Friday, March 23, 2012

Q & A a Day: Five-Year Journal

"This beautifully embellished journal lets you record thoughts, feelings, and events in your life over five years. Filled with prompts that are at turn provocative (How happy are you?), quirky (What can you smell right now?), and always interesting, it serves as a great way to look back in time and remember."

Q & A a day: Five-Year Journal (Image:

Not long ago I came across the Q & A a Day: Five-Year Journal at the White Plains Barnes & Noble. Each day of the year has a question or prompt, and below is space for 5 years of considerations. I was intrigued, but didn't buy it; then ended up ordering it from within a couple of weeks.

My first journal entry was on Tuesday, March 20: the first day of spring, the first day of journal. So far I've only written in it 3 times but I already look forward to writing more. I can't help skipping ahead to future dates to see what the headings will be, and I know I will actually want to keep this for the future. How different will my life be 1, 2, 3, or 4 years from today? And looking back, what was I thinking exactly 1, 2, 3, or 4 years ago?

I have never been a dedicated journal-writer, and have not kept any kind of journal or diary in years. I didn’t see the point of holding on to one, since I rarely recorded anything truly interesting, memorable, or juicy, and I lacked the desire to re-read anything I had written. Journals just have not been my thing.

But I love this one! You would enjoy it as well, if: 1) you're in the same boat as me, 2) you'd like to journal but just don't have the time or motivation, or 3) you keep a regular journal but want a fun supplement. I highly recommend it, and it makes a great gift, too.

I'm excited to have lingering thoughts!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Guest Post: BluePrintCleanse

I'm happy to present the first guest post on Red Poppy | Pink Peony! If you have ever considered doing one of today's popular juice cleanses, I hope the diary below is helpful in providing a glimpse into an individual experience. I have personally tried BluePrintCleanse and Cooler Cleanse in the past and can recommend both, although I don't think cleanses are necessary. This is my friend's first juice cleanse, and she is currently on BPC Day 1 of 3. If you have any questions for either of us, please ask in the comments, or let us know of your own experiences.

Image: BluePrintCleanse


Pardon in advance, my rambling. I suspect there will be a lot of angst or abnormal emotions/descriptions flying around this interweb, so apologies in advance for that also. I personally love juices and the concept of anything "fresh" (from having taken wheatgrass shots at the Westerly organic market while living in NYC), so I'm excited to do this. Plus, mid-March is the perfect timing for a post-hibernation detox. The first thing that everyone at my office asks me is, "But why? And why do you need to lose weight?" I tell them, it's more for detox, especially since I've been drinking sodas and eating "butter" popcorn at least 3 days out of the work week, for the past 4 months. Not good, and I definitely have noticed it in the changing texture of my skin (i.e. cellulite -- and don't even try to tell me, "What cellulite!").

Friday AM -- BPC Day 1

Where the eff is my delivery? I blocked off 3 hours that morning so I could welcome my numbered goodies and be off to work. But apparently there was a delivery delay and the bottles didn't arrive until 11 AM. Secretly, I was feeling a slight level of excitement and anxiety in having to deal with my 3-day "monster" so I immediately justified that it was OK to start on Saturday. :-)

During Friday, I tried to be good about eating vegetables, and minimizing my heavy carb and fried food intakes (these 2 frienemies being the bane of my existence).

Friday food diary:

  • Korean breakfast (my usual): Bean rice, geem roasted seaweed/laver, and dwenjang jjigae, an umami-potent, piping hot and stinky tofu-based casserole. Yes, I brush my teeth after eating this and before stepping foot outside of my home. This breakfast in itself is actually relatively healthy compared to the typical American breakfast of eggs, bacon/sausage, and toast or bagel. It's also sodium-laden in comparison, so I imagine the next 3 mornings will be fairly challenging in this regard.
  • Lunch: My NYC colleague was in town and asked me to go to the Korean "salad bar by the pound" -- aka bacteria bar -- deli across the street. So we went and I got a full lunch, made up of greens + feta, 2 sushi pieces, Brussels sprouts, Chinese fried pork cutlet (OK, shoot me), broccoli doused with Chinese Szechuan-y sauce. Hey, it's real food and not McD's, right?
  • Snacks: I have a box of Kind nut/fruit bars in my office, so I had 2. If you buy them by the box at Whole Foods, they give you a 10% discount, and it's convenient to keep them around behind my desk.
  • Evening: OK, I gave in here. Around 5 PM, the head of my department basically went berserk (he has an anger management problem) and threw a bunch of papers at me. Apparently he does this to others, so it's obviously not directed solely at me but again, he has an anger management problem. I think some of this got to me and I needed to "de-stress" by doing 2 important this: 1) shopping, and 2) having something yum yum in my tum. I was on a time crunch to make it to the Leesburg Outlet (which is the sister outlet to Woodbury), and it's 60 minutes away from downtown, so I decided to pick up something en route. Saw a new "green-looking" food shop on the way and decided to pick up a turkey & melted Swiss sandwich + frozen yogurt with pecans and strawberry for some sweet ooomph. In all facetiousness, I credit my friend SK {Sharon here: That's me!} for instilling this life value since the mid-2000s: "I like to finish off my meals with something sweet." Well, I CAN'T SEEM TO LOSE THAT RELIGION. The turkey was coldcut turkey (i.e. not fresh meat) and I felt guilty eating the Swiss before the cleanse, also because my NYC colleague was saying I should not be consuming any cheese beforehand.
  • Throughout the day, I would estimate having had 4-5 cups of tea (combination of my Asian/green tea, lemon zinger tea from the office, and no pure water which I will admit is a shoddy habit). Also had a cup of chai tea latte (can you see me doing a Mexican jumping bean from the sugar overload?).

Saturday -- The Real BPC Day 1

It's 2:30 PM and I'm currently going through juice #3. The juices themselves don't taste bad. My biggest challenges thus far are: a) having to constantly drink a lot of liquid (if you recall my Friday liquid intake, it's not much) -- the drinking feels forced and not natural, precisely due to my daily habit of not drinking much; and b) there's always the lingering aromas of fantastically-seasoned and well-executed Korean food in my house. In the morning, the Korean breakfast dependably greets me at the kitchen table. Same thing with the evening time, should I decide not to eat out. This morning, I snuck a peek at a Korean casserole pot (conceptually-speaking, I don't think it's far from the Moroccan Tagine idea). Wonderfully-prepared mackerel fish, braised alongside Korean turnip/radish, was literally calling my name. I admit I almost went for it, but slapped myself back in line.

It's also a weird feeling, as a few years ago, when this type of food wasn't as "in my face" so it was never an issue -- in other words, I actually don't get hungry or think about food if I'm not usually surrounded by it.

3.5 more juices to finish -- this is a true job! I'm already looking forward to the reward of juice #6, the cashew/vanilla bean/cinnamon/coconut juice.

To be continued...