Saturday, January 28, 2012

Healthier Choices

"He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything."
(Arabic Proverb)

Some people ask if I'll go on a wedding diet... As far as I'm concerned, d--t is a four-letter word. I don't really want to lose weight, although I'm sure I gained some over the holidays! Like women everywhere, my actual weight is likely to be in constant flux, so I wouldn't be surprised if I go up and down a few pounds within any given month. I don't have a scale, and weight doesn't mean much to me since every body is different, so why focus on a number?

Could I eat more healthfully? Yes. But I'm for moderation, not deprivation.

Should I start to exercise? Definitely. I want to incorporate more physical activity as a way of life, not for a one-day event. Health means a lot to my fiancĂ© Sam, who says that from the time he met me over 8 years ago, he hasn't heard of me working out. He has a hard time believing that I used to be able to do real pull-ups and chin-ups, and that I'm naturally gifted at video games; both true.

As a kid I was athletic and tomboyish, rode my bike and played kickball with the boys in the neighborhood, played tennis and soccer, swam and skied; in fact, it wasn't until I got older that I realized my skin is actually on the pale side, because growing up I was always tan from running around outdoors! In high school, there was volleyball and a little lacrosse and track (alright, I confess: I only managed the winter track team one year to get out of gym class). In college and graduate school I was active here and there.

But as a working adult I don't do these things, and I don't belong to a gym, so where does that leave me? I'm not a fan of gyms; I'd rather do some sporty activity, but it seems most grown-ups -- aside from paid professionals -- don't do much of that. Some day when my bank account feels a little more flush, I'll probably join a health club or take a fitness class. Until then, maybe I can just play Dance Central with my friend Leslie, or use the Shake Weight she gave me a while back!

Image: Shake Weight Women

To improve my overall body wellness, I will make a conscious effort to regularly do the following:
  • Drink more water
  • Sleep 8 hours a night
  • Take a daily women's multivitamin
  • Do simple exercises

Do you have any health or fitness tips, taking into account that I don't have access to a gym? Push-ups and lunges are basic moves that target multiple muscles and don't require equipment, space, or a TV/DVD.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Casual Cooking

"I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate."
(Julia Child)

Although I still primarily not-cook-just-eat, I've found that when I do cook, what I enjoy making most is what I enjoy eating most -- comforting homestyle meals over haute cuisine. This is not surprising because I am, after all, cooking to eat. And eating's my favorite. The famous chef, author, and TV personality also said, "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces -- just good food from fresh ingredients." That reminds me, I'd like to watch Julie & Julia.

Below is a snapshot of my recently cooked foodstuffs, with some recipe links. The soup and butternut squash spaghetti are from the October 2011 issue of Everyday Food, and the pie is from the November 2010 issue of Everyday Food.


3-cheese baked ziti with extra cheese
Chicken barley soup with spinach
Brown butter spaghetti with butternut squash and escarole
Spaghetti alla puttanesca


Poached pears in red wine sauce from Easy French Food and
Salted maple caramels
Emeril's pecan-chocolate chip pie
Chocolate-dipped pretzel twists with holiday sprinkles
Chocolate cookies with chocolate and icing drizzle

Although I'll always love my go-to basics like pizza, Korean bap and banchan, and chocolate chip cookies, I do want to try making fancier fare one of these days, like French macarons... Look how pretty and colorful they are!

Recent visit to Ladurée New York

Happy Friday! Tonight I become a city-dweller again for 9 nights while my friends are in Europe. I haven't watched TV in over 5 1/2 months so I am super excited.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cherishing Friendships and My 1st Blogiversary

"I don't care what dress we choose, I just need to get off this white carpet."
(Rita, Bridesmaids)

Image: IMDb

I've seen the movie Bridesmaids a few times, most recently on New Year's Eve. I think it's fun and silly, but one of my own bridesmaids feels that it's actually very sad in some ways. Albeit through crude jokes and shenanigans, it depicts the ups and downs of friendships, how they and people change over time, how a woman's place in life shifts over time, and how that affects relationships.

Part of our premarital counseling has involved reading and discussing A Good Beginning by Peter L. Velander. In the chapter called "Crossing the Bridge to Married Life," he states the following:

As you prepare to cross that bridge you should know that significant life changes -- like marriage -- do not take place without accompanying losses of some kind... As you make the transition to marriage, many changes will involve some form of loss. You feel positive and excited about what you are moving toward, and that is good. But it is okay to grieve the things you are leaving behind... You want to enter your new marriage with both feet, not leaving one foot behind in your single life. Recognizing the losses and changes that happen with your marriage and grieving them in a healthy way will help you bring your whole self into your new marriage.

No doubt friendships are affected by marriage. You have a spouse to consider and cannot spend all your time with friends anymore. If or when children come into the picture, you have more people to consider and even less time to spend with friends. As Velander says, it's good to "cherish the relationship you have had and look forward to your relationship in the future, knowing that it will be different in some ways" -- I hope perhaps in better and even deeper ways.

On a less serious note -- and inspired by the movie Bridesmaids -- I want to give a shout-out to the best bridesmaids ever, who:
  1. Took the initiative to coordinate all schedules months ago (for 7 ladies, including me), even though there are still months to go before the wedding.
  2. Are planning a bachelorette party weekend in Miami, and 6 weeks ago went ahead and booked my airfare and hotel stay (I might have to do the awkward hide-money-somewhere-so-they-find-it-later trick).
  3. Asked me what type of massage I prefer so they could book me a Miami spa service.
  4. Made the bridesmaid dress selection process not only a breeze for me (I basically had to do nothing), but also fun.
  5. Agreed on a bridal shower date months in advance and apparently have some very interesting ideas but won't tell me a thing.
  • Bottom line: They are totally awesome!

I feel really blessed to have such wonderful and supportive women in my corner, and honored to be able to stand next to them on my wedding day. The 6 bridesmaids are in varying stages: 2 are not married, 2 are married, and 2 are married with one child each. I'm excited to see where our paths will take us and hopeful that our friendships will continue to grow over time. I'm looking forward to grieving the loss of my single life in Miami.

Also, it's my 1st blogiversary (almost)! My initial post was on January 27, 2011. So if you are reading now, or have ever read or commented, thank you!