Thursday, October 31, 2013

5 Reasons Why I'm Just Not That Into Halloween

It's nothing new that Halloween has never been a favorite holiday of mine...or a top 5...or even a top 10. I never had a scarring Halloween memory and I actually enjoy scary movies.

I think it all stems from my inability to be someone/something I'm not. I just don't have the creativity, the imagination to create a costume from existing items or the budget to buy an off the shelves, elaborate costume. And if I did, I just can't get past how silly I feel to actually get into character. Sooo in no particular order...

[[1]] The whole creativity, self awareness factor I just mentioned. My idea of dressing up is wearing the below and a black shirt. I can't even be bothered with black pants to go with it. As weak as it may be, this bat hat has served it's purpose these past few years.

[[2]] Can you name me three Halloween songs not including Monster Mash? And if you actually can, do you really even want to listen to any of them? Probably not. Christmas has carols. Fourth of July has anthems. Easter has hymns. Moving on.

[[3]] There's that whole slutty costume thing. I'm officially closer to 30 than I am 20 (now that is something that's scary) and I think I'm more in the funny/clever costume age than the show as much skin as possible age. In terms of the funny/clever thing see reason #1. In terms of the show as much skin as possible thing, maybe if I looked like Giselle does as Dorothy and had a handsome lion to protect me from the creepier costumed people I'd feel differently.

[[4]] It's hard to consider it a legit holiday when we don't even get a day off from work for it. I get the day after Thanksgiving off and yet no Halloween. Bullsh*t. I don't want to be sandwiched between a bloated Mr. Incredible and a feathery chicken on my daily commute to work.

[[5]] I really really do not need the excuse or encouragement to buy Halloween candy. I have too much of a sweet tooth and too little of self control to walk through CVS and not at least glance at the candy that is already on sale.

So call me the grinch of Halloween but sorry I'm not sorry that there are actually plenty of 'Why not?' reasons for this holiday. Can you convince me why I should like it? Share if you agree!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Boston Strong

I'm superstitious with respect to sports so I'm not going to say too much. I don't want to jinx it and risk my sports enthusiast boyfriend potentially blaming me for some error the team made (but hopefully doesn't). But, I can state the obvious. The Red Sox are in the World Series.

What this means for me:

1. I'm officially all aboard the bandwagon and have comfortably settled in (on my couch) for the ride. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Red Sox fan. I enjoy going to the games and I usually go to several each season. I own a Red Sox t-shirt and it's not a pink one. I like baseball but in general, I don't find it to be the most captivating of sports to watch on TV.

2. The green line trains are packed. The windows fog up. You can't breathe let alone move and the riders are headed to Fenway Park...right when you're leaving work. I always feel a mixture of pity & pleasure when I hear game goers make the assumption that the Fenway stop is where they need to get off (that'd make sense, right?), rather than Kenmore.

3. I will be in a haze for the next week. Game start times after 8 p.m. + my inability to unwind and immediately fall asleep after games plus + my general refusal to get out of bed every morning regardless of how the previous night was = me in a haze of haziness.

4. I may or may not be having a few more pumpkin beers than I normally would. The long games on fall nights just leave the lonely bottles in the fridge calling my name and you can't just have one Shipyard Pumpkinhead, can you?

5. You might catch me wearing my Red Sox t-shirt somewhere other than the gym this weekend. I'm not big on sports paraphernalia or logos or branded anything (unless it's my college's name) but I just might be tempted to break out the ole Sox shirt this weekend.

Everything else aside, I'm excited. The Pru's been lit with Sox colors to show team spirit and city pride and the Citgo sign shines bright (bright like a diamond) down the road from my apartment. So I haven't even had to ask myself why not stay up for each game. It wasn't even a question. Boston Strong.

What does your team playing for the championship mean to you?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

That saying may seem a bit dramatic in some respects but I've found it rings true for me when it comes to planning meals and not wasting the food that I buy each week. I'm very selective at the grocery store and try to buy things that I know I can get a few different meals out of - like chicken, ground turkey and vegetables.

When I can, I try to plan out my dinners for the week ahead of time. While it's easy to use a simple piece of paper, you can try these free weekly dinner templates. (Why not?! They're free!)

Here's what's on my dinner menu this week - I'm excited to have my healthy dinner for one again on Thursday and maybe I'll even have leftover peppers from other meals to add:

Hope you can use these too and plan to succeed this week!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ways To Make Time On The Treadmill Fly

I refuse to believe that there are that many people out there who genuinely just love running on a treadmill. I'll admit that it can be a great escape for me and I always feel better after I run...but hauling myself to the gym - especially in the colder months - can be a challenge.

Below are some of the tips that make the time fly by and keep me going at the gym:

1. To get myself out the door, I wear actual 'workout clothes.' I'm more motivated and push myself harder when I'm dressed to exercise. Whether it's just spandex or a dri-fit shirt, try it. Old Navy workout gear is an affordable option if you're looking for something new.

2. My headphones go in ASAP. Changing playlists often keeps you from getting used to how many songs it takes to reach a certain length of time running. Currently, Maroon 5's Love Somebody, Lady GaGa's Applause & John Mayer's Wildfire distract me from how out of breath I am.

3. I also try to put some type of game - football, hockey, etc. - on to watch whenever possible. Tell yourself to run for the whole first quarter or a whole period and it will always ends up being longer than you think it will. Has a 15 minute quarter in football ever lasted only 15 minutes?!

4. Finally, I think half the battle with running is mental so I make sure that my treadmill is set to have the time counting down rather than up. This helps remind me that I only have x amount of minutes left to go rather than I still have so many minutes left.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Day At The Orchard...Minus Apple Picking

I'm definitely guilty of having been one of the first of the season to buy a pumpkin muffin, stock Shipyard Pumpkinhead in the fridge and Instagram my first cinnamon sugar August. I'm past the point of denial. I've fallen for fall.

A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I set out to do the typical fall activity: apple picking. We were in Connecticut and decided we'd do some Googling and then drive in the direction of the closest orchard. We were in for a treat.

We drove to Bishop's Orchards in Guilford, CT and were immediately impressed with the extensive rows of apple trees and the lanes of pumpkins near the entrance. Sidetracked by the farmer's market selling all of their homegrown fruits and veggies (along with some less healthy apple cider donuts and pies, etc.), we quickly forgot the apple picking that we had gone there for.

Connected to the market was a winery offering tours and tastings and we took our (unintentionally) perfectly timed arrival as a sign that we needed to partake. We met our tour guide minutes later and he took the two of us through the process of crushing the fruits, adding sugar, yeast and other ingredients, and letting it ferment before filtering out the imperfections.

The most interesting thing about Bishop's Orchards Winery is that all of the wines they make are purely non-grape wines. They use fruits such as apples, peaches, pears, strawberries and raspberries to create their specialty wines and all were delicious! We ended the afternoon with a tasting of a number of these wines - paired with some bites of apple cider and pumpkin donuts - and considered it a successful day. We each left the market, he with a bottle of cider in hand and I with the below wine, knowing we'd be back again!

So, why not fall for fall and indulge in a fun fall activity before the season's over?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dinner (For One) Is Served

Following a recipe is easy. Cooking for one is hard. I say this even after taking finding the time and energy to cook a meal after work out of the equation. Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough, but how often do you readily find recipes for one?

As a result, I frequently find myself cooking enough food to feed a small family...and then eating the same thing for a week straight (or eating too much in one night). Do you have this problem, too?

I've found that I have the most success making something healthy and making more appropriate portions when I experiment. I tend to buy a lot of the same ingredients each week and try to switch things up a bit or use different seasonings. Salad, chicken, ground turkey, eggs and all sorts of vegetables tend to be staples in my diet. Not sure why brussels sprouts got such a bad rap growing up since they're one of my favorites now and vegetables are the easiest to cook to me.

Lately, I've been making a mixture of quinoa, corn, onion, chickpeas, brussels sprouts and parmesan cheese seasoned with some garlic salt, pepper and tarragon topped with a poached egg. This would be a perfect filling for stuffed pepper's like my friend Lacey's (minus the bulky brussels sprouts) but recently I've been making a meal out of this combination of ingredients.

Dinner is served

I'm not one for measuring out ingredients when I'm experimenting so you can use as much or as little of each or substitute ingredients as needed. I just boil and simmer the quinoa for about 20 minutes; roast the brussels sprouts in the oven at 400 degrees; then mix these ingredients together with the vegetables and seasoning on the stove as I poach the egg. Voile!

When all else fails, you can always pull a Sandra Bullock from "Two Weeks Notice" and order takeout for one! I'm certainly guilty of it once in awhile...

Bon appetit!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Boston Bucket List

Going into my fourth year in Boston and, self admittedly, I find it easy to get into a rut sometimes. I can be too quick to be of the "been there, done that" mindset and I have to remind myself that there's so much more left to see, do and accomplish in this big, little city.

Oftentimes, I think of something great and then the next day I can't for the life of me recall what my idea was...other than that I thought it was great. Since that's not very helpful, I've decided to make a "Boston Bucket List" and have listed a few ideas below so I remember to take advantage of all the city has to offer.

lucy Light Forest : This just jumped to the top of my list since it's only in Boston for a week! It's described as an "interactive light and sound experience created to celebrate movement and the women who love it" and free exercise classes are scheduled to be held along the Esplanade.

SoWa Open Market : You just can't go wrong with food trucks, a farmers market, indie designs and jewelry. Touted as the "hip and happening place to be on Sundays" on their website, I seriously feel like I'm missing out. I've checked out the SoWa Vintage Market in the off months but I need to clear a Sunday before the end of October to visit this outdoor market.

Swan Boat Ride : Can I really even say I'm from Boston if I've never taken a ride around the Boston Public Garden on a swan boat? I don't need the history that a duck tour would give me at this point, I just want a pretty ride and I think I can swing the $3 cost.

Late night movie at Coolidge Corner Theater : One of my favorite memories was seeing the Big Lebowski at midnight with my cousin in an old theater in California when I was younger. I think it's time to catch another classic at a different, charming old theater.

Concert at the Hatch Shell : So I've missed my chance this season to catch a show at the Hatch Shell but I'm keeping it on here for next summer. I see it as similar to the Comcast Center minus the nightmare of a time trying to get out of the parking lot to drive home.

So who's coming with me?! Comment and let me know what I'm missing and need to add to my Boston Bucket List - I know there's a lot!

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