Feb 27, 2009


I found this picture on my PC this week and realized how much I've gained in the past few years. This picture is from two years ago and I'm about 35 lbs lighter.

I still have this dress and I want to be able to wear it again. It's nice to be in a head space again where I am able to look at pictures and think about when I'll be back to that weight instead of being sent into a panic and using it as an excuse to binge and bring myself even further away from my goals.

What's been hard for me to deal with is not so much the weight as the difference in how my body looks and feels. I used to feel so strong, and now I look at my muscles and they're harder to find! The strength I had was what gave me confidence, even if I wasn't completely happy with the number on the scale. The shape of my arms, my legs, even my chest is totally different.

The weaker I get, the less I want to do strength training. A catch-22 there, because the less I do the worse it gets.

I'm going to update my goals for the week to include some weights!

Feb 26, 2009

Goals this week

My WeightWatchers week starts on Thursdays so I'm going to set my goals today.

1. Buy (and use!) a food scale - heard great reviews about both the Oxo Good Grips and the WeightWatchers scales

2. Work out on at least 4 days (I should really pop open that 30-Day Shred with Jillian Michaels DVD I bought!). Updated: Two of these workouts should include strength training.

3. Finish unpacking all but my books (need to buy a new bookcase)

4. Rework budget to be a bit more concrete

The 10% Shift

I read this today in one of our local papers - "Buying local is not an act of charity—it’s a starting point." The article discusses Seacoast Local’s initiative to encourage local consumers to start small - by shifting at least 10% of their purchases to local businesses.

So where do you buy your next hamburger? Gallon of paint? Birthday cards? Milk? Light bulbs? Buy local like your town depends on it. Because it does, and it always has.

I started to think about what I buy local and how often. I

I am fortunate to live in an area with many small businesses and this makes it more than convenient to shop. Sure, I might have to park my car down the street and walk to the store instead of parking in a mondo-gigantic lot and walking into a superstore, but I like the charm and character of the local merchants, of their goods, of knowing I'm keeping money in the local economy.

I never buy clothes locally, using cost as my excuse. But I could certainly buy from thrift stores which I rarely do. I seem to be caught in the instant gratification trap. Sometimes I just want a new black shirt, and I want it now! Because, of course, the one thing I need is another black shirt to put in with the rest of my 32 black shirts. No wonder I can't fit my clothes in my apartment!

One thing I would like to try to focus on is changing is my grocery shopping habits. I go to the grocery store/small grocer at least 4-5 times per week and I often go to the big stores - Hannaford, Shaws, etc. If I don't pre-plan, they're the only stores open later in the evening when I'm free.

I would like to start shopping more at the farmer's markets and local produce shops and really planning out my meals. It makes more sense financially to buy for the week and make do with what I have in the house. I think this will save me money and also have me be a little more thoughtful about what I'm buying and what I'm wasting.

I think I probably spend 10% locally now, but I'd like to increase that and really focus on food.

How often to you buy local? How easy is it for you to avoid the big box stores?

Feb 25, 2009

Recipe - Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (with gnocchi)

(courtesy of the Food Network)

  • 1 (16-ounce) package refrigerated gnocchi
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup heavy cream, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves, plus more leaves torn for garnish
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste - about 2 tbsp.
  • Chunk of Parmesan for grating

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi according to the package instructions. Drain in a colander in the sink.

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until hot, add garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Add peppers, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a processor or blender and puree. Return sauce to pan, add cream and bring to a simmer, stirring. Add basil, salt, pepper and few drops lemon juice, to taste.

In a large bowl, toss the gnocchi and sauce together. Divide among bowls, strew over some torn basil leaves, and grate some Parmesan over the top. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

I used fat-free evaporated milk to lighten up the recipe a bit. This recipe was quick, easy and delicious. A bright meal with little effort - great for a weeknight. I served it with a caesar salad and a glass of red wine.

WW points - 6 pts per serving

Today I'm grateful for: the taste of fresh basil

Feb 24, 2009


(and I'm sorry I've been missing for months on end. I do have a few excuses but we'll just leave them at the door and move on!)

The beginning is the most important part of the work.

This week I moved into Y's apartment with him.

This week I opened my heart up wide and decided to give myself a chance to really be happy.

This week I decided I'm worth it. I love him and I love myself with him.

It's amazing to see how far I've come in the last few years, how much I've grown up and how much I've learned about myself. What feels great about moving in with him is that I know that I'm an independent person capable of taking care of myself emotionally and financially, and that foundation is what we will build on. I can be vulnerable with him, I can not know all the answers, I can lean on him and know he'll be able to take it.

I am so excited to build our home together.

Feb 17, 2009

2009 Reading List

January 2009

Eat, Pray, Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert - I couldn't put this book down during the first half and then just abandoned it entirely mid-way through India. I probably will never go back to try to finish it.

The Friday Night Knitting Club
by Kate Jacobs - fluffy fluff but enjoyable. Accomplished its task of making me want to knit more!

Away by Amy Bloom - I've been recommending this book to everyone. Beautiful and haunting.

February 2009

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates - amazing character study. Despite the fact that it was published in 1961, most of the themes still ring true today. Beautifully written.

Sarah's Key by Tatia de Rosnay - Inspired by a little known and tragic piece of French history, this novel centers on the story of a young Jewish girl in Paris in 1942 as she was rounded up with thousands of other Jewish families and forcibly kept in the Velodrome d'Hiver before being transported to their deaths at Auschwitz.

The first half of the novel is written in a side-by-side narrative between Sarah, in 1942 Paris, and Julia Jarmond, a present-day journalist. I found the book far more intriguing and well-written from the persepctive of Sarah, and when narrative ends, I didn't feel as invested in Julia's personal concerns. Some of the issues she deals with seem trite and inconsequential when stacked up against the pain endured by the other narrator. I would recommend the book to others, especially as a way to learn a bit more about this piece of French history, but I wasn't as pleased overall with the ending as I had hoped to be.

March 2009

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones - I haven't wrapped my head around this yet, but I loved it. Haunting and moving and unforgettable. The characters were rich with emotion and flaw. The novel was set in war-ravaged Papua New Guinea, but the school teacher managed to take the children away from that nightmare by reading to them Dickens' Great Expectations.

Any Place I Hang My Hat by Susan Isaacs - a lot less fluff than I assumed it would be. A sort of chick lit for the 30 year old. Enjoyable and quick read.

The Reader by Bernard Schlink. I've been begging people to read the book before they bother seeing the movie.

April 2009

by Stephanie Meyer (and admitting to it!)

Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk - I am not quite sure what the point of the book is. It's really raw and graphic ...and I don't know if that's the point (I don't think so). He seemed to have muddled his message with the overshock of the setting! I'm all for artists pushing the envelope, but the ending seemed to be thrown together and I finished the book feeling disappointed.

May 2009

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks - This novel is based on actual events of a plague-ravished rural town in 1660s England that made the difficult choice to seal itself off to avoid spreading the plague to other villages. In addition to disease control, the villagers also attempted to give themselves up to God's mercy. With such limited understanding of the plague, how it spread and how to treat it, their faith is tested time and again. The author examines what survival can mean to different people and how fear and ignorance shape a community. Highly recommended.

June 2009

I think I'm beginning to forget some books in here....

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta - a bit of a let-down. The ending was disappointing and the characters annoying.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - I couldn't put this book down. I fell in love with the main character, and would love to grab a beer and some book and boy talk with her if I could.

July 2009

Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo - The story spans the lifetime of a man tied to the loves of his life - his small town, his parents, his wife, best friend and his cherished memories of all of them. Lovely read, I'd recommend it.

August 2009

The Music Lesson by Katharine Weber - It started a bit slow and it kept putting me to sleep every time I read it. Once I hit the middle (it's a short book), I was hooked though and really enjoyed it. More about what happens to a person in refuge than the IRA heist plot that was secondary.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz - fierce, funny, tragic and beautiful. Read it. Don't be alarmed by all the Spanish phrases thrown in. You either can understand them or you don't, but more important to note is how they represent the fluidity of the language and culture throughout the characters' lives. I've studied the terror of the reign of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic from an academic and sociological perspective, but this novel brought that history of a culture to a whole new level.

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl (audiobook) - she writes about food beautifully - the colors, scents, textures and tastes come bounding off her plate and into your imagination!

The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry: Love, Laughter and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn (audiobook) - After a corporate lay-off, Flinn decides to follow her dream and empty her bank account and go to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. With little to no fluency in French and no plans for what to do afterwards, she cooks her way towards a culinary degree. Funny and charming, the story is a behind-the-scenes look at what it would be like to attend such a famous cooking school, how magical Paris can be, and how far a little encouragement can take you. The book includes a recipe at the end of each chapter. Funny and engaging and delicious.

September 2009

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs (audiobook)

October 2009

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

November 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

December 2009