Wednesday, June 29, 2011


My sister, Emily, may be a year younger than me, but I look up to her for so, so many different reasons. We grew up close in age and were always close together. Our relationship hasn't been without strain, but I feel that--I hope that--We're closer now because of it.

"A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double."  -Toni Morrison

Emily and I are polar opposites. As different as night and day. Our differences, our unique characteristics, my Mk-ness and her Em-ness, are what makes us who we are. We compliment each other. Like flip sides of the same coin. Where I am more reserved, she is assertive. Where she has a bit of a temper, I tend to calm. These differences, so obvious from the get-go, make me appreciate her all the more.

gorgeous, right?

Is independent, hard working, dedicated, loyal, maternal, childish, brash, sensitive, assertive, determined, stubborn, beautiful, confident, caring, generous, a selfless partner, an amazing friend...

Em and her guy, AJ

Em's many friends at her 25th Birthday Party

Em  + Amanda, best friends. My best girls.

...She is someone I admire and respect. She's the woman who inspires me, questions me, pushes me to be better. She's the person I turn to when I'm not sure where else to go.

She's my person.

Em, I love you more than words could ever day, Em. I hope this year holds many many wonderful things for you. I'm so excited for our "girls trip" to CA with mom and I'm excited for all of the wonderful times yet to come!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happy Birthdays


No matter how many men have loved and will love me in my life-He loved me first 

...And, this is a week belated, but I also want to say (again) Happy 25th Birthday to my sister, and my best friend, Emily.

Em, you are the most amazing young woman I know. And I am not just saying that because you're my sister. That's an added bonus. You are one in a million and I love you so, so much!
I hope that life gives you everything more than everything that you deserve. 

Sisters by chance. Friends by choice.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Anatomy of a Gym Bag

Now that I'm (happily) back in full workout mode, and enjoying the full use of all ten toes, I thought I'd post about the gym. More specifically, what I bring to the gym.

Currently, I work out at Boston Sports Club, which is really nice and has showers, hair dryers, complimentary shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap and moisturizer. It also has a sauna and a steam room, but I haven't had time to use either-yet!

Even with all these amenities, a girl needs a few-or more-things to get herself ready for the day after a workout! I always used to shower at home, but with time constraints between work-out and work, I now do my getting ready while I'm at the gym, as many women do. And since I like to work out in the morning, I need to make sure I'm prepared with my clothes for the day, shoes, make-up, etc. And a fully stocked gym bag is key!

1. No matter where you work out, having a lock for your gym locker is a good idea. Again, my gym is very nice and I've found the people to be great, but I did have an ipod stolen while I was in the shower
(worse, it was my mom's ipod!) so a lock is a must, in my opinion. A pink lock is optional.

2. flip-flops. I cannot stress the importance of a pair of rubber flip-flops enough! You can get them pretty much anywhere, especially now that summer is here. They're inexpensive (I got my Havianas from Marshalls for $5.99) and they'll save you from getting a foot fungus--And can you really put a price on that?

3. Portable hair dryer. If your gym doesn't provide this amenity, it helps to bring one!

4. Portable straightener and/or curling iron. Read above. Same idea. I carry a mini version of the hair straightener I have at home.

5. De-tangler comb. I found this at CVS and I love it! You can hang it on the shower and it really does de-tangle wet hair quick and in a hurry! (again, doesn't have to be pink!)

5. Hair towel. Or in my case, the Turbie. It's nice to be able to keep your hair out of your face while washing it and applying make-up. I look like a total dork wearing it but I love the thing! I even found one with an "M" on it (Yes. In pink) If you don't want to bring another towel, a stretchy hairband works just as well.
(She looks way cooler doing this than I do)

7. Wipes. They can be any kind, as long as they're able to do the job of taking your making off and cleaning up a post-workout face. You can buy a package at Sephora, Ulta or CVS. Or you can even grab some baby wipes. I keep a pack of Johnson's baby hand and face wipes in my gym bag and my car.  And if I don't have time to do my skin routine, I also love Olay Daily Facial towelettes, especially in the summer. A good wipe-down with those and a spritz of toning water and I am good to go, June through Labor Day!

8. Deodorant. Hopefully this one is a no-brainer.

9. Travel-size shampoo and conditioner. It gets to be a hassle bringing your own bottles back and forth from home. An even better (and more economical) idea is to get the empty travel size containers and fill 'em up as needed.

10. Toothbrush. Or, if you don't want to bring a toothbrush around with you, The Colgate "wisps" are both tiny and efficient at getting your pearly whites shining and your breath minty fresh!

I think I've covered everything, let me know if I've left anything out and happy gym mornings to all my fellow early birds!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just One Thing Makes me Forget...

Red, Red, Wine...

Stay close to me?

I don't think so!

I'm not much of a drinker, but apparently, red wine is this girl's kryptonite. It's always made me kind of sleepy and I tend to like something a little lighter and more refreshing. But since it's been raining like crazy and last night's dinner of whole wheat vegetable lasagna (courtesy of Trader Joe's) seemed a little incomplete, I imbibed in a glass goblet of cabernet merlot before dinner, sipped one during dinner, and fell asleep halfway through my third glass while reading on the couch.

Now I'm paying for it dearly with the worst headache hangover of my life. My head and my tummy are seriously angry with me...

Breakfast anyone?

Since my diet today is looking pretty sparse, I'll share the info on last night's dinner, which was delicious, by the way. And unlike red wine, I will definitely be having it again--Just not today. I meant to rave about Trader Joe's lasagna earlier but I was, well, drunk. 


And here are the nutrition stats for those interested:
1 Box = 290 calories, 9g fat, 41g carbs, 7g sugar, and 5g fiber 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Debt Diet

I said before that "diet" is a dirty word. Here's one I like even less: debt.

Debt of any kind, sucks, for lack of a better word. Whether it's student loans, personal loans, or my personal number one thorn in my side: credit card debt.

I'm sure most twenty-something guys and gals can relate to this one in some way. My personal debt situation started, and spiraled, after I graduated high school and worked for a year before returning to school. And as we all know, being a student is not exactly a lucrative job. We become students to get the good jobs, knowing that (while we're studying) we'll have to bus tables, rack weights at gyms, baby-sit or make cappuccinos, to get there. In my case, all of the above.

Still, none of these jobs are exactly high paying either...

Credit card companies know all of this. That when venturing out into the world, we are young, fairly naive, working hard for little pay and living independently of our parents for the first time. In other words, flat broke. And at the ages of nineteen to twenty-two, or however old you are while living the college life, you're not really expected to make the best choices all of the time. A lot of that hard-earned money is easy-spent, and fast. On groceries, the laundromat, alcohol, partying, and in my case: shopping.

It's a pretty enticing offer to pass up, when you think about it. Being young, fabulous and on a college cafeteria meal plan, credit cards look like these gleaming, awesome means of free money.
Yeah. It's free money and it has your name on it. Of course we want them! And they are all too easy to get. Once you have one, you can open up a store charge pretty much anywhere.
You can buy the things you've been going without. And you don't have to pay for it until...later.

c'mon. you know you want it...

What they don't tell you--Or what you don't read in the fine print--is that you DO have to pay. You have to pay more than the cost of everything you bought with all that free money, because of a little/big thing called INTEREST.

Yes, I definitely went a little a lot crazy with credit cards. I got swipe-happy pretty much everywhere I went. In fact, when I watched 2009's Confessions of a Shopaholic, I was horrified to discover more than a few parallels between the title character and myself.

"They said I was a valued customer. Now they send me hate mail. " -Rebecca Bloomwood, Confessions of a Shopaholic

The bills start coming. And then the phone calls. And then more phone calls. And what started out as a few fun splurges turns into a poor credit score and some ridiculously high monthly bills on an entry level salary. And all of the minimum payments in the world don't seem to make even a dent. Why?

Interest, right!


Now that I've managed (with my dad's help) to consolidate my bills, I am putting myself on a serious spending budget and getting debt free once and for all! It may take some sacrifice and a little self discipline, but I'm no stranger to either, and I know that with this particular diet, when I have all of these bills off my back, I'll be feeling a lot lighter!

Time Flies

When you're super busy!

I can't believe I haven't posted in 3 days!!! Well, I'll double make up for it today with two posts :)

(it's three if you include this little blurb!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

There's a man in my life who has never, ever let me down.

He is quiet, strong, capable and loving.

He is funny, hard-working, courageous and kind.

He has a wife and two daughters, and has made them his world.

He tickles, gives piggy-back rides, reads bedtime stories and good night kisses.

He can doctor a scraped knee and a broken heart with equal tenderness and compassion.

He is a teacher, a coach, a confidante and a friend.

He has shown me what a father, and a husband, and a friend, should be.

He lets me know how much I am loved.

& I know that no matter where I am, or who I'm with, or how old I get...

He will always be my Daddy.

Happy Father's Day, Dad, I love you!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I signed up for What?!?

The Warrior Dash.

And it's less than two weeks away.

And I haven't done any training since breaking my toe.


I received a confirmation e-mail today, which confirmed that I signed up for the 10 a.m. "wave" of
The Warrior Dash on Sunday, June 26th. And when I signed up, I was pretty gung ho about the whole thing. I mean, a 10k obstacle course with a party afterward and the added incentive that the proceeds go to our Iraqi vets, made it a no-brainer!

For those of you who haven't heard of it, the Warrior Dash is, and I quote:

"A mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from hell. This fierce running series is held on the most challenging and rugged terrain across the globe. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits, and celebrate with kick-ass music, beer and warrior helmets."

 ...I just hope I'm ready for this!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Diet is a Dirty Word

I woke up feeling like I had to write this down. I was thinking it since before I even opened my eyes actually. Last night I was editing the page on my health and fitness philosophy and how I try to live day-to-day and I thought I should post at least some of it...

It's summer (duh) And for many, many, many people that means stressing about their "bikini body"
Going after the perfect body (whatever that is) and becoming obsessed with how best to attain it. Actually, as a society, we're looking for the quickest, fastest, easiest way to attain it.

...dieting, weight, scales, etc. And, call me crazy, but none of those things seem to go with the fun, carefree vibe of summer. I'm not saying I've never felt the pressure. Honestly, this is probably the first time since my pre-pubescent years that I haven't broken into a cold sweat thinking about bathing suit shopping.

...And working at a bookstore, it's kind of disheartening to see not one, but three, separate sections devoted to diets.


Because it's marketed to us? Because it's in our faces everywhere we go and in everything we do?

I don't know where this obsession came from, I just know that people buy into it. I include myself because I spent years trying to be "perfect" and nearly died in the process. But I never enjoyed any of those summers, because I never felt I was good enough, no matter how thin I was or what my measurements were or what the number on the scale read.

It never made a bit of difference. It never will. The only thing you can change is yourself and your thinking. I may see flaws in myself physically sometimes, but does that mean I'm going to starve and worry constantly when I could be hanging out with my friends and enjoying life? Heck, no!

All of that said, I do not, and will not diet this summer. Or, at all, rather. I work out. I eat ice cream.

And I feel like I can rock a bikini-

flaws and all.

Get to the Greek!

Greek Yogurt is one food I eat in some form or another almost daily--if not, at least five days out of seven. It is such an incredibly versatile food and it's also super yummy and sooooo good for you too!

As a vegetarian I use it because it's a great source of protein (20 grams per cup as opposed to 10 or 12 in regular yogurt) and it doesn't have any added sugar that most yogurt brands contain, so it's lower in carbohydrates. It's low in fat and calories--I'm not counting carbs or calories--depending on the kind you buy, low in sodium and high in calcium and can actually improve lactose intolerance. I'm mildly lactose intolerant but I can enjoy as much of this thick n creamy yogurt as I want and not get a belly ache.

Because of its growing popularity, there are lots more flavors, brands and options to choose from.

I'm a big fan of Chobani yogurt. It's probably my favorite. But I also like Oikos because...

They started making caramel and chocolate flavors which are an awesome dessert choice!

Here's a little break down of the nutritional values in comparison to other brands:

greek-yogurt-cabot greek-yogurt-oikos greek-yogurt-face greek-yogurt-chobani

Cabot Plain (6 oz.)21017558067
Chobani Plain (6 oz.)240176560614
Fage Total Classic (7 oz.)26320.135576.113.1
Oikos Plain (5.3 oz.)900060615

And here are some of the ways I use my yogurt:

  • In place of sour cream on a baked sweet potato
  • As a dip or salad dressing 
  • As a snack/dessert mixed with honey and walnuts
  • As a tasty side to a salad lunch
  • To thicken and add a protein boost to smoothies
  • As a frozen yogurt (recipe below)

Vanilla Greek Frozen Yogurt
2 cups reduced-fat or non-fat (2-0 %) plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
Stir together Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour until well chilled. Freeze but let it soften for about ten minutes for serving. Easy, right?
Makes about 1 pint (4 servings)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Unemployed to FUNemployed

This is a long one. You've been warned.

(Thanks Julie and Courtney for the term "funemployment")

I'll admit it. Actually, I already did admit it (see below) I've been in a bit of a slump, feeling stuck.

Going from working 40-50 hours--or more--a week (no matter how much you hate dislike your job) to not working at all, or working very little, is a major adjustment!

It can make you get really down on yourself, even in the best circumstances. The fact that millions of Americans are in the same spot due to a struggling economy does little to help when you're staring down your own pile of bills and worrying about the future.

The best thing, I've found, is to look at the positive consistently. I'm not unhappy. I'm doing things I enjoy. I love my part time gig at Barnes and Noble and am so thankful to have it. The people are all so great, and I get to be in a place that I love (I hang out there constantly anyway, so it's pretty nice to get paid for it!) while enjoying an awesome discount on frappuccinos!

make mine a light caramel, no whip

Also, I get to devote more time to my writing, which has been amazing! No, writing isn't necessarily the most lucrative career. But it is my passion. And it's segued into blogging, which I love too, even though I'm definitely not a pro and I still have a lot to learn, the learning is part of the fun.

That's not me. It's Carrie!

And speaking of learning...

I'm going back to school!

I'm taking classes and am back in school again! Finishing my degree is so important to me. And working full time (with an unpredictable schedule) made it hard to do. I'm taking courses that are completely new to me, and challenging for me. In a good way. I'm really proud of myself for diving back in after three years away from school. I'm especially proud of myself for re-learning Algebra!


Even with all of these things to be thankful for, there are definitely a few things I've found to be helpful when you're dealing with not working. As I've said before, I'm not great with idle time. Having your days free, all day, every day, sounds good in theory. But in reality, I was going stir crazy after day 2 of doing laundry and watching Soapnet and Dr. Phil.

Here are my lived-and-learned tips for living funemployed

1. Have a set schedule. Treat the weekdays as though they were still workdays. I still set my alarm for 7:15 a.m. and get up at that time every day (weekends too, but that's just me) Consistency is key. If you fall into the pattern of not going to bed until 2 a.m. and then sleeping until noon the next day, it really throws you.

2. Have something planned, for when you get up. Whether it's a favorite class at the gym (ie: kickboxing, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings) going for a run, committing to volunteer project, or just making coffee and job prospecting on-line. Having something to do, in my experience, makes you feel more like you're getting something done. Leave your sneakers by your alarm clock. Hang a copy of your gym's class schedule where you can see it, and highlight the classes you plan on taking.

3. Plan your day in advance. I am a total list person. I seriously love making to-do lists and the satisfaction of checking things off of them. I like to make a little list in the morning while I'm having my coffee. Whether it's errands, groceries, plans, or job prospects to follow up on, I like to plan ahead. Usually the "list" looks completely different by the end of the day, but I like having at least the allusion of a structured day!

4. Dress nicely. This cannot be overstated. In the beginning of my unemployment I literally lived in my Victoria's Secret Pink sweats.
 If not sweats, running shorts and a tee shirt. Just because you don't have to dress "business casual" doesn't mean you shouldn't. Work a few skirts into the rotation. A blouse or a cute cardigan. Wear cute shoes. As my mom says, you never know who you'll meet or what the day will bring!

5. Shower. This may sound ridiculously obvious, but when you have nowhere to be, it's waaaay too easy to put getting ready off.  Act as if you ARE going to work. Or going somewhere nice.
Take a shower, shave your legs (Yes, even if you're single. That is not a valid excuse in any way!)
Style your hair, enjoy the extra time you have to fix your make-up or moisturize. Wear your favorite shade of lipstick. Dab a little perfume of your wrists. You'll feel so much better, inside and out!