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Posted on Apr 11, 2014 in Dear Diary | 9 comments

26 and Livin’ Large

Soooo, today is my twenty-sixth nameday/cakeday/birthday. Hip, hip, huzzah!

Those of you who have been long-time readers of this blog know that I’m kiiiiiiind of into my birthday.




To say the least.

And while 26 certainly has less pomp and circumstance attached to it than, say, my Quarter Quell did, I’m still pretty excited to usher in another faaabulous year.

After all, 25 has been pretty great to me! I started my dream job (I actually got the official offer letter ON my birthday last year — talk about a great present!), helped my beautiful niece usher in her very first birthday, and oh so much other great stuff in between. So here’s to another year of loving my job, spending time with my loved ones, AND rocking out this whole weight loss thing to boot, eh?

On the docket for this birthday weekend is:

Birthday brunch today with my brother Ben (how d’ya like that alliteration?)
Birthday dinner with Sean at an as-yet undisclosed location
My FROZEN-themed birthday party tomorrow (Let it goooo, let it goooo, you’re not 25 anymoooore…)
And a birthday dinner with my whole family on Sunday night!

Let the festivities commence!

See you never, 25. It’s been real.

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Posted on Apr 15, 2013 in Blogging, Food | 29 comments

The 25th Annual Hunger Games

This past Saturday, the citizens of Panem gathered for a celebration.

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The 25th Annual Hungers Games–my very own Quarter Quell–took place. Needless to say, it was glorious.

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But I figure, why tell you when I can show you?

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May the odds be ever in your favor… to get through the smorgasbord of photos you are about to be subjected to.

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Let the Games begin!

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First up: SUSTENANCE!

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Choose your weapon.

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Georgetown Cupcake!

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Cherry blossom district cupcakes and red velvet mockingjays.

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Lamb stew with dried plums (my own recipe!) and Caesar (Flickerman) salad. Get it? GET IT?!

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Fruit cornucopias and crostini with goat cheese & apples.

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Peeta Pita chips & hummus.

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Next up: LIBATIONS! (Sidebar: My cousin Nicky–Reaping Katniss–hand-drew the mockingjay pins on those shot glasses. Amazing, right?)

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Nightlock punch. Drink at your own risk.

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So. Many. Jello shots. From left to right, those are mosaic jello shots, strawberry champagne, and cupcake jello shots. Yep, you read that correctly. CUPCAKE jello shots. Let’s take a closer look:

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Aaaand one more time:

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So. Effie-ing. Good.

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And finally, the most important part: THE GUESTS! (Or, at least as many photos of the guests as I could take before I got too, ehm, libation…ed. Heh.)

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Katniss Everdeen, the Girl on Fire. 😉

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Reaping Katniss and Seneca Crane(‘s beard).

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TRACKER JACKERS!!

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District 2’s Tribute vs. The Capitol.

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Citizens of the Capitol came out to PLAY.

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(Another sidebar: I would absolutely sacrifice my dignity and become a citizen of the Capitol if it meant I got to wear lashes like Megan’s everyday.)

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Katnisses of the world unite!

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Even the pets of Panem came out to say hi.

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And I could not have done a thing without these two beautiful ladies by my side: Aileen & Ai Rei.

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The Ai’s have it! (That’s never gonna get old, by the way. Nope. Not a chance.)

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Thanks for all the birthday love, super fun times, and, of course, birthday wine, friends! Happy Hunger Games INDEED. <3 <3 <3

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Posted on Mar 18, 2013 in Dear Diary | 21 comments

What is Health? (Baby, don’t hurt me.)

Ha! After reading the title of this post, hopefully all of you have the song “What is Love” by Haddaway (made famous…er by the cinematic masterpiece Night at the Roxbury) stuck in your heads too. WELCOME TO MY HELL.

Also, hi. Happy Monday and whatnot. Today marks the official 1-week-til-baby day for my sister. Her due date is technically March 25th, so this weekend I’m headed down to Houston. Depending on the timing, I’ll either be welcoming the new little nugget (SQUEE! BABIES!), or I’ll helping my sister keep her sanity as she pushes a football out her hoo-ha in any way I can if the baby takes a little longer to come.

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Cue the episode of Friends, “The One Where Rachel is Late.” And man, this post is already full of delicious, outdated cultural references. Go me.

So, my weekend was actually pretty low key. Not a ton to report, which is a good thing for once! I’ve been able to do quite a bit of work on my second book, and get some ideas down for my upcoming (impending?) HUNGER GAMES-THEMED BIRTHDAY PARTY, which will be happening next month. Yes, I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to the planning of my Quarter Quell, and it. Is. Glorious. It might even blow last year’s Harry Potter party out of the water.

Man, I love my birthday.

So, somehow the planning of said party has made me mildly (very mildly) introspective about the nature of celebration, and how it relates to healthy living. You’ve probably already noticed a bit of a pattern with me, in that I really love to celebrate things. Blogiversary? Dog’s birthday? Mastered 6 chords on the ukulele? Let’s celebrate! And usually my kind of celebration involves food, as all good things do, which means I constantly am making excuses as to why I can break the “healthy” rules for one meal, one evening, one weekend. It’s a celebration, after all!

I’ve been trying to work on this. Trying to be “better” about my food choices, about eating out, about constantly “breaking the rules.” However, as I pinned yet another Jell-O shot recipe to my birthday party board, I started to wonder if I’ve been condemning myself for the wrong thing. Yes, this is a weight loss blog, and I am someone who is constantly trying to shape her life around healthy habits. But what IS health? Is it really just down to the nuts and bolts of what I put into my body, how much exercise I do, and the like? Of course not. Health is much more complete and complex–at least when it comes to total health, not just nutrition and fitness.

Okay, sure, I don’t think anybody’s going to give you license to eat a dozen cupcakes in one sitting cause it’s OMG!so healthy. But I wonder instead if the truly unhealthy thing about me right now is my mentality. I shouldn’t be getting on my own case about eating a cupcake, I should be scolding myself for always looking for an *excuse* to eat a cupcake. If I want a cupcake, I should have a cupcake (well, not right now, since I gave up desserts for Lent, but you know what I mean).

I’m struggling with a similar thing when it comes to revamping the ratios of my diet. I’ve said a few times now that I’m trying to focus on protein and healthy fat, over carbs and sugar. But I have an entire lifetime of thinking “fat is bad” to overcome in doing so. So yeah, it doesn’t really feel “right” when I’m ordering a steak instead of a salad, or eating half an avocado with my breakfast. I’m still trying to break my old thought-process when it comes to “dieting” (low-fat! Nonfat! Skim! Low-cal!) and it takes time. But I think that my overall health and happiness deserves that.

Nobody is going to make the argument that it’ll be healthy for me to get schwasted and have an epic time at my birthday party (at which, I should mention, there will also be cupcakes, hahahaha). But it IS arguable that the minor “damage” I’ll be taking that night is outweighed by the happiness and personal satisfaction that might come out of it. I’m sure I’m not really phrasing things correctly, but I think you all kind of know what I’m getting at by now.

For me, healthy living as I think a lot of us think of it–whole grains and kale salads and running 3 miles a day–is not something that will ever come naturally. Yes, I am a more informed, more restrained person than the 250-pound, binge-eating version of myself, but I am simply never going to be the girl who would honestly rather have a piece of fruit over a slice of cake. I will NEVER want to go for a jog, when I have the option to sit on my butt and watch episodes of anything on Netflix. I mean, I *might* do those things anyway, but it wont be because I WANT to. I’m just not hardwired that way. So instead of trying to completely revamp my life, deny myself the things I know that I like–and will always like–and leave room for deprivation to lead to unsatisfaction, and unsatisfaction to lead to unhappiness, and unhappiness to lead me right back into binge eating (or some other equally destructive behavior), I make smaller changes. I try to make good choices, and still leave room for the occasional bad one.

Consider this my official statement saying that I’m done trying to constantly fit my life into whatever standards of “healthy living” I’ve worked up in my head. After all, it’s not some all-or-nothing kind of thing. It’s not like once I stray outside the boundary lines, I’m gonna get kicked out of the healthy living club. The healthy living police aren’t going to come take away my domain name. From now on, I will work healthy living into the kind of lifestyle I know that I want, which means that, yes, there will be TV-watching the occasional plate of cheese fries. But there will also be brussels sprouts and long walks with adorable schnauzers and good times spent with great friends.

A lifestyle that is mostly healthy, but more importantly, sustainable. Which, in my opinion, is better for me than a year of stringently healthy dieting and running, followed by a burnout that causes me to backslide even further down. I think I’m *finally* getting the concept of the whole 80/20 thing that healthy living…ers sometime preach. While, granted, my ratio might be more like 70/30… on a good day… I finally get the idea that I don’t have to strike for the 100% perfect ideal. I can allow myself “permission” to have it both ways. Kind of.

So, yes. My birthday will likely be the epitome of UNhealthy living. But after my night of Capitol-inspired debauchery, I’ll get up. And hopefully I won’t making proclamations about my need to start all over again, or how I need to “undo” the damage I did the night before. I’ll just pick up where I left off. I’ll continue on.

What is health to you? When you think of health, do you only think about your body, or do you account for your mind and emotions as well? When it comes to “healthy livng,” do you feel like it’s more important to set a high standard for yourself so you constantly have something to reach for? Or is forming a realistic lifestyle the key to long-term success?

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