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Monday, March 24, 2014

MIMM: First day jitters

Life has been full of ups lately, so it's only appropriate to link up with Katie for Marvelous in my Monday!

Today is the first official day at my new job, making this Monday especially marvelous, but also a little nerve-wracking. While I can't update on that just yet, I figured I'd look back on all the wonderful little things that have made me smile lately.

About two weeks ago I had won a giveaway from Roots hummus through Alexis' blog. This stuff is INCREDIBLE. My favorite so far has been the lima bean shock since I never eat lima beans.
Still mourning the end of this tub...
Other flavors in the package included original, black bean, chipotle, red pepper, and thai coconut curry. I've only cracked into the first two so far. It's fantastic to have all of this hummus on hand, but of course it presents this typical first world / white girl problem:

One of the parents of the individuals on my caseload at my old job gave me this bracelet from India as a thank you/goodbye gift. It was such a sweet gesture, it really meant a lot!

A new job of course means new clothes. And what better than outlet shopping and sales? Nothing.

Hot pot lunch! No explanation needed.

Spending Saint Patrick's Day with a good friend, and snapping a super flattering selfie of the two of us. Love it, and her!

I hope everyone's Monday is just as marvelous as mine!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

New beginnings

Happy Spring, everyone! Today it actually looks and feels like the season has changed, but the weather forecast for RI indicates otherwise. Snow on Tuesday/Wednesday? I'll keep my fingers crossed that the storm changes paths.

I realize I've been very elusive about things lately and haven't been blogging as often as I'd like to, but this is all due to some major changes in my life. This past Wednesday was actually my last day as a service coordinator for the agency I've worked for since August 2012. It was a bittersweet departure. The job was just not the right fit for me; however, I absolutely adore the people on my caseload and my coworkers. Everyone was so sweet and supportive of me. I definitely intend to maintain those relationships.
The goodbye flowers, cake, and fruit was a nice touch. 

How symbolic is it that I had the first day of Spring to start fresh? Let me tell you, it feels amazing to finally not be on-call for crisis response in almost three years.

I took Thursday to do a little life Spring cleaning: I got a haircut, got a full-service car wash, reorganized my closet, and changed purses. The little things like that make me feel ready for a new adventure. Along with my recent shopping trips, of course.
70% off at Banana Republic...yeah. this shirt cost me $15. WIN.

Yesterday, March 21st, was my dad's birthday. He would have been 58 years old. It's still unreal to me that he's gone...54 is just way too young.

I took a trip to the cemetery to visit him and wish him a happy birthday. All I could think as I drove up was how much he would hate my lime green car. He'd think I was even more ridiculous for naming it and speaking to it in Spanish haha.

Happy birthday, Dad! Words can neither describe how grateful I am to have had you in my life for twenty years, nor how much I wish you could be here for twenty, thirty, or forty more. I think about you everyday, cherishing the relationship we had, the lessons you taught me, and how you've helped to mold me and my sisters into the women we've become. I love you so much, Dad. R.I.P. 8/9/10

I often find myself wondering what he would think of me today. Would he be proud of who I've become and what I've accomplished? I really hope so. Luckily I still have an amazing and strong mother to support me and my sisters. She really does work twice as hard to be there for us and she deserves the world.

So now that I'm ready for a new adventure, what do I plan to take on?

This coming Monday, I will be starting my new job as a project coordinator for the Carol White Physical Education Program, impacting several elementary and middle schools in my area! I couldn't be more excited about this job. I'm so passionate about the objectives of the grant - increasing children and family awareness of physical activity, nutrition, and overall well-being. I'll admit I have first-day jitters, but I'm ready for Monday to arrive and to take this on full force.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sometimes I intend to blog, but then I get on Buzzfeed...

Typical. Damn you, Buzzfeed, for your vortex of useless and amusing picture-heavy articles. You make it so easy to continue clicking down the rabbit hole. This would be a problem if I haven't been so real-life productive. No shame.

My personal favorite read from my Buzzfeed binge has to be "15 Underused Words To Add To Your Vocabulary." I blame the nerdy English-major side of me. Am I setting a goal to use these words in actual conversation? You know it.
I always struggled to describe that smell. Nevermore. Thanks, Buzzfeed!
With any luck, I'll return tomorrow for some Marvelous in my Monday action. I can't make any promises, though, since my day is poised to be jam-packed.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Nutrition changes

America has an undeniable problem with weight and body image. And it all seems to stem from a lack of education, a lack of concrete facts, and misleading information. Studies have shown that nutrition labels aren't helpful to most people when they reach for packaged food. Serving sizes, unhealthy/heavily processed ingredients, and other vital facts are disregarded by most. To quote this article on such studies: "People were most likely to read the nutrition label when it took front-and-center stage, and tended to read facts closer to the top of the label." Therefore, people are seeing calories and nothing else. Not how many of X food equals that number of calories, if it contains added sugars or trans fat, if the ingredients are natural or chock full of chemicals...just calories. And that isn't helpful when so many people don't even know their body's caloric needs.

The FDA is planning to update the nutrition label to make it easier to understand and highlight the nutritional data that is actually important.
See details of the FDA's proposed nutrition label changes here

There is a short, informative article on Greatist that identifies the four areas that are being emphasized through these changes and why: added sugars, fats, calorie counts, and portion sizes. I think the best part of these revisions is that added sugars are being added to nutrition labels, because that really is our major dietary downfall. Even reading an ingredient list, it's pretty much impossible to know just how much of the sugar listed on the nutrition label is added and how much is naturally occurring. 

I read another article this week that talked about the success of using traffic light colors to highlight a food's nutritional value to assist people with making smarter choices. This obviously can't be done in a grocery store, but in think it would be so beneficial for people grabbing food to go or dining at a restaurant. 

In other positive nutrition news, the recommended daily sugar allotment is now at 5% of total daily intake, slashing the previous recommendation of 10% in half. Obviously this is merely a recommendation, and these guidelines still need some clarification. Does this 5% include natural sugars like fruits and vegetables? If so, I'm screwed when pineapple season arrives...I'm not about to deny myself the pleasure of enjoying half of a freshly cut pineapple.

Again, the problem is that Americans just aren't properly educated on these things. Nutrition needs to be straightforward and accessible. The fundamentals need to be taught in schools and clearer guidelines on healthy foods need to be set in place for adults to learn. Browsing the internet, with its tangents and opinions on various diets and "lifestyles" (read: paleo, keto, low-fat, etc.), just overloads us with information and makes things even harder to understand. Nutrition can't be self-taught on such a large scale.

And to go off on a tangent of my own: Once Upon a Time returned this week! My Sunday nights just got a whole lot better to look at. 
Hook, how I've missed you.
Linking up with the marvelous Katie for a Marvelous in my Monday post!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on all of this!
Do you think the changes to our nutrition labels will do any good?

Do you follow serving sizes as listed on packaged foods? I personally don't, for the most part. Just because some of the portions dictated are either too obscure or just not enough for me. I don't even understand how to interpret what a serving of popcorn is from looking at the label.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #1

The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind of amusing randomness, so I figured what better time to finally join Amanda's weekly Thursday Thinking Out Loud link-up to justify my unstructured stream of consciousness?

  • I've stumbled across this tumblr blog, #WhatShouldWeCallBostonProblems, and it is painfully, hilariously accurate. I really miss living in Boston, but the problems are too real.

Take this post for example. "When I haven't taken the T for a while and I have to take it again:"
You don't know the pain until you live it.
Every Boston problem is worth experiencing.

  • People take trivia tournaments way too seriously. I was covering a trivia night last night in the midst of the qualifying season for the big Spring tournament, and stunned by the vim and vigor displayed by some of these teams. Kudos to you all for your passion, but as a host, it's stressful to have people be so particular. Whatever, it makes for entertaining tales ha.

I had an odd dream last night after watching this Blogilates video for a Quest bar recipe. 

  • In my dream, I made the apple cinnamon "churros" for my mom and I, but left them in the oven for 25 minutes...miraculously they didn't burn. Then I went to prepare the yogurt and apple dip, but had no yogurt and my mom refused my suggestion to substitute the no salt added cottage cheese I had on hand. Since it was like midnight, I obviously couldn't run to Stop and Shop to purchase some yogurt. I also boiled an entire pot of broccoli as an accompaniment. Why? I don't know. I never ever ever boil vegetables, especially not broccoli. The whole dream made no sense.
If anyone has any random dreams or musings to share, I'd love to hear them. Mostly for entertainment value, as well as reassurance that I'm not insane haha.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A quick and somewhat vague update

I've fallen off the blogging bandwagon. My bad. Between work, covering trivia nights, yoga, and some new projects (more on that to come soon, I promise!), sitting down and typing away at my computer just hasn't appealed to me. In the midst of the chaos, I've been making more time for friends and fun activities to keep me extra happy and motivated, feelings which have become the norm for me lately. It finally feels like things are falling into place. No, it's not perfect, but life would be boring if it were.

A few high points of the last week or so:

  • Jared Leto's performance in Dallas Buyer's Club. My past encounters with Jared Leto left me with a bad taste in my mouth, albeit some funny stories, but he really earned my respect back with this role. Kudos, Jared. Props to him for his inspiring acceptance speech at the Oscar's. Yes, he deserved that award.

Photo cred: US magazine

  • The Oscars in general. Ellen was a fantastically entertaining host, and almost everyone looked flawless. Good job, Hollywood.
  • This Buzzfeed article on what people looked like at the Oscars...
Poor Leo
  • Finally hitting up the brunch buffet at India on Hope Street this past Sunday. I consumed at least 7 full plates of food, and finally got to try some new dishes that I never would have ordered...simply because I always, always order the same thing: Mixed Grilled Vegetable Platter. Something about that grilled pineapple and Indian spices, I can't say no. I would have taken a picture of all the deliciousness, but I was ravenous (clearly, given my aforementioned massive food consumption) after two hours of weights and yoga. Visualize, if you can, fresh-baked Spicy Chili Cilantro, Hot & Spicy Vindaloo, and Garlic naan bread, spinach and lentil soup, mango chutney, lemon cilantro chutney (my favorite!), tamarind chutney, chickpea salad, kale cucumber papaya salad, mango chicken curry, shrimp biryana, tandoori chicken, chana masala, fresh fruit with mango cream, and rice pudding. Then picture me eating it all. NOM.
  • A relaxing night in with a friend, who arrived at my house toting a giant container of her dad's split pea soup. Unexpectedly delicious, and totally random.
  • Big changes on the horizon, finally set in stone and put into action!
  • The return of regularly scheduled TV programs. Oh, how I've missed New Girl and Nashville.
  • Confirming that I am TB-free! I had to put some sort of positive spin on making a doctor's appointment and getting a shot, two things I abhor. Haha.
Again, I'm kind of running on overdrive right now. I've been entirely uncreative in the aspects of my life that don't require my immediate attention right now, but I'll be back on track at some point once I settle into a new routine.