Tag Archives: awesome

That Time I Skyped With Amazonian Tea Farmers

7 Mar

So, C and I decided back in January that we were going to go on two “out of the box” adventures every month. The point is to meet new people – who are hopefully attractive gents who’d like to date us. We’re calling the plan “The Two Prong Dating Approach, In Which We Are The Prongs.”

For February, one of the adventures was originally a (free) tour of the Chelsea Brewery. Always the creative thinker, C had other ideas for us. “Why don’t we go to this Spanish Speakers Meetup in Brooklyn?” she suggested innocently.

I kindly reminded her that I speak approximately 12 words of Spanish, ten of which are numbers.

“Don’t you think that might be a little awkward for me?” I replied, wishing we could stick to beer, which would at least be in a language I could comprehend.

She’s persuasive, though, and sent me details – something about tea farmers and the Amazon and Skype. At the very least, this would be hilarious. At the most, it would actually be fun. I soon acquiesced, having pretty much no idea what I was getting myself into.

The Saturday in question rolled around and we trekked our way out to Brooklyn. Really, it wasn’t so much of a trek as a 15 minute subway ride, but still. Brooklyn feels far away. It felt even more foreign when we showed up at the address listed on the event website …

If this isn't exactly what you imagine when you imagine a Typical Abandoned Brooklyn Warehouse, then you need to amend your imagination.

Seriously, this place appeared to be some kind of abandoned warehouse. “Whatever happens, this was YOUR choice,” I reminded C, laughing but also confused, curious, entertained, and slightly freaked out.

We walked through the front door and through an unheated, eery-as-hell hallway. I’m talking – there were mannequin torsos and detached limbs strewn about, scraps of fabric and old rugs, dilapidated chairs and tables. Going up the creepy elevator, I was fairly certain we were in some kind of horror movie.

But then it all transformed! We walked into a cozy (still warehouse-y, still very Brooklyn) open space that clearly served as several offices/headquarters. But it was heated! And not creepy!

And…everything was in Spanish. I smiled and nodded and laughed along with the crowd until someone started asking me questions and all I could do was stand there. Mute. Because, you know, when you go to a Spanish Speakers Meetup, everyone assumes you speak Spanish.

SHOCKER.

Anyway, C did her best to translate and I was actually quite entertaining to most people as I stood, grinning and mute, in the middle of the room. We got to Skype with legit tea farmers in Ecuador, which was hilarious to me only because I could understand none of what they were saying.

We drank the tea and even got to take a box home for ourselves. I flirted shamelessly with the company’s founder (in English) before I found out he was living with his girlfriend. C chattered coherently to everyone but me in her fluent Spanish.

And so we launched our Two Prong Approach – in which we are the prongs – in an old warehouse in Brooklyn drinking tea virtually hanging out with Amazonian tea farmers.

I’m calling it a success, since I couldn’t understand a word anyone said. I assume they all loved me.

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The Cleanse Aftermath, or Everything Has Cheese

14 Feb

So, after I spent three days eating no food and subsisting on crazy raw natural juices and doing yoga in the morning (seriously, who am I?), I had to start eating again. For various valid and totally psychotic reasons, I actually didn’t really want to start eating again, but I knew I had to.

Friday was a little rough, though. Work was crazy and I wasn’t really hungry, so I didn’t start eating till after 1pm. When I did start eating, it was a light salad, but the roof of my mouth got so irritated it became too painful to swallow. I ate the avocado and nothing else until evening. At that point, I could manage really small bites of a delicious homemade salad and it felt really good to eat something chewable and healthy.

Saturday I got up feeling good once again (yay, lasting effects!) and went to the gym. I had an egg and toast and a banana and then went to Brooklyn to Skype with some Amazonian tea farmers. As you do.

I made some mistakes Saturday evening though, as I became starving and went to a party and ate crackers and crab dip and shrimp cocktail and some French fries. Oh, and birthday cake. And wine. TALK ABOUT NAUSEA!

Regrets. I should have known better, though.

A few important things of note:

Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day is definitely something I’m going to be focusing on! I think that will curb my snacking urges and keep me full longer.

Did I mention I lost seven pounds on this thing? Seven. Pounds. I obviously don’t expect it all to stay off, but wow! What an encouraging way to kickstart this get-healthy-lose-weight goal I’ve got!

My tastebuds are super sensitive now. I’ve always been a good “taster,” but now everything is that much more intense. For example, I ate an olive on Friday night and almost cried at how salty it was.

Speaking of salt, I’m going to be watching my sodium intake much more carefully now. I’m pretty sure that was a strong contributing factor to feeling like such a dead heavy slug and I’d like to avoid going back to that.

Speaking of that dead heavy slug, I have also made the heartbreaking decision to stay away from milk-products altogether. I’ve been lactose intolerant to varying degrees for the past seven years or so, but sneaking in some cheese has never affected me too much. Or so I thought. Going the past week with absolutely no dairy has made a world of difference.

Speaking of cheese, IT’S IN EVERYTHING I WANT TO EAT. This is why I had to sneak cheese all these years despite knowing my body doesn’t like digesting it! Seriously, everywhere I look, it’s gruyere-this, cheddar-that, swiss-this, pepperjack-that. Screw you, cheese! I love you but now I hate you for taunting me with your gooey deliciousness.

In conclusion, I’m sad about the cheese. Really sad. Everyone have some extra cheese today for me.

In final conclusion, this cleanse was awesome for me overall, if not tragic for my cheese consumption.

That juice diet everyone’s talking about? I did it, too.

13 Feb

The Prep, or Superbowl Snacks & Lethargy

As you all know, I decided to jump on the oh-so-trendy cleanse bandwagon with the BluePrint Cleanse. I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time, although various factors prevented me from diving into the 3-Day Juice Diet. Factors like social plans, money or lack thereof, and, of course, my propensity for chewing.

But with a slow week approaching, a particularly annoying bout of self-diagnosed insomnia, and a little extra money thanks to the US government, I decided to take the plunge. (Pun only half intended.)

My reasoning was this: Everyone cool is doing it.

Ok, fine, that was only part of my reasoning. In all seriousness, I’d been feeling especially gross and lethargic and full of buffalo chicken dip (Hi, Superbowl! Go Giants! Boo hot sauce and sodium!). I mean, I was just feeling puffy. And tired. So tired.

So I went with the obvious solution and decided I may as well stop eating solids for 3 days to see what would happen.

The Cleanse, or 96oz/Day: The Juices

Juice #1: the Green Juice. This literally tastes like drinking a salad. Kind of a sweet, lots of lettuce and nothing else salad. It was actually really refreshing to have first thing in the morning, although I wouldn’t say it tasted good. It tasted clean, though, which was the point.

I loved Juice #2, the Pineapple Apple Mint, which everyone says tastes like a mojito. It really does. What a nice mid-morning treat!

Juice #3 was Green Juice again, which was so hard to choke down. One of those per day is fine by me, anything more and I’m on Liquid Salad Overdose.

Juice #4, the Spicy Lemonade, was definitely my favorite. It wasn’t as sweet as the other juices and it felt the lightest. The cayenne pepper after taste was fun and not too strong. (I’m a spicy-food wuss.)

I was really excited to try Juice #5, the Red Juice. It’s made mostly of carrots, beets, apples, and ginger. I love beets and I’d heard that that was the key to liking this juice. Alas, all I tasted was the ginger. So ginger-y! So sweet and ginger-y! It actually felt like my mouth was puckering with each sip. Definitely my least favorite juice by far.

Juice #6 gets a lot of hype; lots of people call it a liquid cookie. Let me go one step further: This “juice” is a liquid snickerdoodle cookie. It’s cashew milk with cinnamon and vanilla and it is delicious. I kind of want some right now.

The Cleanse, or I’ve Never Peed This Often Ever: The Days

Day one I woke up feeling like a heavy slug. Only a dead heavy slug, since they die when you pour salt on them and that’s pretty much all I’d been pouring down my gullet.

(I’m not a morning person, in that I’ve never been one to leap out of bed and immediately want to tackle everyone in hugs. That being said, I also haven’t always been a cranky morning person. When I’m at my best, I just need a few minutes to adapt to being conscious.)

Day two I woke up feeling fantastic. I was alert and I felt light and clean. No more Sluggy Sara here!

Day three I woke up and went to yoga! I hardly recognized myself! I felt so energized and the workout was great. Usually morning workouts are hard for me because I’m such a heavy dead slug that I don’t really push myself.

Each night I fell asleep between 10 and 10:30pm. Boy-roommate judged a little, but I slept great!

The juices were a little boring the first day. I struggled to get them down and I thought about food a lot. Not enough to cheat, though. Dropping two hundo on some juices will kind of force you into commitment, ya know?

Day two was definitely the best. I took a spinning class that evening and I swear I sweated out toxins. Day three I struggled to finish the juices. It was just so much liquid; I could tell my stomach had shrunk.

Speaking of so much liquid, over the course of each day, I was also drinking a lot of lemon tea and a lot of water and I kept peeing. Luckily, I didn’t wear heels so at least I didn’t have to clack across the wooden floors at work every 20 minutes to get to the bathroom. Subtlety is key for me.

The main complaint I had was that the juices tasted really sugary. I know they are totally natural, so any sugary-ness is also totally natural, but it actually made them harder to drink. Also, my teeth got fuzzy mid-day, which required some awkward public-bathroom-teeth-brushing.

Overall, I was never actually hungry. I didn’t get light-headed and my blood sugar didn’t plummet or spike. After the first day, thinking about food was sort of tangential, which made me feel kind of superior to everyone else taking real bites.

But wait, you might say, what about now? What happened when you starting eating real good again? Did you lose weight? And that, my friend, will come tomorrow with its own post!

The Giant Pants & An Obscure Cartoon

6 Feb

I used to have these super soft, gray cotton, drawstring pajama pants. I got them when I was in that adolescent stage of thinking I was way more enormous than I really was, so naturally these pants were also enormous. I, however, have never actually been enormous, so the pants just looked ridiculous on me.

Luckily, they were pajamas, so I didn’t wear them in public. Ok, maybe sometimes I did, but it was high school and back in 2002 wearing giant pajama pants in public was cool. FINE I just had a terrible fashion sense.

That’s not the point.

The point is that I brought them to college with me and then brought them to France during my semester abroad. At some point in France, I realized just how giant these pants were:

It's unclear why I was ever under the impression these pants fit normally.

I mean, really, you’d think I’d lost some impressive amount of weight and wanted to illustrate it. Nah, I just had an incredibly skewed concept of how small or big I really was.

Shortly after my Giant Pants Epiphany, I started experimenting with how much of my body I could fit into these pants. Turns out, it was all of it:

This is what we did for fun in France.

Around the same time I was playing the Fit My Entire Body In a Pair of Pants Game, Facebook introduced photo albums and something called “tagging.” As you can imagine, these pictures got posted – and tagged – immediately. (They’re still tagged. Why would I ever take them down?)

This one was particularly popular with two of my roommates:

If you don't see a giant gray ass with a head, you need your eyes checked.

My roommates began referring to me as Assy McGee. Apparently I needed a crash course in clothing sizes and  pop culture: Assy wasn’t just an endearing nickname, but an actual cartoon character.

I'm not sure there's an appropriate caption for this.

It’s been six years and I wear smaller pants now, but I’ve never actually lived this down.

Life Goals 2012: January Recap

31 Jan

Sometimes my obsessive tendency to make everything into a giant list of a list of a list gets in the way of actually crossing anything off. I get lost in lists and forget to look around and actually do.

This year is the first year I’ve ever focused on actionable goals and instead of drowning in all my lists, I’m going to hold myself accountable at the end of each month.

Here’s what I will do in my monthly recaps:

Give myself credit for what I’ve accomplished, no matter what it is. Be proud of the progress I’ve made, however significant. Allow myself to look forward with hope and eagerness to continue growing. I will be honest and optimistic.

Here’s what I will not do in my monthly recaps:

Tell myself that whatever I did was not enough. Let myself believe I could have done better. Look ahead with a negative, discouraged attitude.

I’m determined to have every month this year be a success and so we begin with…

January…

Creativity/Writing … I was so busy writing this month! I submitted my personal essay to the Stratejoy Essay Contest – the first contest I’ve entered in years. I began a creative writing collaboration with Peter – someone whose writing I so admire. I wanted to post at least six times in January; this post is my eighth. I wanted to comment on at least six other posts; I didn’t keep track, but I’m please with where I commented and why. I’m happy that I only contributed where I felt I had something valuable to say.

Self-Care/Diet/Fitness … I got into the habit of making my bed every morning. Now, when I get into bed at night, I feel refreshed rather than sluggish. I had some difficult conversations with close friends and stayed true to myself in what I said and how I said it. I set a weekly gym schedule. (I didn’t follow it, but the goal didn’t specify. Ha! Loophole!) I made these delicious cheese straws which really tasted like homemade spicy cheez-its. I set dates for my first juice cleanse and made sure I’d be able to stick to those dates.

Friends/Family … I chose a weekend to go visit Katie in Seattle! I surprised my mom for her birthday by going home to CT for the weekend. I have definitely plans to visit my brother in DC in March (he’s turning 25!). I also made concrete plans to join my entire family in Orlando for vacation in April.

Places … I relaxed at the Russian/Turkish Baths with a good friend, ate at three new restaurants with three different sets of people for Restaurant Week, went ice skating at Bryant Park for free, and did yoga in Brooklyn. I also signed up for #BiSC!

Finances … I got a JOB, yo! A real, salaried, super awesome, challenging, fun, exciting JOB! Also, I filed my taxes.

Looking Ahead…

Now that I have an income, I’m going to budget it. I have at least three things on my calendar that will count as Things I’ve Never Done. That doesn’t include the cleanse I’m going to complete. My brother is visiting one weekend, so I’m hosting a party. I’d like to go to bed earlier, make it to the gym a couple times each week, and continue cooking new and healthy meals. I’d like to find a craft to complete and I’d like to send my friends cards (Oh, craft?).

I’d say February has quite a lot to live up to, wouldn’t you?

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