Friday, December 28, 2012

Reverb12: Resolution, Day 28.

So this worked for me in 2011. I promised to myself that I would use my new x-country skis. Turned out to be a record breaking snow year. I lost 20 lbs during 2011 and by the time I got to my fall vacation (lots of hiking in Iceland, September 2011) I was below my goal weight.

In 2012 we got NO SNOW. So the ground froze and my well froze. That was not fun. I sat inside and drank and ate a lot. I started traveling again for work (2x/year is my busy travel time). Starting in Feb/March 2012 and I gained back the 20 I lost.

It was sad.

I stopped weighing in.

I stopped being honest about logging.

I'm no longer a size 8.

In fact, I got new pants in a 10 from my husband (and he never buys my clothes so this is a big deal) and the 10s are too tight.

Clothes have always been a motivation for me. I HATE New Years resolutions. I hate the folks that join a gym and take parking spots only to keep paying and stop coming come March. They are annoying and many wear perfume to the gym (gak!) so it's clear they are there to pick up dates and not actually workout. (not all, but most).

So, kicking off 2013 I will tell myself the same thing I told myself in 2011. Not "I'm gonna lose weight". Not "I'm going to lose 20 lbs and fit into the sexy pants." But rather:

"I'm going to ski" (it's 800 calories per hour and works every muscle).

What about you? Sexy pants? Perfume at a new gym to impress the gents? Ski? Yoga? What are you promising to do in 2013. Where I live we get snow November - March so 5-6 months/year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reverb12: Day 20: Coping

Day 20: How are you coping with this time of year? Pressures at work regarding year-end deadlines, review season for those of you that are managers, holidays, parties, sad news on the news...

Well first I'll say that I'm coping well but not super well. I've skipped a lot of nights at the gym or at the yoga studio when I need it the most. I've been using any and all excuses to get together with friends and drink wine or beer. I've been looking longingly at a brown landscape wishing for snow. Mostly I've been pretty damn grumpy since Friday the 14th which is why I took nearly a week off from Reverb12.

I know about all of the coping tactics. The meditation. The breathing. The reading and staying off the Internet. The shopping online and avoiding the mall, crowds, and traffic. To tell you the truth I pretty much ran out of patience this past weekend. I got so sick of just everything...traffic, people, being nice on the phone. I had a bit of a protest and spent the entire weekend not even turning on the news.

Tonight I'm heading back to the yoga mat and tomorrow instead of attending an End of the World Party I'm going to Zumba. I'm hoping this sets the mood for a weekend of baking, family, friends, Christmas, etc. in a better way. Baking gingerbread did perk me up this week as well as a beer & pizza event last night with Massachusetts Girls Pint Out in Kenmore Square (found a meter right there...can you imagine?). I'll be baking some orange coconut cookies this weekend and meyer lemon cake on Monday. As usual I expect to be eating pork roast and roasted veggies on Christmas Eve.

Hopefully my few days of not coping well are coming to an end.

How are you coping? I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reverb12: Day 13: Quote

What is a quote from a book that you've read in the past year? This book could be a favorite of yours or just a book you really enjoyed.

Mine is from the 'Tiger's Wife' by

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reverb12: Day 12: 12/12/12: Unexpected Passion

Prompt for December 12: Unexpected Passion:  What new hobby or interest piqued your passion this year?  Or did you think about an old passion in a new way?

Taken from this blog

Recently I contacted my boss for my volunteer work at Drumlin Farm. 

I have volunteered at the farm for nearly 13 years. I was named one of the Farm Ambassadors in 2011 and this was a great thing for me. I was able to teach these kits to children a few weekends per month (lesson kits about various topics on the farm such as 'whose egg is this?'). I always volunteer at the special fundraising events but I decided to take part in a new one this year. It was called 'Moon over Drumlin' and it was where really well known restaurants from the Boston area got together and made dishes with farm ingredients. I helped the fine chefs at 80 Thoreau in Concord, MA.

During that dinner I was able to assist in serving these goat tacos (they were the hit of the night quite honestly) and also a salad. The menu changes on a regular basis and they use locally sourced ingredients. Also, it was named one of the best restaurants in Boston this fall by Boston Magazine. It was fun and challenging working at that Gala dinner. It inspired me to contact my boss (back to that thought) to tell her what I like doing and where I want to go with my work. I explained Farm Ambassador is cool but not really what I'm looking to do. I asked if I could help with some of the adult classes as well (canning, gardening, etc.) I also offered to help with photography.

Well my first photo gig is coming up on the 17th. I'm photographing birds at the feeder. I really just let them know that there's things I enjoy doing and things I want to do more of. Unexpected passion. I have always admired the $150-$200 per person Farm to Table dinners (yikes on the price, right). I'd never gone to one. So I went and I worked and I got a really amazing experience working with the chefs. I've always gotten along well with the Teacher Naturalists that teach the classes I'm interested in.

So what will 2013 bring? We shall see. I loved being a Farm Ambassador for 2 years but I think Teacher Naturalist Assistant has a better ring to it for me and where my volunteer interests lie. It was not easy to ask, but I sure am glad I did.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reverb12: Day 11: List

Day 11: What is a list you've completed recently?

Every now and again I complete the Monday Poll on this blog called Makeup and Beauty Blog. It's written by this blogger in San Francisco and she has a tabby cat that's featured on there as well.

Here's the list I completed this morning. Sharing with all of you.

1. Mood: [Tired. The holidays wear me out]
2. What was the last time you received a compliment you can credit to a beauty product? [On Friday before our work holiday party my boss said I looked nice. I was wearing boots and a sweater dress but it may have had something to do with my new GinZing eyeshadow by Origins (in a silvery green)]
3. Current obsessions? [The lack of snow in New England at this point. We had no snow last winter and I know it is technically still fall but I'm using it for excuses lately. "I can't eat the giant vat of cookies because there's no snow to ski in"]
4. Something you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to yet? [mail my Christmas and Hanukkah cards]
5. What are some things that make you happy? [Snow days. A warm kitty under the blanket on the couch while I read. 3 day weekends.]
6. It’s okay to _______. [head to work without a shower to get some extra sleep. No one is going to know.]
7. What’s one thing you always do before leaving the house? [Make a cup of coffee on my Keurig. Goes into a porcelain travel mug. Best travel mug style ever.]
8. What’s something surprising you learned about yourself this year? [that I really do need that 'buffer day' before a conference or work meeting when traveling. You NEVER know what the airlines will do to you. They may even leave you stranded in the middle of the night with a plane full of strangers having to drive all night in a rental car to make an 8am meeting--true story]
9. Tell me something — anything — about your morning so far. [I resisted a plate of cookies. The sun *finally* came out and is streaming in my office window.]
10. Weekly goals: [see friends I have not seen in 1 year at a holiday get together. Go to my Dad's retirement party (yay!). Make sure to workout each night that I'm home]

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 10: Industry Changes

Day 10 (skipped a few days but this is a no pressure project, and so on I blog):

What industry changes have you noticed in the brands you are fond of?

I'm pretty loyal to my various brands. I mean, not in a Coach bag kind of way (my Coach bags are fake, anyway). I've been a subscriber of 'Everyday Food' since the first issue and 'Whole Living' since I canceled my subscription of 'Living.' Recently, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia decided to end the paper version of 'Everyday Food'. And for those of you that think, "ugh Martha recipes are too hard" I'm telling you we've never had a difficult horrible recipe from 'Everyday Food.' So that brand new year subscription paid up (thanks for the poor timing) was applied to 12 issues of 'Living' and 4 "special" 'Everyday Food' supplements. Weeks later I get the news from a friend that 'Whole Living' is going the way of the dinosaur. {speaking of dinosaurs--Jurassic Park is coming to IMAX in the spring? woooo!}

It turns out that 'Whole Living' was bleeding $4M per year (what?!?). The reason is because there's something like 750,000 subscribers and that's expensive to print. So, MSLO raised the advertising rates and effectively priced out the former small businesses that advertised in the former 'Body and Soul' magazine. This means that 16 editorial staff members lose their jobs (many in the Boston area since that was a Watertown, MA based publication). And now, Boston loses another locally produced publication ('Darwin Magazine', anyone? Dating myself there...)

So my question is: Did technology (iPads in particular) kill the magazines mentioned above? I sure do use my MacBook as a cookbook several times per week. Do I want to read these magazines on my MacBook? No. Do I want to print the recipes and put them in a binder? No. So, in replacement of 'Whole Living' I got 'Yoga Journal' and we'll see how that is.

What industry changes for any industry or brand that you follow have you noticed in 2012? Another for me is Victoria's Secret. The quality of fabric has gone way down. I might be done with VS in fact!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Reverb12: Day 7, Little Things

Little Things. What are the little things your employer does to show appreciation? 

Employees are overworked and under appreciated these days. In this economy people are laid off and those that remain are expected to pick up their workload for no extra pay. I've worked in places where the bosses did odd things. In one workplace my boss would lock the conference room door if we were even a minute late to an 8:30 staff meeting. Traffic on 495 due to an accident? *click* door locked, sorry. I had another boss that would micromanage to the point where you would feel like a little insect at the end of the day.

On the flip side, my current employer does a great job with employee appreciation. Around the holidays we get a gift (with company logo of course). It's usually well thought out and useful. Last year was a fluffy blanket. This year was a 16oz glass tumbler set (for hot and cold) with a lid. And they are made in the USA which is awesome (plastic glasses or food containers from China freak me out).

What do you do around this time of year for the people who work for you? What do you give to your boss? I give beer to mine (local craft brew). Even if you spend $10 or give your employee a gift card. It's the little things that go a long way. You can bet the boss that locked the conference room door gave nothing.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

#Reverb12: Days 5 & 6

I was traveling for work yesterday so this is a double post.

Day 5: Independent. How have you supported an independent business this year. Small, family owned = beautiful.

I picked this prompt because I was on my way to my bookclub meeting. I go to a bookclub at a small local bookstore in Newton, MA called Newtonville books. I've been a member of that bookclub for years and when I finished grad school in 2009 my one promise to myself was to re-join bookclub. They have added a non-fiction book club as well so in February I'll be doing that one and reading 'Moby Duck'. I always like to mix a little non-fiction in my fiction so there you go.

Do you have an independent bookstore that you enjoy? Did you know that if every person bought 1 book for every 3 that they buy at an small bookstore (versus Amazon) that would help support that area bookstore? Just 1 out of 3. Come on now. You can do it. Buy a pair of socks on Amazon instead. Or some ice fishing gear.

Day 6: Invention. What invention were you grateful for this year?

I'm grateful for a handful of things I use daily. Heated seats, satellite radio, heated mirrors on my commute into work. Remote start for that 30F night where I'm leaving a warm yoga studio. Airplanes for saving me an 8 hour drive for a work trip. My iPhone for making it so I really don't have to tote my laptop around for work trips (hard to babysit a laptop when I'm by myself at a trade show). My TiVo for making me have no idea what is on when and what day of the week (a good thing, I'm out of town for a few days and everything is waiting for me).

What is an invention that would be nice to have?

Something to make all of the boutique hotels I stay in (often in buildings from the early 1900s) not have the rooms be 1000F. It makes it hard to sleep. Hard to get dressed up all fancy. And the dial on the wall to control the heat is all a sham. Thank goodness the windows open or else I'd be a big sweaty mess to each conference. LOVE this style of hotel and supporting an Independent business (there's that word again). I just hate the temperature thing. It's not very green of them to have the heat jacked up.

Another invention I would like is a bike path that goes along rte 9. Some days it would be nice to consider biking to work. There's no way to do it without getting killed, sadly.

That's it. I'm pretty content with all of my other devices and innovations. :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

#Reverb12. Day 4: Cycle

"Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance."
-   Yoko Ono, Season of Glass

 Day 4: Cycle

Right now it is late autumn in New England. The leaves are in mushy piles and the trees are bare. Three very small snow storms have coated the land in a really tiny coating. For a moment it looked like Christmas and I remembered our actual chances of having a white Christmas are pretty low. 

I like each season for different reasons. If I lived in the desert somewhere I would have a really tough time. Right now it's  too cold to hike (we did a 33F hike recently in Maine) and there's no snow to snowshoe. The woods are bare and the critters are few and far between.

I was thinking about cycles this morning. How this time of year I can see the river from my kitchen window (no leaves blocking). How the new leaves of spring show up at my home in MA before the one in Maine. How I'm actually wearing socks to work versus getting away with flipflops late March- early October. Cycles are important. If you skip on part of a cycle things just don't work out. If there's not enough snow, there's not enough maple syrup. If there's not enough snow my shallow well freezes and the cottage does not have water during the winter. If we have 80 degree days in March (as we did last year) the bug population is fierce. If we have the hottest August *ever* in Boston that equals no fresh cucumbers (darn powdery mildew). 

What sort of cycles do you depend on?

"Gardeners , like everyone else, live second by second and minute by minute.  What we see at one particular moment is then and there before us.  But there is a second way of seeing.  Seeing with the eye of memory, not the eye of our anatomy, calls up days and seasons past and years gone by."  
-  Allen Lacy, The Gardener's Eye, 1992, p. 16 

Monday, December 3, 2012

#Reverb12, Day 3: Flavor

Day 3:

What flavor did you try in 2012 that you enjoyed? Perhaps a new type of food or a new recipe that came out well. What do you intend to try in 2013?

In 2012 I had many memorable meals both at home and in my travels. In terms of the more simple food, in the fall I had two good pretzel experiences. One was at Hannah's Bretzel in Chicago. It was a small sub roll shaped bretzel and the contents were all organic (ham from good!). The other was while on a mini vacation prior to a business trip in upstate NY we went to wineries and one brewpub. The brewpub had a great lunch menu and served their own beer on tap. For an appetizer we got homemade pretzel bites to dip in hot cheese. It was similar to fondue except made with beer instead of wine.

We got to walk along the shores of Lake Erie (a first for us) and talk to independent winemakers. One in particular is working hard to had wind and solar to her winery Arrowhead Springs. That was very neat speaking with the owner because she was in high tech in her past life and now she's living a very hands-on challenging farm life.

As for what flavors I intend to try in 2013 I hope to make focaccia bread at some point. I read a book about Tuscany and there's some recipes I'd like to try. I'm also going to try Matcha green tea. I don't know if I'll like it to drink but maybe in smoothies. I also plan on visiting more small wineries...hopefully while on a trip to California next summer (we went to Napa and Sonoma in 2009 and it was so much fun). 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

#Reverb12: Day 2, One Word

I just decided to take part in Reverb again this year. It's where you do a blog post for every day in December.

I'll do day 1 & 2 in one post.

Day 1: New Thing? (prompt taken from this blog)

What new thing did you do in 2012? For me that would be trying a new yoga studio and as a result a new class called Ballet Barre (the Barre Method). Actually, I not only tried 1 new yoga studio I tried a new one during my travels to Philly and NY. While in Chicago I took my first barre method class and I was not only challenged but inspired. I pushed through the pain and as my yoga teacher Paulina taught us this year I'm learning to "love the things you hate." Paulina often asks us at the start of our yoga class to say one pose we love and one that we hate. She works both of those poses into our hour of class. This approach is new to me and through this practice I've been able to do things I never thought possible (balanced half moon pose).

I hope to keep taking Ballet Barre on a weekly basis. It's got a little bit of yoga, pilates, weights, and ballet. And depending on where you take it maybe a little bit of kickboxing.

We can all learn from Paulina's example. Learn to love the things we hate.


Day 2: One Word (prompt taken from this blog)

What one word would you use to describe 2012?

My word is "balance." I really got my rhythm in 2012 work-wise. In April I was at my job 2 years (still there) and it was my first year planning and attending all of the events that I'm responsible for. This was events in 10 states including some regional and national events. I figured out that sticking to my plan of flying in the day before an event is very important. There can be weather delays (Hurricane Sandy). There can be flight delays (got stranded in the middle of the night in DC and had to drive all night to make a morning meeting with a stranger in the car--we all pooled together from my flight and took what car rentals we could find).

You never know what your employment, projects--or even your volunteer work--is going to throw at you. Building in a buffer (my travel day) and making sure to build in time to take care of myself (trying new places to workout or hangout along the way) actually makes for better performance once you are there. Balance continues to be an important part of my life and a little painting "balance" hangs in my dining room to this day (a gift from my Mother-In-Law).