Reasons to smile

Since I’ve written some actual posts this week, it’s time to do a wrap-up of life in general.  Here’s what’s making me happy right now:

  • The coming long weekend
  • Making social plans around “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids” viewings
  • My really healthy shopping list (let’s see if I can follow through!)
  • The fact that I’m going to the happiest place on earth (no, not Disney!) in less than two weeks
  • The balance between my 2 AM nights last week and my evenings in this week
  • Making it to both gym classes this week (my legs are KILLING me!)
  • The fact that the last two random coupons I googled worked, and saved me more than $30, combined (always worth a shot!)
  • The way that my hands smell like basil from tending to my tiny garden
  • My sister’s work successes (go Beanie!)
  • Plans to see my friends, my family, and my fabulous boyfriend all in the near future

And you?

Redefining “great”

In the Gatsby sense, that is.

Apparently Mia Farrow and Robert Redford have worn out their welcome as Gatsby and Daisy in the movie version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel.  This December, none other than Leonardo DiCaprio will take on the iconic role, with Carey Mulligan as his Daisy and Toby Maguire as Nick.

I hate seeing a film great like Redford displaced, but this trailer looks fascinating – Baz Luhrman’s glitz and glam doesn’t seem out of place in the roaring 20’s, and it matches perfectly with the shiny – then tarnished – mystique of the novel.

What do you think?  Will you go see The Great Gatsby this Christmas?  Does your love or hate of the book keep you away?

While you’re waiting, please please please see Midnight in Paris if you haven’t already – best movie I’ve seen in a while, and it will more than satisfy your romantic/literary needs until this film comes out.

The numbers game

The life of a woman in 2012 often feels like a numbers game.  The number of calories in each granola bars, the number of times per week you go to the gym, number of ounces of water you “need” to drink each day, the number of hours you sleep each night (and what time that sleep starts, even!) and the ultimate number: your weight.

I’ve been working for years to see beyond the numbers.  When I was on the crew team in college, it became abundantly clear that the sleep number mattered most (though it was thoroughly unattainable), and the calories and number on the scale needed to cease to matter – only with this view did I turn into a strong woman with broad shoulders (I literally had to go out and buy new shirts) and strong calves.  But in the post-college world, I’m surrounded by numbers again, and seemingly ridiculous ways to reach them.  Why give up running if it’s your passion, just because it’s forcing your weight to plateau?  And can you really live a life without chocolate (who would want to??)?

Recently, Alice Randall penned a New York Times Op-Ed calling for black women to commit to setting a new standard for curves and getting under 200 pounds.  I don’t disagree with her health-based reasoning – I operate on the idea that you should avoid every kind of cancer you can (because they might sneak up on you anyway) and that theory can extend to other diseases.  But what I really love about her writing is the blow-back it’s gotten and the debate it started.

All the opinions are interesting, especially the way they question stereotypes about fat and thin people, but the message that I really love here is that instead of focusing on any one number, we’re bringing it back to health.  How much fat do you have around your heart, rather than how much weight is around your hips.  How often you dare to take the huge staircase at work instead of who wears an XS top and who’s in an XXL.  And who is moving, shaking, and living their life, and going to get more out of it as a result.

This is my goal: to feel strong, and hot, and like I can take on anything without starting to wheeze.  To look good in my clothes no matter what size they may be.  And not to punish myself with ill-fitting clothes because I’m striving to be a perfect size __, and still working every day to be a better ME.  And doing it in a way that makes me happy – Hunger Games gym classes, post-work swims, and everything in between, no matter what parts of me get overly muscular and what parts stop shrinking.

Because what really matters is the life that these numbers help you live – and at the end of the day, isn’t it better to enjoy life than to stop and measure?

What do you think about Randall’s article and these responses?

Music Monday: C’mon let your colors burst

I willingly lost my voice singing along to this song at the lovely Katie’s birthday party this weekend (YAY!).  It is impossible to sing “Firework” without passion, and the kids at PS 22 do it justice in this department.  I know it’s old news, but now that I’ve gotten over the question of “do you ever feel like a plastic bag?” I think I’m ready to have this be one of top jams for summer 2012.

Happy Monday!

Music Monday: Call me maybe?

 

 

According to the folks at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, this is the song of the summer.  I can’t say I mind – it’s catchy to the point of getting stuck in my head often.  I also love the idea that these celebs (Justin Beiber/Ashley Tisdale/ Selena Gomez) are just as goofy as the rest of us (… except when they post a video online, it gets 37 million hits).  Still, if it encourages kids to start dancing and be a little silly, that will fit in perfectly with the seriously fun idea of camp.  Bring on the summer!

Kitchen Adventures: Lemon-Almond Muffins

This recipe from Cakelove was a true adventure and included more than a few touch-and-go moments.  I looked up the recipe at Porter Square Books, bought the materials at the grocery store next door, and came home to see what I come whip up.  The final result was tasty (all the office muffins were gone in a day) despite making all these mistakes:

  • Assuming that I would be ok without a paddle mixer.  Making due with what you have is lovely, but the chemistry isn’t quite the same in a traditional mixer, as I found out this day.
  • Using the wrong sugar on purpose.  I figured that if I had to buy raw sugar anyway, I should use it up!  But again, chemistry was not entirely on my side.
  • Making a double batch without measuring the bowl – good for the stomach but not if it doesn’t fit into the mixer!  (Hint: IT DOESN’T!)
  • Not softening the butter – melted is not the same, and you have to watch that stuff!
  • Using half as much butter.  After I doubled the recipe, I just could not bring myself to use a second stick of butter.  You have to draw the line somewhere!

With all that said, don’t these things look delicious?

Muffins in progress

Fresh out of the oven!

Lemon almond muffin adventure complete!

Check out the recipe here; good luck with your own kitchen adventures!

Music Monday: Somebody that I used to know

I hear that I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I still had to share.  My coworker showed me this video during our staff retreat this weekend, and it blew me away.  Apparently Ellen later had them on her show and give them more guitars so they wouldn’t have to share anymore.

What great videos have you seen lately?  And which of these people do you want to be?  I love the guy in the middle – so stoic, and then when he starts singing = WHAM.