My New Diet

Even though we eat out quite a bit, Lorenzo and I consider ourselves somewhat healthy eaters. But I can’t deny the fact that I’ve gained 20lbs that I can’t get rid of since moving to Georgia back in 2013. Lorenzo has gained some weight too, but it’s not excessive. I know that 20lbs sounds like a lot but it really isn’t. I am 5’7″ (which is a little tall for a woman) and I was underweight for that height. I literally went from a size 2 to a size 4 so no, it wasn’t a big deal.

At first I was in denial about my weight gain….that is until none of my jeans fit anymore and Lorenzo had to buy me new clothes. I’ve chalked it up to a combination of 3 things: 1) relationship weight (this is a real thing), 2) I’m in my 30’s and my metabolism is finally starting to slow down and 3) I don’t really walk that much anymore since I have to drive everywhere, and with the discovery of Shrimp and Grits for dinner it was almost a no-brainer.

While I’m happy with the weight gain, I did have to get used to carrying it around and working out with it. Back in October Lorenzo and I joined a gym and have been going pretty routinely, so one day I suggested that we try giving up meat for a month. We went semi-vegetarian for about a month, plus or minus 3-5 days. We went back to eating meat in December and I decided to give the vegetarian thing another shot in January.

So far, I’ve been doing…okay. I do most of the cooking and Lorenzo just eats whatever I make and so far I haven’t heard any complaints. I know that when he’s not here he’ll eat meat so one night I made him some chicken just so he know’s I didn’t completely turn on him. Because I’m not a full vegetarian and I really don’t know any, I rely on food apps to give me some ideas for dinner choices. I use the Pinterest, Food Network, Yummly, and Gojee Food apps to get dinner ideas. Just today I made a Spicy Vegetarian Chilli with Quinoa (from the Yummly app) which got great reviews, and the other night I made a Spinach and Squash Lasagna (I didn’t use lasagna noodles, I used the Farfalle- it looked like a complete mess but it still tasted good).

Chili
Spicy Vegetarian Chili with Quinoa

I haven’t considered a vegan diet because I haven’t completely committed to the vegetarian diet yet; I mean we went to a Superbowl party and I had to eat meat because everything – even the sides- had meat in them. I really  have to do more research on veganism, I feel like I need to learn more about what’s in these “substitutes” that they have at the supermarket. I don’t know if these options are just a fad right now and if I’m going to make this kind of change I want to know what I’m getting myself into.

So for now let’s just say I’m on the “I don’t eat meat when I don’t have to” diet. I haven’t lost any weight, but that’s not the goal. Its really forcing me to eat even more vegetables, try new things, and discover new recipes…plus I now have a newfound appreciation for mushrooms and tomatoes…almost. I do miss bacon though….

 

feature photo: civiwise.com 

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Getting Myself Together

I am such a slacker.

I’m going to tell you why I’m such a slacker: I’ve been working from home for almost 3 weeks and I haven’t written a single post. That is terrible. I spend the day working but when I’m done Lorenzo and I will go to the gym for a few hours before we have dinner. We’ve also been helping Lorenzo’s sister create her own exercise and meal plan to help her lose weight and get in shape.

Lorenzo and I also decided to give up meat (with the exception of seafood) until Thanksgiving. I wanted to do it for a full month but I forgot we are traveling to see his family for Thanksgiving and I doubt that not eating meat would fly too well. We are only 5 days in and so far so good. I even went out on a limb and had a Quinoa burger with marinated beets for lunch yesterday. It wasn’t bad but it took me a long time afterwards to determine if I was still hungry or not. I honestly wasn’t sure. I think my stomach was trying to psych me out and make me think that I wasn’t so I would try to get some beef instead.

Putting limits on the stuff I’m used to is going to force me to branch out and try other things and I’m completely open to that. Growing up, Lorenzo and I were very limited as to what we ate. Lorenzo had never been to a restaurant until he was 16 or 17. My mom never branched out with anything beyond what she knew and the only thing she knew was mostly traditional southern food. I swear we ate chicken and rice so much I thought I was going to grow feathers.

So it’s safe to say Lorenzo and I are pretty open minded when it comes to food. I was kind of surprised he went for the vegetarian thing. But this is good, because it’ll force me to cook more and make sure we are getting plenty of vegetables in our diet.

Oh! And speaking of cooking- we went to a cooking class the other day. It was at Sur la Table and it was actually pretty cool. It helps that both Lorenzo and I already know how to cook, it was just nice to learn something new. I had brussel sprouts! My mom never used to make them growing up and then the perception that you have of them from television is that they are gross so I was never eager to try them. I have come to learn that is not necessarily true. They are actually quite good.

Cooking Class

One day I might get fancy and try to make them myself.

Anyway I need to make sure I don’t neglect my writing. I’ll have to get focused and get myself together to make sure I don’t stop writing. No excuses.

Off To A Good Start

So I started working my new job this week (which is really just my old job revisited) and so far things are off to a good start. I remember more than I thought I did and it’s really not that hard to be retrained remotely. I honestly thought that would be a little more complicated than it is.

I do get a little lonely because I am at home by myself, but I try to fill the small amounts of downtime with some household chores. This will also give me an opportunity to cook more because Lorenzo and I go out A LOT. I don’t even want to know how much money we spend on food.

I think in the past 2 weeks alone we’ve been to at least 3 high end restaurants and then a few more local restaurants…well let me just put it like this: I only remember cooking dinner at home maybe 3 times in the past few weeks. Just in the past few days we’ve been to Ruth’s ChrisThe Palm, and the Cheesecake Factory only because I didn’t feel like cooking. To be fair, I think I can con Lorenzo into going to The Palm anytime I want because he LOVES that place. But this week I want to try Ted’s Montana Grill because I have never been there before. Lorenzo has, plenty of times (surprise! surprise!) but this will be a first go round for me.

And speaking of food- because if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that about 1/3 of my posts are about food- I found this website on Instagram called Try The World- where for $39 every 2 months you’ll receive a box full of goodies from another country. Because there was a sale I got 2 boxes, one from Spain and the other from France. I’ll be sure to review the products and take photos as I go. Some of the items in the boxes included: tea bags, Dijon mustard, cookies, a fig jam, hot paprika, an orange marmalade, and a chestnut spread- which I have no idea what to do with buy the way. But I’ll figure it out and keep you guys posted.

In other news we also joined a gym (it’s actually the local YMCA but they have more equipment than any of the other gyms in this area and a pool- you can’t beat access to an indoor pool all year around) and Lorenzo gets to play basketball more often so he’s happy about that. Now I have no excuse not to get my lazy butt back in the gym.

New food to cook and new workout plan. This should be interesting.

Food…Food…and Maybe More Food

Shortly after making it back to Georgia from Hawaii, Lorenzo and I returned home, waited for my brother to meet us at our place, then drove up to New Jersey to bury our grandmother. Needless to say it wasn’t the most ideal way for us to get to see our family, but it was the first time all of my siblings were together in about 2 1/2 years.

My siblings and niece, visiting our mother's grave.
My siblings and niece, visiting our mother’s grave.

Out of respect for my family, I won’t go into detail about the trip. Funerals are never fun to talk about (unless someone actually tries to jump in the casket screaming, “take me with you! it should’ve been me!!!” I’m still waiting for that to happen). I will say that my grandmother was truly loved, and I’m going to miss her terribly.

But, when we returned to Georgia (again) Lorenzo and I went right back to work. Of course we didn’t have any food in the house so we were eating take-out almost every day. On Friday night we went to a restaurant called BrickTops in Buckhead. Lorenzo had been here before but it was my first time. I was familiar with the area because there is a bridal shop that Tia and I went to last year in the same plaza. Anyway, we got all dressed up and went out to eat. I loved the ambiance of the place and I really liked our waitress, Patricia. She was so full of life and personality that she made the experience even more enjoyable. We liked her so much that we went back for brunch on Sunday at her recommendation- and they did not disappoint. If you eat pork, I would recommend the Deviled Eggs & Millionaires bacon. The bacon is candy coated and delicious…oh, and also bring a toothpick. For dinner I had Creole Shrimp and Lorenzo had the ribeye- it almost melted in my mouth.

Monday, Lorenzo found another restaurant called Scales 925 in Midtown. I was not as impressed with this place. Don’t get me wrong the place looked amazing and the food was amazing but they really have long way to go with the service. We were seated for 35 minutes before we were greeted and it was only because we stopped 3 people and a manager. Our waitress did the best she could considering, but I felt bad because no one seemed like they were properly trained. Plus, I was was with 3 people who all work or have worked in the restaurant industry so I had to hear about everything that was wrong with that place. My advice: get takeout. 🙂

That’s all for now… been trying to get myself ready for school for the past few weeks and I still have a long way to go. I’m soooo looking forward to statistics *eye roll*.

Lorenzo’s Birthday

I’m back…with photos! This is what I was trying to share last week:

Last weekend was Lorenzo’s birthday. It was the first time we were actually able to spend it together in about 2 years. We both seem to always have training scheduled on his birthday, so I was pleased that we were able to spend this one together.

We both were home before Saturday, but because we were both exhausted, he didn’t want to go anywhere that was too far away (maybe for another time?).  I reserved a hotel room in downtown Atlanta at the Westin. I also made us reservations to eat at the Sundial– the revolving restaurant.

Our room was on the 63rd floor of the hotel so we already had an awesome view; we were able to see the Braves Stadium from where we were facing. We arrived in the middle of the day so we walked around, and took a ride on the Sky View Ferris Wheel. We finally found out that the tall, pointy, brass, pencil looking building belongs to Bank of America.

View

On the Sky View Ferris Wheel
On the Sky View Ferris Wheel

When I lived in New Jersey and worked in New York, I never really took the time to learn about the city I was in. I read somewhere that every now and again you should “be a tourist” in your own city. One, it’ll give you something to do, and two it’ll help you learn more about your city’s history…you get to view it from a tourist’s perspective.

So, anyway, from the restaurant we were able to get a full circle view of all of downtown Atlanta. It was a beautiful view…even at night. It takes about 35 minutes for it to rotate one full time. So by the time you are done with your meal you’ve already went around the city once and then maybe a little more. Lorenzo had eaten there before, but I never have so it was a new experience for me. The funny thing was that our waitress turned out to be the same waitress we had when we stayed at the Intercontinental last November. You just never forget a personality like hers. Her name is Anne and she is a retired school teacher who is now waiting at both locations. She’s been with the Sundial for almost 30 years. I thought she was amazing because you can just tell that she loves what she does.

Lorenzo and I with Anne.
Lorenzo and I with Anne.
Sundial Restaurant
Sundial Restaurant

Lorenzo said that he had a good time, which was my ultimate goal anyway. I did get him some tangible gifts as well. He showed me an Emporio Armani watch that he liked; the band looks like a standard leather band with a buckle but is all medal. I also got him a bracelet from a company called Vitaly Design Ltd; he found the company on Instagram and showed me one of the pieces that he liked. The company specializes in men’s jewelry, so I’m sure I’ll be shopping there again.

All in all, a good weekend 🙂

Where I Ate Last Week

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but Lorenzo is a foodie. Some men like video games, some men collect expensive sneakers, some fish, golf, play sports, or work on their cars. Lorenzo eats.

And boy does he like to go out to eat. I miraculously gained 20 lbs. after only living in Atlanta for 6 months when I was NEVER able to gain weight while living in New Jersey. I used to chalk it up to a fast metabolism, but I see now its because I wasn’t eating properly…obviously. I moved to Georgia and discovered Shrimp & Grits, but I digress.

Last week we tried a few new places to have dinner. On Thursday Lorenzo was craving a burger so we ended up at place called Flip Burger Boutique in Rosewell which was pretty amazing. It was such a date night place to go and they had a list of amazing good. Lorenzo got a salmon burger and I got a shrimp burger and both were delicious. We started with an order of wonton crisps; I enjoyed them, Lorenzo didn’t; he prefers his tuna sauteed (you can’t see this but I’m rolling my eyes). Wonton Crisps

We also found a taco place called Takorea, which is a combination of Mexican and Korean food. We tried a few of the tacos: the grilled chicken, shrimp, beef, and fried chicken (yes, fried chicken) which were all great and even more so when you put the Korean hot sauce on them. What can I say, I like spicy food.

But we finished off our taco dinner with Ice Cream from Morelli’s. We both tried a new flavor called Elivs Lives which is banana based with peanut butter and chocolate. It tasted like a cross between banana pudding and a Butterfinger, and it was a-maz-ing. They also had a blue one called Smurf, which was also pretty good, but I think I’ll save that one for next time.

So those are the new places we tried this week. We’ve been going to some places regularly like the Suite Lounge,  Another Broken Egg Cafe, Panera Bread or Taco Mac when we don’t want to cook. I don’t know what we are going to do if we have kids. We won’t be able to eat out as much so we are going to have to cook. Ugh…I’m rolling my eyes at the idea of responsibilities.

Missing New York

I need to make a trip back home. I miss my family and friends, and I miss being in New York.

Even though I am from New Jersey, I’ve spent a great deal of time in New York as well. From family trips there as a kid, to partying there in my early 20’s, to working there as a professional for almost a decade before I moved to Georgia.

New York is a great place to visit. If you are the kind of person who likes the idea of “the big city”, likes having a lot do to and a lot to see, I would recommend to go there at least once. I know there are lot of people who like the serenity of the country side as a opposed to a major city, so this post is not for you today (sorry).

I don’t think I would ever live in New York City, a.k.a Manhattan, a.k.a “the City”. It’s every expensive, very crowded, and very LOUD. The crowds and the noise drove me crazy when I worked there. My job was located right in Rockefeller Center, so I was right in the middle of a tourist trap and stuck in all the holiday crowds.

But I had access to some of the best stuff. Here are the things I miss the most about New York:

1. All the free stuff you would get from promoters advertising their businesses. I’ve gotten free sodas, cupcakes, hummus & pretzel snacks, and once I got a female condom!

2. Food trucks. Well, the food, period. You can eat food from all over the world in NY. You can visit a different place to eat for every meal, every single day, for years. I’m not sure how many years but it’ll take you long while.

home4-4032

3. Speaking of food: S’mac. Enough said.

4. The Shopping. Clothes, shoes, jewelry, and purses galore. NY changed their tax policy to almost match NJ’s when it came to clothes. New Jersey doesn’t charge sales taxes on clothes, but NY did, so now there are no taxes until you spend over $110 (this may or my not still be true, but it was when I lived there).

5. There is SO much to do. Other than the traditional touristy stuff like going to a Broadway play and visiting Times Square and Central Park, websites like Lifebooker and Groupon made it even better because I was able to get deals on things I normally wouldn’t have done or found businesses that I wouldn’t have found on my own. I’ve used Lifebooker to book dance classes (belly dancing, salsa, etc), make up lessons, facials, teeth whitening, beauty products, photography lessons, and all kids of other stuff. It was super convenient because most of those things I was able to do right after work so it didn’t inconvenience me on my commute back to Jersey.

6. There were things to do for any budget. Just like there were places to party and eat that are on the high end, there were just as many hole-in-the-wall kind of places for those of use who don’t “have it like that”. This especially came in handy when I was a struggling college student trying to have a good time while keeping my spending down.

I miss New York.

I need to go back home…soon.