For the past few weeks my Sunday morning routine has been to go to the gym at 9 a.m. and work out on the treadmill or elliptical (more often on the elliptical since my shins and my asthma don’t like the treadmill) while watching Barefoot Contessa. While it might seem weird to watch a cooking show while working out, especially a cooking show that features a lot of butter and cream, it’s actually a great motivation. I just have to look at her gigantic man-hands and her shapeless oversize denim shirts (can’t blame Jeffrey for being away so often) and listen to her wheeze her way through a recipe and I keep sweating harder.
Bobble-head Giada comes on right after, with her gigantic smile and her enormous cleavage and freakishly tiny body, and that’s motivation too, but for a different reason.
Speaking of food and TV chefs, I had a discussion with a coworker who went to culinary school about cooking for people with allergies. I asked him who would be more difficult to cook for—Zooey Deschanel, who is vegan (no eggs or dairy) and soy- and gluten-intolerant (an episode of Top Chef Masters had the chefs making a meal for her), or me. I’m gluten-intolerant, not vegan but I only eat poultry and fish (nothing with hooves), and I avoid eggs, dairy, soy, tomatoes, and corn. He said he’d have to think about it and get back to me. He hasn’t yet though.
All Februaries are without a doubt, the Worst Months in any given Year. Unpronounceable. Cold. Gray. Barren. A dumping ground for feature films. The month when you have finally used up all the tasty frozen preserves that you slaved over in a burst of super green eco-energy last summer. Now all you have left is freezer-burned hamburger meat, and you couldn't care less. The whole month is like freezer-burned hamburger meat. Put some ketchup on it and choke it down.
From Daily Show comedian Samantha Bee.
So I blame February for the 10 pounds I’ve put on since Christmas. So what if it’s really because I spent all of January and February comfort eating? While most people gain weight over the holidays and then work their asses off in the gym in January, I do the opposite, just because I love being contradictory. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been watching the Olympics in Vancouver for the past two weeks (damn you West Coast time for forcing me to stay up late to watch figure skating live), and watching all these very talented, focused, and very fit (except for the American bobsledder whose potbelly I didn’t need to see in bright blue spandex) athletes has made me feel like I’ve wasted my life. That’s it, I’m becoming a snowboarder. Or a short-track speed skater. I can be ready for the next Olympics, right? I’ll only be 35, that’s not too late, is it?
But I’ll start my hardcore training next month. In the meantime, I’m ditching the wheat and sugar again, and I know that I’ll lose the 10 pounds soon enough. Or maybe I’ll turn it into 10 pounds of muscle. I joined a swank new women’s only gym in my neighbourhood (a two-minute walk from my apartment—I have no excuse) to work off the stress that causes me to comfort eat (and shop), and in the week since I’ve joined, I’ve only skipped one day. Unfortunately, I’ll have to keep doing that for six weeks before it becomes a habit, or so I’ve been told. Check back in six weeks and find out if I’m still keeping it up.
- Current Music:"February" - Dar Williams
I don’t normally watch Oprah because I think she’s the devil (it frightens me how many white middle-class American women blindly follow what she says--I refuse to buy any book with the Oprah Book Club stamp on it out of principle), but I tuned in today after work because Michael Pollan was on. I agree with a lot of what he has to say about food, and I try to follow his basic rule to eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
Some of the other rules I agree with (paraphrased as I don’t have a photographic memory):
- Don’t eat food with ingredients a third-grader can’t pronounce.
- Don’t eat food your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize (like yogurt tubes).
- Only eat food that will eventually rot (unlike Twinkies).
- Eat as much junk food as you like, as long as you make it yourself.
Basically, eat fresh ingredients, avoid over-processed food, and cook. So wow, I’m agreeing with what Oprah is presenting on her show.
But then she brings on Alicia Silverstone, who apparently believes all disease is caused by a non-vegan diet. She also has a vegan cookbook. So Oprah’s cameras went grocery-shopping with Alicia at Whole Foods, where she bought a lot of fresh produce, but also a bunch of packaged processed food too. Vegan mud pies have ingredients that a third grader might not be able to pronounce. Fake chicken scaloppini has easily-pronounceable ingredients, but would your great-grandmother recognize what they are? I don’t think so. A plain free-range organic chicken breast and real, 5-ingredient ice cream (without any guar gum or carrageenan or coconut oil or “expeller pressed oleic safflower oil”) would be far healthier than that crap. Just because it’s “health food” doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
…because I bought a pair of skinny jeans. Not just skinny jeans, they’re super-skinny jeans, possibly jean leggings (I won’t call them “jeggings”, because that’s a really retarded term, period).
I’m a self-confessed pants-hater. I think I have enormous hips and I’m afraid of the ice cream cone effect of skinny pants. I hate shopping for jeans; I’m a lazy shopper so I hate having to try on a million pairs, and it’s demoralizing because even though I’m not fat, I always end up being the largest size in the brands I want to buy (Citizens of Humanity, 7 for all Mankind, Paige, etc.). So what’s up with the skinny jeans?
I don’t know, I guess I just wanted to participate in this trend and have an alternative to skirts/leggings/yoga pants, and I wasn’t going to let my fear of ice cream cones (I mean, my enormous hips) get in the way. It took me a while, I preferred how the jean leggings felt (more lycra = more comfortable), but I didn’t like how skintight they looked, and I wasn’t ready to pay $200+ on the J Brand or Citizens of Humanity ones even though they’re much better quality than say, Gap jeans. Call me a shopping snob, but there really isn’t any comparison.
In the end, I bought a less expensive pair (Mavi) and I’m happy. The salesgirl called them jean leggings, but I’m not sure that they technically are, and I sized up so they don't look so skintight. At any rate, they look good with tall boots, will look better once I have them hemmed and the waist taken in. I’ll get over my hip hangup eventually, and maybe I’ll go Kate Moss and wear them with flats in the spring/summer. And pigs might fly…
So when reinedesharpies sent me this article about $70 brownies, I immediately said YES, let's make them.
They're not actually $70 per brownie, it's $26.50 for the Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery packet mix, $45 for the special "bouchon" baking tin, and $5 for eggs, butter, and icing sugar. We didn't bother with the special baking tin we would probably never use again, so it was roughly $30 for the mix and incidentals. No preservatives or chemicals, but it's still a packet mix, so would it make the best brownies ever?
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A part of me wishes that I could get all dolled up and go out on this New Year’s Eve. If tonight’s not the time to be all sparkly and glam, then when is? But I’m still getting over the stomach bug I got after Christmas (the Peking duck I had on Christmas Day with my sister and brother-in-law was delightful going down, not so great coming back up at 5 a.m.), Will just came down with the same bug, and the chances of us staying up past 10 p.m. is looking pretty slim indeed. And besides, the dress I would wear if I were to get glammed up hasn’t arrived in the mail yet. I had to do my Boxing Day shopping from my bed, but I scored a great deal--$250 when I tried on the dress at J. Crew in Chicago last month, now $80 on sale (with an extra 20% off sale items).
Anyway, not sure I accomplished that much this year (perhaps I’ll think differently when I reflect again later), but I know what I want to accomplish in the coming year. It’s the usual: be more healthy, spend less money, have more fun with friends and family, be with Will. Put less energy into what doesn’t matter and more energy into what does. I’m feeling positive. I can’t wait to see what I’ve done by this time next year!
It could be worse; my sister-in-law told me that she went to a wedding and someone was wearing lululemon pants. I definitely draw the line there. But speaking of weddings…at xquantumx’s wedding last month (a lovely event, btw), one of my friends was wearing a button-down shirt, blazer, and tweed skirt. Maybe she got confused and thought she was going to work? I took a poll of my female coworkers and all agreed that a wedding is a chance to get completely dressed up. I did, and maybe even overdid it (got my hair done, did my makeup myself but went a little crazy with the black greasepaint), but why not?
Anyway, yoga pants are now relegated to athletic endeavours only; and by “athletic”, I mean once-a-week Pilates, working out at the gym (hahahahaha), and walking to and from work (won’t be doing much of that until March). But now I’ve just replaced yoga pants with black leggings from American Apparel. Not that much difference. I’m walking a fine line with the dress code at work (the document we got a few weeks ago doesn’t explicitly forbid leggings, just “spandex” – along with midriff-baring tops for women and muscle shirts for men), but no one has said to me about it so far. Still, I should probably try to find a pair of half-flattering skinny jeans to wear with boots instead, so I can kick this addiction to stretchy black pants with elastic waistbands for good.
- Current Music:"My Mistakes Were Made For You" - The Last Shadow Puppets
However, I don't think I could love it quite as much as Anthony Bourdain:
I don't wax poetic about pho with saxophone music in the background. I certainly don't talk to it. But I expect that's coming soon.
- Current Music:"Nude" - Radiohead
I spent Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in California, so it wasn’t really Thanksgiving. I don’t go home anymore either, so I don’t get the chance to do the big turkey/eat-yourself-into-a-coma thing. Maybe this weekend I should go buy a turkey and have Thanksgiving at home with Will.
I started off writing about what has happened this week and how I’ve dealt with it, blah blah blah blah blah, but I stopped when I realized it wasn’t important. I just want to stop and take a minute to think of everything I’m thankful for: my family, my great friends, my job, my health, my Will. That’s all.