Thursday, December 27, 2012

Belated Week in Fitness & Movies to See

Howdy, guys! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas - I can't believe it's already over. I never want adult Christmas break to end! I've designated today and tomorrow as my "chore" days so I can really soak up the weekend before I head back to work. That being said, this post is gonna be kinda short, but I'll be back soon enough with something overly wordy a little more meaty.

So I just realized it's Wednesday THURSDAY (whoa), and I never posted last week's workouts. Whoops. I was VERY ill on Sunday (stomach flu, 103 (!!!) degree fever, insane can't-even-lift-my-head-up-off-the-pillow achiness, blahhh) and kinda let the beginning of the week get away from me. I am SO grateful that my sickness was short-lived and not a full-blown attack of the flu like I feared. I finally started feeling 100% yesterday, just in time to knock out all the the things on my to-do list before the weekend arrives. And just in time to share last week's workouts before this week gets away from us as well.

Last Week in Fitness
Monday - 35 minute stairmill workout
Tuesday - Ran 4 miles at an 8:40 pace
Wednesday - Define, 30 minute cycling workout, 75 girly push-ups
Thursday - 30 minute incline walk
Friday - 30 minute stairmill workout (roughly based off of this one)
Saturday - Chipper workout
Sunday - Rest day

Y'all, the chipper workout I posted on Saturday made me SO sore. I was literally still sore yesterday. I think I might do it again tomorrow. We'll see if it makes me as sore the second time around. I'm blaming it on the kettlebell swings and burpees. Those things are killer.

On a completely unrelated side note, I finally tried Justin's vanilla almond butter after seeing it around the blog world for a while. Verdict: it is SO good. Those who compared it to a healthy version of vanilla frosting were spot on. Go get some now!

I think it's currently only being offered at Whole Foods, but hopefully it will be available more places soon enough. Speaking of WF, I got a couple of Whole Foods gift cards for Christmas so I plan to try out some other new-ish products in the coming weeks and will let you guys know if I find any gems. I also got a gift card to Trader Joe's, which is opening in my neighborhood January 4th! So excited to finally have a TJ's nearby. And even better, it's down the street from Whole Foods in case I need to make two stops. Grocery gloriousness.

Last but not least, I watched this movie last night at the recommendation of a friend and loved it. Excellent cast and the the dialogue is perfection.

Also, I wanted to see every. single. movie. in the previews. And my boyfriend wanted to see none of them. Perfect! Well, except for this one, which we already saw and both loved.

What's the best new-to-you food product you've tried recently? Best movie you've seen this month?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weekend Update & No Equipment Required Workout

Happy Christmas Eve, Eve, Eve! I can't believe it's only three days away. Hope everyone is having a wonderful pre-holiday weekend.

We want presents!!!

Oklahoma has been very relaxing - lots of reading, sleeping, exercising, watching movies, eating fudge, and playing with the kiddo cousins. I am more than halfway through What Alice Forgot and am really enjoying it so far. Can't wait to share my review on January 7th. I also have am awesome no-equipment-required workout to share with you that can be done at the gym or at home if you are traveling over the holidays. And, and, and I found some awesome oxblood ankle pants at LOFT yesterday that I am very excited about.

Hello, pretties

Before we get to that workout, does anyone watch/remember the "Weekend Update" segment from Saturday Night Live? I don't really watch the show anymore, but I love this particular clip from back in the day. It's on one of the "Best of Will Ferrell" DVDs, which is where I first saw it. My friend Kelly and I discovered this clip when we lived together after college and have been quoting it ever since. "Colonial footsoldier!" I thought of the video when I came up with the post title and figured I would pass it along. Vintage Will Ferrell is amazing.

Sewww, about that workout. I got the idea from this post on Carrots n' Cake about a "chipper" workout from her local Crossfit box. Tina describes a chipper workout as "a longer workout with lots of different exercises and high reps so you 'chip away' to get through it." I changed the original workout a bit to make it possible to do at home or in your hotel room with no equipment. I did the workout at the YMCA near my aunt and uncle's house, so I used equipment on a few of the moves, but I have included variations for those of you who want to do it at home. I have also included descriptions or demonstrations of the moves in case you are not familiar with them.

Including a 5 minute warm-up, a couple minutes setting up my equipment, and a few minutes stretching and cooling down at the end, the entire workout took me 50 minutes. The actual "chipper" part of the workout took 36. I could have pushed myself a little harder on some of the moves (my burpees were beyond embarassing), but even so I still burned over 450 calories and got in a full body workout. I'll take it.

No Equipment Required "Chipper" Workout

Complete all of the exercises below, in order, resting as needed.

100 plank heel presses
90 jump squats
80 mountain climbers (left and right counts as one rep)
70 kettlebell swings (15-25 lbs, I used a 20 lb kettlebell) or frog hops
60 push-ups (I did girl push-ups on my knees. AS IF I could do 60 actual push-ups)
50 skull crushers (5-15 lbs, I used one 8 lb dumbbell) or tricep dips
40 burpees (these are way better than mine - see my comments below)
30 bicep curls (5-15 lbs, I used 8 lb dumbbells) or up-down planks (up/up/down/down counts as 1 rep)
20 hip dip planks (left and right counts as 1 rep, scroll down to "hip dip planks" in the link for a description)
10 sets of wall sits with a 20 second hold, followed by a 10 second rest

Plank Heel Presses - Assume a foream plank pose and press back with your heels, sliding your body in a back and forth motion.

Mountain Climbers - There are a few ways to do these, but the way I did them was to quickly alternate pulling each knee into my chest without actually jumping or placing the front foot on the floor. Basically the way she does them in this video starting at 0:54.

Kettlebell Swings - If you do not have a kettlebell, replace the kettlebell swings with frog hops. I might try these next time. They look even harder!

Tricep Dips - To make the tricep dips more challenging, move your heels away farther away from your booty. Straight legs is the most advanced variation.

Burpees - To modify these, use your hands to walk your body down and back up. Just make sure your chest is the first thing to touch the floor after your hands, and the last thing to leave the floor before your hands. I definitely had to modify these after all those push-ups!

Wall Sits - For the wall sits, hold a wall sit for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this 30 second sequence 10 times for a total of 5 minutes.

Let me know if you try this workout and, more importantly, if you beat me! Like I said, I wasn't dying at the end so I probably could have pushed myself a little harder. Next time I will aim to beat my original time and to improve my form on the burpees.

I am thinking this workout has earned me a rest day and look forward to heading home bright and early tomorrow morning (and possibly probably not starting to tackle my to-do list). Cleaning out my closet is one of the items I really want to accomplish over the holidays. I'll definitely listen to this song while I do it to maintain my motivation and minimize any hoarding-buried-alive tendencies. Can't wait to take my unwanted clothes to Buffalo Exchange and get $3 in store credit!

This post is getting a leetle wordy, so I will leave you with what is possibly my favorite scene in Love Actually (I apologize for the horrible quality, but you get the idea)and wishes for a "Lazy Sunday" ahead.

What has been the highlight of your pre-holiday weekend? Uncle Jamie: love him or hate him?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twas The Weekend Before Christmas

Afternoon, guys! This post is going to be a bit random as I'm in a mad dash to brave the airport and head to Oklahoma to visit family for the weekend. I'll be back in Houston on Sunday, ready for some Christmas celebrations!

While I love visiting family over the holidays, I am always happy to wake up in Houston on Christmas morning. Something about being home for Christmas just feels right, ya know? The holidays are significantly less exciting now that I'm no longer a child/student/believer in Santa, so I appreciate any semblance of Christmases past. I miss that feeling of sheer excitement when you wake up around 6:00 AM on Christmas morning, try to wait until 6:05 a normal human hour to wake up your parents, then lovingly push your little brother over and run down the hallway into the den to see what Santa brought you! If I could bottle up that feeling, I believe I could make millions. Christmas-in-a-can - you heard it here first.

Anyways, I am so grateful to be able to take time off for the holidays - to spend time with family and friends and recharge before the inevitable work craziness of the brand new year. Unfortunately my body thinks the day before adult Christmas break is the appropriate time to develop a major cold. RUDE. My normal meds have not been doing the trick, so I decided to try a witch's brew more natural remedy this morning to see if it would bring me some much-needed relief. While I am not completely healed, it did help me not suffocate breathe a little easier so I figured I would pass it along to you. I got the idea and original recipe here but tweaked it a bit as noted below.

Here is the recipe I used:

3/4 cup water
1 bag of Breathe Easy or Echinacea tea
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon raw honey
The semen of a righteous man

You should be able to find all of the above ingredients at your local health foods store. I linked to the products I used, all of which I found at Whole Foods. Just prepare the tea according to the instructions on the package and stir in the apple cider vinegar and honey at the end. The vinegar makes it very strong and acidic, so sip slowly. It should help clear your nasal passages almost immediately, but drink the entire thing if you can.

On a completely unrelated note (told you this post would be random), I have a last-minute gift idea for any potential beer lovers on your list. Last year as part of my brother's Christmas present I made "reinbeer" after seeing the idea on Pinterest. One of the very few Pinterest projects I have pinned and actually followed through with! The process is super simple (there is a tutorial here), and the result is super awesome. Here is a pic of my final product. So realistic I can almost see Santa's sleigh full of presents trailing behind...

The only things I did differently from the tutorial above are:

1. Get six different types of beer, all holiday themed. There is an HEB in Houston that allows you to buy individual beers, but I'm sure there are other places (liquor stores, beer specialty stores, specialty supermarkets, etc.) that provide this option if there is not an HEB in your area.

2. Stuff newspapers under the back two rows of "reinbeer" to create a tiered effect with the "reinbeer" in the back being the most elevated.

In the words of my boy Justin Bieber, I'm gone! But not without leaving you with a little Mariah. I just couldn't do that to you.

What is your secret remedy for a cold? Save me!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Authenticity, Intimacy & Vulnerability

I told you I would get more interesting with my post titles!

Before we get to the good stuff, can I just say that I am so excited that I finally ordered my Stickygrams! My fridge and I can't wait to receive them in the mail.

Dogs > Humans

Okay now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Have y’all ever heard of Relevant magazine? Per Wikipedia it’s a “Christian lifestyle magazine exploring the intersection of faith and pop culture” with a target demographic of 18 to 39 year olds. The magazine’s website launched in 2002 and currently averages over half a million visitors each month. So basically it’s about the size of this blog – NOT. Anyways, I recently discovered the website for myself. The magazine has some really great articles, and the print version has lots of cool people on the covers - see ExhibitA(vett Brothers) below. Ladies (and gents?), this is what we call a win, win.

Why do I mention all of this? Because today I want to share with you a recent Relevant article that I particularly enjoyed in the hopes that maybe you will enjoy it too.

The article discusses the recent trend toward "authenticity", how authenticity differs from intimacy, and how to balance the two to foster deep, meaningful, and healthy relationships. In a world of instant gratification, I love the article’s reminder that relationships take time to build and that revealing too much of yourself too fast is not a shortcut to a strong relationship. The article does not discuss specific types of relationships, but I think this rule applies to all relationships whether with a friend, family member, significant other, or even colleague. Patience is not my strong suit, and the message that building relationships (or anything for that matter) takes time is something I definitely need to hear. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day!

I know this is different than what I usually post, but maybe there is something in this article that will resonate with you. I have copied the text of the article at the end of this post if you are lazy extremely efficient like me and don't want to open up another window. For those of you who want to check out the original article and/or browse the Relevant website, go here.

And if you are really in the mood for learning and enlightenment on this fine Wednesday morning, check out Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability. It just so happens to tie in with the Relevant article and is definitely worth watching in its own right. If you don’t believe me, then believe the 7 million others who have also watched it. I was going to do a whole post on this video, but I don’t think there is much that I can add to the conversation. If you want my typed up notes on the topic I will be happy to send them to you ;)

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Brown, she is a research professor from Houston who has spent more than a decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Her research has been described as “groundbreaking”, and her TED talk on vulnerability is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks of all time. Moral of the story: girl’s got credentials. Also, she's funny! And I don't use that term lightly.

Last but not least, as promised above, here is the Relevant article. Betcha didn’t think you’d come here to learn, did you? Cheers!

Why Authenticity Doesn't Go Far Enough
By Jessica Boctor
December 14, 2012
In the push to be genuine, have we missed something even deeper?
From jeans to coffee roasts to new businesses to church core values, “authentic” is the new buzzword. There is an increasing trend to seek out the true, gritty and original. Maybe it's a reaction to the hyper-consumerism many of us grew up in. Perhaps some of it traces back to a distrust of the corporate mentality, as a result of the recent recession. Is it a deep relational hunger for something other than Sunday-dress perfection that causes us to willingly expose ourselves to one another?
Whatever the reason is, authenticity is in.
As I watch the trend, I wonder how long it will last. I wonder how transparency will sustain itself. What will the result of this experimentation in realness be? Will our children carry on the torch of clarity, or will they seek refuge from intruders into their hearts?
Authenticity is the ability to accurately share what is going on in our hearts, souls and minds. Intimacy, on the other hand, is the level to which we share those things.
While the discussion and desire for authenticity abounds, perhaps we have neglected something else: intimacy.
And there is a critical difference between the two. Authenticity is the ability to accurately share what is going on in our hearts, souls and minds. It is the task of giving form and vocabulary to those things that are inside of us. Intimacy, on the other hand, is the level to which we share those things. It has to do with just how far into our hearts, souls and minds we let other people see. Authenticity is about clarity, and definition. Intimacy is about depth. And in Christlike relationships, we see both.
Imagine a set of Russian stacking dolls. As you look at the patterns painted on the outside of each doll, you begin to understand their shape. This is completely authentic—the pattern you see painted is what represents this part of the doll set. However, as you open each doll, you find a new doll underneath. This new doll is painted differently. This is still authentic, yet it’s a new level of intimacy. The more dolls you open, the better understanding you gain of the set you have. When you come to the center doll, you have seen each part of the doll set. This is authenticity and intimacy working together.
The problem the trend of authenticity faces is twofold. The first is our lack of understanding of the layers involved in getting to know people. Layering is a natural way of going about protecting and honoring ourselves. However, layers are often seen as "inauthentic"—masks that hide the true self underneath. Yet under this banner of genuineness, we strip ourselves of healthy boundaries. We forget it is more authentic to say, "I don't think I should discuss this with you," than to share inappropriately or out of bounds.
The second problem with boundless authenticity is its lack of respect for intimacy. Since there is not a wide discussion about the need to earn intimacy or the investment that intimacy requires, the process is quickened. We demand to see the center doll without spending time learning about the exterior dolls. Unguarded, we pry into one another's lives without having earned the right to do so. If this continues, it can lead to the creation of a culture that demands access to people's hearts without considering the outcome.
Just because you and a friend shared a mountaintop experience together at a church retreat 10 years ago doesn't mean you have a right to know their heart today.
So, are we to abandon the vision of authenticity and all it stands for? Return to lives of plastic smiles? Most certainly not. Here are three ways our culture can refine authenticity while allowing for a healthier understanding of intimacy.
1. Be a friend in real time.
Very rarely does intimacy occur on Facebook, Twitter or the other hosts of social media. If there is no face-to-face interaction in your relationships, intimacy doesn’t have space to grow. Go ahead and check in with your friends in digital space, but also take the time to be a friend in real life. Invest your true self, not your cyber self, in others.
2. Consider time and place.
Places of convenience, such as the grocery store, where you happen to run into someone, or the church lobby five minutes before service starts, are never places to have intimate conversations. If you want to know someone, invest the time to do so. If you want to get beyond the standard “How are you?” you’ll have to put in effort and time investment. Instead of being disappointed you didn’t catch up on the fly, be intentional—call up a friend and make a date.
3. Understand seasons.
Just because you and a friend shared a mountaintop experience together at a church retreat 10 years ago doesn't mean you have a right to know their heart today. If the relationship has not been kept, then you need to begin the process of earning your way into their core confidence again. Maybe you had a great season together in the past, but you need to respect that you are both in different places now—and that you have a lot to learn about how they’ve grown since.
The trend toward authenticity in our culture today is a good thing. It illuminates our refusal to settle for what is counterfeit or misleading. But, like all trends, it risks burning itself out.
If we are as willing to go deep as we are to be transparent on the surface, perhaps we can put authenticity and intimacy to good use—and shape our relationships more in the image of Christ.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wants For The Home

In the spirit of holiday giving, let’s talk about some things I want for myself, shall we? Hey, don’t you judge. My birthday is less than three months away and I have to start planning ahead, mmk? These are all things for the home, running the gamut of price ranges from "Hey! I can afford this!" to "Yeah, not-so-much". Maybe you will find something that you want to buy for me because I am so nice your home too.

BTW, here is some proof that I am in fact nice and should be given presents. I was on the phone when I ordered my coffee at Starbucks last week (rude I know), and since the barista wasn’t able to ask for my name, he named me this instead. Basically made my day.

Nice Girl On Phone. That's me!

Alright let’s get to that list.

First off are these awesome pink agate bookends. I will take agate bookends in any color, but I think these pinkies are extra special. The site where I found them has lots of alternative color options if hot pink doesn't fit your d├ęcor scheme. It doesn’t really fit mine either, but I think I could find a way to make these work.

I actually think the hot pink would mix well with this festive print from 20x200. Love me some black and white photography. The artist, Jessica Craig-Martin, “first started to take party pictures for a very wealthy New York businessman who wanted a record of his jovial and vulgar drunken office parties. From this work [she] was hired by Anna Wintour to cover the New York party scene for Vogue.” I think this particular party image is so fun and would be an unexpected touch of cheekiness in an otherwise buttoned up abode.

I am seriously considering purchasing this silver tray from Wisteria. Gonna at least wait for a possible after-Christmas sale so I can save a dolla makes me holla, Honey Boo Boo child. If not, maybe for my bday! I think this would look great on my glass-and-lucite-combo coffee table topped with some coffee table books, a candle, and this little guy from Furbish (got him already).

I am getting a pair of hand-me-down blue tufted swivel chairs from my mom when she redoes the den, and I am already planning to floof them up with a couple of these Kelly Wearstler Bengal Bazaar pillows. I think they will go well with the Celerie Kemble Hot House Flowers pillows I currently have on my sofa. Pillows Anonymous, lifetime member.

I absolutely love my coffee table so this guy is probably not in my near future, but maybe I can find a spot for the coordinating side tables. I love the tribal design of these tables, and I especially love the price!

A handful of these tables were used as part of the decor at a wedding I went to last weekend, and I had to try really hard not to take one all of them home as a party favor. I would have been just like Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids when she takes all the puppies from the wedding shower. “I took nine…”

On a trip to Target last week – where I managed to only by two things that weren’t on my list (!!!) – I found these very affordable beauties in the lamp department. The last thing I need is another lamp, but maybe he can come live with one of you. “Oh how you sparkle, and oh how you shine…”

I have exactly zero places where I could put this mirror, but I have always loved it, and it’s very affordable. Someday. I think it would look amazing in a beach house and/or against dark colored walls.

And last but definitely not least, something I will always want but will never actually bring myself to buy. No, I'm not talking about a teacup Boston Terrier.

I'm talking about an orange Hermes Avalon blanket! I have wanted it ever since I saw one in this incredible cabin in House Beautiful. Don’t even get me started on those cubby bunk beds at the end. I die. So yeah, if you have an orange Hermes throw that you are tossing out to redo your home please send it to me at 1234 Never Gonna Happen Road. A girl can dream.

What's something you've been wanting for your casa recently? Do you already have any of the above?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Aziz Ansari is Hilarious

For some reason, possibly because I have a pretty dry sense of humor, there is not a whole lot that gets me ROTFL. So when something does make me really laugh, I pay attention. I watch it multiple times. So many times that maybe I unintentionally memorize it. I share it with lots o' peeps so that they will know what I am talking about when I obnoxiously quote it. Blah, blah, blah. You get the point. Friends can usually get me going (especially the earlier seasons), and Dane Cook stand up makes me laugh until I cry. I know my love of Dane Cook might earn me some haters, but short hair don't care! Methinks he is funny.

While these Aziz Ansari clips might not be on par with Dane Cook and Friends, they are pretty darn funny and definitely quoteable. I can't remember how or when I first discovered the "Apps & Zerts" clip from Parks & Rec, but it is so great. Check it out.

"I call noodles long ass rice...tortillas are bean blankies."

A few months later my brother told me about Ansari's stand up, which is just as entertaining. My two favorites are "Harris" and "Crush on a Waitress". Love the entusiasm with which he delivers his bits. I will warn you that these are semi-inappropriate and probably NSFW so use headphones!

"No guys! I just talked to Edelstein again. You'll definitely get the points back. Just mention my name and the fact that I exist."

"What's up everybody? Just so you know, someone that's appeared on television is here."

And just for good measure, two of my all-time You Tube favorites.

1. Drinking Outta Cups - I had a serious obsession with this video circa Fall 2009. Literally typed the entire thing out and semi-memorized it. The animation that goes along with it kills me.

2. Klavenisms: Outtakes from I Love You, Man - Funniest movie EVER. "I will hit you with the chips, I will catch you on the beans." This will probably only be funny if you have seen the movie. If you have not seen the movie, go rent it now! Then come back and watch this video, mmkay thanks.

What are your favorite You Tubes of all time?

The Week in Fitness & Weekly Goals

Before I start this morning’s post I want to say that my thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathies are with everyone affected by Friday’s tragedy. What happened that day was unimaginable and will never be forgotten. Thank you so much to our brave teachers who went to school today with heavy hearts. You all have one of the most important jobs in the world, and we are forever grateful for what you do.

Before I get to last week's goals, let’s recap  the week in fitness, shall we?

Monday – 30 minute HIIT cycling
Tuesday – Ran 4 miles at an 8:45 pace
Wednesday – Define
Thursday – 30 minute cycling workout
Friday – Define, walked 3 miles
Saturday – Define, 30 minute HIIT cycling
Sunday – Rest day

Did much better on the weight training front this week. Now that I have a monthly membership to Define I’ve gotta get my money’s worth!

So how did I do on those goals, eh?

1.       Go to Define 3-4 times
2.       Drink 8 glasses of water a day (plus extra during workouts)
3.       At least 30 minutes of cardio on 5 different days
4.       Grocery shop on Sunday to make my week easier
5.       2 HIIT workouts

I definitely accomplished all of the fitness related goals (1, 3 and 5). I did 5 cardio workouts, including 2 HIIT workouts, and went to Define thrice.

In terms of number 2, I did a good job of getting my water in Monday through Friday. However, I could have done better on Saturday and Sunday. It's harder on the weekends when I'm out and about and don't have easy access to the water cooler at work. Really don't think I would fare well in the desert...

Lastly, I did not go to the grocery store yesterday, but I did go this morning before work. I will consider this amazing feat a success and check goal number 4 off my list. As long as the grocery trip gets done before the work week starts, it's all good in the hood. Probably should have gone yesterday though since a bag of candied pecans became last night's dinner. Oops.

I won't be posting any goals for this week because I'm traveling Thursday to Sunday. However, I will try to exercise as much as possible and soak up every blissful minute of my adult Christmas break. Thank you, Santa for Paid Time Off!

On an unrelated note, did anyone watch the Dexter and/or Homeland finales last night?!?!? Talk about drama. I cannot get the final scene of Dexter out of my head. So many frustrations and unanswered questions! Ugh Showtime, I love you and hate you at the same time.

What are your favorite TV shows? What's your favorite holiday treat? Candied pecans are definitely at the top of my list!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Donde Esta Santa Claus?

Thank you to my more musically inclined friend Kelly for sharing this adorable Christmas melody. It mixes Spanish and English and is sung by a lil' bebe-child. What more could you want?

Feliz Navidad!

Standout Songs from Nashville Season One

Are you guys watching Nashville yet? If not, you should be! Though it started off a little rocky (at least in my humble opinion), by the second or third episode it got real good. The finale was last week, but I’m pretty sure you can find the entire first season on Hulu, abc.go, and/or itunes. Get thee to the internet, stat.

If my seal of approval is not enough to convince you to watch, you can still enjoy the show’s original music. There are a number of singer-actors (hi, dream job) on the show, and they are all good. However, the obvious standouts (for me) are Scarlett O’Connor (played by Clare Bowen) and Gunnar Scott (played by Sam Palladio). Clare and Sam are actually both Australian, but they nail the twangy accents and country music swagger. I could not do any better, and I’m from Texas, y’all. Of all the songs that the show puts out, Scarlett and Gunnar’s are consistently my favorites.

Not only do these two characters have incredible voices; they have some crazy sexual tension and a love triangle to boot. This complicated relationship makes their lovelorn duets all the more interesting if you watch the show. Even if you don’t like country music you should still check out these songs. They actually fall more into the folksy/singer-songwriter genre and are, in my opinion, very well written tunes.

Since you might still be plowing through the zillions of You Tube videos I posted on Sunday, I’m only going to share three songs with you today. Quality over quantity, aight? Even if you watch all three and don’t find a song you like, you will have wasted less than 15 minutes of your life. Buuut, I think you will like them all. Low risk, high reward. Kinda like the lotto!

Without further ado, my three favorite Scarlett/Gunnar songs from Nashville, Season 1.

If I Didn’t Know BetterThis is the song that begat my obsession. I think it was their first duet, and it’s rull good.

Fade Into YouThis is possibly my favorite of the three. I say possibly because it’s so hard to choose. My favorite line is, “There’ll be no trace that one was once two…after I fade into you.” Oh yeah.

When The Right One Comes Along – Such a sweet solo by Gunnar about how you’ll know when you’ve found the one (ahem, Scarlett). My favorite line in this song is, “A million moments full of sweet relief when the right one comes along.” In the words of Joey Tribbiani, call me a sap! 

You can find all of these songs for download on itunes. Just search “Nashville Cast”. “Nashville Cast” is the artist on all of the songs from the show.

What’s your favorite new TV show this season? New meaning new to TV or just new to you. Last year I discovered Dexter, Homeland, True Blood, and Girls. This year it’s definitely Nashville.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Favorite Salad & The Avett Brothers

Wow, I need to get more creative with my post titles. Next time, I promise. At least you know what you’re getting yourself into, right? As the title so coyly suggests, I wanted to share with you all today my absolute favorite salad recipe that I “invented” when I went through a bring-a-salad-to-work-every-day phase a couple years ago. I still bring salads to work quite often, but this one is more of a special treat than an everyday occurrence. Don’t wanna burn myself out on this bad boy. If you like sweet potato, goat cheese, and/or delicious things, you’re gonna love this ensalada tan deliciosa. And it is super healthy to boot. It has THREE GREEN THINGS in it, okay? And none of them are skittles, m&m’s or sour patch kids (although that salad would not be bad at all).

Who needs lettuce?

This salad is not even a recipe really, just some things I like to put together in a massive Tupperware, shake up, and eat. I take the salad to work in one container and the dressing in another and wait to mix them up until it’s time to eat. Soggy salad ain’t my thang. If you agree and would like to partake in this festival of the mouth, here are the ingredients/instructions you will need. You should be able to find all of these products at your local health foods store (i.e. Whole Foods or Central Market)

For the salad

·         A few handfuls of spring mix greens
·         ¼ ripe avocado, cubed
·         ½ baked or microwaved sweet potato, cubed
·         1 serving goat cheese
·         ½ bag steamed (on stovetop or microwave) frozen broccoli (cooking directions on the bag)

For the dressing*

·         2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (found in the bulk bins)
·         1 tablespoon water
·         1 teaspoon grainy mustard
·         1 teaspoon Bragg’s amino acids
·         ½ tablespoon grapeseed oil
·         ½ tablespoon maple syrup or honey

*If you don't want to go to the trouble of making your own dressing, Brianna's New American dressing is a dee-lish-ous alternative.

Random side note: do y’all have ½ tablespoon measuring spoons? My old roommate had one, and it literally changed my life! Ha. She was a much better cook than I and had so many great gadgets and gizmos. When I moved into my new apartment last Spring I went to Target and bought every can't-live-without item that she introduced me to, including the ½ tablespoon measuring spoon. So helpful when you want more than a teaspoon but less than a tablespoon. I am a freak of all things measuring (true story: one of my best friends in high school had me in her phone as “I measure things”), and that wee amount of precision excites me. I need help.

Also, did you know that there are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon and 4 tablespoons in a ¼ cup? Helpful knowledge when trying to multiply or divide a recipe. Math is cool! Have I lost you yet? Good. Now back to the salad.

Like I said above, mix all of the salad ingredients into a big Tupperware , and the dressing ingredients into a smaller Tupperware. Then, when you get bored at work hunger comes a knocking, salad + dressing = lunch. BOOM. To get maximal coat-age of the dressing on the salad, drizzle the dressing over the salad, pop the lid on the large Tupperware, and shake vigorously until people in the break room at your office start to look uncomfortable. If no one looks uncomfortable, you’re not shaking hard enough. Also make sure you mix the dressing with a fork before you drizzle. No one likes chunky salad dressing, or chunky flip flops for that matter, but I digress.

If you wore these in the 9th grade, raise your hand feet

On a non-strange-footwear-fads-of-the-2000’s note, have y’all heard this new-ish song from The Avett Brothers? I am obsessed! Makes me wanna sway side to side and snap my fingers backup dancer style. I was fortunate enough to see these guys perform at Free Press Summer Fest last summer, and they are just as good in person as they are in my dreams on their records. Have a listen. Maybe listen while eating your salad? A treat for the mouth and the ears. Either way, let me know if you try this salad. And I promise I will come back next time with a non-recipe post. Hate to do two similar style posts back to back, but this what I felt like posting today so deal with it!

What is your favorite salad (homemade or from a restaurant)? My favorite restaurant salad is hands down Carrabba's house salad with shrimp. Creamy parmesan dressing lovers unite! What is the strangest fashion trend of your teenage days? Platform flip flops and midriff baring tops still haunt me to this day.