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Posted on Jun 8, 2012 in Dear Diary | 28 comments

Exciting News!

Happy Friday, neighborinos! I don’t know what you all have on the docket for what is supposed to be a truly amazing weekend, weather-wise, but I am totally pumped. While last weekend was gloriously lazy, I have some fun stuff on the horizon.

First up, tonight is the re-return of book club, where we’re having a taco-themed fiesta (ole!), and then I’m going to see Snow White & The Huntsman with my sister. If you’ve already seen the movie and can confirm that it’s totally terrible, well, keep that to yo’self. I just want to see some beautiful Chris Hemsworth, stunning Charlize Theron, and quivering-lipped K.Stew, mmmkay?

And as if those two things weren’t delicious enough (both literally and figuratively), tomorrow night I’m seeing the lovely Kristin Chenoweth in concert! She’s performing at the Hippodrome tomorrow night, and I can’t wait! For those of you who might be less familiar, Kristin Chenoweth is a very famous Broadway actress and absolutely phenomenal singer who has cropped up in plenty of mainstream media lately. In addition to originating the roles of Sally in the revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown! and Glinda in Wicked, she has also played April Rhodes on Glee, Olive Snook on Pushing Daisies, had a couple of supporting roles in various movies, and did a stint on the West Wing. She was most recently on that show GCB.

Anyway, she’s obviously fabulous and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her perform twice now: once as Glinda, during Wicked‘s pre-Broadway run back in 2007, and in the show Promises, Promises a few years ago. She’s basically one of my (many) idols, and I’m really excited for the show.

So actually, as exciting as my weekend plans clearly are (I’m sure you’re all thrilled for me, after all, hehe), the title of this post doesn’t actually refer to my schedule. I actually have an announcement to make!

I’m going to be speaking at this year’s Healthy Living Summit! I went to HLS last year (recaps here and here), and had an absolutely amazing time. I got to bond IRL with friends I only knew through their blogs, see the city of Philadelphia, and learned a surprising amount. This year it’s in Boston, and I’m so excited to be a presenter! The topic of my session?

Love in bloom PizzaPIzza
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Essential photography basics for blogging! I cannot even tell you how many bloggers I meet who are stuck using the Auto feature on their ridiculously expensive cameras. Hopefully I can provide some tips that embolden them to at least try shooting on Aperture mode, or even — gasp! — Manual. I’m clearly not a professional photographer, but I have had the benefit of having a brother who is, so hopefully I’m in a good position to help bloggers understand that having great photography is not a huge, professional undertaking.

Of course, not everyone has a DSLR, so I’ll definitely be including general tips on how to make the most of your point & shoot or camera phone, too. Here’s the little blurb about my session, as posted on the HLS website:

HLS blurb

I’m super psyched to be able to combine so many things that I love: blogging, photography, and forcing people to pay attention to me. Registration for HLS opens this coming Tuesday, June 12th, at 8 PM (EST) if you’re thinking about attending. Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Have you been to HLS in the past? Are you considering going this year?

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Posted on Oct 14, 2011 in Dear Diary | 40 comments

Freitag Fünf

Yes, I’m a copycat. I fully admit it. Every blogger and her mom does a “Friday Favorites” or “Five for Friday” or some other cleverly alliterative post, and today I am no different. Well, except for the whole thing where the title of my post is in German (literal translation according to Babel Fish: Friday Five.) Hey, I gotta mix it up somehow!

See, my plan was to blog about my first training run (in preparation of the Hot Chocolate 15K that I signed up for in an insomnia-induced stupor Tuesday night.) I was going to have this whole schpiel about how I did it even though I incessantly tried to talk myself out of it and how I managed to complete X amount of miles and blahblahblah. But just as I was tying the laces on my Brooks, the skies opened up. And since I am barely a runner, let alone the kind of hardcore runner that runs in the rain, I kicked off my sneaks and did yoga in my room instead. Let’s just call it “cross-training” and move on.

I like lots of things, but especially these things right now.

Photo on 2011-10-04 at 17.08 #5
1. La Croix Sparkling Water

You guys have known about my sparkling water obsession for a little while now, but I have to say it’s gotten a lot more focused since I’ve been introduced to this amazingness. I foresee many dollars being sacrificed to the La Croix gods in the future. Must… try… raspberry…

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2. Brussels sprouts.

Sorry Pops, I know these are your least favorite food, but the little green brains are back in my life! These used to be one of my scary foods, but I’ve since learned better. Cook ’em up with some maple syrup and bacon? Man, oh man. Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll eat your share.

Picturesque
3. Weddings!

Tomorrow brings the FOURTH wedding that I will have attended since August. Whew! That being said, I still love weddings, and I am so, so happy to get to share in my friends’ special days. Steve, on the other hand, might be getting a little burnt out on my not-so-subtle bouquet-catching efforts, hahaha.


4. iOS 5

I just downloaded iOS 5 for my iPhone the night before last and I love it. Things are running smoother, faster, and I am OBSESSED with the new Banner notification option. Now when I get text messages they no longer pop up and interrupt whatever I’m doing – a notification simply slides down from the top. I can click it if I want, otherwise it will go away after a few seconds, sans interruptus. The new iMessage feature, where I can now text anyone else with iOS 5 for free (similar to Blackberry’s BBM function) is sweet too. Kinda makes that unlimited texting plan a little useless though, eh?


5. If I Die Young – The Band Perry

I know I’m really, really (um, a year?) late jumping onto this bandwagon but I have been eerily obsessed with this song lately. I literally cannot get it out of my head… and it may or may not be my ringtone as of 5 PM yesterday evening (damn you iTunes!) I’m sure my roommates are probably getting mighty sick of hearing me butcher it as I attempt to learn it on guitar though.

So what if October is already half over?! Better late than never!

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1. Hit 184-point-something lbs.

I know this might not seem like the loftiest of goals considering I’m sitting at exactly 186.0 lbs (as of my last weigh-in), but with the aforementioned wedding coming at me tomorrow… well, it might not be such a gimme after all.

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2. Complete a long run every weekend.

At this point, 4 to 5 miles is still a lot for me. I wasn’t able to run the Navy 5 Miler without walking, so I want to master that before trying to tack on any more distance. My goal is to do at least two shorter runs during the week and a longer run on the weekend. This is a really specific goal compared to how I usually plan things, so we’ll have to see how well I stick to it!

Triptych
3. Go Shopping.

The feedback you guys gave me on yesterday’s clothing dilemma helped me decide that I should pick up a few more closet staples in the size I am now. I plan on snagging a couple of fall & winter basics to carry me through this in-between phase before I hit my goal weight. Thanks for giving me an excuse to spend more money, guys!

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4. Bring lunch to work everyday.

I’ve been shamefully lacking in this area lately (and I was doing so well, too!) so I’m re-resolving to pack my lunch everyday. Bringing my own food is so much better for me, makes calorie counting so much easier, and is so, so, SO much cheaper.

Buncha Monkeys
5. Step up my photography.

Seeing Ben in photog mode (both at the wedding and at various portrait shoots like the one above with our friend’s baby) has made me really want to up the ante with my photography. Seeing him in action made me painfully aware of how much I still have to learn. I want to take a class, or at least spend some real time reading and viewing tutorials on how to master my camera and get to the next level of editing expertise.

And there you have it. Yet another one of my forays into a (hopefully) beloved blog fad. So now it’s your turn!

What’s one thing you’ve been loving lately, and/or one thing you’d like to accomplish before the end of October?

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Posted on Dec 25, 2010 in Dear Diary | 0 comments

Christmas Loot!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

This has certainly been a joyous morning so far, fun for kids of all ages:

Check out the aftermath of our present-opening-extravaganza:

I think the Powell Family Christmas motto is: Go big or go home!

So the miracle story of this Christmas is the DSLR camera that my brother, sister, and her hubby got me!! I’m soooo excited to have this, and I never really thought that I’d be getting one for Christmas (they’re soooo expensive!) but I do! And now I really have no excuse not to take awesome-quality photos for blogging now (especially since all non-iPhone pics on this blog until now have belonged to much more talented photographers than me, hahaha.)

I obviously have spent a large part of the morning post-present opening playing with the camera, and taking pictures of EVERYTHING. I can’t imagine that my family will get tired of this… hehe. I’ve been taking a crash course in focusing on different things, blurriness, image composition, and fancying up photos on the computer. Here are some of my attempts:

I obviously still have a lot to learn, but it’s a lot of fun! It’s funny, because when I first started this blog I never would have thought it would drive me to want to learn about photography. After becoming a regular reader of other food/healthy living blogs though, it really makes you want to raise the bar! So many other bloggers out there are very fine photographers as well, so I figured I might as well try to catch that train while it’s only halfway out of the station, haha.

Allright, so let’s get down to the Christmas loot before I lose your attention for good. I got a pretty good haul this year, I must admit:

An awesome sushi cookbook I had on my Xmas list, plus bamboo rolling mats and (harhar) chopsticks from my favorite sushi restaurant!

A gorgeous stone necklace from Brazil (Dad), 2 pairs of gloves (Parents), an adorable cupcake necklace - on the back of a "G" Scrabble tile! (Jenny), and a stone cuff bracelet (Mom)

A collection of spices to beef up my kitchen repertoire! (Parents)

A super awesome cupcake-filling stuffer from Jenny! I can't wait to try this out.

The Princess Bride on Blu-Ray! One of my all time faves. 🙂 (From Santa!)

As if I even need to explain this one... (Dad)

A pie plate, dishcloth, plus 3 family recipes! (Thanks so much, Aunt Dorothy & Uncle Neff!!)

A pair of UnderArmour capri pants (From Jenny, duh. :D)

And this amazing, HUGE Hello Kitty bag, also from Santa (for scale I included a spice jar at the bottom. You're welcome.)

A super cute luggage tag from the 'rents, representing our BIG Christmas prezzie: The Caribbean Cruise we're going on in 2 weeks!

All together now! (Minus the HK bag and, of course, the camera!)

We wrapped up the morning by having brunch that my Papa whipped up:

I may or may not have gone back for another piece of bacon… but hey! It’s Christmas! 🙂 Hope everyone’s morning has gone well, and you got some good loot and good times down already! We’ll be working on Christmas dinner for the rest of the evening – Roast Beef, as per tradition! What’s your Christmas dinner consist of?

Happy Christmas, friends! <3

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Posted on Nov 17, 2010 in Dear Diary, Food | 4 comments

Ta-Da!

So, as you all may be noticing, we’re doing a little renovating here at Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! I know this may seem a little confusing, seeing as how I just changed the layout of this blog not that long ago, but that was out of necessity since my original theme stopped working. This one’s just for fun! I’m still working out the kinks and trying to figure out how to really make it sparkle, so stay tuned!

It also has been the final element to really make me up the ante in terms of the photos I post. I still don’t have a DSLR, so don’t think I’ll be posting anything fancy yet, but I did dig out my point-and-shoot that my sissypoo and her hubs got me for Christmas last year. Baby steps! I tried to practice taking some shots of the pupsters last night:

It’s hard to keep that darn hand steady! Anyway, I’ll keep working on it. Nobody is a fantastic photographer overnight, right? RIGHT?!?!

Heh. Okay, anyway. So I have a story to tell you all. It is entitled “The Story of the Bad Roommate” and I know you’re all really excited to hear it. Well, consider your wish granted…

Once upon a yesterday morning, a girl found herself running late for work. Dressed to impress in her size 14 pants (!), she raced to get ready and hit the road. Grabbing a Pyrex container full of leftovers in one hand and a dog food scoop in the other, she raced around the kitchen in a flurry. Suddenly, she stopped.

“Oh no!” she thought, “I don’t have time for breakfast!” Stopping just long enough to open the pantry and realize there’s not even enough time for cereal, she saw it. A single, lone Luna bar, wedged between the Kashi Go Lean (hers) and the Cinnamon Toast Crunch (not hers.)

Luna, said the package. The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women.

The girl was confused. Surely this was not her bar, since as far as she knew Luna was a carpet-installation company. And yet, the package read exactly like the rest of the pantry items that filled the girl’s shopping cart at Whole Foods each week. 70% organic. All natural.

With nary a moment to waste, the girl had to make a decision: steal a roommate’s food (a most heinous roommate sin!) or go hungry, increasing the odds of wandering down to the office deli and returning with goodness knows what. With a click of her flats and her mind made up, she breezed out the door with Luna bar in hand.

15 minutes later, she unwrapped said delicacy and enjoyed 180 calories of pure, unadulterated deliciousness at her desk. Chewy, crunchy, sweet, tangy, and filled with 9 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber!

“This,” the girl thought, “is worth any food-stealing roommate guilt.” Of course, the girl would proceed to stop at Whole Foods on the way home, buy an entire box of Lemon Zest Luna bars as well as 6 bars in other various flavors, thus alleviating her guilt by replacing said stolen bar. As she was a good person (at one point in her life, at least) she also told her roommate about her nefarious ways, and congratulated her on introducing her to such a wonderful thing.

The End.

Okay, so a master wordsmith I may not be, but the main point is clear: I stole my roommate’s breakfast bar, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done (<3 you, Erin!) I’m in love with Luna Bars. They’re made by the same people that make Clif bars, and they’re supposedly formulated specifically for women with all sorts of calcium and folic acid and whatnot. They’re going to become my definite go-to grab-and-go breakfast. They’re a little bit pricey (99 cents per bar, or you can buy a box of 15 bars for like $14.50) but they just make ya feel good. They’re definitely not a diet bar (each bar ranges from 170 – 190 calories) but I think that especially given my tendency to skip breakfast altogether this provide a great choice and doesn’t get anywhere near my breakfast calorie-limit.  And more importantly, they’re delicious and very filling. Yesterday’s bar kept me full all morning long!

In other news, I ended up making a super healthy dinner last night inspired by Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point and her tendency to make roasted veggies and smother ’em with BBQ sauce for meals.

The star?

Yumtastic Bone Suckin’ Sauce I picked up from Whole Foods. It’s got fabbityfab ingredients (nothing I can’t understand!) and is only 40 calories a serving (and has lower sodium than the other BBQ sauces in our fridge – get it together, Kraft!)

So I sliced up some on-its-last-legs sweet potatoes (they were kind of gross inside so I only really ended up using the edges) and tossed them with a wee bit of olive oil, salt & pepper. I lined them up on a baking sheet (line with tinfoil for easy cleanup!) and popped ’em in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, flipping once. While they were baking, I also cut up and steamed a ton of broccoli.

Also on the plate were 6 kalamata olives (curse you, Whole Foods, and your amazing antipasti bar! I can’t pass by without picking up some olives… drool… so delicious…), the BBQ sauce and some organic ketchup. Mm-mmm good!

Okay, I think this post has gone on long enough. Let me know how you’re liking the new layout of the blog, and what improvements I should continue to make. My brother Ben says that I shouldn’t use the Daxter pic I have as my banner right now because it takes away from the aesthetic of the theme, so let me know if you agree with him! Until next time!

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