Weekend Buzz + The Best Holiday for Candy

I hope your weekend was the tits.

I actually had a bomb weekend because I got to spend time with my husband.  I don’t know about you guys, but a lot of times of the weekends, we make so so many plans that we barely get to see one another.  And by the time we get into bed too late on a Sunday night, we haven’t seen one another more than an hour or two.  This weekend was a little different – I made plans and drank with friends on Friday, and because I wasn’t teaching or anything, we spent all day Saturday together – cleaning, napping, working out, and finally, falling into bed, deliciously exhausted, but together.

Austin’s the bomb.  I love him a lot.  I like spending time with him.

Now.  Let’s talk candy. 

On the way to run yesterday morning, I got into a big discussion with Mama Cheri about candy.  Now, neither of us eats a ton of candy – she for health reasons, and me, because once I start, I can’t stop.  So when I eat candy, I typically do a single-serve York Peppermint Pattie, or the holy grail of candy, a Reese’s Big Cup, where the peanut butter to chocolate ratio is one that is angelic.  So I’m of the firm belief that Valentine’s Day is one of the best holidays for candy.  But I got into this argument discussion with my mother and a friend regarding the best holidays for candy, and they were not in agreement.  So let’s break it down.

The best candy, in no particular order.  

1.  Reese’s – the big cup variety is the best, which I’ve stated time and again.  NOW, the reason for this is that the peanut butter to chocolate ratio.  This includes the trees, the eggs, and the hearts.  All solid choices.

2.  Whoppers – malted milk balls are the absolute best.  Now, there IS a variety you can get at Whole Foods, which makes you feel a little better about stuffing your face because it’s made without HFCS and real chocolate, as opposed to Whoppers.

3.  York Peppermint Patties – the 140-calorie variety that you can commonly acquire at most checkouts at the grocery store.  I mean, DUH.

image via Wikipedia
image via Wikipedia

4.  Pretzel M&Ms.

5.  Sweet Tarts– you can shove these in your mouth by the handful, which makes them really convenient.  But really dangerous, as I’ve found out, because when they’re in the admin office, for example, you might eat them all every time you have to go down there.  Which is not productive.

Now, let’s move on to the worst candies, in no particular order. 

1.  Circus Peanuts – my mother disgustingly loves these.  If you read the description on these, you’ll find that they’re considered some sort of marshmallow candy, flavored artificially with BANANA?!  WTH?! Who would do such a thing?

image via Wikipedia
image via Wikipedia

2. Okay, so I’m having a really hard time moving past the Circus Peanuts thing. But my mother reminded me of these atrocities…

image via Candywarehouse.com
image via Candywarehouse.com

These guys are called Old Fashioned Marshmallow Eggs. There are a number of things that are pretty disgusting about this candy, mainly the fact that the sugar on the inside is suspended in this marshy thing. It’s really disgusting and not acceptable.

3. Jellybeans – they’re just too sweet and sort of pointless. They also get stuck in your teeth, and you run the risk of getting a horrible flavor, which is totally the opposite of the point of eating candy in the first place. Would you ever just go actively seeking out jellybeans? Probably not because they’re pointless and add nothing to your day.

4. Raisinets – I want to know who on God’s green earth decided that they would combine raisins, which are pretty disgusting on their own, and cover them in crusty chocolate? Why would I ever eat that?

image via Wikipedia
image via Wikipedia

So the holiday with the best candy?

For me, hands down, it’s got to be Valentine’s Day because of the variety of chocolate. Yum!

The worst?

Omg, so many worsts here, but I’m going to have to say that Easter provides us with the worst candy because it’s all smooshy and sugary, and that’s just not the way things should be. But Easter, don’t be sad because Easter is going to be closely followed by Christmas, because there is truly nothing fun about sucking on a peppermint stick.

All that said…

How was your weekend? What did you do?

What’s your favorite candy?

Least favorite?

Best and worst holidays for candy?

Happy & Hale

First off, let’s go ahead and thank the sweet Starbucks angel from above who made me an eggnog latte on the DL today.  I don’t know what Starbucks’ deal is, but for some UNGODLY reason, they decided that they needed to discontinue the eggnog latte in our market.

I mean, not to say that I don’t completely understand that eggnog, on its own, is a horribly disgusting invention, however, in a latte, that is the most wondrous thing that has ever been created.  It’s creamy, it tastes like Christmas, and in small doses, it doesn’t make my stomach hurt that badly.

Starbucks

So, shoutout to the sweet angel, sent by God at the Starbucks on Fayetteville Street. Hashtag blessed.

Happy & Hale 

So a few days ago, the boys from Happy & Hale came to the Y, where I work, and they, in partnership with a local organization, brought lunches for everyone.  The salads and quinoa bowls looked so beyond words, I decided that although I couldn’t partake in the food that day (I was teaching a class, and food + exercise at the same time is not encouraged), I would try and get down there that day.

Photo via Bizjournal
Photo via Bizjournal

Happy & Hale is a far cry from what you typically think of when you think of southern food. The south is great for a lot of things, however, nutritional health and well-being is not our strong suit. We have Bojangles, Cookout, and biscuits (which are delish in moderation). However, with the advent of Whole Foods, Trader Joes, local farms, and the influx of hipsters and lumbersexuals that we have here, Happy & Hale has been an interesting and successful business downtown.

First, I checked out the menu online.  I thought it seemed a little pricey, but decided to splurge – plus the option was either that, or a Lean Cuisine because I didn’t pack a good lunch. #fail

I decided on the quinoa bowl, as I’d heard that this was one of the most popular things on the menu, and went for it.  The bowl was kinda similar to the salad bowl, and was packed.  Picture this.  Quinoa on the bottom.  Black beans, feta cheese, pico de gallo, onions, and some sick vinegarette were all included with some tofu for some more protein.

Lunch was DELICIOUS, and super filling.  Though I probably should have done without the onions (had to scavenge around for mouthwash after lunch), it was satisfying on two levels.  For one, it tasted good.  And there’s a lot to be said for that.  For two, it felt way better than shoving something really quickly while sitting in front of my computer.

If you didn’t pack it, where do you go to get your lunch?

45

Before we get all silly –

I alluded to this last week, but unfortunately, at the close of this week, I will have attended two funeral services.  Cancer absolutely sucks, and prayers for folks that I consider family would be greatly greatly appreciated.  And forgive me if I’m extremely weepy this week.

********

So, the other day, I posted a photo from Buzzfeed’s timeline of Jennifer Lopez.

I’m gonna let you feast your eyes for a second.

Jennifer Lopez 45If you’re not aware, this is Jennifer Lopez, of “In Living Color” fame.  She also was partner to Sean “P-Diddy” Combs, had an excellent MTV diary, married Marc Anthony, and starred in Selena, Enough, and The Wedding Planner.  I still have questions about the vocals from time to time, however, J.Lolas doesn’t have student loans so I’m just being a hater.

One thing I’m not hating on?  Her body!  At the age of 45, she looks better than I do having had 0 children.  To review, Juannifer has a set of twins.  That grew inside of that stomach.

But, upon checking out some of the Facebook comments on the picture, one of my biggest pet peeves started to rear its ugly ugly head.

Catherine Claridge REMINDER: Jennifer Lopez is a celebrity with a team of nutritionists and personal trainers on her payroll. Fuck off BuzzFeed.

Okay.  A few questions for this charming commentator.

  1. Does Jennifer’s team of nutritionists force her to eat the right things?
  2. Do Jennifer’s personal trainers run on the treadmill for her?
  3. How about her lifting?  Does someone else do her lifting?
  4. And under this assumption, this would mean that all famous folks with teams of personal trainers and nutritionist have similar bodies and never struggle with food.  Stars that have had very public battles with food, our Carnie Wilsons, our Janet Jacksons, our Oprahs, are just not a thing?

Laura Miller It’s also her only job too.

  1. Jennifer Lopez has no other job than to work out and look amazing?
  2. Isn’t she a mom?
  3. Isn’t she an actress?
  4. Isn’t she a singer?
  5. Isn’t she a judge on American Idol?

The point of this is all to say: working out and staying healthy is hard, AND we should give credit where credit is due.  Mama looks good, and we should celebrate that.

Do you look up to any celebs for their exercise and healthy eating habits? 

My version of clean eating and how it worked for me.

Last weekend, I ate like an animal.

I listed some of the things I ate here, but in case you forgot, they were not limited to:

>>Cheesecake flavored frozen yogurt

>>A plate full of 2 different types of mac + cheese

>>An incredible cheesecake made by a supervisor of mine.  It was one of those dense, heavy numbers that made you feel like you might have a heart attack, but it was really delicious at the same time.

>>Baked beans, the really sweet kind.

>>Deviled eggs (god bless those, how are they so good?)

>>10,000+ pounds of chips + guacamole.

So needless to say, by the time Monday rolled around, the clean eating idea that I’d been bouncing around in my head was really starting to sound like a good idea, and I just went for my version of clean eating.

My version of clean eating goes a little something like this…

>>No booze

>>No coffee

>>Nothing that comes prepackaged.  For me, that means a lot of stuff that I shouldn’t be eating anyways, like my oatmeal bars that are packed with sugar, or my Fiber 1 bars that are the same, had to go.

>>Focus on things that come from the ground, not from a can or something.

So my meals looked a lot like this…

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And this to combat my diet soda bubbly cravings….

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And this to make sure I didn’t grab a frozen burrito or a Fiber 1 bar on my way out the door on the way to work.

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Now listen, I didn’t get overly creative with my meals, but you really can get insane with this stuff.  There are Pinterest universe’s dedicated to the art of clean eating.

My verdict?

Well first, let me disclaim this by telling you that I’m not your doctor, so don’t go doing anything stupid to your diet just because I said so.  Do what WORKS for you, okay?

>>It’s a little time consuming because it involves a decent amount of prep and planning.  But your food should be time consuming.  Your meals should not be as easy as tearing open a package or flipping the top to a can.  So yes, it’s time-consuming, but in the best possible way!

>>Though it’s time consuming say, the night before, your meals can be pretty grab-n-go the following morning.  Once I did things like prep my fulls day’s worth of meals before, like oats and salads, they were really fast to grab the next morning, and usually only required a little bit of heating.

>>Even though I’m usually good about my water intake, it definitely increased since I wasn’t doing coffee or drinks with a lot of artificial crap in them!  I had a lot of fun with it, and infused water with fruits, and took mason jars full of water with me to work that I could sip on.  I also sipped on Kombucha and club soda whenever I got a hankering for something bubbly.

>>When I got the urge to eat something sweet, I reached for fruit, and it seemed to do the trick.

>>Toward the end of last week, my stomach was really very upset because of the sheer volume of fiber that I was unknowingly consuming.  That was one of the bigger downsides – my body wasn’t really down with absorbing those levels of fiber, so I was very uncomfortable toward the end of the week.  I should have laid off of the leafy greens for a day or two between big salads!

Overall, I loved it, and even though I said I was only gonna do it for like a week, I’m interested to see if I can try for another week!

What sort of eating plan do you try to follow?  

I slept for like 15 hours last night.

I’ve been eating clean for a good week now, and my meals have been amazing.

But the thing about clean eating is that you’re eating a lot of things that come from the ground, a lot of grains and salad, and not a whole lot of prepackaged stuff.

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That’s all well and good, except I don’t think my body was ready for the fiber brick that was about to hit it.  By the time Friday rolled around at lunchtime, I wasn’t feeling well.

Friday afternoon, I was feeling even worse, and by the time I got off of work, I went to bed.

I went to bed around 4:00, again around 6:30, and then once again around 11:00 and didn’t wake up until about 10:30 on Saturday morning, just before my Zumba class.

After all that sleep, a few swigs of pepto, and a double fist full of antacid, I feel okay.  I’m not ready to slam like 8 pizzas or anything, but whewwww, next time, I need to make sure my body is prepped for the fiber party!

How’s your week been? 

Confessions

Can we just talk about the fact that Usher (one of my hall passes) wrote an entire album based on cheating on a significant other, and it was a smash?  And my parents let me buy/listen to the album on repeat in 2005, the year of my graduation?  Why was I allowed to listen to that?  But since you all are paying attention so nicely, here you go again.

usher-confessions-o

And if you think there’s no way he could have gotten better with age….

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 10.24.14 PMHe does the seemingly impossible.

Onto the good stuff.

I know a couple of bloggers do something called Confessions, where they confess to all the weird/funny/unknown stuff going on in their lives, so it’s my turn!  Thanks to all of you guys who inspired me to confess.

I confess…

//That I fell asleep fully clothed last night.  I was just laying down for a few minutes before I was going to at least shower and pack my lunch for today and catch up on blog stuff, and none of that stuff happened.

//I took a look at my bod today in the mirror, and I really liked what I saw.  I mean, usually I’m not like spitting at what I see, but I think this clean eating thing has done my body really well 🙂

//I typically eat really well, but I took on the challenge of eating really clean this week and prepping all my meals.  It’s made me more thoughtful about what I’m putting in my mouth.  My stomach, which I have all sorts of problems with, has been really calm this week, and my heartburn has calmed down.  I was only going for it for this week, but I’m going for it.  No sense going back to anything that comes in a package.

//I love my friends so much.  At any given time of day, I have like 2-3 group texts going on with folks I feel like are part of the inner circle.  I take my friendships really seriously.

//My house is a mess.  I fight a battle daily to keep in manageable, but I truly envy those folks who you walk in, and there are candles burning, the carpet is vacuumed, and it smells nice.  May I provide you with an example?

photo (30)

This is my workspace, which also doubles as a kitchen counter.  It’s a good workspace because I can stand up at it, but it’s not really be utilized to prep foods as it should be.

//I really insane opportunity has presented itself, and I’m really happy, but really overwhelmed, and I really can’t even tell anyone about it until next week.  EEP!

Your turn!  What are you confessions?

Clean eating + the weekend.

The weekend was full of a lot of joy.

And a lot of food that was just horrible for me.

Saturday afternoon, after I taught a killer Zumba class, I attended the graduation party of a friend, where there were some amazing sides (life of a vegetarian), and what I ate was not limited to:

  • Two types of macaroni and cheese.
  • Potato salad
  • Guacamole + Chips
  • Pasta salad
  • Deviled eggs
  • Baked beans
  • Diet Sierra Mist

Followed by…

  • A lovely thick slice of cheesecake made by my boss’s boss.

I ate disgustingly – and I kind of want to try something to kind of get rid of the nasty I ingested this weekend.

Before that!

Let’s review my weekend!

photo 1-1

Because I am so beautiful and gorgeous, I did another photoshoot for Headbands of Hope.  Okay, I kid, I kid, but I did another, and don’t worry, I will share those photos with you as soon as they are edited and ready to go!  But I did get this sweet buff that made me feel like a fun hippie all weekend.  I think I’m gonna buy a ton of these, because these are randomly really absorbent too!

photo 2

WARK!

photo 3

I ran home to my parents’ in Charlotte, and got to see my newly-engaged younger sister.  Everyone thinks that I’m younger because I’m only 5’8″ and she’s like 5’10-5′-11″.  I look SO short compared to her!

I photo 4

My brother kind of impressed me with his burrito making/folding skills and he made one for a ton of folks.  I told him he needs to open something up and that he could give Moe’s a run for their money.  He’s showing promise in the cooking arena.  Between him, my dad, me, and my sister Kimmy (who cooks like a pro), we could have an excellent little family restaurant situation.

photo 5And my mom is liable to murder me, but there she is, feeling much much better.  Not sure if you remember, but my mom suffered a stroke last year, and this time last year, she was not smiling.  Good to see it this year 🙂 🙂

Onto the gross stuff that I ate this weekend and what I’m going to do about it.  

I’ve been reading this week about clean eating, and to be 100%, I feel like I’m kind of fumbling around blindly with the idea.

I don’t believe in fads, and I don’t believe in cleanses, but I totally believe it eating good stuff, and prepackaged foods like my yogurt and my Fiber 1 bars are making me feel like crap.  For a week, I’m prepping my foods, avoiding alcohol and coffee, and staying away from anything that comes in a wrapper.

My only hope is to alleviate some tummy troubles, and to get rid of this gross stuff that I spent this weekend eating and drinking.

Now….with all of that….what did you do this weekend?  

 

Tart Bomb Smoothie!

Tart Bomb Smoothie!

So my favorite part of the weather warming up? (Sorta, I guess, I heard that some of yous in Colorado are getting snow? Gross.) Smoothie and salad time! Goodbye to heavy soups and gravies, and time for some light, tasty foods. Try this recipe in the morning for a tart, tasty smoothie!

What you’ll need
-Frozen bag of mixed berries (blue, raspberries, black, strawberries)
-Low-sugar orange juice (or you can cut regular orange juice with water)
-Palmful of spinach (optional)
-Scoop of Whey Protein (optional, but creates a wonderfully soft texture in the smoothie)

What you’ll do
-Fill a glass a little more than half way with frozen fruit. Dump it in the blender. Add optional spinach if you’d like.
-Add a little scoop of whey protein to the blender.
-Cover the fruit with the low-cal, low-sugar orange juice. Or add juice about halfway up the fruit, and add water the rest of the way.
-Blend until you get that little tornado in the center of the mix.
-Drink up and enjoy! (And tweet, email, and send me your pics of your sweet spring treat!)

Went to Food Lion today…

And you know, no story that begins this way ends well.  (And let’s keep in mind that Food Lion has launched a new brand strategy.  Lower prices, better shopping experience,  and revamped produce are supposed to be a part of this. Well…)

Let me back up.  I skipped my grocery shopping on my usual Sunday because Deb was over, and I waited til today, when I really had no food left, to do it.  I’m not a poor person, it would be a lie to say I was.  But I’m a recent graduate who’s on a fairly tight budget.  I usually do my grocery shopping at Super Target, and I save the special stuff for Harris Teeter and Whole Foods.   I say “special stuff” to mean my vegetarian supplies.  I’ve been a vegetarian for like 5 or 6 years, after I went to Elon and was not at all impressed by the quality of the meat they served in the dining halls.  No shade, Elon was totally great otherwise, but I saw some questionable meat items come through those dining halls.  Anyhoo, I drink a lot of smoothies and eat some tofu-type things that require those special trips.  At any rate, I thought I’d head down to Food Lion to save a few bucks on groceries.  Part of my thing with being a grown-up is actually packing my lunch to save some money.  (Plus it makes lunchtime at work so exciting when you know you cooked something delish that all your coworkers can be jealous of.) I went, armed with a list, and a resolve to get all the stuff I needed for another of my famous crock pot creation of the week.

First mistake?  I didn’t know where the closest Food Lion was, so I GPSed it.  The GPS took me to an unsavory part of town.  No problem, I can blend!

Food Lion

I went straight for the dairy to find my favorite brand of Greek yogurt, Fage (with the total split cup girl!). No Fage. Okay.  My eager attitude is beginning to dwindle.  But my resolve would not be tarnished!

I headed over to the soup aisle to grab some things for my crockpot.  Some coconut gel stuff in particular.  Couldn’t find it, and asked a gentleman in a uniform where to find it.

Me: Excuse me, where could I find the coconut cream canned stuff?

Food Lion Guy: ::finishes his text conversation:: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Finally, I headed over to produce.  Saw some tumbleweeds blowing through, some floppy looking potatoes, and some sad-looking apples.  I poked down the snack aisle to see what the Oreo aisle is looking like, however?  And there were so many varieties of Oreo, one called a “mega-stuf”, that I was stunned that I’d never heard of!  But to find 5 non-rotting Russet Potatoes was a task?! Wth?!

Okay. ::deep breath:: Just because someone is poor, doesn’t mean they need to be relegated to stores that aren’t clean, with poor lighting, poor customer service, and with a wider variety of Pop-Tart and Oreo, than of apple.  The disparity between the poor and the wealthy as far as obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension, Type II Diabetes, and heart disease is concerned is staggering.  And part of the issue is that it seems like folks with a lower socio-economic status aren’t afforded choices.  Check out the produce section of a Harris Teeter, a Whole Foods, or a Trader Joes. There are choices!  And the choices are between fresh, fresher, and maybe, once in a blue moon, a little too ripe.  My point is, folks like me, folks who want to save a few bucks, still deserve a choice when it comes to what we put in our mouths.  I don’t think I will be returning to that Food Lion, however, in the next few days, I will be drafting some constructive comments to the manager, and I hope that my obnoxious letter will even raise some awareness about the fact that people in my tax bracket deserve better as it pertains to our sustenance.