At 9:30 last night I grabbed my wallet and car keys and high tailed it up to the grocery store for the most fattening ice cream I could find. I wasn’t upset or depressed. And I wasn’t hormonal or anything like that. I had the craving all darn day, and finally after hours of so badly wanting that rich, cold deliciousness, I gave in.
99.9% of the time you won’t see me making the eleventh hour run to the grocery store. It has nothing to do with super human willpower, or any desire to consistently squeeze into my favorite, unforgiving jeans.
Mr. Allyson (aka Husband) is here for the job. You know how they say to avoid temptation, just don’t keep bad stuff in the house? If you don’t buy it and have it around, then problem solved and diet kept intact, right? Well, that trick doesn’t work in our world. Husband has trekked to the store in the wee hours of the night for chocolate, chips, cake, or whatever else I require. Now, this is usually self serving on his part, because then it’s just an excuse to get whatever he wants, too.
But who cares?
Last night I wanted to be the one to go. I just wasn’t sure what it was going to be, the decadent and sinful treat that would tickle my fancy. Chocolate hazelnut gelato? Häagen-Dazs vanilla, pure white sweetness with black flecks of bean throughout? Or something with a peanut butter ribbon?
All three made it into the cart. And there wasn’t a shred of guilt within me to be found.
I have been careless with my diet lately. It all started with Easter chocolate and I have been going strong ever since. I get like this sometimes. I have these phases when I don’t want to eat at all, and then I can go weeks or even months and want everything under the sun. Now is one of those times. I’m not sad, worried, or depressed. If anything I am the happiest I have been in a long time. Writing again has given me purpose. As far as my marriage goes, I have been feeling extra loved lately. And doggie mommyhood is so wonderful that I want to adopt baby #3 soon. I just don’t know what it is that has me indulging my every craving these days. I’m just going with it.
Earlier today I closed my eyes as I walked through the house, and I could feel how my hips have grown just a tad. How my belly is just a bit softer. Oddly, it feels good. I welcome it. It isn’t bothering me in the least. I think it comes down to knowing I am doing what I want, that I no longer believe in deprivation. In college I was an anorexic, miserable mess. I think back to those years and how, sadly, I lost so many moments. Missed out on all that pleasure. For nothing.
I never want to be there again.
Now there is more of me to love. Those extra tight jeans are hanging in the closet, waiting for my return. It will happen eventually. I will start caring again.
For now they can wait a day or two.
Maybe even forever.
Photo Source: http://weheartit.com/
Some who know me would tell you I am a shopaholic girlie girl. The girlie girl part would be true. The shopaholic part not so much. Oh, there was a time when I could hold my own with the best of them. It is years later and the reputation has apparently stuck. But when I grew up a bit my priorities shifted, and then medical bills started piling up. It has been a really long time since my income has allowed for the frivolous spending of my past.
I have struggled with looking cute and chic on a shoestring budget. At first I thought it would be fun, like some whimsical treasure hunt, and I would discover some hidden talent I never knew I had. It hasn’t worked out too well. I went to thrift stores and didn’t find anything I loved, or even remotely liked. That sort of thing takes time and patience, and I inconveniently lack both of them. I have tried Ebay, with so-so luck. And then I have tried avoiding stores altogether and being happy with what is already in my closet. That tactic does nothing but depress me.
Shoes have always been my thing. In my mind, they are the great equalizer of the wardrobe world. It doesn’t matter what the scale says on any given day, if I haven’t worked out in a month or if my hormones are making me feel chubby. She can be overweight or perfectly svelte. The right pair will make any girl feel beautiful. And when she feels beautiful, she will be beautiful.
Not long ago I wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing flats. If my heels weren’t at least four inches high, then I just wasn’t sexy. Well, let’s just say I have come around. I had this epiphany when I spied a beautiful pair of Juicy Couture flats online. A lush coal velvet with crystals adorning the toe. I just couldn’t take my eyes off them. And there was an added bonus. On sale! I am like a bee to honey when I hear those words.
I went for it. And I am so glad I did. Flats are super cute. They can even be sexy, too. But aesthetics aside, they are comfy and so much better on my aching body. I can’t believe I used to hang out in clubs or at work for hours, teetering on sky high heels like it was nothing. Those were the days. I do miss my younger and healthier body. Every day I think about it. But I am also happy I discovered cute, cool flats, and how they can make an equally interesting fashion statement.
It had been a really long time since I treated myself to anything special. My mind has been on other things, I guess. So last week I decided to give myself a pick-me-up. I found a great pair of (you guessed it) flats. They will go perfect with cropped denim or whatever else I pair them with. Sparkly, pink and oh so me! And being by Nine West, they fit into my budget. No buyer’s remorse whatsoever. I was afraid, given their price point, they wouldn’t be comfortable. But they feel great. What a find! I can’t stop smiling.
Even if I had oodles of moola, I just can’t see myself dropping $1500 on Tom Fords or Louboutins. I would much rather take a vacation and make some memories, or use the cash to make my house pretty. Like I said, priorities have a way of shifting. I will always love beautiful things and appreciate the vision and workmanship involved. I will just have to admire from afar.
Just ask Dorothy. Or Cinderella. Or the more contemporary Carrie Bradshaw. Shoes have a way of changing your life. They certainly aren’t the answer to everything. But in an often gloomy and uncertain world, a touch of magic like that has a way of making things happy. Everything seems prettier, even for just a moment. I will do my part. When there is room in my budget for a little fun, I will treat myself again and again.
Making the world brighter. One pair of shoes at a time.
Photo Source (Ruby & Glass Slippers): http://weheartit.com/
My thoughts and emotions have been a little heavy lately. I am a natural born worrier, and sometimes I think I ponder the state of the world a little too much. On the nightly news it is always something: brutality, misery, disease, suffering. It is easy to forget there is still love, and good, out there and within us.
I don’t want to come from a place of fear or sadness. Today I want to celebrate love.
Will you join me?
Photo Source: http://mysummertwist.tumblr.com/
Easter may have come and gone just over one week ago, but if your house is anything like mine, you may have a bowl or basket of candy still hanging around. You know how it is. You walk past it and grab a few things to nibble on. And then you grab an even bigger handful (or two), sit down in front of the tv, and let the mindless munching begin. I have been known to take it to a whole different level. A few times last week, dinner constituted a giant milk chocolate bunny, two big Reese’s peanut butter eggs and handful of Haribo gummi bears. All washed down with a few cups of coffee.
And I wonder why I feel like hell when I wake up in the morning.
I know it’s bad. And if you have visited here before and read previous posts, you will notice my dietary ups and downs. Hey, I’m human. I believe in enjoying life and enjoying food. But that’s the thing. Part of enjoying life is feeling good. And someone like me, who lives with a chronic illness, well, we need to be extra respectful of ourselves. My chocoholic ways of late have been kicking my expanding backside. Bigtime.
Time to get healthy again. My body is literally screaming for it. For about five days now I have been walking around feeling incredibly stressed. Right down to my core. I just feel heavy, with nagging lower back pain and a lingering headache threatening to bust out into a full-on migraine. Even when I sit down to pee it doesn’t feel all that great. Every inch of me is pissed off.
To add insult to this self inflicted injury, Husband just made some cutesy reference to the upcoming bathing suit season, accompanied by a sly and horny smile. Now I’m really freaked out.
There is good news. I am really motivated. Yes, I feel that bad. I got back on the workout kick two days ago, as a detox step if you will. I do feel a bit more clear physically and mentally. And I actually do enjoy healthy food. But now I need to be more conscientious, and I have to plan. The planning part has a tendency to make me a bit crazy.
When things get like this and I have to get my act in gear, my go-to meal of choice is the very versatile veggie burger, perfect for lunch or dinner. Totally delicious and filling, and when piled high with its healthy buddies like mixed greens, avocado and tomato, it has a way of hitting the spot. Now, I’m not here to push my issues on you. Some of you out there would rather enjoy a burger made with meat. Yes, I personally prefer not to consume my animal friends, and ethics aside, my body feels better when I follow a vegetarian diet. But I do prepare organic beef, bison, chicken and turkey burgers for Husband. See? I’m not a total militant nutball.
I love reading magazines, and my home office is overrun with clippings of articles and recipes. I keep putting my organizing projects on the back burner. But when I received my March 2012 issue of Shape magazine in the mail, I was beyond thrilled when I turned one of the pages and found an absolutely gorgeous image of a veggie burger staring back at me. I tore it out right away and was sure to keep it right atop my desk so it wouldn’t get lost. I was excited to give it a try.
After my epic Easter chocolate super binge (and the subsequent days of self loathing), I ran up the street to Safeway after scanning the ingredients list. I had most of what I needed already. My two missing ingredients: zucchini and yellow squash. I was super pumped up. I had never made my own veggie patties before. With so many delicious varieties on the mainstream market, I can always find something good. We have come a long way since the original Boca patty days, with little else in the store to choose from. I love Morningstar Farm’s spicy black bean patties. I buy mine at Costco. Gardenburger also makes a portabella mushroom patty that’s pretty darn good. But I really wanted to give this a try. The Shape magazine recipe had seduced me, with its sleek photography and its descriptive writing. My favorite thing about it? The sentence across the top of the page that read “a savory burger your body will thank you for.” Well, hot damn! Just what I need! It was about time my stressed out bod got a break. I should be thanking it for putting up with me.
So here is Shape magazine’s March 2012 Recipe Of The Month, created by Executive Chef Marc Boussarie of The Counter in Culver City, California. For the most part I followed the recipe closely, though I did make just a few adjustments on the measurements, which I have listed below in parentheses.
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (I ended up using 4 tablespoons)
1 onion, diced (I used 1/2 red onion, diced)
3 garlic cloves, minced (I used 2 large cloves, minced)
2 carrots, peeled and grated (I used 3 medium sized carrots, peeled and grated)
1 yellow squash, grated
1 zucchini, grated
1 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I didn’t measure my freshly ground pepper, but I know I used more than what the recipe calls for, I’m a pepper freak)
1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained (I used 1/3 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley (I used 3 tablespoons)
1 & 1/2 cups rolled oats
All-purpose flour for dusting (I used my Bob’s Red Mill stone ground wheat flour)
Level Of Difficulty: Somewhat Easy
I began by heating half the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat, adding the onion and garlic. I then reduced to medium heat and sautéed for about five minutes.
I then mixed in my grated veggies, salt and pepper, cooking for about five minutes over medium heat. Next came my black beans, beaten egg, paprika, parsley and oats. I stirred together thoroughly, reduced heat to low and cooked for just a few more minutes. I then transferred the mixture to a large bowl and allowed it to rest at room temperature for about one hour.
After dividing my mixture into 4 patties, I coated each well with my wheat flour, and proceeded to coating my skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once my oil was heated over medium high heat, I added my patties and cooked for about five minutes on each side, turning about four times until both sides were golden brown.
The Shape recipe specifies 6 servings. I prefer to make larger patties, hence the 4 servings I came up with.
For lunch I melted both aged swiss and sharp cheddar cheese on my patties, and enjoyed on a multigrain bun with organic mixed greens, pickles, mayo, spicy mustard, tomatoes, extra pepper and a squeeze of Thousand Island dressing. I got fancy on round 2. I piled my burger high with extra carrots, cucumber slices, avocado and red bell pepper, and spread some cool and flavorful tzatziki over the top. The dill and cucumber in the tzatziki made it really interesting and delightful!
The burger was substantial, crazy yummy, and even though it filled me up I didn’t have that gross heavy feeling I have been carrying around for way too long. I felt satisfied for hours. I have to warn everyone that it was messy and fell apart toward the end, but a minor inconvenience for such deliciousness!
So how do I feel? Good! My digestive system is happy for the first time in a week. It really doesn’t take long to feel less toxic. It only tells me my body doesn’t want to feel bad. It is eager and excited to get back to life and feeling great. And I feel quite pleased with myself, finding a fantastic recipe that was easy to follow. I will surely enjoy these burgers again and again.
It is worth mentioning my burgers didn’t exactly look like the photo in Shape magazine. I panicked at first, thinking I did something wrong, but my concerns were unwarranted. In addition to tasting super good, they still looked fab.
For the PDF version of the Shape Magazine recipe and additional serving tips, visit:
About ten years ago I found myself between careers and at a crossroads. But there were bills to pay, and I had to do something while I got my act straight. With a college degree I was eligible to substitute teach. I thought it would be a good experience and headed right down to the district office to apply.
It wasn’t long before I was working at a local school. Five minutes from my home, and I was off before 4PM every afternoon. It was heaven. And while I was content and getting something valuable out of it, I was also happy knowing that it was all very temporary. I enjoy children. I just prefer them in small doses.
During my short tenure I met a lot of cool people, but mostly I learned a lot about children and behavior. I spent a lot of time listening to the more seasoned professionals around me and their interactions with our young charges. I heard a lot about sharing and being nice. This isn’t anything new. Just simple common sense really. I also heard discussions about “indoor” voices and “outdoor” voices. And I really heard a lot about choices, fitting in one of two categories. Good choices. Bad choices. I saw many of these youngsters getting quite a bit of decision-making power. Apparently this was the new and popular tactic to get them on the road to responsible adulthood.
I understand this. Life is a series of choices. Good choices bring reward and the bad have consequences. The learning process can be an empowering one. Consistent quality choices in childhood most likely mean this behavior will be followed into adulthood and throughout life. Now this is the part where I get on my righteous little soapbox. Here it goes: children are children. Not mini adults. And I always felt that too many choice making opportunities may be detrimental, when children should still be looking to adults for responsible guidance. I believe it has more to do with giving children fewer choices, and instead helping them be successful with the few choices they are mature enough to make.
Okay, hopping off the soapbox now.
Thanks for listening.
My teaching days are long over. But just like any lesson learned in life, I have carried that classroom experience with me. I often think about how it all fits into my own family dynamic.
Now for some full disclosure here. My kids have four legs, not two. And they’re quite furry. So I don’t have that insight that can only come from solid, hands on experience dealing with children. But that is not to say these same choice making principles can’t apply to my own family. Especially to my daughter.
Lately Gracie’s choices have left much to be desired. And there is a pattern here. When we leave her home alone with her brother, things can get nutty. And mind you, we never leave them for more than two hours. But five minutes may as well be all day. She always voices her displeasure with us. And how does she express this, you may ask? Well, naturally by being quite destructive.
I made a quick run up to the store the other day. When I returned I knew immediately something was up. Jack ran and hid under the bed. And there was Miss Pretty Pants, head lowered and ears back, slinking toward me. The now infamous Walk Of Shame. And naturally I am wondering why I’m getting it. I took two steps into the house and quickly learned why.
Her “victims” on this day? A drink coaster, two ballpoint pens, a pair of scissors, and the newspaper. Chewed up and strewn across the room. She found them on top of the coffee table, right at her eye level. Oh, but it gets better. I took a closer look at my sweet darling daughter. The fur around her mouth was bright red. I investigated further. In the front room I found a chewed up lipstick case and red streaks across the carpet. For the love of God. And it is worth mentioning this particular lipstick was one of my favorites. It also happened to set me back a cool $40.
You may be wondering how on earth a dog could get her paws on her mom’s lipstick. Well, genius here happened to clean her purse out that very morning and left that one lipstick on the kitchen table. Miss Pants had to jump up quite high to get it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Very similar to the time she managed to pull my giant stuffed penguin off the bed and chew its eye off. Another bad choice for the record books.
Given the evidence presented, I did conclude the destruction had Miss Grace’s name all over it, and only hers. Our son has a different M. O. entirely. But more on him in a minute.
So lately it seems Grace’s good choices are few and far between. And as her mom, I can’t help but feel that part of this is my fault. I struggle when it comes to discipline. My babies look at me with those soulful eyes and I fall to pieces. Husband always gets on me about this. He prides himself on being quite the hard ass, but the truth is he is a big sucker just like I am. And often he’s worse when it comes to teaching our little angels right from wrong.
I don’t have any answers. But I better figure it out soon. And she’s getting more bold. On her daddy’s birthday, she went right to the coffee table and found his birthday card, and decided to start chewing on it. And all of this happened when I was about ten feet away in the other room. What I found most interesting? Her card to him was buried under a pile of papers and other birthday cards. Yet hers was the one she chose.
Her father thought this was the cutest thing ever. I have to admit that it was. It is just impossible to get mad about it.
Our girl has been with us for almost a year, and actually it was smooth sailing until about a month ago, when the chewing and destructiveness started. And like all the long ago schoolroom talk about good choices and bad choices and what it all means, I think it has a lot to do with giving our girl just a bit too much freedom and opportunity to make the wrong ones. I don’t want to set her up for failure. As long as the not-so-good choices continue, I will be making sure nothing is within her curious reach before departing the house, and leaving her and her brother to their own devices.
As for our resident five-year-old and canine “adult”, Jack’s choices most often fall into the good category. Now, his bad ones are usually doozies. Like when he used to tear a hole in the wall if we left him alone (this happened in the days before Grace). Also, Mr. Man sometimes gets pissed at us for whatever reason and decides to poop in the house. I know, bad. But occasional bad attitude aside, he chooses well 90% of the time. And as his mom I am actually thrilled with that statistic.
My daughter is a pup, just one year old. And like her young human counterparts, she is new to this world. Learning about reward and consequence and which one of the two results, depending on what choice she makes. All of this will pass. When she blossoms into “womanhood”, bad choices will surely make way for the good. For now we will be sure to reward her when appropriate. And try our best to be consistent when a bit of discipline is in order.
And not forget to cherish this crazy and precious ride, otherwise known as puppyhood.