza. I bought a bag of lettuce for a salad. Lisa liked all the cool food choices and frozen options. It’s such a fun place to browse. We headed to the check out with a few other random items and paid less than $20 for it all! I think I love the prices most of all.

Then we went to the holy grail mecca of food (in my opinion). Whole Foods. If I could afford it, I would shop at Whole Foods for everything. For now, we’ll just go there when we need special items. We found some tomatoes that actually smelled like ripe tomatoes!! (Smell the ones in your local mega mart. They may be red, but they often smell like… nothing. Creepy!) We wandered through the aisles, in awe of everything. Lisa couldn’t get over it, and I don’t blame her. I can’t get over how great this store is.

We (read: David and Lisa) tried all the samples. I somehow was able to ignore the scones and angelfood cake. We drooled over the cheeses for a while, where a small tube of goat cheese was $5.99! I decided that the only way to remove the pizza temptation was to get something really wonderful. I got six fresh scallops. These guys are delicious, but they are too pricey to have on a regular basis. We made one last stop at Metro Market for general groceries at reasonable prices.

We went back to Sandy’s house and hung out for a while before starting food prep. The pizzas looked great! We had two goat cheese, tomato, and pancetta pizzas; one pesto, tomato, and fresh mozzarella; and one basic one with cheese and mushrooms. Once I am off Phase One of South Beach, I will be making some variation of the pesto/tomato/mozzarella pizza. That looked so delicious! I’ll use a whole wheat dough or pita or something. Yummy!

I seasoned my scallops with salt and pepper, seared them, and served them over a salad. David’s Aunt Cathy came for dinner too and brought this great salad dressing from Beans & Barley. I raved about how good it was. It was the perfect dressing for my dinner. As we were leaving, she told me she had bought two containers of it, and I could take the second one with me! I know it’s not low in fat, but it’s all natural, and that’s good enough for me!

David and I had to leave right after dinner because we were going to see The Wizard of Ozat Tosa East, my old high school. My neighbor was playing the Tin Man! I’m so happy we went. I was really blown away by some of the performances. The show stuck pretty close to the movie, even down to the staging and acting. But I’m not sure that you could deviate too far from any of that- I mean, that IS the Wizard of Oz! The most impressive part was that they actually flew people! Dorothy, Miss Gultch, the Wicked Witch, Glinda, crows, monkeys, it was so awesome!! They got one of the top stage-fly companies in the country! I’d say it was worth it. It was closing night, and they were sold out, including the balcony! The audience burst into applause every time something exciting happened, including each time the Wicked Witch flew over the stage! The tornado scene was awesome. I cried every time something cool happened. I cried at the end of the Tin Man’s song. And I nearly sobbed at curtain call.

Because this post is pictureless, here are a couple pictures I stole from his Facebook page:

I gave him so many hugs after the show. I am SO proud of him. His voice is beautiful and his acting is great. He has come such a long way, and it’s obvious he has worked hard to get here. He was not great a few years ago. I don’t think I can sing his praises enough. I hope East does a good show next year and gives him a part he can really shine in and act honestly. Let’s face it, the characters in Wiz’ of Oz are not exactly realistic.

Could this be the longest post I’ve ever written? Quite possibly. ‘Cause here comes Sunday…

Sunday we woke up slowly and ate some breakfast, and then got ready to see Tony and Tina’s Weddingfor a second time! We got a deal on the tickets and it was just as fun as before! This time I took pictures, so I will post some once I get them online.  My diet was put to the test again. I avoided the baked ziti. I even pushed aside the carrots in the vegetable medley.

I did indulge in a couple sips of champagne. My big test was the wedding cake. I’ll say it over and over- my favorite food is cake. I just love it. I confess, I had a bite. Just a bite. And you know what? I really didn’t need to do that. Sticking to my diet and continuing my weight loss is much better than a piece of random cake. Now if it was really good cake, at a real wedding, that might be different. But I left my barely-touched piece in front of me. It sat there through the rest of the show. And I was hardly even tempted!

And the payoff of this “suffering?” According to the scale this morning, I am 6 pounds less than Wednesday. YAHOOOOOO!!!! I can’t wait to add a normal workout to my routine and see that number get smaller.

That, combined with the fabulous weekend weather and my upcoming vacation, makes me one happy girl!

Cool

April 18, 2008

So I went to my company’s “DAY ONE” meeting last night. I am feeling pretty proud to be a part of the new Thomson Reuters.

But mostly I am proud that I was able to avoid the free beer and giant cupcakes that were available at this meeting. Seriously. I get there and everyone is drinking beer and wine. They had Corona! With limes! And a buffet of appetizers. And the cupcakes… oh my goodness the cupcakes were huge. Like bigger than your fist. They looked heavenly. I really wanted one. Badly. Clearly, I’m still whining about it. But I am proud I resisted it.

I haven’t weighed myself yet. I’m going to when I get home. I know this is only the start of my third day, but even a pound or two less than what I’ve been seeing would make passing up that cupcake worth it.

Holy Awesome!

April 17, 2008

So I know we already talked about how awesome my dad is. But guess what, hejust got awsome-r.

He offered to pay for half my ticket to Arizona. That was great! Flying Midwest, I would’ve had to pay about $130.

However, his frequent flyer miles checked out. And so my ticket is free. Which means I don’t have to pay him anything! NOTHING! ZERO!! I’m going to Phoenix and staying in a kick-ass resort for FREE. Wow, people, there are not words.

If only he were that generous about paying for a wedding. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. If I were to say that to him, he’d probably write me a check for the price of the plane ticket and say “There you go. My wedding generosity.” Or something like that.

But hey, that’s $130 that can stay in my wedding savings! Or actually, as it’s known for the next year, the credit card payoff fund.

Also, my diet is going well, for the second day. I went out for sushi with my dad at lunch, and only ate sashimi and edamame. I was good and didn’t order any rolls. So I can get rid of my rolls. HAHAHA I’m so freakin’ funny!