Thanksgiving and a little memory lane

Goodness gracious so many amazing things have happened in the last few days that have made me just so delightfully happy!

Thanksgiving with my family, my oldest brothers family, my sister in laws family, my younger but older than me brother and his girlfriend and the most exciting one…my 10 month old niece Madison or as I like to call her, Maddog. She is the s***. Coolest and cutest baby ever! We had Thanksgiving at my brothers place for the first time. It was so nice to have such a great crew to recognize all that we are thankful for.

After stuffing our faces on Thanksgiving, my younger but older than me brother, his girlfriend, my dad, my dog and I hopped into the suburban and drove 4 hours to Burlington, Vermont. I was so giddy to be coming up here because I knew I would get to ski for the first time in 335 days. I ski about twice a year now on Thanksgiving and Christmas so I am always excited when I get the chance. It’s a far cry from the essentially year round skiing I did for nearly 17 years.

So we get up to Burlington and my dad asks me what time I want to be at the mountain. “What time does it open?” 7:30. “Alright, then 7:30 it is.” My dad was shocked that I didn’t want to sleep in. Alarm set, clothes laid out and skis ready, I fall into a deep sleep. I wake up to Miley Cyrus We Can’t Stop – that song just gets me going – I run downstairs, make my breakfast, brew my coffee and throw my ski clothes on. Eeeeeeek! I could barely contain my joy!! It’s like a luxury for me now. I get all geared up in my free ski outfit, grab my coffee to go and jump in the already warmed up suburban. It’s 7 am so we are running a wee bit late but we end up getting their around 7:45, on the lift at 8 am.

HOLY CRAP was it cold! 7 degrees to be exact. My body hasn’t felt that kind of frigid weather in what seems like eternity. Suck it up Kara. As we head up the chairlift, I have memories of my ski racing career. I turn to my dad and say, “You know, I do not miss racing at all.” It’s a weird feeling for me since it was my life for so long. But it is finally nice to enjoy skiing for skiing, not for how fast I can wiggle my way around some sticks in the snow as fast as humanly possible.

First few turns on snow and I’m back at it, laying my skis on edge, nuking down the mountain I grew up skiing on since I was a mere 2 years old. I have to say I am not my fearless self anymore; I stopped when I got going too fast and I skidded when I saw death cookies (if you are a skier, you know the damage those babies can cause!), but laid them on edge when the snow was money. My hip hurt but I didn’t care especially when we took a run down Nosedive. It was by far the best run. It was rock solid and it was the kind of surface that I could cut into with my trusty Dynastar slalom skis and just juice it like no other, making fluid turns that brought a smile to my face. That is when I realized I kind of missed racing. 🙂

We took about 6 runs in an hour and 20 minutes and since I am a sissy now, we had to go in the Octagon at the top of the mountain for a coffee/hot cocoa mix break. I see all the little racers getting their hot cocoas and cinnamon buns covered in frosting and I am instantly taken back to my first few years at the Mount Mansfield Ski Club. Those were the days. We would ski all day and never tire. We would nuke around the mountain, cutting off people everywhere we went and then get yelled at by ski patrol but we didn’t care, we just wanted to ski fast. “I wanna go fast!”

Gone are the days where I never tire. After our coffee break, I turn to my dad and ask, “Can this be the last run?” I felt guilty because I never get up here to ski, but my legs, my back and my hip were at the end of the road for the day. So we did one more run down Nosedive and boy, did I make it count! I laid those skis over and brought myself back to my racing days, digging that ski into the hard ice and coming out of each turn with so much power that it shot me right into my next turn! I also used to make race car noises when I skied and sure enough found myself making the same noise. Vroom, vroom, vroooooooom. Yes I am a dork but it was that last run that made me realize how much fun I was having.

That last run there was no stopping, no skidding, no fear; I just went for it, left it all on the hill as I was taken down memory lane. I am so thankful that I still have the ability to ski like I used to even though I might not be able to rip through gates anymore. I appreciate the sport more now as it is a choice to go up there, not a chore as that was what it became my last few years. Needless to say, am already looking forward to skiing at Christmas with my dad. I know I will appreciate it even more because it will be my last time until next Thanksgiving.

Who knows, maybe I will make it an entire on the slopes day by then, especially since I know that a little over a week after Christmas I will be in surgery for my Labral tear and then in bed for an entire week while I recover. If you live in Burlington or the surrounding area, feel free to come visit me and my parents place as I will probably be going crazy sitting on my tushy all day. 🙂

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Two thumbs up for this girl!

Would you mind taking that tank off?

I have heard that question a lot when it comes to fitness photo shoots. I usually have no problem whipping that bad boy off in order to flash the 6 pack that I crushed myself to attain, both in my lack of eating and my over abundance of working out. But this time the question will be a little different and I am a little reluctant to whip off my clothes simply because I have been eating, a lot, and have been lacking in the workout department.

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I don’t got that going on right now…so about those imperfections…

Today I got an email from my agent at Maggie, Inc for a requested go-see at Reebok for what other than an underwear photo shoot. REALLY?! An underwear shoot?? I don’t even like to be in my underwear alone! And now I have to get half naked for people I don’t even know? I don’t know whether I am in a – ridiculously excited pee in my pants giddy – mood because it has been almost 2 months since my last gig and I LOVE modeling (I’m really not that good at it but that doesn’t matter) or if I am in a – ridiculously holy shit I can’t believe I have to take half my clothes off in the dead of winter when I haven’t been dieting for 6 weeks and look like a ghost – mood. Seriously though, a legit ghost. Can you say Casper? Speaking of Casper, is it weird that the boy he turned into for 1 night is my childhood crush that I did not leave in childhood. I still get butterflies when I watch that scene. Oh if only it were real. Hello heaven.

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Devon Sawa. Will you marry my 12 year old self?

So, all I’m thinking about right now is the half of an apple pie I ate Friday night, the chicken fingers and fries Saturday night, the Rice Krispie treats and ice cream last night, the Rice Krispie treats I’ve eaten today and the thanksgiving feast I will consume tomorrow that will leave me a lifeless blob on the couch. A few coworkers asked me if I am going to start dieting again…I thought about this for a moment and my response shocked them.

“Maybe a little but to be honest, I look the way I look. One week of dieting wont make a terribly large difference unless I go over board and barely eat…clearly NOT what I want to be doing right now.” See it’s funny because I was just telling my dad the other day how happy I was that I didn’t have to diet over thanksgiving this year because I was dieting during thanksgiving AND Christmas last year for photo shoots. Do you know how MISERABLE I was?! If you can’t guess by now, I love food. I adore it. I want to marry it. Which is all odd to me because I used to hate it so much that I didn’t eat it. Not a smart move. So to be deprived over my two favorite holidays when sweets are in abundance and it is suddenly perfectly acceptable to eat yourself into oblivion because it’s such a special time of year, was a blasphemous notion for me.

I mean for heavens sake, it’s the holidays! It’s a time to be merry and jolly and put on 10 lbs just because you can and then tell yourself you’ll start working to lose it on January 1. Why do you think people want a personal trainer more post holidays? 🙂 But for me, last year there was no jolly and no joy around the plain turkey and steamed green beans I was eating while everyone else stuffed themselves like the pillsbury dough boy at dinner and then made it worse by eating desert.

I will NOT let that happen this thanksgiving. Both the miserable part and the stuffing my face part, for the sake of the modeling. Happy medium here. So my extended response to the question of dieting, “The casting is one week away. For me to look how I looked 2 months ago when I was disgustingly lean, would mean I would have to starve myself and work out every free second of my day. No thanks. Will I be more careful over the next week with all those sweets around, yes. But I will not deprive myself of things I love so much.” Long winded I know.

I must admit something though…when I read the email from my agent, I instantly thought “Oh my gosh, am I too fat for this?” I thought of my imperfections, my little blossoming love handles especially. You know the ones that spill over your tight jeans? Death to them. But then I got over it. I didn’t write about my beautiful imperfections and loving them last night to then bail on that whole concept when I find out I actually will have people SEEING those imperfections. Nope, not this time. I really do love my body, even if I am not 13% body fat like I was, which actually made me look like I was a prepubescent child, which is not exactly what you want in your later 20s. I know I have a hot little body, a womanly body actually, and I tell myself that every time I look in the mirror. Am I a little self conscious? I would be lying if I didn’t confidently say hell yes. And I will even go as far as to say that I am a little more than a little self conscious but I am not going to let it ruin my image of my self; of my beautiful, feminine and hard earned body.

That all being said, I just had a bowl of chocolate and regular rice krispies and when I realized I still had milk left in my bowl, I poured some more cereal in. I HAD to soak up all the milk. I just couldn’t waste good milk! I think you all know what I’m talking about, and if you don’t, you’ve never really eaten cereal before…or you know exactly how much milk to pour in your bowl which is just totally lame because you don’t have a sound reason to go back for seconds…or thirds.

Reebok underwear casting call…HERE I COME, imperfections and all. 😉

Imperfection

By gosh Dolly Parton, your words couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”

I have been searching and trying to figure out “who I am” for as long as I can remember. I have been stressing out about it and it has almost ruined my life and my happiness. Being 3 glasses of wine deep and having overdosed on rice krispie treats made with regular rice krispies, chocolate rice krispies,  Fiber One chocolate squares and a TON of peanut butter I must say I am contemplating this quote and my life with an intensity that might be frightening for some but is really just a regular occurrence for me. I seriously might pass out from so much sugar but it gave me a sense of clarity that is just so freeing.

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Seriously, who wouldn’t overdose. My coworkers will tomorrow.

Anyways…

One thing I must admit is that I see a therapist once a week. No I am not crazy, he just helps me sort out the thoughts that race through my brain faster than Usain Bolt races the 100 meter…yeah that fast; its exhausting. Today we had a great chat, so much that I felt a high even before I started on my sugar binge. On my way home I was be bopping along to Katy Perry’s Roar with the biggest smile on my face when I suddenly found myself in CVS. I don’t know how this always happens to me but next thing I know I am in the cereal section with 3 boxes of cereal, milk in hand and wondering where the marshmallows would be. There is so much damn chocolate in there right now, which normally I would be made giddy by, but tonight all I wanted were those little white puffs of joy. Within minutes I am back outside, listening to Katy Perry again, bobbing my head and strutting my stuff. By the way, I think I have listened to it 20 times today and every time I hear it, I get that female empowerment thing going on which feels pretty damn phenomenal. The fact that I have amazingly supportive parents, guy friends and especially girlfriends helps me feel phenomenal quite easily. You guys basically rock, btw. Thanks for putting up with me for I know I am rather on the exhausting side.

So, tonight is the first night that I feel extremely happy. Yes I have talked about how happy I am with the direction my life has taken but to be quite frank, I was half faking it til I made it because honestly half the time I wrote these posts, I’d break down crying within 10 minutes. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the Amos Lee or the Joshua Radin Pandora stations but I was all waterworks. One thing a girlfriend told me was it is OK to cry, in fact it would be odd if I didn’t in this situation, so I just let it all out. I think (and hope) I am done with that crying stuff. It stuffed my nose up so that I couldn’t sleep unless I snorted Afrin and my last experience with that made it so I could not smell anything, which some might say is a good thing if you happen to walk into the employee room at the Nox and open the fridge…yeah, you all know what I am talking about.

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(I wish this would actually happen.)

This moment, or this night of happiness might not last, but the most important realization of this moment is that it is happening and it is happening not because I am faking it but is happening because I feel truly f****** happy. I am confident in my decisions to move on with my life in the direction I have chosen, which sadly means leaving someone behind (yeah broken record I know, but I am a little heart broken). I think part of my realization happened the other night when I was told I shouldn’t do this and shouldn’t do that in regards to my thinking, my actions, how much I openly share with people. I share the happenings of my life for reasons some people may never understand so I kindly responded, “This is who I am and I do not want to hide it. If you do not like who I am, that is fine, but never bring me down.”

Why should we have to hide who we are? Like the title of this blog says, imperfection. We are all imperfect, but imperfection is truly beautiful and it is those who recognize their imperfections that are able to really live their life. Listen to T.I. featuring Rihanna – Live Your Life. The first time I heard this song was in college when I was particularly down on myself and it changed my life. I still to this day use this song to pick me up when I am feeling down.

I may never find out who I am, but if I know one thing to be true, I become more the person I want to be with every breath I take. I love that I am imperfect, that I get a little cray-cray sometimes, that I get a little down sometimes. If anything, I sure do keep myself entertained, especially when I belt out to Nora Jones. I know this is only the beginning of my journey. I love the ups and downs, I love everything that is “off” and “wrong” about me, I love my little pooch on my belly, and my winter coat that I have managed to put on over the last few weeks, I love my little saddle bags that have invaded my legs, I love the tiny bingo arms I have developed because it means I am HAPPY; truly f****** happy. I love all my little imperfections and you should love yours too. It makes you who you are. Embrace that shit.

Another friend said to me tonight that I am more fun when I am actually enjoying my life. I will take that and run with it wildly into my future, figuring out who I am along the way. I don’t need to figure it out now. I just need to enjoy what I am currently experiencing…and making sure to make funny faces in the process.

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Life in my words

I like to think, a lot, and it is sometimes to a fault. I am very open and honest in my thoughts and words and this post is no different. I like to share those thoughts and words in the hopes that someone can relate and maybe say, “Hey, I am not alone in this world” or can be motivated and inspired, or whatever emotion you feel when you read about my life. I never had anyone like that so I am doing and offering to whoever will take what I never had. This post is about losing someone you love but in return learning how to live and love your life for you. Raw emotion. Living in the moment. Hell, my whole blog is real, I throw my thoughts and emotions out on the line and I am proud of that. Life gets hard, life gets easy, life sometimes sucks but then in a moment it can be the most amazing thing. Life and living is about appreciating it all. In the last 2 weeks I have gone through every emotion that I can imagine…if there are more, I don’t want to know about them. Last night was no different in the experience in range of emotions. But let’s back track a moment…

Up until 2 ish weeks ago I had not been having much fun for the previous 6 ish months. I was dieting and crushing myself at the gym which yes gave me a body that I loved but also (looking back on it) made me neurotic and miserable. I was obsessive about what I ate and honestly stopped enjoying food. It’s sole purpose was to fuel the machine. I was pursuing modeling and was planning to send a portfolio to Wilhelmina in NYC as they had shown interest in me. Dieting, working out and modeling became my fun, became my life. If you visit my facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/karaAcrow, and look past all the posts about my injuries, you will see the obsession in full effect. But in some sense of the word, you could say I had fun because I love to workout and model and if dieting makes me look like I did, then sure, I had fun dieting too.

So yes, I had fun moments and what not, but I am not talking about halfway fun where your mind is somewhere or with someone else. I am talking about the kind of fun where you are in the moment, you forget about all your worries, you forget about the past and the future, and the one thing you care about is who is sitting right in front of you. When friends would ask me to hang out, I always hesitated and usually said no because it involved drinking and eating things that were not on the diet plan. And there was only really one person I wanted to spend my time with, but we never really did anything FUN. Needless to say and as I have said before, I no longer spend time with that person which means I have a lot of time and energy on my hands.

As much as I want to forget about this person, I can’t. I am thankful for my time spent with him as I learned a lot by being with him and I am reminded of this every moment. So in an attempt to move on and distract myself, I have gone out and tried to have fun with friends but he has been on my mind so much that I couldn’t truly relax or have the fun and the laughs I desperately need. I was thinking about every moment I have spent with him and it was paining my heart…literally I was having chest pain. But I mean don’t get me wrong, I have been laughing, but I want the laughs that get to my belly, like a little baby laughs. Now those are real laughs. We all need to laugh like that. The kind of laugh that comes from a comment or an action you weren’t expecting. Gosh I love that. I smile now as I think of all the laughs I have yet to experience.

So last night I had plans to go out with a girlfriend from work and then meet up with some other coworkers. Night time is the hardest for me without him in my life so of course I start crying…bauling actually…and I am texting my coworker telling her he is the only one who can make me stop hurting, the only one who can make me happy. I said I stare blankly at my screen and cry. This is so hard. I feel so weak and pathetic. I was basically having a pity party without the ice cream. Now my coworker (and friend of course) is more real than me and she gave it to me straight and narrow.

“Kara you gotta cut the shit. You are making the conscious decision to let yourself continue to feel and be miserable. No it’s not (insert bad swear word) easy, life rarely is. You are letting yourself be weak. You do not (insert same bad swear word) need him. You have such a wonderful LIFE worth living, and you haven’t even scratched the surface of true LOVE. And plus you are 10 times prettier when you don’t cry. I suggest you use that to your advantage. :)”

Damn. Shit just got real. No more pity party. I dried my tears, blew my nose because I couldn’t breathe, blow dried and straightened my hair, did my makeup and put on some hot ass heels and I went OUT. We went to Douzo in Back Bay for dinner (WHOLLY MOLY you should ALL go there), did some drinking, some life hashing, some boy bashing and from that moment on, I forgot he existed. I don’t know how it happened, it just did. It was the first time I didn’t feel like I had to put on a happy face because I was so damn depressed under the surface. It was the first time I enjoyed what was right in front of me. I felt truly happy. I felt the kind of happy that I had been searching for the last few weekends but wasn’t even coming close to feeling.

And that happiness continued as we moved on to Brownstone to meet some other friends. I didn’t think of him once. I don’t even know what I was thinking about. To be honest, I don’t believe that I was thinking, at least not up to my normal standards which is simply exhausting. Actually I lied, I was thinking about chocolate chip cookie sliders which they no longer have at Brownstone. So instead we got chicken fingers and truffle fries.

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I have not enjoyed this type of food as much as I did in what seems like an eternity. My friends looked at me with smiles on their faces and said, “We missed this Kara.” And by this Kara they mean the carefree, bubbly, excited, outgoing, laughable Kara. The Kara I am but have failed to be. I had gotten lost in the scramble of my life. My happiness came to rely on someone else’s choices, words and actions and that is no one’s fault but my own. I forgot how to LIVE, how to appreciate those people in your life that won’t leave you when shit gets hard or when you become so psycho and overwhelming that no one wants to be around you. Those are the people that “get me” and that understand who I am and love me for all that I am. I love those people and I want them back in my life. I like to tell myself I just took a little vacation. If it is one thing I have always known but learned for the 10 millionth time, never lose touch with your friends. Boyfriends (and some friends) come and go, but when you find those people who stand by your side through the good and the bad, hold on to them and don’t let go. There are many more friends I am thankful for, these are just the ones I had the pleasure of spending time with last night. It was so nice to be able to live in the moment for the first time in wayyyyyyy too long. Thanks for keeping it and me real.

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(Don’t judge the horrible picture quality. My phone takes bad pictures.)

I woke up this morning alone. Normally that would sadden me as I am used to him being there but for once, I was okay with it. Actually more than okay with it, I actually LOVED waking up alone. And I woke up smiling and it wasn’t a forced smile either. To make my day even better I got lunch with my godmother, her brother and my goddaughter at North Street Grille (seriously, go there too…OMG).

Life got real today and I am more than ready for it. So I leave this post with a smile on my face and a very happy gut. 🙂

My first apple pie!!!

“I am proud of you.” I said this to myself last night after I made my very first apple pie without my mother’s help. Come to think of it we only made one apple pie together and she did most of the work so that one doesn’t really count. Due to this first apple pie creation, I had a massive sugar headache and wanted to pop. That is kind of how I will feel after the Thanksgiving feast with my family next week so in my mind I am just simply training for Thanksgiving, right? This apple pie was a test run for Thanksgiving anyways.

I must say that I am more excited than ever this year because we have a new addition to the family. My brother and his wife had the cutest little baby in the whole wide world. And I am not just saying that. Really, she is. I would post a pic of the little nugget but she is way to cool for the internet. Hopefully she will approve of this creation (I followed a Pinterest recipe, again. Obsessed) I am seriously so giddy and excited about this pie.

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Cinnamon bun base. I am an idiot and did not put the dough all the way up the side, but it still came out fine.

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I had extras (because I forgot to put them on the sides of the pie pan) so I baked them at 425 for an amount of time I cannot remember. All I payed attention to was how crispy they were. Hello amazing-ness. My mother always made these out of extra pie crust although she was smart enough to cover the walls of the pie pan. Live and learn.

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Baked that bad boy at 425 for 15 ish minutes then reduced heat to 375 for however long it took to look like that, and be all crispy and stuff.

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Had some extra juices from the apples, brown sugar, white sugar and lemon juice so I poured it into a separate bowl and tossed in some pinches of flour to thicken it up so that I could pour it alllllll over my pie and ice cream to make it extra delicious. Which I must say it was a grand idea. Go me!

I will admit I woke up in the middle of the night and had more of the little pinwheels and then had more pie for breakfast. I felt like I was on crack at work. Needless to say I will not be having pie until Thursday.

You seriously need to make this pie. It’s all of heaven in a pan, floating on a cloud as I ate it. Enough said.

Adapted from these two sites:

For the base:

http://www.recipebyphoto.com/cinnamon-bun-pecan-pie/

For the pie: I used golden delicious, macintosh and a third one that I cannot for the life of me remember…but it was yummy! I’ll pay attention next time. And I used a lot more sugar than the recipe calls for. So really this was just a guideline. 🙂

http://thepaperheartstudio.blogspot.com/2013/10/apple-pie-foodie-friday.html

Conscious vs Unconscious Love

Disclaimer: This is kind of personal but I am sure people can relate, and I felt a desire to share because it was shared with me and made a pretty deep impact.

I was having a conversation with a client today about love, dating, marriage, divorce, etc. He was telling me that on the third date with his now ex wife, he knew they weren’t meant to be together. This, of course, made my brain light up as I have been going through a break up with a similar feeling right from the get go. So I inquired as to why he stayed with her for so many years. His response: “I loved her.” Simple. We think love is the most important thing; that intense, deep, burning love you (hopefully) feel for the person you share your life with. That deep love is the love of the unconscious. But what do we do when our conscious self knows that the person we are with is not right for us, just like my client knew at the third date, yet love takes over and blinds you? Love is blind after all, right?

For the last 9 months I have loved someone with my whole heart and I don’t fall in love. I have been in love twice in my entire life and I am 27 years old. For me to fall in love takes a person out of this world. I honestly don’t have words to describe it and I don’t feel like trying. I think it just comes down to a feeling…that intense, deep, burning passion…that person you don’t want to live without. 

From Meet Joe Black:

William Parrish: I know it’s a cornball thing, but love is passion. Obsession. Someone you can’t live without. I say fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy, and who’ll love you the same way back. How do you you find ’em? Well, you forget your head and you listen to your heart. I’m not hearing any heart. Because the truth is, honey, there’s no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven’t lived a life at all. But you have to try, because if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.

A girlfriend sent me that when my boyfriend and I broke up recently. I cried when I read that because I realized that although I loved him like that, I did not get the same love in return and it killed me. To love someone like that and not get it back is the biggest let down and leaves the biggest hole in the heart…at least for me. 

I have known for a long time that he and I are not right for each other. My gut kept screaming at me to run as fast as I could, but my heart kept me holding on, and I did a lot longer than I should have. My gut is my conscious and my heart is my unconscious. My client explained that your conscious mind is your reasoning and your unconscious is your feeling. He said you may not always feel that intense passion towards someone like William Parrish told his daughter, but if that person is kind to you, treats you right and is a great companion that sometimes you may not need that deep passion, that unconscious, for it is that deep passion that can mask many things that your conscious is screaming at you. Two examples being you have that deep, crazy, burning passion for another but you are miserable because you are just not on the same path, you don’t get treated the way you feel you need to even though you’ve expressed what you need. Or you don’t have that deep passion (at least not right away) but the other person cares for you, tends to your needs, treats you the way you ask to be treated, understands and accepts things even when they don’t necessarily want to, simply because they love you. And you do the same. It may not be that burning love that pains the heart, but it is a sustainable love. The love that lasts forever because you are best friends. Love doesn’t fade when you find the right one. 

Although my gut was right all along, I am in a way very happy that I followed my heart. This person allowed me to love again. I felt love for another person for the first time in 4 years. I became unselfish, I learned how to cook because of him (honestly that was the real reason), I learned how to care about someone so intensely that I would do anything for that person. But in the end, it was my gut, my conscious mind that was right all along. But then I think, what if? What if I stick it out a little bit longer and my heart was right? What if it just took a little longer for him to come around, to understand me better, to love me like I love him? 

So I ask myself and you, do we love with our conscious or our unconscious?

One thing my client did add because it is possible…some people do get lucky enough to have both. I told him that I hope to someday be lucky enough.

 

Goats milk

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A goat.

We have all heard of goat cheese and I am pretty sure many of us love it…if you don’t, I’m not sure we can be friends. But goat products (soaps and lotions) and goat meat??? I’m not so sure about that….

So a few weeks ago my mother was talking about goats milk soaps and lotions. She mentioned that she had heard of people using it a couple years ago but really wasn’t a fan of the way it smelled. It was sold sparingly and wasn’t too popular. Fast forward to now and you will see goats milk products at every farmers market and many local stores in Vermont (probably other states too but I haven’t paid much attention-I bet you can get the product at any natural foods market to be honest).

Now I haven’t paid much attention to the goat milk craze until I was reading Psychology Today this past Sunday and there was an article about goat MEAT. I instantly thought of my mother and what she was saying about the products created from goat MILK. Now I cannot imagine eating a goat but I guess they are extremely popular in Greece, the Caribbean and South Asia or as Psychology Today said, “consumed regularly by 70% of the world’s population.” I guess it is one of the leanest meats available, is low in cholesterol, calories, unsaturated fat and sodium while having a high amount of potassium and iron.

Apparently there is a difference in the breed of goat for milk versus meat…one is bread for milk production and the other for meat. Those goats bred for milk production are very gamey. I personally have never had anything gamey so I wouldn’t be able to judge the flavor.

So as I am reading this article it switches from goat meat and how it is becoming ever more popular, to goat milk, yogurt and ice cream. All of which are perfect for those who are allergic to cows milk. I guess it has a creamy richness that is out of this world. Now I am not a huge milk drinker (of any animal) and eat yogurt so sparingly that I sometimes forget it exists, but after reading this article, my taste buds got a little curious.

Knowing that I would be heading to Whole Paycheck (I mean Whole Foods), I decided I would take a look at the yogurt section for this goat milk yogurt. I had to search pretty aggressively to find it as the number of yogurt products out there is just so overwhelming that its no wonder I just stopped eating it all together. After looking for about 2 minutes (it seemed impossible to find among the what seems like thousands of brands, flavors, fat content, milk source…ugh), I finally found the TWO companies that makes yogurt from goat milk. There were flavors just like any other yogurt company: vanilla, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry and plain. I don’t like added sugar to my yogurt so I grabbed the plain. And I figured that I would be able to get the full flavor profile if I chose plain. So I grabbed this one…

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As I said before it was one of two brands of goat milk yogurt and it’s impossible to tell that it is in fact made of goat milk as the writing is so small that even a teenager would need spectacles to see it. My eyes then wander to the left and I see sheep milk yogurt….hmmmm. Next thing I know I have goat milk yogurt (bottom), sheep milk yogurt (middle) and grass fed cow yogurt (top).

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So I decide to conduct a little taste test after dinner, which was PHENOMENAL by the way. I postponed veal burger night to last night because I had so much salmon left over from Sunday and it was sooooo worth the wait!

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Veal burger stuffed with peppers, panko, onion and parsley and sandwiched with mozzarella in a lovely whole wheat pita bread. Those chunky looking things on the bottom left are white, or rather pale yellow sweet potato parmesean rosemary french fries. Honestly, the pale yellow sweet potatoes are undeniably better than the orange sweet potatoes – at least on this little girl’s taste buds. I have never seen them before but found them at Whole Paycheck and decided to give them a shot…I WILL be going back for more! Also, had a nice little spinach salad with asparagus – hello stinky pee 🙂 (I’m sorry, I make myself laugh every time I think about that. Laughing is healthy just like asparagus!), red and yellow peppers and grape tomatoes.

Anyways, back to my goat milk chat with myself last night…so I decided to conduct a taste test comparison. I mean come on, what else am I going to do on a Tuesday night as a single gal? I lined up my yogurts with a separate spoon for each one and water to clean my palate between yogurt tastings. Here are my findings:

(I added the pictures again just so you wouldn’t get confused and so that you would know what to look for if you are so inclined to do a taste test yourself)

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Grass fed cow yogurt- Watery and bitter, just as I had expected. I could eat it but it is not my favorite.

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Sheep yogurt – Rotten and sour, cottage cheese consistency (which I love) but less chunky which was just weird. Absolutely disgusting that I almost spit it out and it smelled bad. All I could think about was a sheep (don’t seem to have as much of a problem with goat yogurt as you will see) and for some reason that turned me off. Or maybe it was the fact that it was just gross to begin with…it quickly went in my trash.

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Goat milk – Thick, flavorful, smooth finish. Very similar to greek yogurt which I LOVE. That thick, creamy consistency that has just enough flavor to make it so that I am not tempted to add anything. I am officially in LOVE with goat milk yogurt. In the same serving size it has less calories and less fat but the same amount of protein as cow and sheep yogurt. It tickled my taste buds juuuuuust right. I was already extremely stuffed even before my taste test so I decided to eat just a little and put the rest back into my fridge for my midnight snack habit that I cannot seem to break.

All in all, give goat milk yogurt a shot. YOLO, right?!?!

Cooking machine

This afternoon I was a cooking MACHINE! A monster to be exact. I looked at my training schedule this week and realized I am going to have little time to cook each night and as sad as that makes me, I am happy I am finally busy again. So I dedicated a few extra hours of my Sunday afternoon prepping and cooking.

I baked my asparagus just like I always do; olive oil, salt and pepper at 425 until they get nice and crispy! To say I love asparagus is an understatement. There is just something so delicious about that little spear that just gets me going. Maybe it’s all the health benefits or the fact that it makes my pee smell funny, but either way it’s my favorite vegetable.

While my asparagus were sunbathing in my oven I decided to make my chicken a little more interesting than I used to…which is usually just salt and pepper or some simple marinade that just tastes bland the next day. I dieted for so long that I do not make anything bland anymore. It’s my rule and my promise to myself. I will enjoy everything I eat. 

I decided to make today a teriyaki theme with my two main dishes…chicken and salmon – salmon is now on Sunday night by the way. More on that in a minute. So for my chicken I whisked together some teriyaki sauce, olive oil, honey, brown sugar, chopped garlic and salt. I plopped the chicken in a Ziploc bag (I refuse to use the generic brands), poured in my mixture and popped it in the fridge for a few hours. In the process of plopping my chicken in the fridge, I noticed I only had two pieces of my egg white crust-less quiche left! Uh oh – so I decided to be a little avant-garde (for myself of course) and instead of making my quiche in a pie dish, I made little baby quiches in muffin tins!!! I’m very proud of myself for thinking of this…or for seeing it on Pinterest.

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Ingredients: 6 eggs, a solid pour of egg whites, red peppers, tomatoes, spinach, parsley, shallots and Cabot mozzarella cheese (Cabot is the only way to go for this Vermont girl), salt, pepper and black sesame seeds. Put the egg and egg white mixture in the base of the tin…oh spray that tin with some non stick spray first. Then place the rest of the ingredients on top. I used the cheese last so it would slightly burn on top, creating a slight brown tinge of melted cheese (see image below) which would be the first thing I would see when I opened my fridge in the morning; I LOVE cheese.  

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Next up: Veal burgers. Now I have not had veal in America, only in Europe on ski trips and from what I can remember it was delicious which was probably because it was veal schnitzel – breaded and fried. Oh, SO GOOD. Shit…it’s been 8 years since I have been there. Life is going by too fast. Maybe that’s why I’ve decided to try new things and live life a little more fully…side tracked there in my little brain. I’m back now.

So today I decided to try veal again when I saw it at Whole Foods even though I almost threw up at first glimpse. Probably because I know what veal REALLY is and I am not a huge proponent of it, but I decided to live on the edge a little. Since I knew that tomorrow night I wouldn’t have a ton of time to prep and cook, I decided to prep today…I chopped up some red peppers, onions and garlic and threw them in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, pepper and Panko. I packed those babies into little burgers and popped them in the fridge so they are ready to pan sear tomorrow night…gosh I wish I had a grill. Christmas present? 

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Last but not least…salmon. I cannot describe how excited I get about salmon. Maybe someday I will try but for now I just want to share how I made it and what I put on the plate before I topped it with my perfectly prepared 4 oz. salmon filet. The marinade I used for the chicken is the same marinade I used for the salmon, so just scroll up. 😉 Marinated it for an hour, baked it for 15 minutes on 400. Meanwhile I sautéed quinoa, red peppers, yellow peppers, snow peas, onions and garlic with olive oil. Oh boy did my kitchen start to smell yummmmmy! I of course had to have spinach with my meal so I plopped it on my plate, topped it with my sautee mix and once that luscious piece of heaven was done, I carefully placed it on top of everything. I topped the whole dish with sesame seeds and a touch more teriyaki sauce. I grabbed my Malbec and spent the next 10 minutes thoroughly enjoying a meal I had spent time preparing.

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The best part about actually taking time to make a meal is the anticipation. I wiggle and jump around my kitchen waiting for that timer to ding and when it does, it’s like the world comes to a stand still. The only thing that matters is taking that sensationally delicious dish out of the oven and arranging it on the plate so that it looks as delicious as it is going to taste. I can feel the endorphins running through my brain as I write. I didn’t even have to think about the words I just wrote, they simply fell onto the page. It’s the feeling you get when you listen to a song that speaks to your soul. The kind of song that makes you sway your head side to side, curl a little smile and realize that life is just so good, so perfect, so amazing in that one moment; a moment you don’t want end but know it will. Maybe that’s why I like cooking so much, I can recreate that moment whenever I want.

That perfect moment when everything just seems right; just as you hoped it would. 

 

 

PS. All my dishes were from these blogs via Pinterest:

Egg quiche: http://lilieslattesandlace.com/2012/01/25/egg-muffins/

Salmon: http://jujugoodnews.com/sesame-ginger-sweet-teriyaki-salmon-with-garlic-quinoa-stir-fry/

I made the veal one up…not that creative. Yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you even lift?

No. I don’t. Not anymore. To motivate myself to workout right now is hard but today I did and I am damn proud of myself for doing it and enjoying it, even though I cannot consider it lifting especially as a trainer would describe it. It is rather boring to say the least but I am just prepping myself for the boringness of rehab in January when all I am going to want to do is play in the snow like my 5-12 year old self. Gosh, I remember when my mother had to force me to come inside after a big snow storm. The igloos my two big brothers and I built were phenomenal. We had a very long driveway and thanks to my father and his plow, all that snow ended up in massive piles in front of our house. I’d come into the house chattering from the cold to a nice warm fire and a cup of hot cocoa that only my mother could make taste so good. Ah memories. Too bad they sold that house. Silly parents.

Anyways back to the point…So my workout consists of a warm up for about 45 minutes and by warm up I mean: I foam roll every part of my lower body focusing on my gluteus maximus, minimus and medius or simply my ass, a quad stretch, hip flexor stretch and adductor stretch also known as frog in yoga…basically straddling the floor, something I REALLY won’t be able to do post surgery. I then move on to my hip mobility exercises. This is where I just get so ******* bored that most of the time I just give up, so I won’t bore you with the details.

Now from here I am used to my inner meat head rearing it’s head. My nickname actually used to be meat. Really, it did. My workouts consisted of heavy squats and dead lifts, heavy lunges, heavy kettle bell swings, chest press, rows, etc; basically heavy everything and I LOVED it. Most of us go to the gym to get our frustrations and anger out, our pent up energy, to think or stop thinking as it may be, or to simply get an endorphin high either from your workout or from flirting with the hot guy or girl strutting their stuff around the gym. My guess is it’s more the hotties than the actual workout based on what I’ve seen over the last 3 years.

My workouts now consist of all body weight and minimal cardio. Simply minimal everything that makes the hip joint rotate about it’s little axis. Basically I never get my frustrations, anger or energy out and there have been a lot of frustrations lately. However, it is nice to people watch and see who hits on who and what people choose to do for a workout. Oh the things I see that keep me entertained.

Today was different though, partially because there was no one to really stare at and partially because I decided to work through the pain and irritation in my hip and do a full workout. I REALLY pushed myself today…or at least pushed myself as much as the hip could stand. Either way I did exercises I have been afraid of for fear of what my hip might say to me the 2 days following. I leg pressed very light (that was a blow to the ego), did hip lifts, RDLs, single leg hip lifts, lateral band walks, and clams…lots of clams. I even had the pleasure of actually sweating, but just a little. I did a brief upper body workout faster than a serious Crossfitter doing an AMRAP and it felt gooooood. Boy do I miss Crossfit. Ugh. How many more months until I can go back?

Seriously not my typical workout but it got me going. Two hours later after my client M-dog….

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…I decided to hit up the stair stepper for a 30 minute climb. Now the stair stepper is REALLY where I got my sweat on and it felt better than a hot shower and a nice glass of red wine after a particularly obnoxious day. Yes, I am drinking wine as I write this although my day was much less than obnoxious. Have I mentioned that I love not dieting??? Today was steak fajita day by the way. Mmmmmm.

Needless to say I left the gym feeling accomplished. 4 thumbs up. THAT is rare.

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It is the first time in a long time I actually felt like my workout was worth it. I got out some frustrations and did some thinking, something I clearly never do…yeah right. Just ask my dad when I call him to analyze every little thing about the meaning of the current happenings of my life. Poor guy.

So I know that my hip will be screaming at me tomorrow; it’s actually already starting to have a bit of a tantrum which is making it hard to get off the couch without feeling like I tore the labrum more. Good thing I can’t make it any worse. It’s simply now about maintaining as much strength as possible while minimizing pain but I figure I am on anti-inflammatories for a week because of my chest inflammation so I may as well take advantage and just rotate the heck out of that ball and socket joint.

All in all, today was a great day. I stayed more positive in my workout than normal and I quite enjoyed it, knowing that it will make post op that much easier as I know that’s where the real struggle will be. Oh by the way, anyone want to be my little helper from January 13-28th? I’ll be on crutches, taking a cab to work everyday, training clients and struggling to go grocery shopping, do my laundry, play in the snow and get up and down 4 flights of tiny stairs in the North End of Boston. I will pay in home cooked food!

Shoot me a message on Facebook if you’re interested.

PS. Moral of the accomplishment of my day…change your attitude, change your focus, change your mind and drink red wine. After all, it IS good for your heart.

A little trip to MGH and a little Sinusitis

Yes, a sinus infection. I have been light headed and dizzy for 6 weeks now. I have been to my primary care doctor, to my neurologist and to the ER and much to my dismay, no one could give me a reason for it other than what my neurologist called “situational anxiety.” Right. So every moment of my life is causing me anxiety? Wrong. 

Today was no different with the exception that I had chest pain and tightness. Almost like that feeling you get after a long hard run in the freezing cold where you were huffing and puffing so badly that you ran your lungs dry and raw, except as we know, I can’t run. And I sure as hell wouldn’t do it outside right now even if I could. As if being lightheaded all the time wasn’t enough, I now wanted to rip my lungs out of my chest, which clearly wouldn’t be the best choice if I do ever decide I want to run again, or breathe…just saying. 

So after a few clients and a few hours of feeling like crap, I reluctantly go to the Urgent Care at Mass General. They ask me if I am registered in the system and I say, “Honey, I’m thinking of moving in. ” I guess my own sarcasm wasn’t appreciated as she didn’t really respond and just handed me a letter and told me to sit down and wait for the nurse to call me. About an hour later the nurse calls me in and I’m thinking, “Awesome, that wasn’t too bad of a wait. It’s 1:30 so I’ll probably make my 3 pm client.” Now, there is a system to this whole Urgent Care walk in clinic that I was completely blind to. You get a letter, you get called in with the nurse to chat about your symptoms, she takes your blood pressure, temperature and oxygen saturation levels. That information then goes to the doctors in the clinic while you sit in the waiting room and do just that. Wait…and wait…and wait…and fall asleep…and wait…until 2:45 pm rolls around and you get called in to see the doctor. 

Poor kid. He didn’t know what he was in for. I could tell he was definitely either new or was just so by the book for bedside manner that maybe he should have written it. Turns out this is a teaching clinic…so he does the usual, asking me what brings me in today, how long its been going on, how bad is the pain, etc. I pause at how long it has been going on…my chest pain is about a day, my lightheadedness about 6 weeks. Then I almost start crying, of course. I don’t know what it is about me lately, I just can’t stop crying (I immediately start singing Miley Cyrus’s We Can’t Stop in my head as I am writing this), which might be why my lungs hurt as this is no meager crying. Looks kind of like this..

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Anyways…

They take chest pain very seriously – as they should – so they order an EKG which of course shows me that I have an amazing heart 🙂 that beats like the wings of a butterfly. And so now I’m waiting for them to draw yet again more blood. It’s just like the “Sting like a bee” comment except it’s “How are you with needles?” What kind of a question is that anyways?!? Actually, I am great with needles. I love needles, which is why I keep coming back. Geesh. 

Anyways, I realize this kid is not a full blown doctor yet because he brings in the head honcho of the clinic. Yikes. They don’t end up drawing blood thank the heavens, I need all of it that I can get. Instead he presses on my chest – no pain doc – it’s internal. Then squeezes my rib cage together from the sides – please don’t do that again. Tells me I have inflammation in my rib cage most likely caused my an allergen, mold maybe. I live in the North End of Boston. Mold is like a pet here. I would have taken a picture of the black mold in my shower an hour ago before I poured straight bleach on it but then my mother would have had a panic attack. (love you mom). Now I’m high on bleach…

Doc tells me, “Take anti-inflammatories 3x a day for a week and it should go away.” Sometimes I think being a doctor is too easy. One time I had a very prestigious doctor look up a symptom I was having on WIKIPEDIA. I won’t even go in to the embarrassment that should bring to all doctors. So then I get the, “Anymore questions for me today?” Actually, yes. Why am I lightheaded and dizzy all the time? He leans back against the desk and asks me to tell him about it. Well, I don’t really know what you want me to tell you other than it is all day, every day. Simple. The only time I am not is when I am sitting down and not moving my head quickly. “What makes it worse?” Dude, I just told you, it’s all the time. When I am walking, standing, getting up, sitting down, trying to work out. I really don’t know what else to tell you. Oh, I did almost pass out on the street the other day so I’d like to find a way to prevent that from happening. “What does the room do when you feel lightheaded?” Well, it pulsates and then I feel like I am flying which is followed by that feeling you get when you almost or actually do run into someone you didn’t see. If you don’t know what I am talking about, pay attention next time you almost smash head first into someone and tell me what you feel. Maybe something like this, except you have the pleasure of still standing. 

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He grabs the telescope light thingy to look in my ears which were normal, then my nostrils, which he tells me are inflamed. He then takes hold of my head and slowly turns it to my left and before he can even ask if that causes the symptoms, I tell him to never do that again. He turns my head to the right with no issues. Then he has me follow the light with my eyes to the right and then to the left…THAT did not make me happy and was not easy for my eyes. It’s like they pulsated when I went to the left. He starts to explain equilibrium units within our body…yeah yeah I know from high school Bio. I have some swelling and fluid in my sinuses and in my inner ear. He prescribes me an antibiotic, some Flonase and some other drug I can’t remember.

PROBLEM SOLVED, or at least we hope. But it was only after I pressed him about my lightheadedness that we found a probable cause. Mind you I had told the kid and told the doctor earlier in our conversation that I had been lightheaded for a very long time. If you work with me, you are probably just as happy about this diagnosis as I am because it’s like a broken record. But what amazes me is what doctors choose to hear. I have been harping on all my doctors about this issue. I understand that they see way too many patients in a day, especially at those walk in clinics…but when I am in front of you, listen to my symptoms. This doctor was slightly intimidating and if I was my younger self and not as fed up with the system as I am now, I would have taken that diagnoses of mold allergen and left, not addressing my head and then continued to be in distress.

BUT after many years of my mother in my ear about being forward with doctors and not letting them scare me into not asking questions, I finally took the bull by the horn and asked the question that gave me the answer I have been searching for, for weeks. I was not leaving the hospital until I got an answer or a direction as what to do next. I hope you’re proud of me for that one mom. All it took was a booger check and a head twist. No boogers here. 

Moral of the story, keep asking questions, be forward and aggressive but maintain your cool and be polite…smiling helps too. So with a sinus infection and an allergy to mold (maybe?), I rest my little head…

Oh, and at least I got to have my double tall skinny peppermint mocha this morning (mulled over that one for the 10 minutes it took me to walk to the BUX on my way to work this morning). Started my day with heaven, ended it with a solid medical diagnosis. My kind of day. Bring it on Friday.

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