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Archive for July, 2011

The Weekend

Yes, a recap of what I did this weekend. I really like these posts but lately I’ve seen bloggers bash their own recap posts which I think it strange. They’re really great!

Friday started with a pool party at my friend Elisa’s apartment. It was an overcast, hot day, just like every other day she’s hosted us for a pool party. Why break tradition, right? The best tradition of the Elisa pool party is breaking out our friend Erica’s delicious 7-layer dip the moment we arrive. That stuff is so good and so dangerous.

After devouring 7-layer dip we headed down to the pool to barbeque.

There were a few problems getting the BBQs working, but luckily her building’s great maintenance man fixed everything and we were soon in business.

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Burgers, sausage, and corn. Yum! (And note to self, my scarf tied like that is not flattering!)

We hung out by the pool for  awhile and around 6pm decided to go upstairs for dessert. Which was good because right when we got upstairs it started pouring.

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Dessert was a delicious frozen chocolate peanut butter pie made by me and a very inappropriate ice cream cake.

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If you don’t know what that means just Google. The birthday girl says it all the time.

I got home around 11pm Friday night and happily crashed.

When I woke up Saturday morning I intended to go running but I just wasn’t feeling it. Instead I decided to take in a matinee showing of Crazy, Stupid, Love.

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I’ve been so excited to see this movie since I love all of the actors. Sadly I was disappointed. In my opinion, the movie focused too much on the babysitter and Steve Carrel’s son. And too much on Steve Carrel. I wanted more focus on Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. It was a cute story though, not really original, but it was entertaining. Probably better to wait for the DVD though.

Since I didn’t get my run in I brought my gym clothes with me to go to the gym right from the movie. That worked well and I was in, on the elliptical, and out in no time.

After a quick stop at the grocery store I went home to relax in front of DVRed episodes of Suits. Anyone else watch that? I think it’s pretty good!

Then it was time to get ready to meet my friend Natalie, who was down from Boston, and a group of people at Motorino in Williamsburg.

Unfortunately it took me 5 trains to get there (stupid weekend construction), but luckily there was a long wait for a table so I didn’t miss any food!

Three of us split the Cremini, Margherita DOC, and the special pizza (all I remember was the heirloom tomatoes and raw basil). They were all delicious, but I thought the cremini was the best.

The only I picture I snapped from the night was one in the bathroom.

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I wore my romper (same outfit as here) and it’s just so annoying to go to the bathroom. That’s my belt and cardigan on the top of the toilet (I didn’t know where else to put them!).

I got home just before midnight (I love that I was home before midnight both days and didn’t get drunk this weekend). And headed to bed so I could wake up to run.

I did indeed go for a run Sunday morning and it was hot! In the shade wasn’t bad, but when the sun was shining down on me it was terrible!

I managed to run 3 miles with only 2 walking breaks, but man, it was rough!

I called my parents as I walked home and also stopped for a bagel along the way. Then I did some weights and caught up on Necessary Roughness (another USA show I really like).

Otherwise I’ve just been relaxing. It’s been nice to have some downtime since last week was pretty crazy and the week ahead will be pretty crazy as well.

I’m going to head out to grab some food in a bit and then keep relaxing. Perfect Sunday!

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“Empty” – Ray LaMontagne

“One” – Johnny Cash

“We Used To Vacation” – Cold War Kids

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Darned Technology

Lately there have been several new and new-to-me things on the interweb that other people seem to be all about, but I just don’t understand. Can anyone else me out?

Pinterest: I was dying to try Pinterest, I kept hearing people on blogs and Twitter talk about it so I was so happy when I finally got my invitation. I expected to be addicted to the site, but I just don’t get it. Maybe I haven’t found my niche yet? I would say my main things I do on the internet is look at Twitter (where I follow tennis, soccer, and healthy living people and some news and cultural organizations), read blogs (healthy living, cooking, tennis, soccer), and then read the news.

It doesn’t seem like Pinterest covers any of my traditional online interests. I do think it’s fun to look at the very creative home improvement or craft projects people do or to check out fashion trends, but I’m just not into home improve, crafts, or fashion enough to want to spend time looking at them.

Spotify: This one really confuses me. I first heard about it last week when people started posting on Twitter how they got an invitation. I requested an invitation and got one a few days later. I excitedly downloaded the program and started listening to music. But I don’t get it. To me it seems like a combination between Grooveshark and iTunes. Basically you can make playlists and stream songs from the internet (like Grooveshark), but it also incorporates all the music you already have on your computer (iTunes).

Maybe if I was more into making playlists I would find Spotify more useful? The only thing I make playlists for is working out and the free version of Spotify doesn’t include streaming to your mobile phone. So if I wanted to make a Spotify playlist to workout to I would have to pay $9.99/month. I suppose if I was already spending $10/month on music it would be worth it, but since I don’t it doesn’t really make sense.

Goodreads: I heard about Goodreads a while ago, joined, and then never really looked at it. Then I saw the site mentioned on Eat, Live, Run and since I’ve been in such a reading groove lately I thought I’d revisit it. I joined and added some books I’ve read, what I’m reading now, and what I want to read. I also liked a few authors. But otherwise I’m at a loss of what to do. Maybe because I don’t know anyone on it? I was particularly annoyed when I clicked on recommendations and I had to “request” a recommendation. What does that mean? Why can’t it just recommend things based on books on my shelves?

Those are the three things I don’t understand. Anyone else? Anyone want to argue for the usefulness of any of these? Anyone else confused by anything?

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I have been blogging for exactly two years tomorrow. It hasn’t been a constant two years, I’ve taken off days, weeks, and months, but I started this blog on July 28, 2009. When I started the blog I didn’t really know what kind of blogger I wanted it to be. I read a lot of healthy living blogs and, since I was in the process of losing weight myself, I thought it might be fun and helpful to document my food like my favorite blogs.

But soon I realized that wasn’t for me so I started writing about food, cooking, exercise, and life in general. During the winter of 2010 I was training for a half marathon and I had tons to write about. After the half marathon my fitness kind of took a beating and my posting slowly decreased until I stopped posting altogether before starting again earlier this month.

(I thought of this post completely separately from my what I learned from my lonely summer in DC post but as I was writing the DC post I realized they go quite nicely together.)

However, even during the year where I blogged pretty religiously, I never picked up a following or made blog friends. I often stop and ask myself why that is. I think I’m a pretty outgoing person (I mean I work in sales!), I have friends in real life, and I think I’m very accepting of people. So I’ve come up with a few reasons for my lack of connections.

1. Insecurity. Sometimes the blogs I read, about people running marathons or vegans, are intimidating. I work hard on being healthy but I am still overweight and I don’t have a perfect diet. Even though I know it doesn’t matter and it’s not true, I often feel like I would be judged or wouldn’t have anything in common with people I view as “perfect” bloggers. Plus I also feel insecure about my blog since it doesn’t have a fancy design or ads (which is fine with me).

2. Fear. I guess this is kind of the same as insecurity, but I see it as something different. I’ve attended two blogger “events.” The first was a meet-up with Kath from Kath Eats at the Brooklyn Brewery where I met some nice people, but I was afraid to talk about my blog because I didn’t really have readers. I also didn’t really feel a connection with anyone there, which made me question if I really fit into the blogging community (although I have to say most people there said didn’t have blogs, they were readers of Kath’s). The second event was a spinning class at FlyWheel run by Jess from Fit Chick in the City. I know a class isn’t really the best place to meet new people, but I was surprised by the lack of friendliness among the people I spoke with (and maybe I seemed unfriendly to them). There have been other blogger events in NYC I’ve wanted to attend, but I have never worked up the courage to go.

(I want to say that I place the blame for my lack of readers and blog friends squarely on my own shoulders. I hope it goes without saying, but just in case, even though I was disappointed with the blog events I attended I don’t blame either Kath or Jess for my own experiences and I think they are both great, inspiring bloggers.)

3. My lack of follow through. This is a problem I have in every aspect of my life, not just in the blog world. I would often get comments or emails and then don’t reply. Why? I don’t know and clearly it’s not a good thing. But, even with my real life friends and my family, I am terrible at replying to emails or texts or Facebook messages. There have been readers and other bloggers who have reached out on my blog and while I have often replied to comments and had conversations I’ve also forgotten or just been lazy about replying to others.

So what am I going to do about this? I really like blogging for me. I like having a record of my life to look back on and a way to hold myself accountable to me. Clearly not having readers or blog friends hasn’t stopped me for the last two years and I hope it doesn’t stop me going forward.

But, that said, I would like to make some connections so I’m going to do three things:

1. Make sure I leave comments on blogs that I read and not just comments for the hell of it. I will leave thoughtful comments on posts where I actually have something to say. And not just on the big blogs I read, but also the smaller ones.

2. If someone leaves a comment for me, emails me, or Tweets me, I will make sure I reply.

3. Go back to participating in the weekly #Fitblog chats. I actually participated in the first ever #Fitblog chat and the ones after for several months after but then fell out of the habit. They were always great ways to network and full of insightful information. (Note that I’m not off to the best start here, I meant to attend last night’s #Fitblog chat, but my dinner went late. But that’s ok because my real life social life will always be more important.)

4. I won’t let fear stop me. I am a likeable person, my blog might not be fancy or make me money, and I might have a ways to go to reach my health and fitness goals, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be able to reach to people or try new experiences.

However, if I don’t end up making blog friends or gaining any readers I am also ok with that. As I said, I blog mainly for myself. And maybe my blog isn’t unique enough, I’m not likeable, or I’m not interesting. Should anything of those things be the case then so be it, it won’t affect what I do here.

Here’s goes nothing.

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Book Reviews: Part I

I have been a reading machine lately. In the last week alone I’ve finished three books. On my Tumblr I started doing 5-sentence move reviews and then 5-sentence book reviews. Here are my reviews of the three books I finished this week. (And remember you can see what I’ve read, what I’m reading, and what I want to read here.)

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Wonder Girl: I am a huge fan of biographies and I’m an even bigger fan of biographies of really interesting women. Babe Didrikson Zaharias was definitely an interesting, inspiring, fascinating woman; in fact she was probably the greatest female athlete of all time. The author does a great job of describing Babe’s journey from poor girl from Texas, to basketball star, to Olympic track and field star, to vaudeville star, to the greatest female golfer ever and one of the original founders of the LPGA, to courageous and inspiring fighter against cancer. I knew a little bit about Babe prior to reading the book and I’m so happy I found out more; there were times where I wished the author went a bit more in-depth, but I’m sure he didn’t because he didn’t have that information available to him. I highly recommend this book for fans of biographies, fans of sports, and anyone interested in women’s history.

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Skipping a Beat: I don’t read a lot of novels, I by far prefer nonfiction, and when I read novels they’re usually really bad “chick lit,” but, despite that, I thought I would give Skipping a Beat a try. I was very happily surprised, Skipping a Beat was smart and well-written, but still relatable and pretty easy to read. The narrator is a woman in her mid-30s who lives in Washington, DC and is married to her high school sweetheart, a guy who made tens of millions of dollars by starting a Vitamin Water-esque business. One day her husband’s heart stops for more than four minutes and when he wakes up he realizes he wants to give away all his money and start over as someone who he sees as a better person. The resulting story, about how his wife comes to terms with his decision, is honest, funny, heartbreaking, and definitely worth a read.

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The American Heiress: This is the kind of book I love, but I don’t want to love; it was recommended to me by Amazon and I had my reservations, but then I saw all the good reviews so I decided to give it a try. The premise is that Cora Cash is a very, very wealthy American heiress at the end of the 19th-century and her social climbing mother wants her to marry a member of the British aristocracy so that their family can have a title in addition to money (apparently this was a common thing at that time). The story is told from many different viewpoints; Cora’s, her maid’s, the boy she loved and left behind in Newport, among others. The different narrators can be somewhat annoying, I really just wanted to know about Cora and her life, but it was interesting to read all the different perspectives. The story had its moments of being over the top, but as the author points out that was an over the top time; that said I really enjoyed it and I’m eager to learn more about that time in history.

I also joined Goodreads, you can find me here.

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No, not New York City. I’m talking Washington, DC.

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I spent the summer of 2006, the summer before my senior year of college, interning at ABC News in Washington DC. Let me take a little trip down memory lane.

I lived in a George Washington University dorm room, more a suite, with a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.

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With a friend from college and a random girl who we were assigned to live with.

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Random girl, me, and my college friend.

Our suite was in a great location right next to the Foggy Bottom metro, it overlooked Washington Circle Park, and was a short walk to Georgetown.

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The internship was great. I was interning with really great people and I got to experience really interesting things (2 tours of the Pentagon (which I consider one of the coolest places on earth), going out on a shoot in Maryland, sitting in on lots of interviews with really interesting people).

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The great group of people I interned with.

So is the point of doing this self-indulgent nostalgia post to talk about how happy I was and what a great experience it was? No, the point is to talk about how miserable I was.

Sometime around the beginning of my junior year in college I decided I wanted to work in TV news. I’d always loved the news and politics and I thought it would be the perfect high-powered job for me. I applied for several internships and got interviews with CBS and with Nightline in DC. After the phone interview I was convinced I didn’t get it and then, a few days later, I got an email telling me I was accepted.

I was so happy. My good friend Jo was interning in DC as well and we agreed to room together in the GWU dorms. My good friend Maria would also be down there interning and living with her boyfriend.

I moved down to DC really full of hope and excitement. But it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. My friends, Jo and Maria included, weren’t 21 (I was) so our options of going out were limited. Jo had a lot of friends in DC and while she was nothing but welcoming and always willing to include me they were never people I felt comfortable around so I rarely hung out with them. I actually ended up pushing most people away because of how miserable I was.

The people I was interning with were also great but none of them were 21 and none of us ever ended up hanging out with each other outside of work. I also wasn’t making any money so I often felt like I couldn’t go out and do things without getting into heavy debt.

So what did I spend most of my time doing? I worked Monday-Friday and I mostly spent my nights and weekends alone. I didn’t have enough money to go to the gym so I never exercised, I ended up eating cheap fast food because our kitchen didn’t really have pots and pans and I didn’t really know how to cook any way, and I often ended up in front of the TV eating boxes of Milk Duds (seriously, boxes).

I’m sure it won’t surprise you when I say that, in retrospect, I really regret this. Yes, I had no money, yes, none of my friends were 21, but I could have made more of an effort to hang out with people and meet new people. But I didn’t.

And, to be honest, I still often let fear or curmudgeonness hold me back from new experiences (see my post on Wednesday about how I can’t make blog friends and you’ll realize this is true). And that’s not good.

So I wrote about this not to write about how happy I was, OR about how sad I was, but to remind myself to not let fear hold me back.

But, in the spirit of ending on a happy note, I did some really fun stuff in DC that summer, too.

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My friend Maria and I went to Anderson Cooper’s book signing and I talked to him about some of the people I worked with at ABC who he also knew.

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We took a really cool behind-the-scenes tour of the Capitol building.

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Maria and I paid a ridiculously inappropriate visit to the Museum of the American Indian.

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(Look how tan I am, and how red my hair was. I’m thinking I might actually like my hair like that.)

I also went to a ton of museums and saw a ton of movies because those are good things to do on your own. My friend Becca and I watched the World Cup final together in Georgetown, which was great. And, as I said earlier, I made two amazing visits to the Pentagon (did you know there’s a KFC and a DMV in there?).

So in the end this is a little reminder to myself to not let fear hold me back and to take chances because I don’t want to life my life with regret.

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I thought I’d do a mostly random recap of my weekend with a few pictures from my trip to Oregon included.

First, my randoms from my trip…

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That’s the room I stay in in the condo my grandparents rent. Well, where I stayed before I got sent to the couch so my mom and aunt could sleep up there. It’s a nice room, that door goes out to a big balcony that over looks a stream…

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And there’s a full bathroom right behind where I was standing when I took the picture.

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That’s the large lake that’s pretty much right outside the condo’s door. There are a ton of restaurants and stores around the lake. And there’s a town square-like place where they have a farmer’s market, show movies, and hold other events.

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Just don’t feed the water fowl.

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Who are these fetching people? That’s my uncle, aunt, and mother. This picture has been hanging in my grandparents’ house for as long as I can remember. I always thought it was so funny growing up.

I arrived back in NY bright and early Friday morning after a fairly bumpy red eye flight where I got elbowed by the video game-playing guy next to me for the whole flight. After some squeezing onto the Long Island Railroad I was greeted by this shining face.

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The great greyhound hole digger!

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It’s something he’s started since it’s gotten so hot outside. I guess it’s cooler in the hole? Needless to say my parents aren’t pleased.

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Here’s a zucchini and cucumber from my parents’ organic vegetable garden. I’m very proud of them. Too bad I don’t like zucchini or cucumber.

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This was my gorgeous view at the beach this morning. Unfortunately it was hot as hell at the beach. There was no breeze and it was so sticky.

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I also got attacked by flies the entire time. I lasted a little less than 3 hours before I threw in the towel (haha…).

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This is the clear coat nail polish, Seche Vite, that my aunt told me to buy to fix my nail polish absorbing dirt problem. She said it was only available online, but then I found it at Target today. Score.

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And finally here’s my latest attempt at applying the OPI Shatter nail polish. It’s really hard! I love how my thumb looks but my index finger looks awful. There has to be a trick to it.

I’m using my parents free laundry facilities and then packing up to head back to NYC tomorrow. It’s been a real vacation, but I’m actually excited about heading back to work and a normal routine tomorrow.

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