Liebster Award…I Confess Creepy Things

liebster

So I was nominated by the fair Kendra to participate in the Liebster blog tag.  I’ve already won this a few times, but I love yakking your ears off in response to surveys (and–thanks K–you gave me a blogging topic for this weekend, and I wasn’t coming up with anything, so you SAVED ME); I will happily and humbly accept your nomination.rihanna rising gif

1. When you find an insect or arachnid in your house, what is your immediate response? Do you scream? Rescue the bug and let it outside? Kill it? No, I will not judge you (too harshly) for your response.   Depends on how big/hairy it is.  If it’s longer than an inch or so, it goes underfoot.  Otherwise I try to put a cup over it and slide an envelope beneath that and dump the whole package outside (UNLESS IT CAN JUMP OH GOD THAT’S THE WORST WHEN THEY CAN JUMP AND THEY JUST RAM THEMSELVES AGAINST THE GLASS OH GOD OH GOD).

2. What is your opinion on so-called “white lies?” Are they necessary in certain cases to avoid hurting someone? Or should they be avoided at all costs?  Hmm.  This is too dang deep for a blog survey…how do I say this without sounding awful..? I tell a lot of lies.  Storyteller by nature, et cetera…I just really like embellishing stories to get a reaction out of people.  I add harmless little details that I think’ll make it funnier or something.  I don’t even realize I’m doing it, which is the scariest part.  I’ll actually convince myself that the embellished version was the actual course of events…if I’m ever telling you a really fanciful story, you should ask me if I’m lying.  I’ll probably blink dazedly a few times and respond with “Oh…I guess I am!”  I DO STRIVE TO AVOID THIS on the blog, though, because it’s much harder to accidentally type up a lie than speak it.

Hmm, what was the actual question?  Oh…white lies.  I don’t think you should lie to avoid hurting people, but don’t deliberately tear someone down either.  Honesty is always the best policy…like if they ask for a critique on something that sucks, just point out the flaws along with the good points.  There’s always good points.

3. What is one of the most bizarre/detailed/vivid dreams you have ever had? Have you ever had a dream that predicted something in the future (yes, this was inspired by the aforementioned dream I had)?  Well…heh.  Do I ‘fess up here?  Every dream I have is extremely vivid and bizarre.  Extremely.  My most recent dream (meaning last night) was that my brother and I had accidentally murdered Shrek the ogre.  Also, my brother was Remus Lupin, from the Harry Potter series, except he was wearing a bra, patterned with oranges.  (It was quite a lovely bra.)  The big oak tree in our yard was actually the Whomping Willow, and we stowed Shrek’s corpse in the Shrieking Shack which was nearby, through a tunnel.  (Realization: it was actually supposed to be Snape that we killed, but I guess my brain subbed in the image of Shrek because it couldn’t picture a dead Snape..?) Then the police showed up, saying there had been a reported attempted break-in at our house.  I had this really awesome grandma who didn’t resemble any of my actual grandmas but she could do kung-fu and she took out two of the cops with her walker.  Then the rest of the police force showed up, but it turned out to be my childhood Taekwon-do class, so there was a brief happy reunion before our living room turned into the PE gym and we lined up on opposite sides of it, getting ready to square down.

That was actually kind of a tame dream for me.

4. Do you eat food that you’ve dropped on the ground? Or throw it away in disgust? Do you follow expiration dates on all packaged food, or only with dairy products and other mold-prone food? This was inspired by the fact that I recently threw out a tub of almost-empty yogurt that had expired a month ago. Even I have my limits when it comes to expired food.   Depends on the type of food.  Is it good chocolate?  I’ll eat good chocolate off a toilet seat.  (I’ll, like, rinse it off first…)  I eat most foods off the floor.  I’m exceedingly ignorant-by-choice of the types of bacteria that thrive in carpets.  It makes life so much simpler.  I am kind of obsessive about expiration dates though…I have an awful nagging fear that I’ll get food poisoning and die if I eat something even a day past the expiration date.  It just looks so final…it’s scary, man.

5. Do you have one or more social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc…)? How has it affected your life, both positively and/or negatively? Or do you prefer to stay off of such websites?  Yup.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest; check, check, check and check.  I’m a really big fan of social media.  It allows me to connect with others, like my old Wyoming friends, stay in touch, and promote things.  And I love the tiny windows into other’s lives.  (I’m the kind of person who cranes their neck to see into people’s houses when they’re driving past, not because I want to, erm, see anything explicit, but because it really fascinates me to see the kind of spaces other people spend the majority of their lives in.  Is this another thing I can attribute to just having a writer-brain? :D)  I don’t really think they’ve had a big negative impact on my life.  I don’t think they’re interesting enough to get addicted to…only blogs and Tumblr have that power over me.

6. Why exactly are there warning labels on things such as bottles of hairspray stating “Do not use near heat, flame, or while smoking.” “Avoid inhalation.” “Avoid spraying in eyes”? Do these companies think we are idiots, or are they simply terrified of being sued by a person who says “You didn’t tell me that it’s dangerous to use my hair dryer in the bathtub!! How dare you do such a thing!!” Yes, this is somewhat of a rhetorical question, so instead of answering it, feel free to share the most absurd warning labels you have ever seen.  Yeah, I think it comes of the companies being afraid of sue-age.  (Haha…)  Why would you even use your hair dryer in the bathtub anyway?  Are there really people that hellbent on multitasking?

7. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? If so, what was his/her/it’s name? Was it human, animal, vegetable, mineral, or alien?  I…well, I did.  Her name was…*cringes* Plecostomus, because that was a type of fish I had in my fish tank.  I just called her Platty for short.  I’m not sure she wasn’t human; she was humanoid, but she had green skin and red hair and in the world she came from capitalization was reversed so she wrote her name pLATTY.  I was…a special child.

8. Do you talk to yourself on a regular basis? Or perhaps to your pets? Have you ever engaged in a fascinating discussion or argument with yourself? (Please tell me I’m not the only one who has done this…)  Well, I journal daily, which is essentially an elaborate written conversation with myself.  Sometimes if I’m alone (or in math class) I’ll make snide little remarks to myself, but I don’t know that I’ve ever had a fully-fledged self-argument, a la Eleventh Doctor in Nightmare in Silver.

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(photo credit the BBC)

9. When was the last time you sent an actual pencil-and-paper letter to someone? Do you think handwritten letters are always more intimate and personal than an email or text message, or does it depend on the situation? Speaking of which, can you write in cursive (I can’t, so don’t worry about being judged here)?  I probably send more snail mail than most people, but I still haven’t sent a letter in a long time.  Maybe it was…a year ago??  People don’t do it nearly often enough, but I love getting handwritten letters.  I feel so shpecial upon receiving one, and I definitely feel like there’s a stronger interpersonal connection there than with email.  That said, I also love email, since it’s so much more practical and speedy and allows me to keep up with friends whom I don’t see on a daily basis! (Love ya, Cleo!)

can write in cursive.  Pretty well.  I’ve got a fancy fountain pen and I spent a lot of one summer trying to make my script as pretty as possible.  My normal, note-taking, paper-writing printing is somewhat of an ugly lovechild between printing and cursive…teachers hate it, I hate it sometimes (all the letters are nondescript lumps), but it looks vaguely artistic.

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10. Do you feel as though TV or magazine advertisements actually make you more likely to purchase the product being advertised? Or do you simply enjoy mocking them and/or laughing at them? Feel free to mention one of the strangest, best, worst, most sexist, or most creative advertisement you’ve ever seen.  I mean, I’m sure they do influence my purchases.  I try not to let them, but if they weren’t effective, advertising wouldn’t be the multi-billion-dollar industry it is now, right?  I do like to mock them; and a lot are selling naked women, rather than, um, the actual product.  BUTBUTBUTBUTBUT–the Phillipines version of Pantene made this really awesome commercial about negative labels that are applied to women vs men and how we can break through them, and it’s one of the coolest commercials I’ve seen in a long time.  Worth a watch:

My 10 questions time!  I’m upset that no one did my sock drawer survey.  (Except for TeenieYogini.  She’s just better than all of you.  *sniffs haughtily*) That hurts, you guys.  SOO I’m just going to steal the some of the questions from there and TAG people so they HAVE to respond, mwahahahaha…

  1. Show us your sock drawer.  *PEERpressurePEERpressure*
  2. Favorite type of workout?
  3. Favorite type of cheese (or cheeze)?
  4. What would your last meal be?
  5. Favorite outfit?
  6. Favorite caffeinated beverage?
  7. One of your favorite fictional characters has shown up on your doorstep ready to take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Who are they, and where do you go?
  8. Any tattoos you’d like?
  9. Hair color? Would you ever dye it? Chop it all off?
  10. Favorite smell?

And I tag:

1. Kris @ Plants & Pages

2. Andrea @ I Run for Donuts

3. Cleo @ The Literary Flaneur (yes I’m going to keep tagging you for these things; as your sassy clumsy friend I’m just going to pressure you into doing more and more surveys and stepping away from your insane TBR pile)

4. Kailey @ The Caffeinated Runner

5.  Lacey @ Life Hands You Limes

6.  Joelle @ On a Pink Typewriter

7. Alex @ The Run Within

*counts names on fingers furtively* Crap, that’s only seven.  All the other blogs I read (that haven’t been tagged already) are either too topic-specific for this kind of thing, or are too BIG (in terms of follower count), and nominating them sort of feels like yanking on an upperclassman’s sleeve to ask where the bathroom is.  I AM NOT WORTHY.  If you’re reading this, consider yourself nominated, I guess!!  I am so totally stoked you are reading this!  Congrats on your life decisions!

Y’all should recommend some more blogs to me.  Any other ramblers out there, either fitness-, food-, or literature-related?  ALL THREE?  I must meet some more of my kin.  We must form a tribe.

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I’m back! Have a health survey.

Insert fancy and outrageously witty intro here!  We have just returned from our weeklong Wyoming stay, and my brain is the happiest sort of mush.  It has been a whirlwind of a week, not to mention the drive home (have I told you yet that it’s 17 hours??) but I was left with lots of wonderful memories and mementos.  Time to resort to the oldest blogging trick in the book–it’s SURVEY TIME!  😀  No, they never end up being as easy-breezy as they seem, but at least my frazzled neurons don’t have to bother with the creative strain of coming up with a post topic.  I saw this healthy-living survey on Run2YourOwnBeat.  But first, since we have just returned from Wyoming, the obligatory horse picture:

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Whew.  Okay.  Onto survey!  This is such a brilliant transition.

1.  What did you eat for breakfast?

Grape-nuts and chia seeds.  As I’ve said before, my body is shunning oatmeal lately and I woke up too late to really fix something “fancy”, so cereal it was.

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Yay for recycled pictures! 😀

2.  How much water do you drink a day?

Too much.  A gallon or more, plus milk, fruit and veggies, etc.  I’m not sure why I’m so thirsty (we’ve done the diabetes testing, yes) but it hasn’t had any adverse side effects so far.  Other than constantly-full-bladder syndrome.

3.  What is your current favorite workout?

Running medium-distance, around 3 miles—I just wish I was better at it and that my knees favored it more.  I’m also looking into CrossFit…although at the moment, I am epically non-fit, cross- or otherwise.

4.  How many calories do you eat per day?

Heck, I don’t know.  A lot, probably.

5.  What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Carrots + peanut butter, pita + hummus, fruit, air-popped popcorn, cheese sticks, nuts, nut butter, etc.  The standard.

6.  What do you usually eat for lunch?

Carrot & peanut butter sandwich?  This seems to be my go-to lately.  #thebomb

7.  What is your favorite body part to strength train?

My wonderful legs, because cardio kind of counts as strength training them and also it hurts very much less than upper body.

8.  What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

Arms.  Back.  I’m weak.

9.  What are your “bad” food cravings?

Chocolatewhyisthisevenaquestion.

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First time ever trying Kona (coffee) Cake...I did a lot of worshipping the Dark Lord over this trip.

as is an Oh She Glows' Iced Mocha Green Monster

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Anti-inflammatory!  Anti-inflammatory!  Woot!

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MY handiwork!  MY handiwork!! (happy dances)

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I am woman, hear me roar.

10.  Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Often a multivitamin, a B-12 occasionally, and an acidophilus/probiotic supplement ever since my trip to Costa Rica and the ensuing gut bug. 😦  Bleh!

11.  How often do you eat out?

Rarely.  I think this is more based on lack of planning on our family’s part than disdain for outside eateries, however.

12.  Do you eat fast food?

Nope.  Actually, wait, hold on, I can’t really say this, can I, when I stopped at Burger King on our road trip just yesterday??  I ordered a veggie burger, sweet potato fries, and a large water.  So I guess I do—but once a year, or even more rarely than that.  I was hungry, you guys–beyond that, I was hangry.  You must really process this, understand how pressing the situation was.

🙂  (Source)

13.  Who is your biggest supporter?

Mah bad self.

14.  Do you have a gym membership?

Nope.  But I have a makeshift home gym in the garage!  It suddenly occurs to me that I’ve never showed you a picture of this, so here you are.

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It’s a bit roughhewn… 🙂  There’s a yoga mat in front of the TV for yoga DVDs, a few dumbbells/reistance bands, a dreadmill, a rowing machine, punching bag, weight cage, and pull-up bar.  Plus…a couch…for the Y-chromosome-havers of the house to play video games on (sigh).

15.  How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Oh, 9, at minimum.  Coffee the next morning is a given if I’m up past 10 studying or something. Smile with tongue out I sure wish I could be one of those people who just lights-outs for like four hours and then pops up ready for a new day (pretty much every other teenager I know), but I likes my sleep.  I’m a zombie without it.

16.  Do you have a “cheat” day?

Not consciously.  I eat a lot of chocolate.  I’m not cheating on anybody with it, though, so my conscience is clear…

17.  Do you drink alcohol?

Hahahaha.  I’m younger than you think I am.  I have been known to get a little heavyhanded with the vanilla extract, though.

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35%!!!  What can I say, I’m just a rebel grrrl like that.

18.  Do you have a workout buddy?

Mah bad self.

Also, as aforementioned, Daddio and I are running a 5k this month and participating in next year’s Seattle-to-Portland bike ride.  We shall see how training intensively together goes.

19.  What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

To be honest–I’m still working on that commitment thing.  I was really good for about two years, then with my knees, I fell off the bandwagon for 8 months and even though I’m not loving all the…changes…this forced exercise break put my body through, I’m finding it extremely hard to get back on said bandwagon.  You feel me? :/  I’ve tried multiple times to get back to my pre-fooey-knees exercise and health regimen, but no luck so far.  Lately I have discovered some new highly inspirational healthy living blogs, though, and they’ve helped a bit–also, my impending upcoming 5k is a huge motivator.  (I’m a competetive chickie.  What can I say.)  All I know is that I definitely want to get back to my old level of fitness, but it’s going to require a lot of mental stamina to do so.

20.  What was the last healthy thing you did?

Oh, I inhaled!  Inhalation is actually a really beneficial practice, providing oxygen to your entire body and providing a low-grade ab workout, while also serving to calm the body by reassuring it that it is not in a state of suffocation.  Winking smile  I jest, I jest.  No, once I really get up and at ‘em this morning, I plan to incorporate some form of strength training into my workout.  Been missing out on it lately in favor of running/exploring! Smile

Your turn!  Pick a question and answer it in the comments, or do the survey yourself! 🙂  Maybe you’ll be my healthy magic motivator.  Also, does your brain tend to turn to mush after travel?  I must confess I haven’t been exactly productive in the time we’ve been back…

WIAW: Intervention + A Smile Experiment

In my post about the weekend I mentioned that with all the cakes, pies, cupcakes, cake pops, and other manner of sweet things around the house, I was the burgeoning owner of a MASSIVE sugar addiction.  I’ve never been quite sure why this happens with me; I only know that I seem to have a very addictive personality, and things like desserts and blog-reading and vlog watching are its downfall.

I’ve been trying to “get clean” all week; I’ve improved somewhat, in that I no longer uncontrollably beg for a second slice of cake after finishing a meal, but I still have a ways to go in conquering this craving.  Over this week, I’ve been trying to slowly dial back my sugar consumption–today, I was supposed to go completely no-added-sugar, but, alas, we had muffins in the freezer…

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The day started off well–I had a light (for me) breakfast of Chocolate Covered Katie’s 2-ingredient energy balls (in a lovely Tupperware container), followed by a banana and natural peanut butter.  True, the dates in the energy balls have a lot of sugar packed into their volume, but…I think running justifies this?  Even if one is only running 3 miles..?  Not sure.  Anyway, I needed an energy-packed snack that wouldn’t weigh me down while on the hamster wheel.

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Accompanied with some Celestial Seasonings African Rooibos tea!  I love everything about this tea–from the smell to the taste to the texture to the color.  It’s “red” tea; and, for the record, when the box bragged of cherry and toffee flavors, I thought it was too good to be true…but the stuff is truly like sweet dreams packed into tea bags.  And caffeine-free!  I’m addicted.

(And yup, I read food magazines over breakfast!)

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Lunch was simple–I’d like to say I was writing so much I didn’t really have time to put together a fancy lunch, but the truth is that I’d been telling myself I was going to work on novelling any time now for about the past four hours, and I really didn’t want any lengthy meal-prep to interrupt my procrastination.  So.  Leftover scrambled eggs + veggies in a whole-wheat tortilla it was.

(Afterward I was quite dismayed that I didn’t put any avocado in this, so I ate half an avocado on its own.  Also another tortilla.  Also some swiss cheese, and pickles.  I was HUNGRY, and craving eggy/cheesy/salty things!)

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At around 2 o’ clock, blood sugar levels must have dropped, because the intense sugar (and chocolate) cravings came back again, full-force!  They were quelled temporarily by a lovely (and oh-so-stunning, right? ;))  green–er, brown–smoothie made with banana, milk, spinach, and cocoa powder.  Thick, delicious, and easy to down while writing (which I was actually doing by this point!).
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But, of course, nothing gold can ever stay.  It was 5 o’ clock by the time my thoughts rolled around to dinner, and I was planning to make NeverHomemaker’s baked veggie pockets; alas, the dough required two hours of refrigeration!  I still went ahead and whipped it up as quickly as possible, but I needed something to tide me over until actual dinner could begin–I found solace in two banana-pb-chocolate chip muffins popped from the freezer (saved from breakfast at the Hatchday Party!).

DSCN3362Conveniently, by the time it was time to need to knead the dough (sorry–couldn’t resist!)  not only my blood sugar levels, but my serotonin levels as well, seemed to have dropped markedly, and I had, alas, worked my way deep into the heart of a Cloud of Foo.  (This is a term I coined a couple of years ago to describe the oh-so-lovely and horrific mood swings plummets characteristic of the adolescent brain, and also for the longer bouts of depression characteristic to my brain.)  I’m convinced that kneading, however, was invented by a furious baker, long, long ago, who sought a way to vent his anger without disfiguring the faces of his comrades.  Or perhaps a god of stress management.  At any rate, I felt much better after a heated 10-minute kneading engagement, and after about 20 minutes outside working on my volleyball skills with Family & co.

I was also smiling the entire time I was kneading–not because it had instantly lifted the dreaded Cloud of Foo, but because I, reader of things, had once heard that smiling, even if forced, releases immense amounts of endorphins into one’s brain, thereby instantly cheering them up even if they were formerly in a Cloud of Foo!  (Of course, I didn’t allow any members of Family & Co.  to see me at it; because, as you know, when one is battling a Cloud of Foo, one is too sullen to even attempt to be in an agreeable mood.  One becomes so stubborn that one doesn’t let one’s family see them attempt to smile, for fear that one’s family will think they are cheering up!  The last thing one wants when one is in a sullen mood is to be perceived as anything but sullen.)

Did my 10 minutes of forced smiling have any effect?  Marginally…I think getting my blood stirred up via kneading and volleyball was more efficient, though.  I also headed out to the garage/home gym a while after dinner to bang on the punching bag, and that was relieving.  Still, I think by then I was kind of resigned to feeling crappy for the rest of the day–I’m just looking forward to waking up in the morning, when my Cloud of Foo and I can “reset”.

A final, more WIAW-related line:  I’m drinking some more herbal tea as I type this up.  Partly in the hopes that it will soothe my frenzied mind, and partly because it tastes so awesome.  I think I might read some Bible before hitting the sack.  As I frequently remind you, my religion is as-yet-undecided and ever in flux, but I find it worthwhile for the philosophical value alone.  Nothing like pondering the meaning of life and morality to take your mind of Clouds of Foo.Dramatic Tea and Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal 003

Let the Festivities Commence

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Great-Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe, preserved in the physical, non-Pinterest family recipe archives…

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IMG_3847 IMG_3848Yeah, I’ve been in a bit of a sugar coma these past few days.  I’m usually pretty good about staying away from the point where my stomach actually starts to hurt, but this week…

IMG_3864As it so happened, it was Little Bro’s birthday and Daddio’s birthday and parental anniversary and…my blogoversary is in 10 days!  (That really didn’t have any bearing on this weekend’s festivities, but I felt like including another “and”.)

I was going to make you guys a special virtual layer cake for the blogoversary (DYING TO MAKE THIS RECIPE FOR LIKE THREE YEARS NOW WHY DOES NO ONE IN OUR FAMILY LIKE WHITE CAKE MMMRRRGAHAH), but to be honest, I think I’d rather the above baked goods carry over as catering for the weeklong blogoversary celebration I plan on doing.  I’m hoping to do a 7-day series of posts full of blogging tips and maybe some other miscellaneous writing tips as well…not that I consider myself in any way qualified to give either, but…

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I also made you butt-ugly cake pops from the leftover frosting + cake cuttings from the Minion Cake!  (No one in our family has any idea how to make cake pops, so we just globbed up all the leftover crumbled cake and frosting, shaped it into our best attempts at spheres, and popped them in the freezer overnight.  This can hardly be called technique, but they were still mighty tasty.)

IMG_3867(How could I pass this recipe up for Little Bro’s party??!  [We used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen to make the cake {aka the best chocolate cake my taste buds have ever had privy to} and a Rachael Ray buttercream recipe, so the entire thing {save black icing + candy} was homemade!])  Despicable Me FTW!!

(^^Pretty much me every morning when I go to make a breakfast smoothie.)

Okay, sorry for the memeion overload.  That last one wasn’t not rebloggable, though.  Hugs to all!

Random festivity pics…

DSCN3024Sparklers!  For some reason when I set it to “Fireworks Show” mode, my camera’s shutter speed gets reeeeeaallly slow, so I can capture trails like this when people wave sparklers around.

DSCN3025This one’s a “W”.  I feel like that’s an omen of some sort.  I guess if your name begins with a W, today is your lucky day!  (I suppose it could also be a cursive “Z” gone badly…)

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IMG_20130717_132138This is my friend’s froyo bowl from the hatchday party, and I still can’t get over how dang pretty she made it.  ^Skill.

DSCN31893rd place–my LASER tag game is improving.  (LASER is an acronym, standing for “Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, did you know this?  I’m irked by the fact that the vast majority of the population doesn’t.  This is the reason why I am also irked when people spell it “lazer”, BECAUSE YOU CAN’T MESS WITH ACRONYMS, all right?)

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Minion cake, all suited up and ready for action!

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&pizzapizza.

Any celebration going on in your neck of the woods this weekend?  Thoughts on minions and/or the meaning of life?  (Bonus points if you can combine the two, and quadruple your score if you do it in verse.)  Would you be interested in me sharing my great-grandmother’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe?  Things you’d like me to cover in my 7-day blogging tip blogoversary series?  Let’s take this party down to the comments section!

(WordPress is insisting that “blogoversary” isn’t a word.   I would have thought better from the best dang bloggin’ platform around…)

Summer Resolutions

Resolutions are usually mystical entities declared by adults ’round the world come the beginning of a new year, in a champagne-, guilt-, and glitter-induced stupor–the doomed declarations that this year, this time, one shall finally “whittle their middle”, swear off the sweet stuff, wean away from Pinterest, and clean up one’s act.

This summer, I say hoshposh! to this madness.

I don’t recall making any New Year’s resolutions myself this year–stops, consults blog archives–no, whew, I didn’t.  I attribute this mainly to the midterms taking place around that time (exam stress can justify anything).  Honestly, I wonder if any student actually has time for such things.  The whole notion of a New Year’s Resolution seems rather pointless to me, as it is seldom followed through and often made simply because the resolver is under the influence of heavy peer pressure and one too many drinks…

But I am going to make some Summer Resolutions here, specifically summer blogging resolutions.  Much more practical notions.  Summer, at least for me, is the season of infinite motivation and willpower, as well as infinite free time (well, not really; but there’s more of it).  And I feel, at least up to this point, that I have not been making the best use of these resources.  So, behold the list:

The Girl in the Orange’s Summer Resolutions:

1.  Cook!  I don’t know how it happened–shall I attribute this, too, to schoolwork stress?–but somewhere over the course of the school year I decided that there was simply no longer enough time to cook dinner, so I resorted to such things as canned soups, frozen lasagnas and veggie burgers, and hummus/veggie/tortilla wraps…even on the days where I came home and blogged for hours.  I call myself a foodie–where was my pride?  Over the summer, I want to put this

Perks of being an aspiring cook, living in a kind vegetarian-packed city, and telling everyone you know about it.  (Most of these were free.)

Perks of being an aspiring cook, living in a kind vegetarian-packed city, and telling everyone you know about it. (Most of these were free.)

along with the farmer’s market’s current summer bounty, to good use–maybe even pick up a few new techniques or flex my recipe developing “skills” again.  Some blogosphere dishes I’m eyeing?  The Smart Kitchen’s TVP Cinnamon-Cocoa Mole; The Kitchn’s restaurant spin-off Beet Black Bean Burgers; Crock Pot Curried Lentils from Peanut Butter Fingers (not really the right season for this, but oh well); and, of course, all things Oh She Glows.  Basically, everything on my sprawling recipe Pinterest board.

Additionally, I want to get back to more food here on TGITO!!  I know I’ve kinda left it on the back burner, except for a few WIAW posts, in favor of writing-related entries, because that’s so much of what’s going on in my life right now–but, I assure you, I have not abandoned my voracious ways.

2.  Fit this Chick!  Ever since my knees said “Adios!  I don’t like you; I think you’re gross,” (you will be my new best friend if you get the song reference), exercise and healthy eating has also been on the back burner for me.  My thought process, upon injury, was something like Oh, woe is me–bring on the chocolate!!!  Unfortunately, 6 7 8 months of such thought patterns takes its toll on one’s body.  I have become rather…squishy.

I am currently working on scheming up a strict fitness regimen for the rest of the summer, based on other Summer Shapeup plans drifting around the blogosphere–because I want to actually go out for sports next year, getting into shape is going to be a huge priority over the next couple of months!  (And hey, here’s another, non-writing-related thingy to blog about, as a bonus!)

3.  Stop, savor, scribble.  I live in the 21st century–I do a lot of going.  Going online, going to the grocery store, going to get my priorities together, going to scream, going to the loo, going insane…  *WARNING**WARNING**IMPENDING CLICHE*  Our society, as a whole, doesn’t take nearly enough time to slow downsimplify, stop and smell the roses.  (Oh, I can attest an affinity for alliteration, what about you?)  For the writer that I consider myself, this pace is not an altogether agreeable one.

Last month, I took to carrying a little notebook and mechanical pencil around with me at ALL TIMES in my purse…*pats self on back* This was a wonderful decision.  I didn’t realize the HUGE amount of little observations and inspirations that zip through my mind on a daily basis–I could probably begin a new novel every day, with all the places my mind jumps to–it’s just a matter of capturing them.  If I don’t bother to take a few seconds out of my day to scrawl them down, they are ALWAYS gone by the time I am sitting in front of my laptop, waiting for inspiration to buzz through my fingertips and onto the keyboard.

So…this Summer I Solemnly Swear I will Stop, Savor, and Scribble Selflessly and Studiously!

4.  Achieve Equinox.

This is a little euphemism I thought up a few months ago, which I found rather clever at the time.  It translates to finish my current novel.

Allow me to explain: the title of my current novel is Thaw (and I’m sort of trying to keep most of the other details on the hush-hush until Equinox, so bear with me here [did I really just say hush-hush?])–when I complete this novel, it will mean that Thaw is completed, and when the thaw is completed, then you know what that means?

It’s obviously the Vernal Equinox.

😀

In my defense, I was never going to tell you guys about this.  I think I thought it up when I was very, very tired (similar to now).  Feel free to throw rotten tomatoes at your computer screen; to lessen your angst, I will once again provide you with this:Infographic

Might I remind you that I never claimed to be normal.

–ANYWHOS, yes, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year–first time ever!  I plan to achieve Equinox sometime before the Summer Solstice, and then I can get started on editing and all that jazz.  (And then I will need beta readers! Wink-wink).  Thus, my blogging during July will probably be salted with sleep deprivation-induced hysteria, much like this post.  That’ll be fun, right, guys??!

If I happen to connect with any other NaNoers through this post, and, even after all this blather, they’re willing to be cabin mates, message me on the Camp Site (ha-ha) @The Girl in the Orange!  (But I call dibs on top bunk.)

So…that’s all for now, folks.  What about you?  How are you planning on seizing the season of superlative motivation and surmountable time?  (Yes…I realize I’m trying much too hard now…)

Snapshots From a Week of Glorious Orange

Man, I feel good.

It’s quite a pleasant change from my usual angsty-teenager-why-do-I-have-so-much-homework-and-a-confusing-life half-existence…I’m trying to come up with the cause for this sudden bout of serotonin wave ridin’, but ultimately…I’m just happy right now. 🙂

Of course, there are things that are probably fostering this pleasant mood-swingy week…

Could it be the orangeness of my socks right now?

Cuz they most certainly are.  And don't start with the lamenting the utter childishness of my (fuzzy, polka-dotted) bedspread...I like it.  It suits me.

‘Cuz they most certainly are. And don’t start with the lamenting the utter childishness of my (fuzzy, polka-dotted) bedspread…I like it. It suits me.

 

Could it be the fullness of my suitcase for NY right now?

Ah it's such a loverly blend of fancy clothes and food. :)

Ah it’s such a loverly blend of fancy clothes and food. 🙂

The toilet paper roll is keeping my necklaces from getting tangled...don't worry, I'm not weird enough that I would just pack something like that... :)

The toilet paper roll is keeping my necklaces from getting tangled…don’t worry, I’m not weird enough that I would just pack something like that… 🙂

 

AND LOOK AT THE NECKLACE LOOKLOOKLOOK AT THE NECKLACE IT'S ORANGE AND IT MEANS "CREATE" AND IT BOLSTERS MY COURAGE!!  IT IS A PRESENT FROM MOTHER DEAREST I MUST THANK HER MOST HIGHLY!!

AND LOOK AT THE NECKLACE LOOKLOOKLOOK AT THE NECKLACE IT’S ORANGE AND IT MEANS “CREATE” AND IT BOLSTERS MY COURAGE!! IT IS A PRESENT FROM MOTHER DEAREST I MUST THANK HER MOST HIGHLY!!

Could it be the amazingness that is my fellow chocoholic friend?

 

Awwww yeah.  I’ve got some support in the friend department here.  This gal is my enabler.

Could it be last Friday of downtown-wandering, pizza-consuming, and social mingling?

No pictures were taken (both phone and camera were dead) but it was really refreshing and…emotional.  Since we are all dispersing  to our various schools next year, this time of year is just so bittersweet…I’m going to miss the lovely little private-school familial thing we’ve got going on, even though we have our spats.  Thank goodness most of my really good friends will be going to the same school as me…

OR COULD IT BE THE RUNNINGNESS THAT IS MY LEGS???!!

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Let’s hear it for sweaty awkward selfies!!

Yeah that’s right folks YOU HEARD ME correctly. (!)  A couple of weeks ago, my physical therapist gave me a tentative sort of go-ahead for running–

(Please ignore my random thumb)

–with some instructions pertaining to cadence, posture, form, etc.  (Apparently I am not a very intuitive runner–the form that I naturally use was uber-hard on my knees!)

So during this week I’ve been breaking in the electric melons, and doing some “microruns”–really, each under 1 mile.  I’m still experiencing some pain, and of course I’ve lost speed, but as per the wisdom of Kiss My Broccoli, I shall focus on the now of my running, not comparing myself to the past or the future.  Really, all things considered (things being the fact that I have not ran in–what, 6 months?), 3/4 mile in 7 minutes really isn’t…too awfully bad…

 

Whatever it was that made this week so awesome, I’m incredibly grateful.  I remain excited about the future of my runningness and my impending New York trip!!  (Vlogs to come…) 😉

–The Girl in the Orange

 

Marvelous in My (May) Monday

I really, REALLY do not have time to post today.

Please try to pretend that my presence here makes complete sense.  Even nod your head in realization, or tap the side of your temple as though you have been struck with truth.  I appreciate your humoring of me.

I HAD to post today, because I feel like I am kicking off what is the biggest week of the school year (for me)–presentations, tests, and reflections galore…translation: STRESS.  Fitting in the time to also blog, be active, cook whole foods, and not turn into a ball of high-strung cortisol is going to be difficult.

The whole point of Marvelous in my Monday is to “infuse” the glory of the weekend (which was, incidentally, quite homework-infused as well) into the coming week…to level one’s head, remind them of the good times that are only five agonizingly long days away…

So.  Weekend things.

Spoken Word Night

Okay, so, technically this wasn’t during the weekend, but it was still the highlight of my week (year?) and I WILL RELIVE IT NOW, mmkay? 😀

DSCN1720One of the many benefits of poetry nights is that I feel completely justified in “eating” a smoothie for dinner (this was banana, milk, Vega Vanilla protein powder, and spinach)–no danger of getting food particles stuck in my teeth! 😀  One of the many benefits of green smoothies is that I feel no pressure to try to take an aesthetically pleasing photograph–just, why try?

I tried to commemorate the commute on the way to the library; I rediscovered how extra-ordinarily BAD I am at taking pictures of myself:

DSCN1727…Yeah.  Like…I don’t even know.

I tried to revert to the generic teenage girl “peace” sign, and that was funny.

DSCN1726I’m not really a generic teenage girl, okay?

On the way back home, the sunset over the water was gorgeous (does it say something ominous about my personality that I love sunsets much more than sunrises?):

DSCN1737Hello Spring, did you get work done?  I must say, you’re lookin’ mi-T-fine…

In terms of how the May Shapeup is going…

Well, we had a wonderful Trader Joe’s run on Sunday, with some money I’d earned a few months ago.  I really meant to take pictures of the actual trip, but alas!  As always, I was too flabbergasted by the sheer quantity of foods that make my tastebuds sing to remember much of anything.  Including the list Some extra stuff added up in the cart as well.

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Like Goddess salad dressing!!  Man, I’m addicted already.  I usually just go with EVOO + vinegar in terms of salad dressing, so this was my little splurge here; actually, it probably wasn’t even much of a splurge.  I’m noticing I eat more salads when I don’t have to make the dressing…especially when it’s as awesomesauce as this!!  Win.

did get some food prep on Sunday done, as well–a first!–which involved cooking up bulk batches of both quinoa and mixed beans (so versatile!):

I definitely consider quinoa a supergrain--it's delicious, full of protein and nutrients, and it always cooks up so freaking fluffy!!  Every time.  It can withstand even MY culinary wrath, so I'm pretty confident anyone can cook it.

I definitely consider quinoa a supergrain–it’s delicious, full of protein and nutrients, and it always cooks up so freaking fluffy!! Every time. It can withstand even MY culinary wrath, so I’m pretty confident anyone can cook it.

Beans, beans...please ignore the inSANE amount of clutter in the sink!

Beans, beans…please ignore the inSANE amount of clutter in the sink!

I was on a roll at this point, and decided to blend up 2 or three green smoothies to freeze into pops for after-school snacks:  into the blender (per smoothie) went 1 banana, 1 cup milk, 1 heaping spoonful natural peanut butter, 1 scant spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder, and LOTS of spinach.

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I do believe that's an action shot right there!  Thanks tripod!

I do believe that’s an action shot right there! Thanks tripod!

Except, erm...I may have been a little too focused on the camera hand, rather than the pouring hand, here.

Except, erm…I may have been a little too focused on the camera hand, rather than the pouring hand, here.

Aw dang.

Aw dang.

Well, I got that cleaned up, and the smoothies got frozen (I enjoyed one after school today, in fact–it’s so beastly hot here).  Once I ran out of popsicle molds, I switched to making “smoothie poppers”–I took some reusable silicone muffin liners, plopped them into a muffin tin and froze for a few hours.  Once they were solid, I popped them out of the liners and transferred them to a freezer bag–this way I can just blend and sip on those mornings when I crave a smoothie ASAP.

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Note the planting potatoes chopped up in the background--a sure sign of Spring gardening ahead!

Note the planting potatoes chopped up in the background–a sure sign of Spring gardening ahead!

Last, but certainly not least, some sun tea was brewed!  I love it so, so much–I’m nursing a glass as I type this up.  Sometimes I get sick of water (though I do drink plenty of that, don’t you worry), and I think this is an excellent alternative to sugary juices!

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Livin’ the life.

What was marvelous in YOUR Monday? 😉

5 AM Cake

Hoo boy.  It’s been a…week, folks.

I’m currently suspended in a mental fog fueled by some sort of wicked GI tract bug and sleep deprivation, and THINGS are piling up!

THINGS is nothing in particular and everything at once; THINGS is all the end-of-the-year homework we are being assigned (aahhh remember my “culminating project of sorts”?  Well, now we have to give a presentation about that..!).  THINGS is also the fact that I’m leaving behind my safe little lovely private school next year for THE REAL WORLD, which equates to a school 12 times the size I’m used to—accompanied by loads of paperwork for getting into classes, a bunch of new graduation requirements to take into account, YEARS worth of classes to plan out in a single night when you still need to study for your Geometry test as well…

THINGS is the video and audio greetings I need to script up and create in order to accept my Scholastic Art and Writing Award.  (Awesome award; too bad it comes with extra fries stress.)  (Pardon the grammar of that first sentence in this paragraph, and my parenthetical overkill.)

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So, um, yeah, there’s been some emotional eating.  The above has been my breakfast for two days this week—a slice of chocolate cake, extra shame on top, gobbled down in the bathroom  at 5 AM while I fix up my face.  More recently it has been accompanied by frozen yogurt, straight out of  the carton (galdangit whydowe keep that stuff in the freezer)…any sugar that’s quick and accessible, basically.

I’m not particularly fond of the abrupt transition between vacation life and real life.  This past week has been spent desperately trying to figure out how my life works again, while still trying to maintain grades and a social life and steady work on my writing and my waistline.  In short, it’s just been stressful.  I know I really shouldn’t be complaining.  Adults are always telling me how much harder everything gets when you get to that age.  Adults are liars Adults seem to have simply forgotten how hard it is to juggle raging floods of estrogen on top of attending an, ahem, “academically rigorous” private school and trying to keep up your side projects that you pour your heart into, like your food blog.  (Every teenager has/had one of those, right?)

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So, let’s see, for me it seems that stress=mass amounts of sugar and comfort food.  (Would you believe that in ADDITION to 5 AM cake and froyo on Friday, I had LOTS of lasagna for lunch?  I…just couldn’t eat a salad or a wrap…)  This is surely the diagnosis for chocoholism.

At the local Choc-Anon chapter: “Hello…well, my name is The Girl in the Orange, and, well, I have a problem…I mean, it’s just gotten out of hand…I have dreams where I have to take another exam and then someone takes away my chocolate and then I push them into a huge vat of it…I never meant any harm!”

Cheesecake 091 painted guy

 

(You know you’re jealous of my Paint skills. Especially since the above took me ~half an hour to figure out…)

Don’t worry about me, please; I’m no stranger to stress and nothing terribly emotionally taxing is going on in my life; just a bunch of stuff that unhappily coincided during the week after a glorious stress-free playa vacation.  I am also no stranger to emotional eating and am optimistic that in time it will work its way gone and I’ll be back to crunchin’ on crudites once more.  I’m just making an effort to make sure my blog covers not only the happy-happy joy-joy orange side of life (though I try to focus on that) but also provides a little window into the things that we all struggle with.  Bloggers admitting to vulnerability is a powerful thing, and one not always easy to accomplish.

Living a “healthy” life, I’ve learned, isn’t about eating “healthy” all the time—it’s about balance.  Sometimes the odds get skewed a little to the dark side of things…by dark side, we’re talking, like, 72%, at least. Winking smile

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Last week was definitely skewed.  But it’s done (too bad the workload hasn’t just poofed out of existence) and all I can do now is work on getting back on track.

I hope someone else can relate to this, and that 5 AM cake (or the non-food equivalent) happens to all of us sometimes.  And that’s okay.

WIAW(hile I was in Mexico)

I know I probably bored you guys to death with my last post about my spring vacation, with pictures of turtles and zip lines, for goodness’ sake.  I know I almost fell asleep just compiling it.  The most important part of a vacation is OBVIOUSLY la comida, verdad?  Winking smile


Eating in Mexico was something I anxiously anticipated—in both good and bad ways.  I was excited to sample a new cuisine, one that wasn’t too “exotic” but certainly made staples of some new-to-me foods; on the other hand I had also heard that Mexican food is notorious for being prepared in not-so-sanitary conditions… :/  Sure enough, I’m still experiencing some, erm, gastrointestinal difficulties now, three days back in the states.  It could be residual motion sickness, but I have my doubts…

Breakfasts

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The resort we stayed at, for all I badmouthed it in my previous vacation post, had a quite abundant buffet selection at all restaurants—something GREATLY APPRECIATED.  I made a point of sampling all fare before concocting a relatively standard breakfast plate that looked something like this:

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That would be fried plantains, sauteed/smoked veggies, some papaya and pineapple slices.  This particular plate was compiled on our first day in the resort, when I really had no idea what options they had and just tried to sample all the vegetable matters (typical TGITO)—most days after that I also ate a bit of cottage cheese or yogurt, for protein, plus a bread roll with butter on the side for the lovely carbohydrate fullness factor.  There were also scrambled eggs and refried beans available daily for protein—but I wasn’t sure whether said refried beans were cooked with lard or bacon or whatnot (I think they often are), and I stayed away from the eggs completely except for two days, even though I consumed dairy, because—I know vegans will hate me for this (as it is, one of my vegetarian friends calls it bovine discrimination)— it vexes me more to think of a bird like a chicken being maltreated in a factory farm than a cow. *winces* I’M SORRY DON’T JUDGE!!  I’m still eating low on the food chain and doing my best to reduce my intake of animal products.

Over the vacation I discovered a DEEP affinity for fried plantains—I’m already trying to figure out how I can bring the tasty exoticness to me own kitchen! Smile

There were plenty of non-fried fruit options, too—I made a point to eat my fill of the more exotic fruits that aren’t exactly abundant in the Pacific NW: papaya, pineapple, mango, guava…

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And hey, I found some green at the juice bar! ;P  I think this was billed as cactus-pineapple..?  Bottoms up!

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THIS soupy atrocity was billed as oatmeal.

*sniffs disdainfully*

THIS soupy ABOMINATION tasted like oversugared milk with some ground flaxseeds thrown in and flavored with a healthy gust of cigarette smoke.

Never trust foreign oatmeal.  Bah.

Lunches

It has finally dawned on me why some vegetarians are just about medically sick of salad bars.

Mexi Salad Collage

MAN were those things abundant.

And that’s just the 2/7 of it.

Yes folks, I’m talking SALAD BAR FOR LUNCH SALAD BAR FOR DINNER EVERY SINGLE STINKING DAY OF VACATION.

The “authentic Mexican ensalada” (the largest picture) was better in terms of nonmonotony, because there were actually cucumbers and rice and tortillas and guacamole and pico de gallo and “blended beans” and things.  (Though by the end of the trip I even got sick of tortillas, pico de gallo, and guacamole.)

I put up with it for the majority of the trip, grateful there was food that I could eat and that I knew I could eat.  The salad bars weren’t short on variety, either—there were beats, roasted potatoes, cheeses, peppers, olives, spanikopita cubes one night (at a restaurant whose menu proudly dubbed it a “Mediterran Restaurant”…cringe city!  They had pasta.  And sauce.  And salad and bread.  I ask you, where’s the hummus??  The baba ghannouj?  The flatbread??), and, as mentioned, LOTS of pico de gallo and guacamole.  So I tolerated this until Thursday, two days before we flew back, and decided I COULD NOT. EAT. ANY. MORE. SALAD.  Unfortunately this proclamation also coincided with the night the family dragged me to a steakhouse for dinner…in the hopes of non-leafy food, I informed the waiter I was veggie…his response?

“Oh…oops.”

Oops indeed.

I ate two bowls of cream of tomato soup and lots of cake that night.

Proper (Non-leafy) Dinners

There were a grand total of three of these, one including the aforementioned soup and cake that did not manage to be photographed—the first was when we visited a Mexican restaurant (fancy that).  I’m just glad they were actually able to whip up something edible THERE…I would have had a bone to pick with them otherwise.  (You know, like, a Tofurky bone.)

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I enjoyed a plate of appetizer enchiladas filled with cheese, sauce, and creamed spinach for my main meal.  I visited the salad bar too—this was pre-Salad Independence Declaration. Winking smile  Mi abuelo ordered a plate of these as well, only filled with bell peppers instead of creamed spinach, which for some infathomable reason she could not finish—I was able to polish off half that in addition to my meal!  PROPER FOOD FOUND!

On Friday night, our resort hosted an “authentic Mexican feast”, in which I finally managed to find some things NOT leafy and some yummy desserts.  (A little disconcerting was the row of whole fish that were propped upright on the buffet table, empty eye sockets staring ahead while people picked at their flesh…*shudders*)

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Sliced melon, rice and beans, and a little fried corncake curiosity that seemed to be filled with cheese and shredded lettuce, but I couldn’t be certain.  It was dry but somewhat tasty…

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Dessert was flan (which was not as sweet as I expected—just tasted like non-savory eggs baked on top of a graham crust??), a buñuelo, and some rice pudding.  Honestly…I liked the rice pudding the best.  How exotic of me.

In-Betweens

which were snacks, desserts, late-night munchies, etc.

On the plane ride back, our airline actually had little squeeze-packs of hummus Open-mouthed smile, accompanied by pita chips and packages of olives.  I decimated two of these as a kind of makeshift dinner, along with some Trader Joe’s PB Granola bars.

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But BEFORE vacation was over, as I mentioned in my last post, lots of glorious chocolate happened!  This stuff is special Mexican chocolate, with the cacao beans grown right there to minimize bean-to-bar time…it wasn’t as good as I would have liked it to be. Sad smile

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The omnipresent banana—HAH.  I ended up stealing a lot of bananas from the resort buffet in order to take back to the room for later snackage…I had a jar of PB2 and a container+spoon to mix it up back there. Winking smile

Speaking of exotic fruits…

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Our fruit tray in our room contained more than the usual banana, peach and apple….I’m not sure what these things were, in fact, and there was nobody to ask!  The upper, yellow one was soft and creamy, and smelled a little bit like a boozy pineapple—I wasn’t sure whether you could eat the seeds, though, and boy were there a lot of those, so it ended up being scrapped. Sad smile

The orange one looked like this inside

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which was kind of disconcerting.  Mother Dearest said it was moldy—I didn’t think it was, but I couldn’t figure out how to eat it either!  Also trashed.  Food waste is bad times.

(Anyone??  Has anyone ever encountered these mystery fruits?  Anyone know the names?)

So, yes, there was the healthy dose of exotic; new-to-me foods sampled included fried plantains, jicama, papaya, mango, “corncake curiosity”, flan, buñuelos, and mole sauce.  Alongside all this, though, there was

DSCN1444.

Some things never change.

Snapshots from a South-of-the-Border Spring Break

Know what’s awesome?  Spending your spring break in total relaxation, not concerning yourself with homework or social life or appearance or friends or problems in general or cooking or grades or upcoming tests…instead lounging by the Atlantic Ocean with three good books.  And chocolate.

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Just for the record, I have no idea what book is being advertised on the screen of my Kindle there and I possess no affiliation nor affinity towards it.

Know what’s NOT awesome?  Arriving back home again at midnight on a Saturday, leaving only the portion of the Sunday that you don’t sleep in through to do all the homework that you decided you weren’t going to do over vacation because it’s vacation.  GAAAAH.

But that’s what blog is for, right?  Reliving the glory days, thirty-six hours after they ended…and procrastinating that homework load even further…

Accch.  Cannot think about work just now.  Onto pictures.

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DSCN1208DSCN1253Hooray for waterproof orange camera!

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DSCN1329We went snorkeling in two of these cenotes, as well!  They were frigid, but in the most beautifully peaceful way.  No fish, just the smell of stolidity and your own thoughts swirling around the water with you.

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Okay, so there actually were some catfish!

DSCN1339I have no idea what happened here, but I kinda like it.

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At Playa del Carmen, there were several of these “fish spas”, which were exactly that–they were large tanks in which you payed to stick your bare feet.  Small brown and black fish proceeded to nibble on your toes, which, um, I suppose exfoliates the skin of your feet very nicely.

It tickles immensely.

DSCN1447We zip-lined on Thursday, complete with stylin’ orange gloves and helmets.  I did enjoy it, but I can’t say it was as thrilling as I’d hoped.  I love my roller coasters, and I thought it would be more like that…the lack of speed probably had something to do with my lack of size (I didn’t have as much momentum as the bigger peeps), and it was more like a scenic glide through the treetops than it was a thrilling zip-line.  And there were a heckuva lot of stairs to get to the top of each platform!  Nonetheless, it was pretty fun.

The first  of the platforms...

The first of the platforms…

All suited up and ready for action! ;P

All suited up and ready for action! ;P

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DSCN1470New skin hue is all the fault of the zip line gloves! ;P  New blog=”The Girl with the Orange Hand”…

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We also snorkeled with some sea toitles! 🙂  So graceful; I am convinced you canNOT mess up a photograph of a turtle.

And finally…

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Do not lie to me and try to tell me this is NOT the most awesome henna tattoo in existence.

In conclusion:

Did I enjoy myself over the week spent in Xcaret, Mexico?  Immensely; it presented a plethora of new experiences, both culinary and non-, I got some beautiful pictures and a lot of rays of sun (boy, is the sun intense down there!  I walked around like a stiff, pink lobster for days…).  If I could have changed something, though, I would have had us stay somewhere that wasn’t such a resort–don’t get me wrong, our resort was relaxing and luxurious and I appreciated it, but it did feel really artificial.  I am excited for my trip to Costa Rica in June (thank you so much for the funds, all you generous familial contributors!!) because we will be staying in tucked-away, hidden spots, rather than huge tourist metropolises, so we get to see what life is actually like there instead of being so coddled all the time.

But I’m glad there was free dessert.  Stay tuned for an upcoming What I Ate Wednesday post, detailing my culinary journey over spring break! 🙂