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31 March 2011

Putting my work to good use

Tomorrow is First Friday here in Raleigh. It's a time when a lot of the locals gather in the downtown area and drink wine, eat good food, and soak in some of the local art scene. One of the local spots is a venue for a Japan relief auction and raffle organized by a local grad with some strong connections with Japan. I haven't ventured out to any of the First Friday events yet, but it is definitely something I've wanted to do.

To help out the auction and raffle, I've donated a few of my prints that have been matted, signed, and numbered. I'm a bit excited about this since it is the first time my "work" has been out in a public venue. I'm eager to see the reception of my images. This, of course, means that I'm actually going to attend my very first First Friday event. And I'm pretty excited about that as well. I'll definitely let you know how it goes!

Here are the three that I have donated, all matted and ready to go.

NC Life 365 - Day 72

I've set up shop!

Please stop over and see me at my new Etsy Shoppe.
(And, yes, I spell it "shoppe" because it's cooler that way!)

30 March 2011

NC Life 465 - Day 71

Does this look like a warm springtime dusk?
I don't think so.

A vote for me? Please? Thanks!

NC Life 365 - Day 70

The haiku banners that my students have created. 
They do well adding some color to my classroom.

While you're here, vote for me?

28 March 2011

Lean treats are good eats

Here's a fact you may not know about me: I LOVE bananas. Completely and totally. If it tastes like bananas, I will most likely love it. In fact, even my pup loves bananas. She can hear you open one from another room and will come running to wait for a little nibble. And it's pretty great that I love bananas as much as I do because they are really good for you. They have lots of fiber and tryptophan (which eases depression) and potassium (which helps balance your body's fluid levels as well as normalizes your heartbeat ... i.e. stress relief) and lost of B vitamins as well as being linked to a dramatic decrease in the incidence of stroke (by 40%!). And, most importantly, they are really, really, really good! I eat one every morning with my breakfast, and I usually have one in the evening in my dinner smoothie. 

Today I had three. One with breakfast, one in my evening smoothie, and one for dessert. Mmmmmm .... I recently found a "recipe" for broiled bananas, and it is VERY tasty and VERY easy. All you need is a banana split into quarters and some brown sugar. Sprinkle a thin layer of brown sugar on each quarter and pop them under the broiler for a few minutes until they a caramelized. They taste just like banana creme brulee! Tonight I went a small step further and added a scoop of dark chocolate fro-yo and a slight sprinkling of toasted coconut. Mmmmmmmm .... so tasty. And actually pretty decent in terms of caloric value and nutrition.

Truth be told, I didn't deserve a dessert given that I didn't go to the gym tonight (and haven't since Thursday ... agh ... feeling sedentary!), but I couldn't resist. This nice thing about this snack is that it doesn't weigh you down and make you feel gross. 

While you're here, a vote? Please?

NC Life 365 - Day 69

My girl Bailey is a princess. She even crosses her legs like one.

While you're here, how about a quick vote?

Ideas for Today

Great idea: Putting bananas in the freezer, so they are super cold and ready for smoothies whenever you want one. They also last longer this way.

Not-so-great idea: Putting bananas in the freezer without peeling them first. Have you ever tried peeling a frozen banana? It is NOT an easy thing to do.

Great idea: Adding sugar-free shredded coconut to your smoothie.

Not-so-great idea: Drinking a whole banana-pineapple-coconut smoothie before going to the gym. My stomach is wicked full and now I want a nap. Under a warm blanket. Because now I'm cold.

27 March 2011

Random DC Wrap-Up

I took a ton of pics (actually not as many as normal, but a good deal nonetheless), and here are the ones that don't fit into other categories. I still can't get over how beautiful the sky was on such a cold day!

The Naval Academy (Annapolis)

Not sure what this building is, but it was about a block off of the mall.

Abe is still lookin' good and livin' large.

Air traffic is always in full swing around DC.

The stars at the WWII Memorial and their reflection. 
Washington Monument.

Detail of the WWII monument.

Flags around Washington.

Vote for me!

Honoring my dad

One thing that I always do while visiting DC is pay my respects at the Vietnam War Memorial. My dad is a Vietnam Veteran and visiting the memorial always makes me feel a little closer to him and a bit more understanding of what he has done for those he didn't even know. The sacrifices that all soldiers make each and every day always render me speechless and choked up, and the Vietnam Memorial only exacerbates that emotion in me. And when I consider how the veterans from the Vietnam War were treated upon arriving home, I think it is all the more important to visit the memorial. The monument itself is so ... moving and awe-inspiring and overwhelming. I think it's impossible to be in the presence of those 58,195 names and not feel significant emotion. And, in all honesty, it bothers me greatly when people don't pay the appropriate respect and reverence when visiting the memorial. Perhaps it is my own personal connection to the memorial. Perhaps it is me being old-fashioned. I'm lucky that my dad made it home when so many others didn't, especially since, if he hadn't, I wouldn't be here now. 

Young, haunting faces.

Reflections in the wall

This picture is my absolute favorite and was completely serendipitous. While taking pictures of the wall, I chose a spot at random, positioned my camera at the base of the wall, and shot straight up into the sky. I was very pleased with the effect and then completely stunned when I was loading them into my computer. As I was cropping and tweaking my photos (with my very minimal software) when I got home this afternoon, I noticed the names that I had captured on The Wall. In the exact center of my photograph was the name "Donald." That's my dad's first name. How spookily serendipitous is that? I am thankful it isn't my dad's name (it actually belongs to a Donald J. Fisher, God rest his soul).

While you're here, please take a moment to "click" for me!

Summer and Spring

A few years ago when The Boy spent his summer working in DC, I took a picture of the Jefferson Memorial that I really love. I like it's simplicity and composition.

Summer 2009

When I decided to visit the Cherry Blossom Festival, I knew I wanted to get another shot through the cherry blossoms. I think it worked out well.

Spring 2011

While you are here, please take a moment to vote for me!

Cherry Blossom Round-Up

The trip to the National Cherry Blossom Festival was a wonderful success! While the weather was pretty chilly (40s and breezy), the sun was out and the sky was brilliant blue. The Tidal Basin area (as well as the rest of the Mall) wasn't too crowded and crazy, and everything was just beautiful. It was totally worth the 5-hour-drive north! I'm so glad I got a chance to go up at such a beautiful time.

A willow along the Tidal Basin.

Cherry Blossoms!

The branches were so laden with blossoms...

They hung low and made curtains of blossoms.

They served as beautiful frames for the monuments.


I couldn't get enough!

If you didn't know it, you'd swear it was warm out.

Look at all those crazy paddle-boaters!
It was an absolutely beautiful weekend (despite the dusting of snow this morning!). It was pretty fantastic to hang out with my cousin and his darling wife in Annapolis and eat some pretty awesome eats.

While you're here, how about a quick vote for me?

NC Life 365 - Day 68

The long road home ...

... after a really fun weekend.

NC Life 365 - Day 67

Looking up. 

NC Life 365 - Day 66


I didn't get a pic today. I was too busy teaching and driving to MD. My bad.

25 March 2011

Off for a weekend adventure!

I'm heading up to Our Nation's Capitol this weekend to see the cherry trees which are in full bloom and to visit my cousin and his wife in Annapolis. Blogging will be relatively minimal until Monday, but I'll be taking a TON of pictures (hopefully ... weather permitting) which I will share upon my return.

I can't wait!

24 March 2011

Success at Losing: UPDATED UPDATE

I've always loved my high school prom dress. While I no longer love my date (who made me wear flats so I wasn't taller than him ... who I then married ... and then divorced), the dress has always stood out in my memory as just awesome. It was different and special and totally not your average prom dress. It was short and sparkly and eye-catching and just amazing. In fact, my mom made me keep it afterwards because of how unique it was. In all of my moving and relocating, I haven't been able to move the dress with me, and it has lived in my parents' house for the last 12 years. I've always dreamed about getting back into it, but that's never been a reality. I'd just grown a little (or a lot!) too much since I wore it on that warm May night.  In my most recent attempt at weight-loss, this dress has been my "goal" dress. I knew that when I could fit into it again comfortably, my body would be where I wanted it to be. In anticipation of this goal, I had Mom and Pop ship the dress from NY to NC, so I could have it at the ready when that skinny day came.
I mean, seriously, how awesome is this little number?
Look at those dangly sequins!!!

It arrived in the mail today, and I rushed into the apartment to open it up. It looked exactly the way I remembered it. It was still so heavy (I swear it weighs five pounds with all of the beading on it!), and it sounded just the same. I still loved the beautiful periwinkle blue of the dress and the way the light played off the sequins. Of course I had to slip it on. I already knew that my hips were too big (still) and I still had some work, but I wanted to see just how much work I had to do to make it fit again. I knew I had lost twenty-ish pounds, but I also knew it would still be a tight squeeze. But, to my complete surprise, it actually wasn't as tight of a squeeze as I thought. 

In fact, it fit!!! It fit over my hips and booty (which took a little maneuvering, but I made it), and it zipped all the way! Holy cow!!!! I stood there, in total disbelief, looking at myself in the mirror wearing a dress from 12 years ago. I have to admit, it was a pretty great feeling. I was more than a little giddy.

Of course, I still have some work to do before I'm officially at my goal. I don't want to have to "work" so much to get the dress over my "hips and booty," and I want to be more at ease and comfortable with my tummy (which I am doing my best to minimize in this picture!).  A few more pounds and this baby will fit me perfectly. Not that I have anywhere to wear it, but I want to have the option should it arise. 

If this isn't incentive to shed those last few pounds, I don't know what is!!!

I don't normally share vanity shots of myself on the blog,
but I really can't contain my excitement!

While you're here, how about throwing me a vote?

NC Life 365 - Day 65

NC Life 365 - Day 64

This ain't no super moon, but I think it's pretty super. 

6:30am on Wednesday

23 March 2011

Success at Losing: UPDATE

If you don't follow me on Twitter or aren't my friend on Facebook, you may have missed my announcement earlier. It went a little something like this:

Who lost 22 pounds? This girl!!!!

And, in doing so, I won $200. There were three winners in the competition, and I was happily one of them. We split the pot evenly, and I got to leave work with heavier pockets.

I'm really excited and even a little proud of myself. I am certainly well on my way to my final goal of 30 pounds off of my body.

22 March 2011

NC Life 365 - Day 63

It's the first night of "summer" here in NC.
I've been enjoying it out on the lanai with some candles. 

Success at Losing

You may or may not know that I've been in a weight-loss competition for the last 10 weeks. The goal was to lose 10% of your body weight (what many doctors and health organizations recommend for improved overall health), and the winners (anyone who reaches that goal) receive a nice cash prize collected from all of the participants' initial buy-in. There are 11 competitors and $600 dollars on the line. I hope that I will be one of the few that take part in that cash prize tomorrow. (I'm only about 1/2 pound away as of this morning.)

Regardless of financial windfall, I'm really pleased with my overall progress. And especially the changes that I have made in my diet and exercise. I've been eating far less than normal and am surprised that I really don't NEED as much food as I was consuming. I've been skipping out on desserts and really thinking before I put things into my mouth. In the past 8 days, I have worked out 8 times. Of course this was easy since I was on trimester break. But, before that, I was getting in 4-5 workouts a week. Kickboxing classes, cardio, weights ... I've been doing it. And, while I HATE exercise, it hasn't been too terrible. I certainly don't love going to the gym and working out (with the exception of kickboxing because that is just awesome!), but it's something that I'm doing to improve my overall health and decrease my overall waistline so I stick with it.

Not sure why I have my big toe here? Hmmm ....

And decrease it has! I'm wearing clothes that were skin tight on me a few months ago. In fact, those clothes are a bit roomy on me now. While I don't love the vision of my nude self (and I'm not sure I ever will), I'm getting more and more happy with it. I've even bought some clothes in mediums instead of larges! I'm currently the thinnest I have been in about 10 years, and that makes me happy. My goal is to get to my Senior Prom size. Since I'm not sure what my weight was then, my goal is actually to get into my prom dress. Yes, I still have it. Or, rather, my parents do and they are shipping it to me as we speak. It's a pretty hot little number (not the big poofy satin things that we all know and dread as prom dresses), and I hope that I can someday fit into it again. I do worry that my 30-year-old hips may be too large for it now, but we'll see. If I could lose the last 10 pounds or so to get there before The Boy's graduation in May, I'll be ecstatic.

Of course, once the competition is over, things will change a bit. I won't be all-consumed with reaching a specific goal by a specific deadline, so my eating be a little more relaxed. But I think I have overcome my "comfort eating" issue and my "boredom eating" issue which both constitute for a large number of calories consumed unnecessarily.

We'll see how that goes, But, for now, I'm pretty happy with where I am.

21 March 2011

NC Life 365 - Day 62


(Where does that phrase even come from?)

While you're here, how about voting for me? It just takes a click.

Update: My New Cosmetic Love

About a month ago I posted about my new cosmetic discovery: the Mario Badescu line. I've been using the products religiously for the last three weeks, and I have to say that I am VERY pleased with the results.  My skin is generally clearer, smoother, and more "glowy." I still get the occasional blemish, but they are far less intense and long in duration. When I first discovered their products, they were supposed to send me some free samples based on my skin assessment (a very quick little "quiz" that you can take online at their site). Well, sadly, the products never arrived. I contacted them last week to let them know, and, TADA!, there was a package in the mail from them today. In the package were cute little trial size samples of all of the products that the online skin assessment recommended as well as a personalized (by hand!) instructions card for when and how to use each product.

I'm pretty excited to use some of these samples tonight when I shower after the gym. Especially the Orange Tonic Mask (to clean some of my pores) and the Strawberry Face Scrub (for some exfoliation).*

*I've been using the Honey Almond Scrub and I LOVE IT! I'm interested to see how the Strawberry Scrub measures up.

While you're here, how about a vote? It just takes a click!


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