Friday, May 30, 2008

points or core?

I had already warned a few friends that if I did not lose any weight this week, they were going to meet the most bitter person in the world. Thankfully for all involved, I weighed in at 161, which is definitely down from 165.5 last week, which means I get to bury that bitter person back down deep inside. This week I really stuck to my Weight Watchers points--and the key difference was actually writing them down this week. The other thing that helped I think was checking off water and vegetables--that felt pretty healthy.

I was considering switching to the Core plan (where you don't keep track of points but are limited to certain foods) but the key to that is knowing when you're full and I definitely am guilty of eating mindlessly. Has anybody tried the Core plan? I'd totally appreciate opinions. My goal is to get back down to my weight I was 3 years ago--140.

I maintained exercising this week, though I still haven't finished out the other 80 minutes of cardio though...

Overall, I'd consider this a good start to the weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

UFC 83

I know, I'm so late with this review of UFC 83 in Montreal because UFC 84 just happened last weekend but it had a great card featuring one of my favorite fighters, George St. Pierre. Joe Rogan was out but Kenny Florian was quite the competent substitute.

It was kicked off with a great fight between two lightweights Mac Danzig and Mark Bocek. The first round had great energy: these wiry scrappers had fast transitions, some sweet reverses, topped with some moments of "this is it". It was the third round where Danzig gave a sharp knee causing a nasty cut above Bocek's eye, which was just streaming during the rest of the fight. Danzig eventually got the submission with a rear naked choke--though I'm sure we'll be seeing more of tenancious Bocek.

Next was the middleweights, Michael Bisping vs. Charley McCarthy. The highlight for me was their entrance music--Bisping went with The Clash's "London Calling" and McCarthy chose the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black". I would have given McCarthy mad, mad props if he used Marie Laforet's French version of "Paint It Black" (from Talledega Nights) considering this event was in Montreal. The lowlight of the fight would be McCarthy's constant tongue-wagging and gorilla chittering after a barrage of hits.

Yes, yes we get it, after being pummeled you can make funny faces which sends the message that you're one tough fighter. You know what really sends that message home? Winning. Or not totally turtling on the ground waiting for the bell to ring, which in this case, did not deter the ref from calling a stoppage. Yes, McCarthy did have that solid takedown but he couldn't capitalize on it even with an arm bar attempt. I suggest McCarthy focus on his game not making faces.

Yeesh, and the now-infamous Kalib Starnes vs. Nate Quarry match. Perhaps their entrance music was a hint of the match to come: Quarry's choice of Public Enemy's "Shut 'em Down" vs. Starnes' selection of The Verve's emo-pop hit "Bittersweet Symphony". Quarry, who looked amazingly fit and shredded for someone who recently recovered from back surgery, was the aggressor the entire fight while Starnes was literally running backward for most of the fight. Florian's comment pretty much summed it up, "Not sure what Kalib's strategy is..." Quarry ended up mocking him by chasing Starnes in an exaggerated running man. Now in real life, flight is realistically a great strategy, but when you're paid to fight, you're not supposed to pick that option. Starnes obviously lost the fight, earning the first 30-24 scores I ever heard.

Quarry kept it light in the post-fight interview in the ring by quoting Rocky IV "I guess what I'm trying to say is that, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!" Though I don't think US-Canadian relations are as chilly as the Cold War relationship in Rocky IV. I look forward to Quarry's next movie quote--I remember he gave this Napoleon Dynamite gem in another fight, "You think anybody wants a roundhouse kick to the face while I'm wearing these bad boys?"

The Travis Lutter vs. Rich Franklin light heavyweight bout started out promising with my favorite entrance music of the night--AC/DC's "For Those About to Rock" for Franklin. Lutter came in with the recognizable but mellow "Rock Star" by Nickelback--not a good sign. The first round featured Lutter bring Franklin to the ground, fully mounting him and getting him in a text book arm bar, which Franklin impressively escaped. Unfortunately, Lutter pretty much pooped out after that and even entered the 2nd round gassed out--frankly, embarrassingly so. Lutter is probably going to be pretty depressed when he reviews this footage. Ultimately, the ref stops the fight. Franklin in his post-fight ring interview though initially giving a tip of the cap to him, remarks that Lutter is "known for his lack of conditioning". Oh no, he dih-int!

Finally, the George St. Pierre and Matt Serra welterweight fight. What can I say? It went how I expected it, given that GSP is a phenomenal fighter--physically and mentally he is tight. Serra gave some good ground defense and landed a few punches, but he looked gassed out compared to GSP. Finally the fight was stopped as Serra turtled under a barrage of knees to the midsection. GSP just dominated. I heard he's fighting undefeated Fitch next--that should be a great fight.

Overall UFC 83 was one of my favorites. I have to confess that corporate shilling reached its regrettable "high" when Goulet (fought in the prelims) spraypainted his head with the web address of a sponsor. On the plus side, discovering Kenny Florian was a pretty good commentator was a pleasant surprise. And my question for the evening--where was Herb Dean? Maybe he wasn't able to get his passport in time...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

one more time

With the encouragement of some friends, I decided not to screw it all and eat my heart out. I decided to stick with it, where I'm writing down everything I eat and made a goal of doing 120 minutes of cardio this week as well as some weights. I've got 80 to go.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Holy Shinto

165.5. My highest non-pregnant weight ever.

How did this happen? Let's see...I exercised every day upping to 30 minutes of cardio...I skipped all the naughty stuff like sweets (except for one cupcake) and fries...I've been eating a painful amount of vegetables...GAAAAAAHHHH!

Seriously, I could have gained this weight by kind of doing some things a lot more fun, i.e., the opposite of this week. But I suppose there is a rational part of me that thinks how much worse it could have been if I had. And there's an irrational part of me that thinks someone is putting extra stuffing in their Franny voodoo doll.

I guess I should stick with the exercise and healthy eating. Or screw it and eat whatever I want.

Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sweet Sushi

I volunteered to contribute to the Teachers' Appreciation Breakfast so I signed up for cream cheese (for bagels, ostensibly) and to make a little dessert. I found this Sweet Sushi project in this month's FamilyFun magazine and Velina wanted to make them. With a poundcake, frosting, coconut, some fruit roll-ups, and a lot of Swedish fish, we made these:

And after 3 hours we had a nice platter to go:

Pretty sweet, huh?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Finally, he gets the girl

When this came out, I had absolutely no interest in seeing it:

But, then I saw that James Marsden was playing the love interest, so in the end, I had to see it. Because I had to witness James Marsden FINALLY get the girl.

In some of the biggest hit movies, like The Notebook, Superman Returns, Enchanted, and all three X-Men movies, Marsden has played the sweet and devoted beau who is passed over for someone else. It's not like his characters are jerks or a**holes that you're rooting for the female lead to leave--he's like the good looking sweetheart that your parents would be thrilled if you got knocked up by him. So it was sweet relief to see him end up with the girl in this one. Oooo, did I give something away? Sorry.

Regarding the movie, it's pretty formulaic, though highlights include the lead characters trying to sing the Elton John's "Benny & the Jets", because does anyone really know the lyrics? Also, right before the big kiss, Marsden's expression of sweet relief during his "I cried like a baby at the Teller wedding" line was the perfect. If I didn't know any better, the relief behind that was, at long last, I'm finally getting the girl. Also Judy Greer is a scene-stealer as Heigl's buddy.

Besides the formulaic ending where everyone is happy (ouch, sorry, did I give something away again?), I also got distracted in the "Benny & the Jets" scene by the background actors. I'm pretty sure the director said, ok, when these two start singing to the Elton John song, you guys are going get into it, have fun and start to sing along.

Well, I think think the direction they heard was, ok, when these two start singing to the Elton John song, react like they're spinning straw into gold and burping diamonds. Then get into it like you're rocking out at a Who concert. Oh, and then start singing along.

Perhaps that's just me. Anyhoo, bottom line, see this if you want to behold Marsden finally winning the girl. Actually I have no idea if there are older Marsden movies where he wins the girl--feel free to enlighten me if there are.

On another note, to a super sweet guy in real life who happens to be my buddy's nephew:

Happy Birthday Travis!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Annabelle!

To the best sister anyone could wish for--Happy Birthday Annabelle!

Hard to believe you were ever this little--you've accomplished so much, you're beautiful inside and out, and I lean on you...often.

I love you Annabelle--I hope you have a super birthday and many more.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hope you had a delicious Mother's Day

We went to the The Melting Pot for Mother's Day last Saturday. As you might know I boycott establishments on Valentine's Day and Mother's Day especially this establishment as we went here a couple of Mother's Days ago and got a prix fixe menu (i.e., hey Moms, you don't get to choose what you want because we're only making these 5 items) and felt rushed through. This time, the weekend after Mother's Day, we came here at 6pm and left almost 3 hours later. We only had cheese fondues (three in a row, to be exact) and then hit a dessert fondue.

If you haven't been to The Melting Pot, they prepare the fondues right at your table, mixing some savory liquid (beer, sherry, bouillion), the cheeses, the spices and stirring it around. We asked our waiter if he was given special training for it and he said when he applied there, he was given this huge written wine test because The Melting Pot is also known for its fine wine (since we're not wine connoisseurs, we had no idea). He then went through three interviews, two weeks of training and then a final exam (a lot of it on wine pairing). He said about 7 out of 10 pass this final. Who knew?!

So of course, given we had a wine expert, we asked for his recommendation for the final cheese fondue and he got us a nice Hess Cabernet and a "buttery" Chardonnay. Again, we're not wine experts, but they balanced nicely against the savory cheese fondue.

And of course, we had a dessert fondue. The stuff you dip into the fondue is a dessert platter by itself:

We chose the bananas foster fondue, which they made with white chocolate and bananas and managed to flambe, including the the cinnamon which looked like burning embers.

Needless to say it was delicious.

Hope everyone had a sweet Mother's Day--whenever you celebrated it!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Almost cheaper than crack

and healthier:

There is a sale at the Oasis (which is going through tomorrow, Saturday). I'm sure I've confessed before that I'm addicted to alphas. Though my old man is probably going to pass out when he sees my unintentional attempt at stimulating the economy. In fairness, it looks like I'll have to get that expensive Greek yogurt that he likes so much from Trader Joe's. It's pretty delicious yogurt but ounce for ounce, it's more expensive than shrimp. Oh well, he's worth it.

Like the way I'm worth these alphas.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shouldn't I be high?


But true. This was for filling up my Honda Accord. Not a truck or an SUV or even a cool minivan. A Honda Accord.

For this kind of one-shot outlay of $50, shouldn't I be naked receiving some oily massage? Shouldn't I be laughing in some restaurant where I'm wearing makeup and heels and drinking from a bottle that doesn't have a pirate or a train on the label? Shouldn't I be in some chic Euro club snorting something while Paris Hilton is holding my hair back?

Reality is, the only white lines I'm doing are the ones one my Honda Accord slowly cruises over at approximately 20 cents a mile. Holy crud. $50. I used to fill this tank for less than $30. See now, that's reasonable. Sheesh. Now I really want a hybrid.

Anybody got a hybrid and saving muchos dolares and going to the spa with all that extra dough-re-mi?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Zooming in

As the card hints, I got a cool thing (among many) for my birthday this year:

Paul surprised me with this lens for my camera. At first, I turned my nose up to this--what am I going to do with a telephoto zoom lens? I'm mostly interested in portraits and isn't this lens of sport fanatics and stalkers? But at Paul's urging, I tried it out and I have to confess, I was pleased with the pictures I got. I took Velina and Lindsay to the pool and got this one poolside as I was sitting in my chair:

And then I got this one sitting 30 feet away in the shade:

If you're wondering if she was swimming in a vat of psychedelic Kool-Aid, I'll confess that I was playing around in Photoshop and really pumped the Saturation. Note to self: dial it down from 11 on the Saturation.

The downside is that with this telephoto zoom lens on, the camera looks like this:

Even though I'm female, taking pictures of 8 year-old-girls at the pool with this setup, I felt a greasy comb-over short of looking like Uncle Pervy.

But beyond that, I'm looking forward to using this lens a lot more. Because of the aperture, I aim to use it a lot outside but 5 feet or more and this baby can give me some pretty sweet candid portraits.

So to my man and girl, I do like this present--thank you!

Monday, May 12, 2008

We are the Champions, my Friends

We made it. First off, thanks to all of you who supported all my efforts in raising money for the Orange County AIDWalk, whether it was a donation, passing word of my effort, purchasing a tote bag, or encouraging words. It's been a long number of weeks and you were the wind beneath my wings, people! I came $40 shy of my goal but I am NOT complaining, every bit helps to those affected by this devastating illness. I know OC AIDSWalk supports services that provide assistance to those affected by AIDS and HIV including food, transportation, housing, legal assistance, primary medical care, and prevention education. So thank you all for being a part of the solution.

To Susan, Jennifer, and Cheryl who participated in my Dymo for a good cause raffle, please e-mail me your shipping addresses. I've got a cursive dymo for each of you. I appreciate your kind donations as well as your love of Dymo!

And last but not least, the Walk itself. First, did I mention that my girl's design was voted on our team t-shirts? It was put on the back:

What can I say? I loved it--the anime girl with the big head, the field of sparse flowers,the simple message. I'm proud of her efforts and she was really pleased to see her work on the shirts.

Another highlight--walking behind this guy for a spell:

There's something about hearing Madonna's "Hard Candy" CD being blasted from the storage pocket of an electric scooter going 2 mph, ridden by a mature man with a towering rainbow flag that, frankly, tickles me.

Despite that you lose your WalkTeam in the crowds pretty much immediately, I have to confess that physically-speaking, the OC AIDSWalk at Angel Stadium is one of the easiest walks there is. Believe me, I've done my share of charity walks including one for March of Dimes years ago that was 30 km (18 miles) long. This one is about 5 km, but it simply is a giant flat walk around Angels Stadium, culminating in a lap on the warning track on Angels field itself. I felt a little bad for the folks who were put at the various checkpoints along the way to cheer us on--they were cheering and rooting for us as if we had finished running a seventieth mile uphill--because seriously, it's a harder walk getting to the Rainforest Cafe from Macy's at South Coast Plaza or to the movie theaters from the parking structure at the Spectrum than it is doing this walk...but, of course, their enthusiasm for the event was appreciated.

A highlight last year on the field was getting put on the JumboTron as you walked on the warning track. I had my girl re-walk in front of it so many times as I took pictures of the JumboTron that eventually the camera guy sighed, I think that's enough... This year, instead of the JumboTron, they allowed access to the dugouts while playing an endless loop of Queen's We are the Champions and Survivor's Eye of the Tiger. Here we are, with the help of our friend Lindsay, expressing the various emotions of the culminating Walk (L to R): distraction, sweaty elation, befuddled exhaustion, and are-we-done-yet?

Oh yes, we're done, but we were all Champions at this year's OC AIDSWalk--thanks everybody!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Making totes for a good cause

So, with help from Linda, I made some tote bags for a craft fair fundraiser we had a work for the OC AIDSWalk. I loved making these!

Check out the linings and handmade tags:

I sold most and even had some special orders for different sizes! Sweet.

The OC AIDSWalk is this Saturday, May 10. For those interested in supporting my fundraising efforts (and entering my Dymo for a Good Cause raffle), you still have through Saturday! I've almost reached my personal goal...aaaannnndd my girl's drawing is one of the two winning graphics that are going to be on the team shirts. I can't wait to see the shirts!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What's with these homies dissing my girl?

Why do they have to front?

The relevance of the Weezer lyrics are due to a blogging friend posting that some things are like the Oakland Raiders, that is, folks either love them or hate them. And apparently, my favorite non-milk and non-alcoholic beverage, Diet Coke Plus is one of those things.

Wha?! If you haven't tried Diet Coke Plus yet and you're not afraid to have your mind blown by this heavenly liquid, do it asap. It's like they boosted the flavor to 11, PLUS they added vitamins and minerals so if you ate it with toast and eggs, it's part of a well-balanced breakfast.

For those who can't recognize its glory, please leave it for those of us who appreciate Diet Coke Plus so we can wet our golden whistles with it. Perhaps the naysayers can give it a try later in life when they've had more life experience to grasp the Diet Coke Plus greatness--kind of like truffles, caviar, fine wine, a Porsche, the Grand Canyon.

I know I'm not alone here, right?