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January 29, 2012

January Movies

One of my NYR was to start having a movie night. Dan and I just don't watch movies that much, primarily because getting me to sit still for two hours is beyond impossible. But on Friday nights I am so beat that there is nothing I would rather do then sit on the couch and watch a movie (if I can stay awake).

I decided I'll do a short review of all the movies we watch every month, pick a monthly winner, and then pit them against each other at the end of the year.

This month's movies were the following:


The Warrior
We heard about this movie from Dan's cousins over Christmas and they promised that we would like it.  It is a story about two estranged brothers who each enter a mixed martial arts competition for different financial and personal reasons.  Obviously, they end up having to fight each other. 

Dan and I were on different sides regarding which brother we wanted to win.  Needless to say, Dan ended up hating the ending, but I loved it.  I went into this movie with such low expectations, and could not believe how much I enjoyed it in the end.  A must watch!


Moneyball
I like baseball.  I like dramas.  So why wouldn't I like Moneyball?  Well, because its kind of boring.  The concept is really interesting, but for me, the mathematical calculations didn't really carry the movie.  Plus, I hate Brad Pitt, and I thought his acting in this movie was moderate, at best.  Thank God for Johah Hill, otherwise this movie would have been a total snooze fest.


Ides of March
This movie was fantastic: politics, crime, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling.  It had us both on the edge of our seat the whole time.  My only complaint was the ending.  I wanted, no, I needed some kind of redemption - but I got none.   While I can appropriate what the movie was trying to say, I couldn't help but think "is that it?" as the credits rolled.


Secretariat
This is a true story about the horse that wins the triple crown.  So good, so well done, but not exactly a thriller when you know what happens at the end. I also felt like I didn't have a strong enough emotional connection to the horse or any of the characters with the exception of Diane Lane who did a fabulous job (as always).  I should note, however, that Dan loved this movie and thought it was so well done.  

Which means our rankings this month are really odd: 


Melissa's January Rankings
(1) Warrior
(2) Ides of March
(3) Secretariat
(4) Moneyball

Dan's January Rankings
(1) Secretariat
(2) Ides of March
(3) Moneyball
(4) Warrior*

*Dan wanted me to add that he doesn't think this movie is worth being ranked, he was really upset about the ending.

Any suggestions for February movies?

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January 22, 2012

Changing How I Eat

As of today, I have officially lost 12 pounds since January 1st.

This blog has been a lot of things for me, and one of them is sharing my journey into cooking. After a lot of practice, I would now consider myself a fairly decent cook.  However, there is just one problem - I don't know how to cook healthy.  Sure, I can cook a Pioneer Woman dish and make it taste delicious, but what doesn't taste good with heavy whipping cream as the main ingredient???

I am working about 12 hours a day (including commute). That leaves me little or no time for working out. I have been incredibly frustrated with this because I like working out at least a couple times a week. But its just not going to happen. At least not right now.

So, at the beginning of the year I committed myself to a 3 months Weight Watchers membership and I couldn't be happier. I don't feel like I am depriving myself and to be honest, losing the weight hasn't been that hard.  Now that my body is used to eating healthier, the scale is moving more slowly.  But at least its moving down, and that is all that matters.

I am not really one to blog about my weight. While I respect all those "healthy eating" and "getting fit" blogs...that's just not me.

There will be no before and after pictures.
There will be no daily recaps.

There will just be me popping in every once in awhile to share some tips I have learned along the way. 

I thought I would start by sharing with you some of what I eat, as a lot of you are on WW and I have got so many ideas from your blogs.

A typical work week looks like this:

Breakfast: low fat yogurt (3 pts) and black coffee with 1 tbs. vanilla cream (1 pt)

Mid-morning snack: low fat string cheese (1 pts)

Lunch: turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with 1 tbs low fat mayo (6 pts) 

Mid-afternoon snack: low fat string cheese (1 pts)

All Day: drinking lots of water  

Dinner has been tough for me because when I get home I don't want to cook.  Thank god I found Skinny Taste (thanks again, Rachel).   I have found so many good recipes off this site, here are some of my favorites.



This was delicious (and spicy). 

 

This dish was so fun to make! I have never made clams before so it was a new experience.  Downside?  Not very filling. Also, expensive.  A great appetizer but make sure to pair it with something more substantive.
This one is by far my favorite. So delicious.

I forgot to take a picture of the pork, but I will the next time around because I will be making it again! You marinate it in coke zero, which I thought was funny, but it gave the pork a really sweet taste. Plus its a crock pot dish that required minimal effort!

So what happens when you come home and you don't want to cook? That's been interesting so far...mostly I have been defaulting to either cereal (1 1/2 cups Wheaties with 1/2 cup nonfat milk (6 pts)) or Taco Bell (1 bean burrito 9 points, I add my own 1 tbs. low fat sour cream which is no points if you keep it only at one).

Weekends have also been tough because who doesn't like to eat out on weekends?  Thankfully, my friend sent me this website (Dotti's Weight Loss Zone) that has a ton of restaurants and their WW values.  And remember what I said about not depriving myself?  This weekend I had 1/2 chicken burrito at Chipotle (I couldn't eat the whole thing if I wanted to) and a skinny bagel with low fat cream cheese at Einsteins, and still stayed on track! 

Also, instead of pancakes in the morning, I highly recommend this dish:


It tastes so good right out of the oven and is super healthy. 

I'll keep you posted as I go along...

Anyone else out there have any healthy eating or WW tips?

January 18, 2012

Best Latte In Dallas. Maybe the World.


Best latte in Dallas
Maybe the World. 
I know. I love lattes.

1900 N Henderson Ave Ste B Dallas, TX 75206

January 15, 2012

iThoughts

Please excuse my absence, but you see I have been rather busy.

Well, "busy" is a relative term.  By "busy" I mean that I pretty much have been on my new iPad nonstop. 

I know I should be doing more productive things, but I just can't help it.  Dan got me one for Christmas and it hasn't left my hand since.  I am obsessed. 

"What do you do with it?"

This is a common question people ask me while I ignore them and stare at my iPad. 

Well first and foremost, I take a lot of pictures of myself looking like this.



Ha, ha, ha, oh wow.  This picture cracks me up every time. 

But I digress.  Things to do on the iPad...

Well, hands down my favorite has been the Kindle Ap.  I didn't know if I would like having an e-reader, but so far I just adore it.  Since the start of the year I have already read four books because reading on my iPad is so convenient! 

While on the topic of books, another ap you must get is Overdrive. This ap allows you to log into your library and download books to your Kindle for free.  Awesome, right?  Another fun thing I do with Overdrive is download audiobooks and play them from my iPad on my way to work.  The speakers on the iPad are so great I don't even bother hooking them up to the speakers in my car.

I also enjoy the Weight Watchers Ap, which only benefits those of you who are doing WW, but it is a great ap nonetheless and better then the one on my phone for a multitude of reasons- one of which is that it has great searching capabilities. 


Speaking of food, the iPad is extremely convenient in the kitchen.  I have been uploading the recipe and then just propping up my iPad while I cook.  The fabulous Mojito Maven turned me on to Skinnytaste to aid in my Weight Watchers goals.  So far, I have tried three recipes, all of which were delicious and very low in points.  I am going to do a full recap of what I have been eating eventually, but until then I highly recommend the Chicken Roopa Vieja.

Other aps I use are flipboard, facebook, tweetdeck, hulu plus, and ESPN. 

Last, but certainly not least, I have been enjoying finally having access to Instagram.  You have no idea how jealous I have been of all you who have iPhones.  Why oh why wont they develop a Instagram ap for the droid?

Here's some of the photos I have tweeted this week... 


I have wanted and needed a scarf rack this entire winter.  So now that its almost spring I decided to get one (and by "almost spring" I mean only in Texas, as it was almost 40 degrees today).  If you want one, you can get one at the Container Store.  They have nicer, wood ones, but they don't have as many holes. 


Tea in the evening, vanilla rooibus, of course.


My favorite part of Saturday mornings is drinking coffee out of my London mug!


Toby says good morning!


Kadira says goodnight!

My final thoughts on the iPad?  People say that its just an expensive toy, and I guess that is a far description.  Yet so much of our lives are connected to technology these days the iPad is a really convenient tool.  It has been life changing for me, just as much as the cell phone.  Or the computer.  Or internet.  Okay not the internet, but close. 

 Any other iPad or iPhone Aps that are must haves?

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January 1, 2012

2012 Resolutions

1. MAKE MINI RESOLUTIONS EVERY MONTH

Last year it was no sweets in January...this year I am upping the ante with:

A. NO SWEETS IN JANUARY - COMPLETED
B. NO ALCOHOL IN JANUARY - GIGANTIC FAIL!

The exception? Social situations. I am not going to be the girl not drinking at my friend's birthday. That girl is lame. 

February: Write for 15 minutes everyday - FAIL
March: Photo-A-Day -Accomplished!
April: Organize Recipes- Accomplished!
May: Crunch some numbers/get a budget together - Accomplished!
June-July: Get my to-do list completed: FAIL!
August: Get my driver's license. 

Here are some of my long term resolutions...

2. ORGANIZE MY RECIPES
    -Accomplished in April

3. TRY WEIGHT WATCHERS FOR THREE MONTHS, CONTINUE IF I LIKE IT
    -Completed! 20 pounds lost! 

4. LEARN HEALTHY RECIPES
    -Installment 1 
 
5. RUN A HALF MARATHON

6. READ 25 BOOKS
    -Books 1-5 
    -Books 6-10 
    -Books 11-15 
    -Books 16-25 
    -Books 26-37


 

   


      2012 Reading Challenge
   


       
     
          2012 Reading Challenge 
       

     
 
        DuolyNoted has     
             read 15 books toward a goal of 25 books.
     

     

       
hide

     
 
     

        15 of 25 (60%)
     

       
   
          view books
       

 
   
     
 

7. GO ON THREE VACATIONS
    (1) Denver  
    (2) New York 
    (3) San Antonio 
    (4) Lakeway

8. VOLUNTEER
-Completed! Volunteered for a local grant committee for a non-profit.  

9. GET A DINING ROOM TABLE
-Completed! Read the post HERE

10. REDECORATE THE BEDROOM

11. GET MY DEGREES FRAMED FOR MY OFFICE - Completed!


12. WRITE OR READ FOR PLEASURE EVERYDAY

13. LEARN A NEW SKILL
     -Rock Climbing 

14. INITIATE A MOVIE NIGHT
     -January Movies 
     -February Movies 
     -March Movies  
 
15. CREATE RITUALS FOR EVERY HOLIDAY
     -Valentines Day

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