Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vacation: putting some Spring in your Palm

Let's hear it for vacation hair! And vacation appetite! And vacation.... well.... let me stop there.

Needless to say, Palm Springs was a blast. The Rad Boyfriend and I had a really really REALLY good time over the long weekend. We ate, we swam, we slept in, and we ate. Did I mention the food? Because we ate. A lot. Mother Nature must have heard my plea because it only rained on Saturday night.The rest of the time, it looked like this:

The amount of snow on the mountains behind our hotel was breathtaking. 

 Living Desert. Totally worth it.
There are two words that describe this hotel: cool and hipster.

 What road trip is complete without a hilarious sign?

And now I must get back to the real world.... the one that doesn't involve room service and margaritas at 11 o'clock in the morning. A world where fine dining is reserved for special occasions and sitting poolside is not an inalienable right. Sigh. I would've made a really good rich lady.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dear Mother Nature

Please stop. I know what you're doing and it's working. You're messing with the weather on the one weekend the boyfriend and I will be going away together, alone, and not to attend a wedding/family function/graduation/work-related gala. And it's really bumming me out.

You see, Rad Boyfriend and I have never taken a trip together that didn't involve some prior obligation. Sure we've traveled together and stayed in hotels together.... there was the time we went to Vegas for a wedding (and had a super fun awesome time); there was the time we went to Florida together to visit my dad and attend a wedding (also super fun); then there was the time we spent together with my family in New York over Christmas, when we met up with friends and drove 4 hours down to Washington D.C. to celebrate the new year and surprise a friend for his birthday (again, a lot of fun). But do you see a recurring theme here, Mother Nature? None of that was for us

We had plans with some friends to go to Vegas this coming weekend. We were super stoked about it, as we had such a fantastic time with them last year. But when said friends canceled (for very legitimate reasons) we jumped at the opportunity to take a trip together, alone, just the two of us. To a hotel in Palm Springs we'd been meaning to go to since last year. Yay for romantic getaways! 

Except that you, Mother Nature, are making it not as awesome as it should be. Because while the weather in Palm Springs has been sunny and between 70-81 degrees for 10 out of the last 15 days, you've chosen this coming weekend, the one weekend we'll be in Palm Springs, for it to rain. And not only will it rain, but temperatures will be in the 60's. There go our plans of shorts and sundresses, of swimming and laying out in the sun, of partaking in the amenities of a hotel that has "Swim Club" in its name.

Will this stop us from having a good time? Absolutely not. Rad Boyfriend and I are TOTALLY still stoked to be going away. We're even dropping some extra cash on a room with a fireplace on the patio, which, as it turns out, was great forethought on our part.

Very much looking forward to this

But still. Rain? Really? In the DESERT? Come on, Mama Natty. Throw a sister a bone here. Change your mind about the precipitation. Let me fully enjoy the one vacation RB and I will spend alone this year. Let us swim in a warm pool and sip Cokes shoot tequila while we lounge in hammocks. (Yes, they have poolside hammocks. HAMMOCKS!) I promise not to complain about any rain and/or earthquakes we might get this summer.* Please?

Eternally and forever your faithful peon,


*I promise not to complain too much. I'd still like a warm summer =)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When life hands you lemons, PART 2

So. Valentine's Day plans were kaput. We lamented over the inconsideration of the restaurant for about three minutes, then started thinking about alternative plans. We decided on getting take-out from a local and delicious Thai restaurant and watching a movie at home.

Which, as it turns out, will now be our Valentine's Day tradition from here on out.

The day before, upon learning that our extravagant plans had changed, I went to Target and picked up some things to make the evening more special. I bought a heart shaped plate on which I planned to put cupcakes from our favorite bakery, some candles, and a jumbo package of heart-shaped Reese' peanut butter cups, RB's favorite.

I came over to Rad Boyfriend's apartment early with a plan: get him out of the house to pick up the food and some champagne while I set up my surprise. I set the table with candles and napkins that I'd cut into hearts. I put four irresistible-looking cupcakes on the heart plate and placed it on the coffee table with candles all around it. And then I arranged the 30 individually wrapped peanut butter cups on his kitchen counter to spell out "I <3 YOU" with candles all around it.

As I write this, I can't help but think what a dork I am. What guy appreciates romantic stuff like that? Isn't that stuff better saved on the ladies? What girlfriend goes through all that trouble for a dude? Well Internets, I DO. And let's just say that it was very VERY much appreciated.

Best Valentine's Day ever =)

When life hands you lemons, PART 1

Several weeks ago (like back in January) I made reservations at a romantic Italian restaurant for Valentine's Day. I'd heard good things about this place, and one look at the menu told me we wouldn't be disappointed. It looked romantic, it was decently priced, and the Rad Boyfriend and I had been jonesing for some authentic Italian cuisine since before the holidays. In fact, we'd been jonsing for this particular restaurant's Italian food for quite some time; the only thing that had stopped us from trying it earlier was the fact that they don't take reservations. And if I'm gonna get all dressed up to have a nice dinner, you better believe I'm making reservations!

But, ever the optimist, I called them anyway to see if they were making exceptions to their no-res rule for Valentine's Day--and they were! Hooray! Delicious Italian food! Plans made, we began discussing what we'd order, if we should bring our own wine and pay the corking fee, what we would do afterwards, etc. RB must have mentioned how much he was looking forward to finally trying this place at least a dozen times since I made the reservation. We were stoked!

On Sunday morning (as in The Day Before Valentine's Day), as we leisurely sipped our coffee and talked about how much we were looking forward to this week, I received a call from a strange phone number. Never one to answer calls from unfamiliar numbers, I let it go to voicemail. Upon checking it several minutes later, this is what I heard:
"Hi Danielle, this is Jenna calling from --- ------ confirming your reservation for tomorrow night at 7:30. I also wanted to make sure that you knew about our 5-course prix fixe menu that we're serving for Valentine's Day. It's $70 a person and......" 
I stopped listening at that point. She could have told me it came with a basket of kittens to keep us company during dinner and I wouldn't have cared. Why? BECAUSE NO, I WAS NOT AWARE OF THE PRIX FIXE MENU. There was no mention of it on their website, nor did anyone tell me about it when I made the reservation. No way were be about to drop $200 on dinner just because it happened to be February 14th.

I was pissed. Not so much about not having dinner plans, but about someone informing me that I was expected to spend at least $140 the following night whether I liked it or not. There is nothing I hate more than feeling like I'm being taken advantage of. RB and I talked it over, and it was sort of a no-brainer: we canceled the reservation. And in an awesome twist of fate, it turns out it was the best thing that could have happened to us.

[Stay tuned for PART 2 later today]

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A three-hour tour

Guess what I did over the weekend? 

I got on a boat...

And went dolphin/whale watching!!

 Needless to say, it was really really cool. 

 We saw literally HUNDREDS of dolphins out in the open Pacific, just off the coast of San Diego. 

I will not make a joke about whale's vagina....

Friday, February 4, 2011

On eating healthy and doing yoga

The other night, I put on a pair of jeans that I hadn't worn in a while, mostly all because they're my tightest pair. And man was I in for a pleasant surprise: they were actually LOOSE on me! Internets, that hasn't happened since my second year of law school, otherwise known as the Dark Period. REJOICE!

How did I do it, you ask? What's that, you want to hear another story about how a complete stranger shed a few pounds and now feels ten times healthier? Why I'm glad you asked....

First of all, you should know that the goal wasn't to lose a bunch of weight and look like a waif. I'm a curvy gal and I like it that way; the goal was for my clothes to fit a little better in the tummy and thigh area. The second thing you should know is that I really didn't try very hard. I just changed a few things about my lifestyle and diet, and viola... several pounds were shed within 10 days. (I don't own a scale, so I can't tell you how many.)

The first thing I did was get back into yoga. It may seem like an easy workout, but it's not. The amount of strength it takes to keep certain poses, the amount of energy you exert while stretching and bending is actually astounding. Add some extra crunches and leg lifts to the workout, and trust me.... it's an exhausting hour. Try it if you don't believe me!

The main thing I did was change my diet. My biggest problem with food is that I only cook for myself*, and so I only buy things I can keep in the freezer or cupboard. I cook fresh, from-scratch meals so rarely lately that when I do, it's usually something really delicious and really bad for you. Like this:

Baked ziti alla vodka sauce. Oh. Em. Gee. 

My happy medium has been to eat smaller, healthier meals throughout the day instead of a giant lunch and big dinner. I usually have 2 Nutrigrain waffles on my way out the door in the morning, which never fills me up. I sometimes make myself a bowl of oatmeal at work around 10 or 11, which fills me up until about 1 or 2. Instead of going out for lunch, I've been making myself turkey and goat cheese sandwiches on high-fiber bread with a few dollops of low-fat salad dressing.

I use this one. It tastes sooo good with turkey!

I've always had that 4:00pm snack time craving, but instead of chips or candy, I have yogurt. Target carries a brand of food called Archer Farms, and their low-fat yogurt is TO DIE FOR. It's thick and creamy and comes in flavors like strawberry cheesecake, honey almond, and cherry pomegranate. (Note: most non-fat yogurt has aspartame in it instead of sugar, which is really bad for you. My advice? Buy low-fat. It's the difference between a few grams of fat and possibly getting cancer.)

A healthy dinner is hit or miss for me, which is why I've been trying extra hard to eat healthy during the day. If I'm making food for just myself, I usually default to things like Trader Joe's frozen falafel with Tzaziki sauce, risotto with mushrooms, soup, simple pasta dishes, bean and rice burritos, salads, etc. If I'm cooking for me and the Rad Boyfriend, I usually let him pick the dish... and it's never tofu and broccoli.

As for snacks.... well... I won't lie. This is the one area where I let myself eat whatever I want. I do, however, have a strict snack policy: only one sweet thing and one really-bad-for-you salty thing allowed in the house at one time. Usually it's brownies and potato chips (hey, I'm only human) but I try hard to stop at one brownie or one handful of chips. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I also keep lots of tea and ginger ale in the house when I really need to satisfy a sweet craving. Popsicles and pudding are also great alternatives to brownies and cake.

You'll notice that there isn't much dairy in my diet. That's mostly because I'm lactose intolerant, but also because dairy generally has a lot of fat. Have you ever looked at the nutritional facts for Brie cheese or a frozen pizza? It makes me wonder how the French stay so healthy.

So there you have it. Yoga once or twice a week plus oatmeal and high-fiber meals many times per day, minus greasy pizza. I'll let you know if this regime still works when I'm 35, but so far, so good!

*Rad boyfriend and I don't live together. Not yet, anyway.... ;-) Stay tuned for further news in that department.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


For the truly awesome man in my life. It's not our anniversary or Valentine's Day or the half-anniversary of the second time we kissed, it's just Thursday. And I love him.

Even when he wears his step-mom's 1984 sunglasses