Wake-Up Call

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Wow.  So once, going through pictures and trying to find the one of me doing yoga at all, I found this one.  Taken in Las Vegas, right as I was coming off of a summer of sloth following a wicked lame pre-summer foot break that incapacitated me, right outta college graduation, the caption on facebook of this was “My dream wedding.”

I think, in my mind, the joke was not only “wow, she just got married in the middle of the day, in vegas, in a full wedding gown, and is playing penny slots” but “and also, she is fat.”

However, reflecting on this picture (this was probably the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life) I am blown away by my own appearance.  Because, after losing almost 50 lbs, I look at this and think “there are two people in this picture that are overweight, not just one.”

Talk about your belated wake up call…

I have to say, this isn’t a post to call anyone fat (even though I did just say that I considered both people in this image overweight), more to evaluate the change in my thought process.  Because honestly, while I was happy as a clam that weekend, I can’t help but think I’d have had such a better time if I were my current weight.  And while I didn’t THINK I was overweight at all at this time in my life, it’s like…. wow.  Now that I see it having lost the weight, I can’t believe I just allowed myself to have all those extra pounds on my body.  I remember once, at a UNC football game, I was loudly cheering for my team, waving my pom poms around like a locopop (GO HEELS!!! TAR HEEL BORN AND TAR HEEL BRED!!) when a random viewer at the game mentioned, off hand to her friend, that I should “calm my fat ass down because it was jiggling in [her] face”.  That hurt.  That hurt, so friggin’ much (I’d say another f word, but I’m unsure if wordpress monitors these supah hard.)  I think that was the first time I thought to myself, “Wow.  This whole ‘being overweight’ thing is miserable, horrible, and people mock you for it.”  At the time, I was a happy, fun-loving UNC student, who got hit on a lot (just saying, for a while, that’s how I measured my self-worth) and looked sexy in clothes (in my opinion at the time.)  How the HELL could some girl call me a fat ass?  Well, now, looking back, I see it, and I believe I might think the same thing about old me now a-days.  That’s harsh, right?  Jeez.  But I’m… just being honest. (Andre 3000, 2003).

The change is monumental. And my life has just changed so much.

I think about my health, my weight, my diet, my fitness…. so much. Like, constantly.  Everything I put in my mouth, everything that comes out of me (TMI? whatevz), everything I do with my body, every activity I plan…

I was talking with my beau about how, despite the fact that we’ve both lost over 25 lbs since we initially decided to get healthified, we think about our weight/fitness more than we ever did when we had those extra lbs on our body.  I guess it’s just part of adapting your awareness regarding your body.

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading to Ocean City, New Jersey.  It’s my home away from home, and my favorite place on the face of this planet.  And once, 2 years ago, my grandma mentioned to my mother how terrible I looked on the beach.  It’s stuff like that which make me so so happy to have decided to make the change, not because of her, not because of what anyone has ever said, but because I knew that if I wanted to live a long/healthy life, I couldn’t continue living the way that I was. And because of the changes I’ve made, I’ll be able to spend time indulging in my favorite treats, while enjoying my mornings being more active than I used to be.  It’s all about balance and, as evident by that earlier picture, I’m all about balance (except for the fact that my balance is HORRIBLE due to breaking both my feet at different points in my life.  I’m basically on a constant teeter totter.)

To sum it up: I’m so excited for this weekend.  And I won’t feel guilty about anything I do.  I will go to the gym tomorrow, I will enjoy strolling/powerwalking on the boards the rest of the days, and I know that I won’t look back on pictures from this weekend and think negative thoughts about myself.

It’s all because of a little wake-up call.

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Have you ever had a wake-up call to health?  Regardless of your answer, what boosted you into a healthy lifestyle?

Do you wish that you could snuggle with me?  (duh.)

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Mez in Durham and a BEER REVIEW!

Yesterday, thanks to a SaveMore deal (of the century!!) I finally went to get my hair done (done = cut and partial highlights) in Raleigh. For $49, I was able to get both done.  WELL worth the 30 minute drive to randomsville Raleigh when it normally costs me $110 at best (part of the reason I’ve been putting it off…)  I’d say it was a great success, going from this:

Lucky you, not able to see my 5 inch roots.

To this:

And you wonder why they call me "The Golden Child"...

Not the best pictures, as both were taken from within my car, but you get the idea.  With my fancy new hair, I only had one option. SEMI-FANCY DINNER DATE WITH THE BEAU AND FAM!  While I tend to eat at home or make my foods to eat elsewhere like, 75% of the time, every now and then, I pretend to be a fancy pants and head out on the town.  When my hair is polished to a high sheen, that is definitely one of those times.  On the Monday Menu was Mez, a “Contemporary Mexican” joint in Durham.  The table started with some shared guacamole and salsa.

GAUC-ATTAUC!

Salsas de la Casa

The Guacamole was described as “Made fresh daily with avocados, tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, cilantro, lime juice. Served with crispy tortilla chips” and the Salsas de la Casa as “A trio of fresh salsas served with tortilla chips. Salsa Mexicana, roasted tomato-chipotle and tomatillo-avocado.” My thoughts?

The guacamole was off the chain.  There was the right amount of spice and a perfect smoothness, and I felt like I could taste each of the ingredients listed, especially the jalapenos! The salsas, on the other hand, truly didn’t taste worth the $6 price tag.  The “Salsa Mexicana”  which is what I assume was the Pico de Gallo bowl, was almost flavorless, other than mostly just tomato. The tomatillo-avocado was pretty quality, but I felt like the dark red one on the left was a glorified mexican “sauce”. That being said, the beau inhaled it, so clearly it couldn’t have been too bad.

For my meal, I was feeling adventurous so, due to the recommendation of our server, I ordered the Roasted Tamarind Pecan Crusted Salmon Served with chipotle sweet potato gratin and sauteed Spinach. My plate looked like this:

Delicioso!

The piece of salmon was ENORMOUS and this plate could’ve EASILY been two meals.  As I was a Ravenous Rachel (not to be confused with a Negative Nancy), though, I wolfed down nearly every bite on the plate (duh, I’m the queen of the Clean Plate Club).  The salmon was cooked medium, and had a wonderful pink color all the way through. The spinach was fresh and the chipotle sweet potato gratin, while not tasting like chipotle, was AMAZING!  It was like a mille-feuille made entirely out of sweet potato layers (the literal translation of that French term is thousand-leaf, and I knew that without looking it up, and that proves that my education at Garnet Valley High School was entirely worthwhile.) My only complaint about the entire meal was that the pecans that crusted my salmon were a little overcooked (read: burnt).  I pushed a few off the salmon, and focused on the ones that weren’t burnt, which added a wonderful crunch to the fish.

I’d like to say I chose my beer to best pair with my meal but honestly, I just love this next beer.

Bell's Two Hearted Ale

When I used to work at some crummy Ameri-Mexican place while I was finishing out my senior year at UNC that served sub-par burritos and orgasmic sweet potato fries with a habanero mayo dipping sauce that I need to recreat, my favorite beer we served was Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.  When I’d serve it to a customer, I couldn’t help but sniff the bottle (yup, I’m a creep) because the aroma of this beer is heady, hoppy, and floral. This IPA poured a light amber color, and since I was already intensely familiar with the aroma, I dove right into the taste. The carbonation is delightfully bubbly and the taste hits the mouth with so many fruit flavors that I can’t make them out one by one, all I know is it’s a flavor explosion of AWESOME!  It’s pretty damn hoppy (just how I like it) and, at 7% ABV, not so boozy you’ll feel drunk after 1 or 2, but packs a reasonable punch if you’re throwing them back.

This beer is widely available and, if you’re a newbie to the beer world (or for some reason, haven’t tried it, and feel like you should redeem yourself for your foolish ways) GO GET A SIX PACK! Or even just try one in a pick-6, but bring it to a party and people will want to be your friend.  It normally costs around $10-11 at my grocery store in Durham, NC, so it’s definitely a step up from a sixer of PBR, without being a snobby craft beer.

Now I’m off to figure out what to eat TONIGHT! My prediction: Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken.

EDIT: CONFIRMED! KP CHICKEN IT IS!!

New Belgium Tour de Fat, Meet: DURHAM!

As I mentioned yesterday, New Belgium Brewing‘s Tour de Fat made Durham, NC its first stop. Being a member of Durham’s unofficial Beer Welcome Wagon no I’m not I just totally made that up, I knew I had no option but to volunteer to work the heck out of this event! I’ve been a fan of their beer, Fat Tire, since I was in college, and considered it a nice few steps up from your standard cheap college beer, but didn’t really give it too much thought until recently.  Today changed all that!

After waking up at 7:30 am (entirely too early for a Saturday, but I was too excited to sleep in much later!  I whipped myself up a little smoothie, the picture of which was simply too ugly to post.  But inside, it contained strawberries (frozen and fresh), one scoop of 365 Everyday Value® Vanilla Flavor Whey Protein Powder from Whole Foods  (yay not stealing from the boyf!), spinach, a frozen nanner, and some Almond Breeze almond milk (just finished up the rest of the carton, not sure how much) and blended until perfect for a toothless wonder like myself.  After donning my outfit, I hit the road!

Don't worry, the car was not moving when I snapped this shot!

The event was held at the American Tobacco Campus, right in the heart of all my favorite Durham things (Tyler’s Taproom, Mellow Mushroom where we just had dinner, the beautiful Durham Bulls stadium that I have yet to visit!)  I was there early enough to start helping folks register for the bike parade, and to get a few pictures of the setup.

Registration... NO BREATHING!

Helping Julie out getting folks registered!

The parade itself started at 10 am, but we were all there before/around 9am to get folks signed up, have them sign their waivers, and request donations for Triangle Spokes Group, the amazing NPO that uses 100% of the money they raise to buy new bicycles and helmets for kids for Christmas.  Such a simple idea, but honestly, imagine the joy that comes into the heart of a kid when they get their first bike!! (I know, it’s almost too much joy to handle.)

The scene was awesome, they had everything from a giant Connect Four board to a hoop toss using bicycle tires, to epic circus tents set up ready for the day ahead!  The whole little grassy knoll was dressed to the nines, and I hardly recognized it.  Shortly before the parade, we also ran around checking people’s IDs after a nice little mini training course in how to tell who’s using a fake (I’m basically a bouncer now, so don’t try anything funny), but it was such a well managed event that I didn’t see anyone try to get in and drink who wasn’t legally able to.  People were more than happy to whip out their IDs for a giant bottle of Champagne to give them a wristband that allowed them to imbibe adult beverages, wouldn’t you be?

The Rhymanese Twins, MCs of the morning, dropped the beat beet and the riders were off!

They literally dropped a giant stuffed beet to start the race!!

In the meantime, I toured the facility a bit, saw some sites, and continued to check the IDs of stragglers or non-riders.

Can you see me?!

When the riders came back, that’s when the real fun kicked into high gear.  The musicians were rocking, the bikers were thirsty for some adult beverages, and costumes were grade-A. Durham is an amazing city, especially for events like this, where you realize just how wacky people will get when they have the chance.  Remember all the time and effort you used to spend on theme parties for college?  It was like REAL LIFE THEME PARTY! The theme? WHATEVER THE HECK YOU WANTED!

Wanna be a Native American Chief for a day? WHY NOT?!

My very favorite part of the whole day, though, started after my shift was over. This year’s the first year that Tour de Fat did mini beer education classes (Or “Beerducation”, see what I did there?) For a mere $5, the cost of one beer token, you could attend a 20-30 minute class where you got to try some of the beers that weren’t on tap and learn how to taste them.  The players?

Fat Tire Amber Ale, Super Cru, and La Folie

Our wise ol' teachers

Fat Tire is their classic Amber Ale, and the brew that New Belgium is arguably most notorious for, maybe even where all this pro-bike activism stemmed from?

Super Cru, from their Lips of Faith Series of small batch brews, was developed to celebrate 20 years in the biz!

La Folie, a favorite of my buddy Melissa’s, the sour beer queen, was definitely the most “out there” of the New Belgium beers, and appreciated more so following my excellent sour beers class on Monday.

The fellows that taught the session, dressed as professors in super legit lab coats, focused both on what was in the beer to make it the way it was, and four steps of tasting a beer that everyone should do to truly appreciate their beer.  Here, let me illustrate.

Appearance: Looks can be deceiving!

First off, appearance.  It’s great to look at your beer, describe it with a word. A color, maybe, or even an event.  One of my favorite descriptors was of the Super Cru, “Like the amber the mosquito was in during Jurassic Park!” Don’t feel like you have to use “beer” terms to describe your brew, just go for it!  If Crayola can make a billion color names, you can throw out a few of your own.

Aroma: So glad it's not barnyard!

Up next, aroma.  Again, describe it as you see fit.  “Smells good” doesn’t cut it, y’all.  Dig deep, think about what it really smells like.  Caramel topping on ice cream? Does it smell like wood? How about any fruits?  Aroma can make/break a beer for me.

Taste: Everyone's favorite

One awesome idea they taught us: Retroactive tasting (I THINK that was the term, correct me if I’m wrong.) EDIT: IT WAS WRONG!! Retronasal is the term!! Let the beer sit in your mouth for a second, warm up, get all around that tongue of yours, then breathe through your nose as you swallow. It allows you to get more of the flavor than if you just threw it back and gulped.

Mouthfeel: Tough to illustrate, I did my best.

I’ll admit, mouthfeel is probably the step I have the most trouble with.  Basically, how does your mouth taste after you drink the beer?  Does it taste try? Is there a lingering aftertaste? Something sweet?  With the sours, I hardly tasted much in the way of aftertaste, but with something like Magic Hat #9, I always taste a syrupy sweet aftertaste that reminds me I hate it every time.

Anyway, it was great to try some of New Belgium’s special beers, to learn about them, and to be a part of this fantastic, human-powered event!

Thanks for the Beerducation, fellas!

I can’t wait until next year, already thinking up my next costume. And all of this before 1pm?!  Heck yes!

Now that I’ve got my nap in, it’s dinner time, off to stroll to the Teet (aka Harris Teeter) for some dinner with the beau!

Do you like to taste your beer?

Do you follow the steps, or just throw it back?

Wisdom Teeth: BE GONE! (and what I sort of ate/drank Thursday)

Hello chipmunk lovers (you must be, if you’re reading this blog and you love me, a chipmunk)!!

For any of you who have never had your wisdom teeth out (or for all of you who did at a young age, and just need a laugh) let me tell you the excellent tale of today.  After my crazy and restless sleep last night, I was just ready to get these teeth the HECK out of my mouth!  Of course, in typical Jordan-likes-to-blog-every-aspect-of-her-life-shamelessly fashion, I asked the fine folks that helped me with my day today to photograph every step of the process.  I’ll be honest, posting these pictures takes enormous balls ovaries (?) but, lucky for each and every one of you, I possess ovaries of steel.  Reap the benefits, my friends.

Oh, wisdom teeth, there's no room for you in this Inn...

After saying a quick, not-so-fond farewell to my stupid wisdom teeth, we hopped in the beau’s car since I was not allowed to drive any automobiles or heavy machinery, and my other ride is a backhoe.  We headed over to the Triangle Implant Center, where I posed obnoxiously in front of the door.

Hey! It's my beau in the mirror door!! Hi, boyf!

After paying them all my moneys to yank out my teeth, I went into the ominous office, which was set up with tons of machines to regulate my anesthesia and my heart rate and blood pressure and probably all sorts of other things that I couldn’t tell you about because I’m not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV). It was then that I informed the staff of my intentions to milk them for all they were worth as they had now become part of my documentary team.  They begrudgingly agreed, because how could you say no to this face?

All hooked up with no place to go!

I am pretty sure I heard one nurse say to the other “That’s not a request we get every day… Wonder what she’s doing with this?” I told them I was going to send the pictures to my mother (which I indirectly will by sending her a link to this blog) but was not prepared to get into the whole “I write a blog and like to compulsively photograph and write about my life.” The mom excuse was a lot easier.  My other major demand: while I was out, take a picture of my teeth!

This shot is black and white to avoid looking at blood for the weak of stomach.

The next 20 minutes of my life will never be remembered.  C’est la vie.  I was told that I was SO proud when my beau walked in to get me, and announced to all 4 people in the office “THAT’S MY BOYFRIEND!” with a mouth full of gauze.

This is where my giant ovaries come into play. No shame in my game.

I demanded the doctor got in a shot too. I'm bossy when I'm loopy.

All in all, it was a pretty reasonable experience.  Since I was the first appointment of the day (and have incredible veins which welcome any anesthesia with open arms vessels), it took barely more than 20 minutes.  I remember adamantly requesting a picture of my teeth and then, next time I looked up, it was 25 minutes later and I was ol’ gauze mouth.

Since solid foods were out of the question, todays eats were smooth as butter (there even was a little butter around dinner time, yum!!)  The beau did a drive by to Smoothie King, risking his life (literally) to get me an Angel Food Cake smoothie (there’s banana in it. he’s allergic. dangerous smoothie adventure!) minus the added sugar. I enjoyed this with a pill chaser (amoxicillin/pain killers) and a little bit of water.

He even came back later to check in on me around 2pm, bringing me some tomato basil soup from Harris Teeter, which was DELICIOUS! (BTW it’s double coupon week at the Teet, if you’re local that means big savings.  and hours of extreme couponing!@#?T^!?#!?$)

Pills, soup, blogging. Lunch of champions.

I was able to just sort of spoon this into the back of my throat, trying to bypass any area of gaping holes in my mouth.  It wasn’t too tough for the creamy soup.  I also had a few scoops of Black Raspberry froyo, which I made a sizable dent in by the end of the day.

Dinner was a super weird mix.

Green monster on my left

Mashed 'taters... for dessert.

Green monster contained:

Spinach, frozen mango and strawberries, blueberries, 1 1/2 cups of Almond Breeze Almond Milk (unsweetened vanilla, my favorite), and 1/2 a frozen banana.  After that, I was hungry still, but for something savory….

So I heated up some dessert. Hormel Mashed Potatoes with some garlic powder and seasoned salt.  I know, horrible dessert, but tasted so so good.  I think these mashed potatoes might be the best food for my teeth since this whole thing started.  They taste so filling and savory, despite being a squishy mush that I can actually eat.

Basically, that sums up my day.  I’m going to try to be a little bit more of a human-being tomorrow, maybe even getting my hurr did in Raleigh (PLEASE LET THIS HAPPEN! FOR THE SAKE OF ALL ROOTS, EVERYWHERE!)

What would you eat if you could only have liquid/mushy foods?

What movies or shows are on Netflix streaming right now that I can watch tomorrow?!@#

Help me out, readers!!

Six Pack Sunday

Hey hey crazy kids!  It’s been a long weekend that involved over 300 miles of driving to/from Charlotte, NC, an exciting night out with a lemon (yes, the citrus fruit) as my plus one, and a roller coaster of bodily feelings (nausea, pain, exhilaration, fatigue, and I’m sure all sorts of other stuff.)  The past week has been an odd one, and, if you have been following, you know why.  Cliff Notes Version: Started feeling a tooth infection on Sunday and Monday, diagnosed on Tuesday, couldn’t eat solid foods all those other days, until I started painkiller on Thursday. I’m still not 100%, but I’ll see an oral surgeon tomorrow and hopefully it’ll get resolved.

On Saturday morning, I wrote a pretty hilarious summary of what goes on in my head during a typical Body Pump class here, take a look if you missed it (and I guess, don’t hold it against me if you don’t think it’s funny. I laughed the whole time while writing it, but I was on painkillers so you can never be too sure…)

Six Pack Sunday, y’all

  1. On Wednesday, I went to the grocery store in hopes to find something that I could eat with a mouth that didn’t work (at least the right side of it) and also without mind-searing pain.  I grabbed ingredients for smoothies in a bowl when I saw this:

    Yes, that's the vast array of baby food offered at my local Harris Teeter

    I spent a solid 4 minutes contemplating buying baby food.  I am a 23 year old woman. This was what I was reduced to.  Please, don’t look at me.

  2. I can’t stand hotdogs if they’re cooked in a microwave or boiled.  That being said, this new product (Happy Hot Dog Man) makes them in the shape of happy men.

    So happy to be eaten!!

    Maybe I will reconsider nuking my dogs if I can dress them up like hula hooping ladies! (probably not)

  3. If you have an international market or Indian specialty food store near you, search for a box that looks like this:

    Healthy Tiffin Kofta Curry = FINGER LICKIN' TIFFIN!

    I can’t find a website for this company, but I picked up one of these Healthy Tiffin frozen meals the other day on a whim, hoping that I could get an Indian food fix without indulging quite as much (Indian food = salty, fatty, and a little pricey for this broad).  For 400 calories and 9 grams of fiber, this was FANTASTIC.  Soooo much more flavor than your standard frozen meal.  Find them, eat them all, and maybe they’ll put up a website.

  4. The following adult beverage should never be consumed.

    MD 20/20 aka Mad Dog 20/20 aka Revolting

    Apparently, MD 20/20 is bottled by the 20/20 wine company in Westfield, NY.  In Chapel Hill, it’s affectionately known as “bum wine.” I had never tried this before Friday night, when I ventured one sip of each of these flavors. Electric Watermelon and “Bling Bling” Blue Raspberry.  First off, those should never be flavors of anything. Second of all, they both just tasted like radioactive colors.  You know, like when you were little and people asked what your favorite flavor of Italian ice was, and you just responded “BLUE!” Imagine that… on crack. Avoid like the plague.

  5. If you like fashion, and also are obsessed with your University/College/Alma Mater (GO HEELS!! I BLEED CAROLINA BLUE WOOOOO!!), let me tell you about the coolest clothing company I’ve heard about in the past 2 years.  School House Clothing, based in Durham, NC, is a brand that makes the most fashionable collegiate clothing I’ve ever seen and, best part, they are fully dedicated to running business practices that allow their company to be a sustainable organization.  From the website:
    In 2007, Rachel Weeks traveled to Sri Lanka as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar on a mission to bring better collegiate apparel to her alma mater. Not just better designs, better fit, and better quality, but with a better story… she teamed up with Colleen McCann, fashion designer extraordinaire, and ALARM, a Sri Lankan coalition of labor rights organizations and trade unions, to launch a brand that brings ethical fashion to universities everywhere.

    First and foremost, School House is about people. We pay premium prices to our suppliers to ensure that living wages are being paid in the manufacturing facilities producing our brand. Why? Because School House believes that a free but fair fashion market is possible, and that when it teams up with quality design, it’s unstoppable.  Of course, we have a long way to go on the road to running a sustainable business. But we’re learning – every day, and t-shirt by t-shirt – how to build a better brand.

    My thoughts: The clothing fits pretty snug, but looks fantastic (sometimes you just have to go up a size).

    Rocking the Ole Miss shirt in honor of the beau's school: ethical and fashionable

    Check them out, buy their clothes, and be more stylish than your friends.


  6. On Saturday evening, we stopped by Brixx Pizza in Charlotte for a beer and some nibblers.  Before our food came, I stopped by the bathroom.  In the handicapped restroom, this was the scene:

    The lemon was my own personal addition...

    I know that women like to go to the bathroom in groups, but never in my entire life have I thought to myself “I wish I had a buddy here to hold my hand as I used the facilities.”  Because that’s how close we would be, if someone sat in that chair.  Silly planning, Brixx. Tasty pizza, though.

So yes, those are the thoughts that tie up the loose ends from this weekend.  If you weren’t sure about the lemon, here’s the explanation.  On my way to visit my friend, I purchased the ingredients to make a beer/lemonade shandy with a lemon garnish.  Only I never used the garnish, and just left it in my purse.  Of course, when we went out, and I had a lemon with me, I decided to show it a good time.  The lemon definitely hit the town hard.  The only awkward part?

Sorry that I'm about to drink your relatives, little lemon

Woops. Lemon drop shot, in front of a lemon? That’s like going to a steakhouse with a cow.  Shame, shame.  That sums up this week’s Six Pack Sunday, off to watch the only sure thing in my entire life:

Inevitable Sunday Night Law & Order Marathon FTW!!

How was your weekend?

Do you like hotdogs?  What if they’re in the shape of tiny people?

Tri-Foodie Tweetup: Jujube Style

Hey all you crazy dreamers out there….

So, I’m sure a few of you out there like to enjoy that wonderful social network of the Twitterverse.  And if you haven’t, you’re missing out on a lot (namely: following me!!) But honestly, Twitter’s given me the chance to go from just an onlooker of food, beer, and wine events in the NC Research Triangle to an active participant. And one of my big goals with this year, as well as this blog, was to become even more active in the awesome world of food and beer in this blossoming culture.

To sum it all up in layman’s terms: I wanna be more of a mover/shaker and less of a parasite sucking off the teet of the shakers and movers out there.

One of my favorite recurring events that goes on is called the #trifoodietweetup. In the past, they’ve been hosted by such fantastic Triangle locations such as Four Square, Six Plates, Fearrington Village, and (most recently) Jujube in Chapel Hill! Andrea Weigl and Johanna Kramer know how to get great venues, and set up some classy evenings.  Tonight’s theme: Asian Tapas and Artisan Rum Cocktails.  I believed, when I was going, it’d be more like a small sampling of cocktails and tapas all included in the cost (a bit more than $11) but when we showed up, the menu listed the food as included and the drinks were separate.  Also, nothing felt all that Asian (except some spring rolls they served later in the night, but that weren’t on the menu).

Tasty menu offerings!

I couldn’t resist one of the drinks, listed, a Traditional Daquiri with white rum, luxardo maraschino, lime, and cane syrup for $8. I have to agree, this was a delicious cocktail, and I was pretty happy to pay for it, I think it was worth it.

Close up on the drinkies!

I also saw there was a Dogfish Festina Pesche that I knew would be my last drink of the night.  But anyway, onto the foods.

First Course: salads

The pink salad on the right was a Watermelon Cucumber salad with piqant mint dressing and Johnston County country ham. This. Was. Brilliant. Seriously, I was so surprised by how well the watermelon paired with the ham. It was almost as if it drew out the natural flavor and maybe some sort of spice in the fruit. The cucumber was nice and crunchy (which actually was a wicked bummer with this tooth infection, but would’ve been enjoyed otherwise). The salad on the left was an Octopus-arugula salad with orange and sorrel. The octopus… was not worth writing home, in my opinion. Loved the orange and arugula mix though, good little wilted quality.

Won ton (and some progress on the cocktail in the back...)

Up next was a fried lobster-shrimp won ton with lemon, miso butter. The first batch of these were great. Alas, when I got another one a little later, it was more won ton and less filling, and was just too much crunch for my liking, like the flavor was fried right out of it.  The blend of lobster-shrimp inside was fantastic though, and left me very excited for the next offering.

Been spending most our lives living in a fried-stuff-paradise...

This is where the party really got started. Clockwise from the upper left: Tempura fried prawn (and okra, eaten already) with a little heirloom tomato conserve; Porcini and tellegio stuffed rice fritters (the tan fried balls of awesome); Shrimp-zucchini fritters with grilled chile aioli (cute pink phone… that’s mine.)  The breakdown: the tempura fried prawn was great, mostly because it was so simple. Just a prawn, covered in fried batter. hooty hoo. That being said, the fried okra was no bueno, just too dried out.

The rice fritters: ethereal! The tellegio cheese inside kept the fritters moist and delicious, and though I’m not normally a fan of mushrooms (pretty sure that’s what porcini is, right?) they just blended into the tastiness.

The shrimp-zucchini fritter might have been my very favorite, though. The chili aioli added the perfect amount of spiciness, and made me wanna guzzle down my daquiri (which I did. Classy.)

The star of my show

I’ll admit, I’d been waiting anxiously to try the Dogfish Head Festina Peche.  From the brewer:

It is delicately hopped with a pale straw color and served as an aperitif or summertime quencher. To soften the intense sourness, Berliner Weisse is traditionally served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup.  In our Festina Peche since the natural peach sugars are eaten by the yeast, the fruit complexity is woven into both the aroma and the taste of the beer so there is no need to doctor it with woodruff or raspberry syrup – open and enjoy!

I’ve said it before: I love summer seasonal ales, especially if they’ve got some fruit in there somewhere. And this was one of the finest I’ve tried. The peach was there and more reminiscent of a peach I had last year from the Durham Farmer’s Market, fresh and even a little earthy. Not all all like I imagined it would be (which would be like when a candy company tries to make a peach flavored treat… overly sweet and chemically). Coming from a bottle, I didn’t have a glass to check the color, but it had a nice medium amount of carbonation and was tart enough to compete with my fried frittery treats.  It rounded out this evening perfectly.

Big thanks to Jujube and the fine ladies who threw this event together (even though I didn’t win a cookbook) and it just goes to show you the moral of this story:

Even if you have an aggressive gum infection on your wisdom tooth, you can utilize half of your mouth to enjoy the flip outta some fried Asian tapas and badass cocktails/brews.

Smoothie in a cup. Teeth in a tizzy.

I have a confession.  I have never made a smoothie in a bowl, or as a meal replacement. Never for breakfast, never for lunch. Once, I made a banana whip for a snack when my beau was away, and felt like a true badass (he’s seriouslyallergic to bananas, so having them in the house is a big fat No-No!)  That being said, today, I had my first smoothie-for-lunch.

Smoothie King, my hero

After not being able to deal with the pain any longer, I scheduled an emergency appointment at a local dentists office down the road.  Thank GOD I did.  Not only did I find out I do, in fact, have an infection in my gum/tooth region… but that I have 8 cavities, and have to get my wisdom teeth removed.

If you’re thinking to yourself “well, Jordan, it’s your own darn fault and why didn’t you get those bad boys removed long ago?!” don’t worry, you’re not alone.  As I wept like a 6 year old girl who just got pushed down on the playground and refuses to think it’s because some boy “likes her”, the doctor started rambling about how many appointments I’ll need to set up/etc.   Luckily, I have a week and a half of sick time saved, so I’ll be able to be off work without having to lose any time.

It’s pretty lame, I must admit. When I went to the Smoothie King, I asked them to remove any extra sugar that’s normally added to my choice du jour “The Muscle Punch” – Strawberries, Bananas, Soy Protein, Non-Fat Milk, Vanilla, Wheat Germ, Nutritional Yeast, Turbinado, Honey . That meant they got rid of the honey and “turbinado”, which still left 52 grams of sugar. Oi vay. I think I’ll go home around 3 if I’m still feeling poopy, and try to figure out all the places in my life where I can cut out sugar (I rarely drink soda, never coffee, sometimes candy, hmm…) In the meantime, here’s some pictures of how I’m pretty sure I’ll look when I get my wisdom teeth removed:

Just like that. Minus about 8 cup sizes.

You talkin' to me?

Let's be honest. we knew it was truly going to look the most like this.

In Tune with Attune!

Imagine my rapture when Krissie tweeted at me that I won the set of coupons from the Healthy Living Summit giveaway from the awesome Silver Sponsors at Attune Foods!!

I’ve never even tried one of their products, but now I know they’re sold at Whole Foods and Trader Joes, so I’ll have to make a special trip once I get my coups!!  Special thanks to Meghann for the promptest email response of my entire life.  And also, for being a BOSS in setting all these things up!!

Also, if you couldn’t imagine my rapture, here’s a video that accurately sums it up:

Literally, as excited as the most dysfunctional cat/chihuahua that have ever graced the televisions in my childhood home.  Oh, Ren and Stimpy, you have created such a ridiculous generation of young people…

The Death Deck

Love decks of cards, but Egyptian Rat Screw not quite intense enough lately?  Have I got a workout for you!!

After a long day at work, the gums weren’t feeling 100% but definitely a little better than earlier, so I popped a few Advil (that claimed to be expired…  I like to live dangerously), threw back many glasses of water, and knew I was ready to hit the gym, and hit it hard.  Luckily, today I had a friend! Melissa, a new employee at my office, came off as a fit gal from first meeting, and when I mentioned how much I love my gym, O2 Fitness, and how there was a contest going on if you brought a friend in to win a year of free gas, she was totally down to come with today. We got changed at work and hit the gym hard.  After giving her a little tour of the facilities:

Here's where I spend like... 5 days of my week. It's getting pretty serious.

we steered clear of the group fitness room and went our separate ways for the first 20 minutes. I got my race on with the strangers next to me on the elliptical (and kicked everyone’s asses, duh) for 2 miles, and then hopped off to join her in something she called “The Wreck Deck.” I didn’t hear her fully when she first told me the name, so I thought it was called “The Death Deck”. Little did I know how right I was…

Death Deck Setup: Prepare for your doom...

Here’s the way it works:

  • Take a deck of cards, any deck will do. 52 and 2 jokers is all that’s required.
  • Each suit is a different exercise
  1. Clubs are legs. Squats or lunges is the exercise she had listed, with weights or not, whatever makes you comfortable.
  2. Diamonds are pushups. Chest, tricep, diamond, cat (for numbers 6 or less). On your toes, on your knees, or if you are as EXTREME as Melissa, put your toes on one medicine/bosu ball and each hand on another. Then you will impress everyone around you.
  3. Spades are abs. We did these things she modified from V-crunches where you sort of balance on one butt check (easy enough if your butt cheek is a cushiony pillow of joy like my own), then in the middle, then the other butt cheek. That’s one. (Here’s a video of a V-crunch, even though that’s not exactly what we did: V-Crunch!)
  4. Hearts, ironically enough, are Burpees. Or mountain climbers, when you are less extreme or feeling extremely tired. For every one burpee that I didn’t do, I tried to do 2 mountain climber sets. Hopefully it evened out.
  • For the numbered cards, do one rep for each number (aka a 8 of hearts means 8 burpees!)
  • For the Face cards, a jack = 11, a queen = 12, a king = 13, an ace = 15 though!
  • For the jokers, do five reps of each exercise
  • DO THE WHOLE DECK!!

Here’s Melissa drawing the last card (we were both super elated at this, and I’d only down half the deck!)

ONE.... MORE.... CARD!!

Of course, it was 5 burpees. we pushed it out, gave each other copious amounts of high fives, and felt more boss than ever!!

Death Deck: You and I will meet again.

I was proud as a peacock and, to end the day at the gym, Melissa did me a solid and signed up for a membership (translation: new workout buddy andddddd a free month!)

To sum it up, this was basically the coolest day at the gym that I’ve had since I discovered My So-Called Life streaming on Netflix. Admittedly, that wasn’t at the gym, but it felt equally as cool.

Have you tried any new workouts lately?

How do you choose to get swoll?

A Lunch Fit for a… First Grader.

Hello hello, friends and neighbors!  Hope everyone’s starting their week off on the right foot, and enjoyed my Six Pack Sunday post yesterday, tying up any/every loose end that could possibly exist from my week.  Unfortunately, rounding out date night last night, I started to feel… a bit off.  Part of my gum is swollen (maybe a piece of food stuck in there, maybe an infection, I am at a loss) and my throat is a little swollen, and I’ve just been feeling a little… light.  When I went to dinner with the beau, I assumed it would pass once I got some food in my belly.  To my chagrin, the opposite happened. I felt a little dizzy, like I was going to float off my chair and into outer space, so we took the rest of the food to go and rushed me home.  Luckily, part of that food was a fried ice cream and since my boyf suggested maybe my blood sugar was low, we nibbled on that slowly when we returned to the apartment (blood sugar is helped by actual sugar, right? Math.)

This morning, when I woke up for work, I knew I couldn’t go in at 8:15 as usual, so I slept for an extra hour-ish, packed up some stuff, and head off to work.  The very worst thing about this gum problem is that I have nearly no drive to eat at all, primarily because… well, it just hurts.  Breakfast was a few bites of beans from last night, as well as a wheat thin or two (anything that made me feel like a person again) and lunch… Well, here it is:

Don't worry, I didn't steal it from any kids on their way to school...

Sandwich thin with some lowfat cheese melted on it, some Progresso Vegetable and Barley Soup (a personal favorite), and a sugarfree Jell-o Berry cup. I felt like such a little kid making cheese toast, but I knew it wouldn’t upset my stomach too much, and that it’d just be nice to get some food in my belly.  As far as eating it, it’s been slow going, but I’m chugging along and can’t wait for that sweet Jello to get in my mouth.

Sidenote: yes, those are Camel advertisements on my desk. No, I don’t use any tobacco products, but I do try to educate kids about substance use and boost prevention for a living!

Anywho, today’s workout will obviously be an easy one, taking it light on the elliptical maybe, with some biking thrown in there.  Not trying to push myself to sickness here.

In other news, has anyone heard of this Dr. Pepper Ten craziness?

MANLIEST OF ALL DIET SODAS!

From the site:

Introducing Dr Pepper TEN. 10 bold tasting calories with the same authentic 23 flavors of Dr Pepper. That’s a whole lot of taste in one can. Try it today and see why Dr Pepper TEN is not for women.

Wait a minute. What?  Did y’all catch that?  Try it today and see why Dr Pepper TEN is not for women. Ok. I’ll admit, I’m not a big soda drinker. Sure, I’ll have a cocktail with diet soda every now and then, but for the most part, I live and die by whatever comes out of my Brita filter (and whatever comes out of a keg).  But now, part of me wants to make this my new drink of choice, if only to say to the folks at Dr. Pepper, “Hey, dudes. Suck it.”

I just don’t understand what their thought process was behind this.  “Women hate calories… even 10 of them?” “Putting the word BOLD on a can will make men flock to this?” It’s a mystery…  Sort of like how Pepsi advertised the “skinny can” for their diet soda, trying to appeal to women and suggesting that “skinny is better.”

Wow, this can is tall AND sassy. ::rushes off to buy out Target::

I kind of think that this type of advertising is a little sexist, and a little sneaky.  But, having worked with media literacy for the past 2 years, I feel a little hyper-aware of any suspicious activity in the media world…

What do you think about this kind of advertising?

Would you buy a product advertised at women or women just because of the advertisement? Do you want to try this Dr. Pepper 10?

Here’s an interesting article about the different Dr. Peppers undergoing a taste test, if you’re into that kind of thing: Serious Eats Taste Test