Tag Archives: holidays

Happy New Year!

This has been a great year so far. But really, it’s only been 2011 for a day. So we’ll see.

Yesterday, Corey took me to the Ritz Carlton at Reynolds Plantation in Augusta, Georgia.

It was one of the nicest hotels that I’ve ever stayed in.

When we got there, I had an appointment to get a massage at their spa! My loving husband actually set that up for me. Maybe that’s because I keep asking him to rub my shoulders because I’m so tense.

 

the guest lounge of the spa

 

The spa was phenomenal. It was so beautiful and relaxing. The guest lounge was so beautiful.

The massage was extremely relaxing and after it was over, I was ready for some more fun!

After the massage, Corey took me to our room so I could check it out. It really was beautiful.

 

Corey by the lake

 

Then we walked around the hotel grounds a bit. The hotel was right off the lake and it was so nice. The best thing was the weather. It was 60 degrees so the weather was perfect for walking around and taking pictures like crazy. Corey called me a tourist. Ha. I’m just your average blogger. :)

 

lying around on the hammock

 

The weather was so nice that we ate outside. The restaurant was Gaby’s by the Lake and we sat outside to enjoy our meal while the sun set over the lake.

The food was amazing! Corey and I started the meal by sharing some flatbread. The flatbread had tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil. Yum.

Believe it or not, Corey actually tried a tomato on the flatbread. Usually, he just picks them off because he is such a picky eater. Even he enjoyed them on the flatbread. :)

For dinner, I actually thought the appetizers sounded better than the entrees. So I made a meal out of those!

I had Brunswick stew that came with a jalapeno corn muffin. This dish was phenomenal. Loved the moistness of the muffin. And it had the perfect amount of jalapeno.

Check out the cute little pot that the stew came in. I want one!

I had some fried calamari with cajun tartar sauce.

Can I be honest? The cajun tartar sauce was why I ordered this dish. I just discovered that I liked tartar sauce, so I figured the cajun spices could just add to the yummy deliciousness. It did. If I could have gotten away with it, I would have eaten the tartar sauce with my fingers. ;) But the calamari was also pretty tasty.

Lastly, I ordered the Roasted Garlic hummus with sundried tomatoes and feta cheese.

This dish was actually a little disappointing. Maybe it was a little garlicky or maybe I don’t like sundried tomatoes (I’ve never really tried them before). I may or may not have dipped some of the pita bread in the cajun tartar sauce. :)

Corey ordered a steak and mashed potatoes. I didn’t try the steak, but he said it was pretty darn good. I did try the mashed potatoes though. They were the best potatoes I have tried in a long time.

I skipped out on dessert at the restaurant because something on the room service menu had caught my eye: Vanilla Creme Brulee. Mmm . . . yummy. I had never tried that before, so I had to. And let’s face it, there were still four hours until midnight at that point. So we had to kill some time.

The creme brulee was good, but I don’t think I would order it again. It tasted like vanilla pudding with sugar on top. I did manage to stop myself from eating all of it though.

As if I hadn’t had enough sugar, the hotel was doing a campfire where you could make your own s’mores . . . for free!

I just couldn’t turn that down. I think the last time I had a s’more was when I was a teenager and I was camping. It made me feel a bit nostalgic.

Yes, I do know how ironic it is that I had a goal of cutting back on sugar and yet, I had enough sugar to last me until February tonight.

But at least it was all in moderation. I knew when to stop, so that was a small victory for me.

After eating loads of sugar, Corey and I walked the grounds a bit more and we ordered a movie from the hotel to kill some time until midnight . . . and maybe, to help keep us awake until the new year. I may or may not have had a couple of the chocolates that the nice staff placed on our bed.

I guess I didn’t need to worry about being able to stay up all night. All the sugar I had eaten ensured that I wasn’t going to bed anytime soon. ;) Every New Year, I feel my age more and more. It gets harder and harder to stay up until midnight.

After the movie (which was Knight and Day, by the way), we headed back to the restaurant. They had a beautiful pool that overlooked the lake.

The hotel had a fireworks show set up for midnight. This was an awesome fireworks show. The only complaint was that the fireworks didn’t actually start until several minutes after midnight, but they were well worth the wait.

Corey and I did stay up a while after midnight before we collapsed into a deep sleep. The beds were so incredibly soft and I wanted to stay there forever. Since we didn’t have to take care of Callie, we slept until the very late hour of 9 am. Yes, Callie is like our baby. It’s impossible to sleep past 6:30 or 7:00 with a dog.

We decided to lounge around and eat breakfast in bed. We ordered room service! I ordered an egg white omelet with spinach, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. This omelet came with wheat toast, freshly squeezed orange juice, and coffee (decaf!).

I did have some unpictured salsa on top of the omelet.

The meal also came with a yogurt and granola parfait. This was full of fresh strawberries!

This was the perfect breakfast to have as my last meal at the hotel. It was light and nutritious and also very filling. Corey did let me have a few bites of his buttermilk pancakes that he ordered. They were yummy!

After breakfast, it was time to pack up. Am I the only one who takes the little bottles of condiments and toiletries that the hotel provides?

Corey was very kind and took some other bottles off of our neighbor’s room service tray. Don’t worry, they had already eaten and weren’t going to be using them anyway. :) So I have several little bottles of preserves, maple syrup, etc. I also took a few complimentary packets of decaf coffee and tea.

After that, we packed up and headed home . . . back to reality.

Yesterday was a good day and today was a great one. I hope the year continues like this.

And on that note, I will wish everyone a happy New Year.

What did you do to celebrate New Years’ Eve?

Home Sweet Home

I’m back from Alabama!

While I had a great time, I am glad to be home.

There is just something about resting in my own bed and getting back to a routine. Over the past several days, I have eaten too many sweets.

I spent time with my family.

 

me, my dad, and my grandmother

My niece playing with Callie

 

We played games.

 

Playing Scrabble Slam with my husband and my sister. Awesome game!

 

I also ate small portions of all the fabulous food.

I ate veggies when they were an option.

 

Subway sandwich with lots of veggies

salad with broccoli, cauliflower, sunflower seeds, and raisins

 

I even took walks with my husband and my dog and admired some beautiful scenery.

Over the last few days, I have experienced very little food guilt. But now it is time for Operation: Get Back on Track. The holidays are over and the real world beckons. My waistline will be very happy.

Merry Christmas!

Yes, I know Christmas was yesterday but I still wanted to get that out of the way.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! I am in Alabama with my husband, celebrating the holiday with his family. I will be back to my normal blogging schedule on Tuesday, when we get back.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Today has been a good day.

My husband offered to make me breakfast this morning. I didn’t take a picture, but he made me a tasty breakfast sandwich. The sandwich consisted of multigrain bread from Whole Foods, one “fried” egg, bacon, and some cheese. Oh, and hot sauce of course. ;)

Corey and I decided to exchange presents this morning since we were going to be with family for the rest of the weekend.

We didn’t want to get each other anything big because the iPhones we bought ourselves recently were our Christmas gifts to each other. But since my husband just has to get me something for Christmas. we decided to get each other something small.

My wonderful husband got me 2 gift cards.

Itunes and Starbucks, here I come!

I am so excited to use the Starbucks one. I see a Gingerbread Latte in my future. :)

He also got me candy that I can actually eat!

He said it was unbelievably hard to find me candy that I can eat. Since I can’t eat chocolate (due to migraines), that cuts out most of the Christmas candy that is available. But these white chocolate covered pretzels look delicious . . .  and very festive! :)

Best of all, he got me a new lunch tote for work! I carry my lunch to work every single day and my old lunch bag was feeling the wear and tear.

I love my new bag!

Corey loved his gifts. I also gave him an Itunes gift card. I gave him some Reese’s peanut butter cups in the shape of Christmas trees (he loves those things). I also gave him a funny T-shirt.

He hates pickles . . . really, he despises them. So when I found this shirt, I knew I had to get it for him. And he loved it!

We also gave Callie one of her presents too. I think she was feeling a little left out of the Christmas fun.

Callie's new toy!

After the joys of opening some gifts, we decided to watch Elf. Neither one of us had seen it. We both thought it was really funny.

The rest of the day was spent in a mad scramble to pack for our trip. We are spending the night with my family tonight. Tomorrow afternoon, we will be leaving for Alabama to see his family and we won’t be back until Tuesday.

Yes, I know this is a lot of stuff . . . and this is just for me and Callie! I have my suitcase for my clothes and the blue duffel bag has food and toys for Callie. I also have a bag with the candy Corey gave me, along with a couple if books for the road. Also, I packed a bag with some water bottles (because our filtered water really is the best) and some healthy snacks to take to Alabama. Last time we went to Alabama, I was not happy with the fact that I ate junk food the entire weekend. This time, I am being proactive and taking along some grapes and pears. I need some fruit to balance out all that junk food! :)

And what day would be complete without a stop at Whole Foods? That place was packed! Yesterday, I tried their pecan pie cookies for the first time and I had a major craving for them. Since I had a sneaking suspicion they would be gone after the holidays, I wanted to get my fill now!

These cookies are so freaking tasty. Believe it or not, I took a picture of the ingredients.

Sneaky, I know. I’ve never created a cookie recipe before but I think I will have to recreate this as best I can when I get a chance. They are so good!

My husband and I now have to leave for my family’s place. I am looking forward to spending a lot of time with them (and eating the steak that is on the menu). But first . . . I have to try out my new gift card for a Gingerbread Latte at Starbucks. ;) I hope everyone else is having a great Christmas Eve!

I should feel bad . . .

I should feel bad that I did not have one piece of fruit today.

I should feel bad that the only “vegetables” I ate today were the ones in my leftover Pizza Pot Pie . . .

as well as the baked fries I had with dinner.

I should feel bad that I bought some Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Chocolate because eating it may or may not give me a headache.

I should feel bad that I used two Pecan Pie cookies from Whole Foods as shopping fuel.

I should feel bad that I did not exercise today.

But it’s hard to feel bad when the gifts are all wrapped.

And the stockings are filled.

And I FINALLY found Gingerbread Spice tea!

And it’s Christmas Eve Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! What do you refuse to feel bad about today?

Operation: Get Back on Track

After this weekend’s sugar binge, I had to start today on the right track. I know that I have to force myself to start eating better again. The fact that I haven’t worked out since last Thursday is not helping. :( So this week will officially be Operation: Get Back on Track. Catchy name, yes?

I started the day with a healthy breakfast of eggs, all natural bacon, cheese, and 365 Organic Mighty Multigrain bread. Of course, I couldn’t forget the hot sauce. ;)

This breakfast was tasty, filling, and healthy. Loved it!

I continued my healthy eating at lunch. I had Jason’s Deli (I LOVE this place!). I had half a whole grain wrap with marinated chicken, sautéed onions and peppers, and low-fat honey mustard.

I had some of their delicious Southwest Chicken Chili with my wrap.

This evening, when I got home the last thing I felt like doing was working out. I was tired from work and just tired in general. But I remember a good point that Julie made recently. There are 168 hours in a week. Seven hours dedicated to exercise is really not that much in the grand scheme of things. So I did a (very intense) 40 minute strength training workout by Exercise On Demand, followed by 20 minutes on the elliptical. I felt so much better after the workout! I am going to repeat this to myself when I am not motivated to work out.

After my workout, I played with my dog a bit and my husband made a delicious dinner: whole wheat pasta with organic pasta sauce and some cooked chicken breast as well. Yummy!

The highlight of my day? Receiving my very first Christmas gift, courtesy of Amazon. My very good friend, Luke sent me a few items off my Amazon wish list. This was a total surprise, which made it even better!

In the package was Seduced by Bacon: recipes an lore about American’s favorite indulgence, Pumpkin: a super food, for all 12 months of the year, and A Reliable Wife. I have to admit that when I saw the books about pumpkin and bacon, I was drooling a little. I can’t wait to go through all the recipes! And the third one, A Reliable Wife, will be perfect reading material for my upcoming trip to Alabama to visit Corey’s family. Thanks Luke! :)

It occurred to me today that it is going to be difficult to schedule in time for working out this week. Difficult, but not impossible. There are a million things to do in the days leading up to Christmas. There are last minute gifts to buy, presents to wrap, baking to be done, an oven that needs replacing, and of course I will have to pack for a trip to Alabama to visit my husband’s family.

With all of these items on my to-do list, the stress is going to be higher than ever. I will probably feel like skipping workouts to do other things (or just relax and watch TV) and I will probably feel the urge to binge on sweet snacks. I need to focus on my goal of losing weight and remember how incredible working out makes me feel. I may not be able to lose very much weight this holiday season, but I can certainly do my best to maintain it. And if I stay active, maybe I won’t feel so guilty if I have an extra cookie (or four). :)

How are you planning on staying fit this holiday season?

Sugar Coma

This weekend was fun . . . and also made me sick a little bit. But I will get to that part.

Last night, Corey and I drove to the middle of nowhere to see some Christmas lights. We went to Calloway Gardens’ Fantasy of Lights. These lights are awesome! Plus, they really got me in the Christmas spirit, as if I didn’t have plenty of that already.

At Calloway Gardens, there were lights (obviously).

We shopped a little . . .

And bought a new Christmas ornament.

We also ate. And by “we,” I mean me. :)

That, my friends, is a funnel cake with blueberry topping. Believe it or not, I ate the whole thing. :(

I don’t know what I was thinking because I felt so incredibly bad afterwards. Seriously, my husband says he wishes he had gotten me on video. I was freaking out a little. My chest got tight, my entire body was warm, and I felt as if I had swallowed a rock. I had not eaten that much sugar in a long, long time. And my body was punishing me for it.

Corey took an amusing picture of me on the ride home. This is what I looked like after I crashed from all that sugar.

I am pretty sure that I will never eat a funnel cake again. I thought I would never be hungry again . . . but today I was feeling much better and I lived to eat another meal. :)

Today, Corey and I were going to spend the day with my family. We were planning on making Mama Pea’s Christmas cookie dough balls. However, our oven broke. D’oh! We prepared the balls and took them to my parents’ house to cook them there. I don’t know what happened, but the cookies totally flattened out. They spread (maybe a little too much) and were a little too thin.

After last night, there was no way I was going to eat a lot of cookies. I did try a bite of one. Even though they didn’t look pretty, they tasted good. I just want to know why they spread like that. Maybe we added too much liquid? Or maybe the dough got too warm when we were transporting them from our place to my parents’ place.

We had a great time at my parents’ place. My niece and nephew are adorable and I loved playing with them!

Connor and Abigail - my adorable niece and nephew

On our way home, we stopped at Starbucks, where I got my new favorite coffee: Nonfat, no whip, decaf Gingerbread Latte with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. I’m sure it’s shocking, but I love this flavor more than Pumpkin Spice!

I also saw that they were selling the Pumpkin Scone. After last night, I should have stayed away. But believe it or not, I had never, ever tried one before so I couldn’t resist.

It was sooo good. But once again, a lot of sugar. After this weekend, I feel like the unhealthiest healthy living blogger ever. I just ate way too much.

I made up for it a little bit at dinner. Since our oven was broke, we ordered some takeout. We got some chicken fajitas. Best fajitas ever.

The pumpkin scone had made me a little on the full side. I just had one fajita with some chicken, onions, salsa, and guacamole. I also kept my cool with the chips and I only ate a small handful of chips and salsa.

I feel like this is a small victory. Usually, I do not stop eating until I am so full I feel like throwing up. However, I recognized when I was full and stopped myself. Hence, only one fajita. I felt myself being pulled towards the tortilla chips, despite the fact that I knew I was full. So I asked my husband to take the tortilla chips out of my sight before I ate anymore. Success! It really is true that you need to take things one meal at a time. I feel like I will get myself back on track.

Okay, now that I am feeling super sluggish due to all the sugar, I need to rest. And my husband and I need to figure out the oven situation. What did you do this weekend?

Cardio Boredom

I definitely enjoy strength training more than cardio.

Breakfast: more Pumpkin Pancakes with some maple syrup

This is kind of funny because there was a time when I never did any strength training. I focused entirely on cardio because I was trying to lose weight and I figured that was the best way to do it.

 

Lunch: more leftover Pizza Pot Pie with an unpictured spinach salad and homemade Italian vinaigrette

Now that I am focusing more on strength, I find that I actually enjoy my workouts. On strength days, I look forward to my workout. Maybe it’s because lifting weights makes me feel strong. Sometimes I swear my biceps have grown an inch after one workout. :)

Snack #1: Trader Joe’s Triple Gingersnaps

However, on my cardio days I dread my workout. I know that it’s because there is very little variety. I have no motivation to run when it’s this cold. The elliptical has begun to bore me because I have done it for so long. So I do workouts On Demand that don’t seem that difficult and I pretty much just chug along. I can tell while I am working out that I’m just not pushing myself. How can I achieve better endurance if I’m not pushing myself as I should. What do you do to combat exercise boredom?

Snack #2: half a whole wheat bagel with a little butter and honey

Today was a strength day and honestly, I was looking forward to it all day. I had plans to do Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, as well as her Quick Trouble Zones workout. My triceps and biceps were still sore from Monday’s workout, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

Delicious hodge podge of items: baked chicken strips, brown rice, corn, baby peas, and generous amounts of ketchup and mustard

I am kind of obsessed with Jillian Michaels workouts lately. There is something about lifting weights that makes me feel powerful. And when I can increase my weight or increase the number of reps that I am supposed to do, I feel like I am actually making progress. Forget the number on the scale because my muscles are going to be huge! :)

Here’s a random question: is it expected to give a Christmas gift to your postal carrier or garbage worker? This is my second Christmas living with my husband. As I mentioned before, we didn’t do many Christmas traditions last year. So this is the first time I’ve ran into this question. I was contemplating baking them cookies, but then I wasn’t even sure of the logistics required to give my gift to the garbage worker. Is anyone else giving gifts to these individuals? Is it expected at all?

Now I must get ready for bed. I’m exhausted!

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

I did not want to wake up this morning.

Seriously. Corey got up, took care of Callie, went into the living room to watch TV while I slept. We both intended to get an early start to our day so we could hit up the Farmer’s Market and get a Christmas tree. Corey had to leave for a business trip this afternoon and we wanted to make sure everything got done before he left.

I didn’t get up when I wanted to. Instead, I just curled up under the warm covers and I kept sleeping, I didn’t wake up until Corey told Callie to wake me up. At that point, she bounced onto the bed and tried her best to lick me under the covers. I guess there are worse ways to wake up. :)

I will spare you the picture of my breakfast (eggs with hot sauce and bacon). I have shown way too many pictures of that breakfast so I’m sure you guys get the idea. After breakfast, I managed to get dressed so we could go to the Farmer’s Market. That was a very successful trip. While there, I picked up some farro (among other things).

I have seen this around many blogs recently and after Ashley assured me it did not have the same texture as oatmeal, I was ready to try it. I have been bored with my recent breakfasts anyway.

After the Farmer’s Market, Corey and I headed to a Christmas tree farm to cut our own tree!

Interestingly enough, this was the same farm we went to two years ago to get a tree. Last year, Corey and I did not have a tree of any kind. Shocker, I know. But Corey’s travel schedule was so hectic that we never got around to it. I joke that he was being a grinch and stole Christmas from me. ;) But even though his travel schedule is just as hectic this year (he is pretty much out of town the first three weeks of December), I insisted on a tree. I am feeling the Christmas spirit!

I am really happy that I dragged myself out of bed. It was so fun picking out a Christmas tree and cutting it down ourselves.

It was chilly, but a great way to spend some quality time together!

After our busy morning, Corey and I were hungry! So before any decorating could be done, we made lunch. Corey made us a phenomenal burger, using some buns that we had bought at the Farmer’s Market, as well as some grass fed sirloin that we had bought there as well. He then cut some potatoes into strips (like fries) and baked them.

It was a much healthier version of a burger and fries . . . and so delicious! Corey said it was almost as good as the burger we got at the Farm Burger. Mmm . . .

Then it was time for decorating!

Our Christmas tree before . . .

We decorated our tree while listening to some Christmas music. It was an awesome afternoon.

Our Christmas tree after . . .

Another purchase we made at the Farmer’s Market: a silpat! I have also seen these around and I have heard that they are awesome in terms of nonstick baking. Now I’m even more stoked to make some Christmas cookies! :)

What was my first holiday cookie recipe? Angela’s favorite snickerdoodles! I have had a major craving for snickerdoodles for a while. This recipe did not disappoint.

Of course I did de-veganize the recipe a little bit. I used regular unsalted butter instead of Earth Balance and a regular egg instead of a flax egg. I also put a little bit more than a “pinch” of cinnamon. I love cinnamon and I needed a good dose of it.

They were awesome! We undercooked them just a little bit because Corey and I both like them really soft. They were delicious and tasted like sugar and cinnamon. I will be making these again . . . and often. I also like that the recipe only makes 10 cookies. If the recipe made many more than that, I would be in trouble. :)

All in all, it was a good day. And the time that Corey had to leave for the airport came all too soon. :( Now I am relaxing with Home Alone (awesome Christmas movie), trying to stay warm, and anticipating Friday already because that’s when Corey comes home.

Goodnight everyone!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I can’t believe it’s the first of December! Where did this year go? It just hit me that there are only three weeks until Christmas. Time to get shopping. Corey and I have already purchased gifts for several people online. I adore online shopping. I don’t have to deal with parking or crowds. Best of all, I can do it in my pajamas! I may or may not have done some shopping this evening wearing my pj’s. ;)

I have discovered a new love . . . Trader Joe’s sunflower butter.

I have talked about my dislike of almond butter before. I think I tried the wrong brand. This sunflower butter was the perfect consistency (very creamy) and tasted remarkably like peanut butter. Not the same, but close.

Breakfast: pumpkin pancakes (the last of them) with some sun butter

When I talked about the fact that Trader Joe’s wasn’t that great, I think I just didn’t give it enough of a chance. First their pumpkin cream cheese, then triple ginger snaps, and now sunflower butter. I am slowly warming up to them.

After I bought this jar of sunflower butter, I discovered that I have five different kinds of nut/seed butters!

Looks like I’m starting quite the collection. I better start eating these before my husband accuses me of hoarding food. Wouldn’t be the first time.

I do have kind of a rant today. Last Friday, I went online to PetcareRx and ordered some Advantage Multi for Callie. It is way cheaper online than at the vet and I have never had a problem with this before.

Midmorning snack: a juicy pear . . . I swear, this picture did not look neon until I downloaded it.

Apparently, the order was stopped because my vet said I was required to pick up the prescription in person.

Lunch: the rest of my chili. It was a hearty bowl that was super filling.

This irritated me on two levels. First, this company didn’t bother letting me know that I had to do this. The only reason I found out is because I went online to check the status of my order. Since I placed this order several days ago, I feel they should have contacted me (by email or phone) so that I would know what to do. Otherwise, I would just be waiting around for medication that isn’t going to come.

Second, my vet has never done this before. She has always validated my prescriptions. When I called them, they said it was a “new” policy. So new that it wasn’t in place a week ago when I called. So now I have to drive all the way down there, pick up the prescription, and mail it to PetcareRx (they don’t accept a fax).

Afternoon snack: TJ’s triple gingersnaps and some beautiful grapes

So now it’s going to be that much longer until Callie gets her medicine. I’m sure she’s happy about it. I am not pleased with my vet’s policy at all. I really feel that they only instituted it so that it would be more inconvenient for people to order online. They want me to buy it from them. Ha. No thank you.

So that is my little rant for the day. Thanks for listening! :)

Now onto happier things . . . sort of. I get the house to myself tonight, which I enjoy. But Corey is out of town until Friday, which I don’t like. His upcoming travel schedule may make it possible for me to get stuff done around the house. That is, if I’m not incredibly lazy and just park myself in front of the TV instead.

Dinner: bowl of brown rice, corn, cheese, broccoli, a hamburger patty that I cooked, and generous amounts of ketchup and mustard. This was so delicious!

Speaking of holidays, I am in the mood to do some baking. But what should I make first? Sugar cookies? Gingersnaps? Whatever I do bake, I know that it will be the first dessert I have made in a while that won’t have pumpkin in it. :)