Monthly Archives: December 2011

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Dear 2012

2012,

I wasn’t expecting you to come so quickly, but now that you’re almost here, I’m excited to greet you with open arms!

2011 was a wonderful year, but I have a feeling you’re going to be even better.  I’m so excited to see what you have in store for me. 

In all honesty, I’ve been thinking a lot about your arrival.  With others in the past, I really tried to think through what I wanted to accomplish.  I would even write down my goals with a sense of excitement.  However, after about a month or so, that list of goals would end up in the bottom of some drawer or basket in my house.  Don’t worry though – it’s going to be different with us!  I promise.

For one thing, I have a blog now.  This means that when I make public declarations, I do my best to stick them.  I think it’s called blogger responsibility or something like that.  Another huge thing that’s really going to help our relationship is my upcoming wedding.  This means that we’re going to have to work harder then ever the first six months of the year…I hope you’re up to that!  And don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging the last half of the year.  No one can keep us apart, not even Vishnu!

So with all that, 2012, I present to you our detailed daily plan of attack.

FOOD
- Drink at least 48 ounces of water every day.  No excuses.
- Eat at least 3 servings of both fruits and vegetables every day.  And remember, variety is key.
- Incorporate protein into every single meal and snack.  Again, variety is the spice of life.
- Try to make one new-to-me meal a week (this will help a lot after the wedding).

EXERCISE
-
Go to at least two spin classes a week.
- Continue running two times a week

- Strength train 2-3 times a week (DVDs, classes at the gym, etc.)

MISC.
- Take 15-20 minutes every night to prepare for the next day – make lunch, prep breakfast if needed, iron clothes, etc.
- Turn off the TV and laptop by 9:15 pm every night and read for at least 15 minutes before bed.
- Try to blog at least 4 times a week, as it’s a creative outlet and stress reliever.
- Make a conscious effort to eat slower (keep the Slow Down Challenge in mind).

I think this list covers all the major things I want to focus on daily.  I know you span an entire 365 days, but I am a big believer at taking things a day at a time.  I know I’m a little ambitious and sometimes even a little stubborn, but I think we’ll get along just fine! 

See you VERY soon!!
Parita


Holiday Baking

For the past few days, I haven’t felt so well.  I’ve been plagued with an extremely stuffy nose, making it hard to breathe (read: not so fun).  Unfortunately, my mom is also sick.  Except her symptoms are 3x worse than mine. 

After a quick nap today, I figured we could all use a little pick me up, so I suggested we bake something chocolaty and delicious.  My first inclination was to bake Katie’s Chocolate Chip Blondies, my favorite healthy dessert.  However, my sister had another idea – one that involved oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate chips.  We’d been talking about Jess’ Oatmeal Peanut Butter Squares for the past week, so we got all of our ingredients ready and started baking.

NOTE: We swapped the one tablespoon of vanilla extract in the recipe for one tablespoon of strong coffee

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Someone was a little ahead of herself!

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Out of the oven came a pan that smelled like peanut butter and looked like a giant chocolate chip cookie!  So so delicious!  These bars are dense, not overly sweet, and the perfect complement to a tall glass of milk. 

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This jar was filled to the top at some point.  Oh well, new year’s resolutions are right around the corner.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Burgers, Bands, and Green Lasagna

Burgers.

So get this.  Vishnu and I decided to meet in the city yesterday to run wedding errands. We made plans to grab lunch first at one of our favorite places – Lotta Frutta.  Well, when I called (multiple times) to make sure it was open, no one picked up.  We decided to go elsewhere since we didn’t want to take the risk that it was in fact closed.  Gilbert’s was what we decided on next.  I even called to make sure it was open.  So you can imagine how irritated I was when Vishnu called to tell me it was closed until dinnertime.  I told Vishnu to just pick a place and get back to me…pronto!

The Vortex is where we ended up (third time’s a charm).  Vishnu and I have been there a number of times over the years and absolutely love the food.  And if you want a good laugh, check out the “Rules” tab on the website.  

The Vortex is known for their unique burgers, which can be made with any kind of patty (beef, chicken, turkey, veggie).

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Vishnu ordered a turkey burger made his favorite way, Black n’ Blue (cajun spices + blue cheese spread).

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I decided on the Tasmanian Devil veggie burger because it had the sweet and savory thing going on – a pepperberry rub and pineapple salsa.

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Needless to say, lunch was DELICIOUS!

Bands.

I bought Vishnu’s wedding band yesterday, but unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to share.  It was pretty much exactly what he wanted – a manly looking ring made out of Tungsten.  And yes, I said manly.  Vishnu was adamant about the fact that this ring should not look “bling bling” in any way. 

I think I may have found my band as well!  After trying on a bajillion, we found one that worked with my engagement ring.  I have a few pictures of it but don’t want to post them until we’re 100% sure. 

That’s one more thing crossed off my list!

Green Lasagna.

After about 7.5 hours of driving around in Atlanta traffic in the rain, we arrived at my friend Jetan’s house for dinner.  His family bought a new place earlier this year, so he invited a few friends over to hang out. 

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Jetan!

Biscuits, salad, chicken parm, spinach lasagna, and tiramisu were all on the menu. 

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Everything was really good.  I was so proud of Jetan!  I think this was his first time cooking for more then just a few people. 

Good food + good friends = a fun time, anytime!

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I can’t believe Christmas is on Sunday.  My family is “celebrating” a bit early by opening our presents tomorrow morning.  See, when we were kids, my parents always gave in and let us open our presents on Christmas Eve.  This year, we’re opening them on Christmas Eve morning!  I feel like I’m eight all over again!

And honestly, it’s sometimes easy to forget what the holidays are really about, but we should always keep in mind that…

“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.”
– W. C. Jones

I hope each of you has an an absolutely wonderful Christmas!!!

 

All Natural Scrub

I have sensitive, acne prone skin.  That’s no secret.  And I also currently have dry skin.  No matter how much I moisturize, some part of my face still flakes.  One day it’s my chin, another day it’s my cheeks.  I don’t even remember what it’s like to have “normal” skin. 

Since the moisturizing lotion isn’t taking care of the problem, I researched other probable reasons why my skin is so dry.  Of course, the weather has a lot to do with it, as well as my forgetfulness on the water front.  Another reason may be the lotion I’m using, and I’m currently looking into that.  And the final reason that hit home was proper exfoliation…or lack thereof. 

I don’t exfoliate regularly…oops!  Apparently, this is really important.  Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells, prevent blemishes, and unclog pores.  An exfoliating scrub is a moisturizer’s wingman.  It helps the latter do its job more effectively!

Enter a homemade, all natural exfoliating scrub that was featured on most of the sites I looked at.

Now, I’m not sure why I went the homemade route – maybe it’s because I’m Indian and grew up using homegrown remedies, or because I’m cheap and lazy and didn’t feel like making a trip out to the store, or because I loved the idea of concocting something in the kitchen and seeing if it really works.  Probably a combination of all three!

In any case, I absolutely loved this gentle scrub!  It left my skin feeling softer then ever.  And I was shocked and happy to find no lingering flakes.  Another big plus is that it was easy to make, and I’m 99% sure most people have all of the ingredients in their kitchens. 

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Looks like I have applesauce all over my face!

Sugar Scrub
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. milk
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix together all of the ingredients and form a paste.  Apply the paste to your (clean, makeup free) face and gently rub in a circular motion.  Rinse off with warm water. 

Note: These proportions will give you about 3-4 uses.  You can store the leftover scrub in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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I plan on exfoliating with this scrub at least three times a week.  I’m interested to see if it helps reduce my acne over time.  Fingers crossed!

What are your favorite homegrown remedies? 

Fab Abs

Being back at home has made me somewhat lazy.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but by not having a routine and just kind of winging it, I am definitely asking for trouble on January 3rd when I have to go back to work.  Oh well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there!

Here’s what I have been doing though…

  • Hanging out with my sister all day every day.  There’s never a dull moment when the two of us are together!
  • Eating all of the delicious, healthy desserts snacks my sister made last week.  She basically looked through all of Katie’s recipes and picked out a few to try.  Every night after dinner, we put together a plate of assorted healthy brownies, muffins, and bars to share. 
  • Shopping for Christmas presents.  We don’t really “celebrate” Christmas as we are Hindu, but my sister wanted to relive our childhood and open presents, so I’ve had to make some last minute purchases. 
  • Working out semi-regularly.  I have plenty of options at my disposal (DVDs and a treadmill), but it’s been kind of hard to stay on track.  My goal is to get in at least nine good workouts while at home.  Two down, seven to go!
  • Wedding related research, meetings, and planning.  I think I’ll have to dedicate an entire post (or a few posts) to this.  Wedding prep is hard work, people!

Speaking of the wedding, my mom, sister, and I went to the tailor to pick up some of the outfits we needed to have altered (we are clearly not a family of procrastinators).  As I tried everything on, it dawned on me (like really dawned on me) that every outfit I wear will be showing a good portion of my stomach. 

Now, as I’ve said before, my abs are the toughest body part for me to tone and shed fat.  Even when I lost a ton of weight, my abs were still not defined. And I’m not really looking to achieve 6 pack abs in six months, but I do want to tighten that area up a little bit.

So I brought this goal up to my sister, and we got into an interesting debate.  From her experiences, crunches and exercises that target the core are what help her.  And from my experiences, what I eat has much more of an effect. 

Our debate led to me do some research, and the gist of what I found was that “Abs are made in the kitchen.”  Another way of saying this is that you “can’t out exercise a poor diet.” Basically, you can work out all you want, but if the calories you consume exceed the calories you burn, all the hours you put in at the gym go down the drain.  That’s common sense I suppose. 

What I think a lot of people forget is that even if calories in < calories out, you may not achieve your goals.  Why?  Because the quality of the calories matter too.  And this is where I need to pay a little more attention.  I eat a fairly clean diet full of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and various sources of protein.  However, I think I need to reevaluate what I eat and incorporate a few new foods into my diet.  Here’s what I came up with…

  • Eggs – They help burn fat and build muscle.  Also, eggs contain filling protein and vitamins A and B12.  My goal is to incorporate eggs into more of my meals, namely breakfast (egg and cheese muffins, omelets, mini quiches, etc.).
  • Nuts – Again, nuts help burn fat and build muscle. They contain protein, niacin, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, and magnesium.  My goal is to take some time every Sunday and make baggies containing almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and a few chocolate chips.  I want to make this my go to snack in the late afternoon.
  • Green vegetables (and veggies in general) – Green veggies help slow down the aging process, and they help fight cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc.  They also contain vitamins A, C, and K, folate, beta-carotene, fiber, etc.  I already go through approximately 1.5 bags of spinach a week.  In addition to that, I’d like to start eating more broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, peppers, carrots, zucchini, etc.  I have to give myself some credit and say that I do a relatively good job eating these and other veggies regularly, but I need to get better at meal planning and ensuring that they are incorporated into as many of my meals as possible.
  • Water -  I need to drink more of it.  Period. 

And something else I should probably mention is that I need to reduce the amount of sugar (including artificial sweetners) in my diet.  A not so well kept secret is that I love (read: am obsessed with) chocolate.  As much as I believe a little “dessert” is essential to any diet, I know I tend to go overboard sometimes.  A small handful of chocolate chips sometimes turns into a few small handfuls.   Again, all I’m saying is that I need to carefully evaluate my diet and try to reduce as much unnecessary sugar as possible.

And I’m not going to wait until January 1st to put all of this into practice.  Since we don’t really celebrate Christmas, this means that we don’t partake in a lot of the holiday eating that happens during this time of the year.  I have absolutely no reason not to start with my next meal, which is what I plan to do.   And with that, I’m going to drink a glass or two of water after I hit publish on this post. Smile

Have you started thinking about your 2012 goals and what you want to accomplish?