Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Afternoon...

After the ridiculously hard week I've had, I am finally having a few moments to myself on this lil Saturday afternoon. It's cloudy so I bought myself that  lil flower plant to remind me of the sunshine that will soon return in the days to come. I have no make-up on, pajama pants on, and am breathing a sigh of relaxation in these few moments. This week was hell...pure hell.

I have a problem of holding grudges. It's a weakness of mine, but eventually the grudge boils out and I hash it out with whom ever it is. There has been a burning resentment inside of me for someone who went into my life quickly and when she departed created a firestorm of issues for me in a particular area of my life that is even taboo to write about here because what if my blog gets into the wrong hands. *hint hint*. But from the lack of knowledge and specifics I wasn't told clear enough, there is a sea of problems that I'm drowning deeply in. I've been taking it all w/ a grain a salt and trying to hold back my tears, resentment, but the problem is I can't hash it out w/ the appropriate people so it is building and building.

I am generally a very nice person. I would give you the coat off my back if it called for it. But I have to push all of that aside and speak up. There are bullies in this world and I have definitely found more than my fair share of them. From friends, to work colleagues, to jackasses at a bar. There is an unnecessary bully in my life and I have to take some action about it. I have to be confident and speak my mind and not let someone talk down to me. I spoke to my boyfriend's Mom today about this because she happened to be there at the right moment and she gave me a few tips about speaking up properly. I needed her today and it made her a lil cooler.

For now tho, I am going to enjoy my few moments of relaxation. I have a rosemary focaccia bread loaf and some tomato soup w/ a ripe mango ready for lunch. I rented Young Adult which I'm really looking forward to watching because it was filmed in my hometown. Yes the movie is in Wisconsin or Minnesota but it was actually filmed less than a half hour from Manhattan. Go figure? lol. Tonight is one of CJ's friend's birthday parties so it should be a blast! Here's hoping...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easy Easter Basket Cupcakes! =)

It has definitely been one of those days...Teaching my lil cupcake class at my adult education class tonight was just what I needed to perk myself up! Yes, it is my second job, but it is so much fun that I actually show up a half hour beforehand to set up and breathe that breath of relaxed fresh air. The ladies are so eager to learn and are so happy I make them actually decorate the cupcakes in class that it is a delight. I love it.

Tonight we did Easter Basket Cupcakes. I've seen people do the basket handle w/ pipe cleaners, twizzlers, licorice...but the what works best is Sour Straw Candy! Depending on how big your cupcakes come out, you can use Cadbury Mini Eggs, or even Pastel Skittles or JellyBeans.  There is honestly not much to these cupcakes, but the result is adorable. =)

Here is a Mini Tutorial for these Easy Easter Basket Cupcakes. 

What You Will Need:
1 Cupcake
Cadbury Mini Eggs
1 Green Sour Straw
Green Butter Cream Icing
Brown-Tan Butter Cream Icing
Wilton Tip: #233 ( Shower Cap - Creates the Grass) 
Wilton Tip: # 32 ( Creates the Scalloped Edge of the Basket)

Wilton Tip #233
Wilton Tip #32

Step #1: Bend the Sour Straw and insert the ends down into the Cupcake. If you have trouble, you can poke holes w/ a scissor to better assist you.

Step #2: Using Tip #32 and the Brown Icing create your curved basket edging. I let the icing out in a line to the left, then curved around on top of that line to my right and brought it back down. 

 Step #3: Continue around the edge of the cupcake to complete the basket edge.

Step #4: Let the green icing drizzle out of Tip #233, creating the grass effect within the basket weaved icing edge.

Step #5: Add whatever you'd like. Below I added Cadbury Mini Eggs. 

Step #6: Do not pick up the cupcake by it's handle =) hehe. Enjoy your simple Easter Basket! =)


All Photos taken by me on 3-28-12.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Oooo That's a Bad Habit...

Weight: 3/27/12 – 172.4 lbs.

In my struggle to kick off this weight loss I figured out yet another thing I’m doing which is contributing to my plateau I can’t seem to leave. 

The scale today was down and my lil heart skipped a beat w/ joy. I don’t know if this is embarrassing or not to admit but in the mornings I’ve been watching the infomercials for the weight loss tapes and doing the mini exercises as they are showing us in those quick flashes. They will basically show you a move within the DVD, and then it will proceed to tell someone’s story for a minute or two. In that story-time you continue to the do the move they showed you prior to the success story. Maybe I’m just being really cheap, but I’m sorry I don’t have 4 easy payments of $19.99 to spend on a DVD system of videos I may not like…It appears to be helping my results. Anywho…

In the past few months where I’ve been trying to get out of the 170-175 lb plateu, I am reaching my mini goals, BUT then I see that scale go down and something switches in my head that “Ohh, I’ve lost a few pounds it’s okay if I have dessert…it’s okay if I don’t measure out my cereal today…it’s okay if I have 1 beater of icing because I’m losing weight.” I’m apparently doing that too much and negating all the good I’ve done. It sucks, but recognition of an inner issue people keep telling me is key. Right?
The awesome Shannon, over at Sitting in a Tree  has introduced me to My Fitness Pal and I’m addicted. I had no idea how many carbs I’m eating in one day!! Yes, I’m eating something that is so-called diet friendly but then I notice that there are 56 carbs in one granola bar!!! AHH!! I will definitely be looking for different Swaportunities (hehe)….

So what to do now? This is probably a bad idea but I’m going to be using measuring tape and only stepping on the scale once a week so I don’t fall into this “I now can eat what I want” trap. Also I’m going to actually use the inspiration and motivation people have given me!! CJ the other day said to me, “You know you look really good lately…I like it…”  I need to use that as Motivational fuel!! I can do this!!  I think I’m also going to get a kettlebell…maybe….

Has anyone tried anything New in the Diet World?
I’m all ears….


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tomorrow is a Brand New Day...

Another weekend gone by too fast, but another week is coming and it's bringing brand new days. I have big plans for this week...My boyfriend does too!

1. I plan on starting a Real Food Journal. I bought a lil notebook - small enough to fit into my purse - to keep track. Definitely a step in the right direction.

2. I have to actually organize my information for my taxes. Ugh, it sucks, BUT, when my hopeful tax return will go to a much-needed vacation for CJ & I's 2 year anniversary. Maybe somewhere in the Caribbean?!?!  Oooo Exciting...

3. CJ is starting is new band this week. Yeah, he is joining a real band and they have signed on for studio space to practice. He found the prospective band on craigslist and I'm really crossing my fingers for him. He plays the bass so good and he has the passion for it. Hopefully they all will click w/ each other. I hope!!

4. I need to spend more time at the gym. I've only been going once or a twice a week and that is just not working. A mile here or there is not enough for me to dig out of my plateau. I'm also going to try more variety in the machines. Planet Fitness here I come!

5. I have a work goal to complete my current projects. I'm starting to think my Keurig coffee is just not strong enough and I've been hitting roadblocks of tiredness during the day. I gave up soda for lent but I need to have more energy. This week I plan on getting more sleep. I think it'll do me a load of good.

Five things. I think that's a good start for a brand new week. =) Wish me luck!

Do You Have Any Plans for this New Week?
 I'd love to hear...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stolen Moment...

"Life's all about moments, of impact and how they changes our lives forever"
- Leo, "The Vow"

This weekend has been a completely Cj and Melanie weekend. From the craziness of St. Patrick's Day weekend and other bits and pieces of here & there drama, we haven't had much time to just ourselves. Ironically he's taking a nap right now, and I never realized he snores because I always fall asleep first. hehe. It's not a constant bear in the woods snore, just a cute grumble here or there. I do fall in love w/ him a lil more in each moment like this one.

Moments. Sometimes you can get lucky or unlucky to experience a moment with someone that let's you know just what you mean to them. Yesterday I ran around like a crazy woman cleaning up my condo because I knew CJ was going to set up camp for the weekend. I was all frazzled as hell. We decided to stay in and make tacos together. I had my arms outreached trying to manuever getting two plates out of my kitchen cabinet when CJ came up next to me and kissed my shoulder. Just one brief kiss that went straight to my heart and brought my stress to a screeching halt. He didn't say a word after, just passed on by and continued to cook the meat. I looked at him w/ the two plates now in my hand and he simply smiled at me. I smiled back. It might seem as simple as it all truly is, but in that moment, all the times CJ says he loves me, well he means it, and that is the best feeling I've ever felt. 

I have never had this before in my life. We are reaching the two year mark and people are starting to ask the "M" questions and why are delay of the moving in together part. I frankly right now don't care. I'm happy w/ the current situation and when all those future moments happen I will be ready and cheering w/ bells on.

I think I'm going to go join my sleepy bear. Everyone have a great rest of your weekend!! =)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blossom in Old Navy?? Joey in Old Navy?? WHOA!!

Every girl born in the 80's knew that the cool girls watched the TV Classic, Blossom after school. She would dance around her room without a care in the world, have the funkiest wardrobe w/ the best hats, and had a really hot older brother named Joey who just happened to every chance he get say WHOA in that special way. I grew up watching that show EVERY chance I got. I think I even named one of my dolls, Six, after her best friend. She ruled...

Fast forward 15 years, my boyfriend CJ one day reminded me of my serious addiction to this show by pointing out someone's love interest on a current TV Show I wasn't exactly caught up on. Big Bang Theory & Amy Farrah Fowler. Yup! That's Blossom all grown up! What is even cooler about her is that I found out in real life that she has her PHD in Neuroscience. She was very motivating to be yourself and nobody else in Blossom but now she has a PHD?? That is so cool and I think she is still someone to look up to even as someone in your 20's. She is still acting, studying neuroscience, AND gets an Old Navy Commercial? Sign me up!

Uh-huh! You heard me right. I caught this commercial last night and was shocked at the end...WHOA!


Love it!! 

I can't wait for the rest of today & this weekend because I have been hit w/ the Spring Cleaning Bug! Stay Tuned!

Have a great weekend!! =)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

REVIEW: Hudson Valley, NY - Restaurant Week - Confetti's - YUM!

Once a year, Hudson Valley, NY - sandwhiched between the TV Shows Subgatory, Sex & the City & the Real Housewives of New Jersey - has their infamous Restaurant Week. Three Course Menus of our restaurant's finest selections. I chose Confetti's in Piermont, NY overlooking the Hudson River and the Tappan Zee Bridge. One Word...Delicious...

My friend Zoe and I got there a lil before our reservation and the restaurant looked so welcoming for it's future guests. Patrons can sit outside and enjoy the pier views or you can sit inside just as comfortably. The waitress was very nice and even before we ordered she placed the house made Rosemary Focaccia  Bread w/ red pepper infused extra virgin olive oil at our table. I loved that I could nibble on something while I decided my Restaurant week Selection.

There was so many combos I wanted to choose, but I made my selection based on "I want to eat something New that I had never tried before." For example they had fresh mozzarella w/ tomatoes & EVOO but that wasn't unique enough for me. They had Flat pasta w/ lamb ragu but I've never been a big fan of Lamb. I chose the following:

Carciofi alla Giudea
fried baby artichoke w/ fennel & tomato (Roman Style) 

Scaloppine alla Sorrentina 
layered veal, eggplant & prosciutto with fresh mozzarella in a lite marinara sauce 

Chocolate Semifreddo    

Let's just say that there was not one bad bite of anything I ordered. The service was prompt, yet you had more than enough time to enjoy and savor each course before the other was brought out. to you. I'm a big fan of baby artichokes in my salads, so I was anxious to try the fried baby artichokes. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TASTE than uncooked and it just melted in your mouth. Paired w/ the distinct taste of the Fennel it was a great blend of flavor.

The main course I picked on a whim. I am honestly not an advocate of Veal, but it is a leaner meat & easier for complex systems to break down when someone isn't a 100%. Ergo, my losing my Gall Bladder experience came in handy on choosing the right entree. It was good, the three layers, but due to the marinara sauce or how it was cooked it was such a blend that the eggplant & the veal just combined into one taste.  It was a lil hard to pick out which flavor was what. The proscuitto was there but the taste of veal was very dominant. Very yummy, but I would have liked more of a Gobstopper feel type. I want to know I'm eating something different...

The dessert seemed like a slice of a chocolate mousse cake w/ white chocolate & dark chocolate drizzle w/ sugared orange rhine.  It was so good that Zoe finished it before I finished taking a picture of the dish!! =) Oooo chocolate...

All in all, I will definitely be going back to Confetti's in the future. I'm curious what's on their real menu. It's mostly Italian, but I'm always up for a new spin on an old favorite.

I wonder what restaurant I'm going to try next in this infamous 2 week deal...hmmm.....

{All photos in this post were taken by me}

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Year Ago Today...

Today marks the year anniversary of the day I got my current job. From the 8 hours of interviews over the course of 2 days they gave me the news that would save my current state of life.

 It can’t be a whole year that has gone by…Can it? Really? A year ago at this time my entire world got turned upside down.

I had been working for my previous company for 4 years and it was my saving grace. The two men I had worked for gave me the big break I needed to finish school & get my bachelor’s in Math. They let me go to school in the morning and let me come there to work in the afternoon. They didn’t care that I only came in for 2-3 hours, all they cared about it is that I finished school. The job was 5 minutes from my parent’s house, and I was lucky enough to be able to save enough money over the 4 years to put a down payment on my lil condo. It was great, but I knew one day I would leave the comfort of that office because there was no mobility at all & it was a tiny company. However, I didn’t expect to lose my job as suddenly as I did.

I’m still not clear about the actual sequence of events but trying to eliminate a partner in the company, took down the whole foundation it was built on. It was less than 3 months ago that I had signed the papers for my condo chaining myself to a mortgage, I had just finished my degree the summer before so I didn’t have a lot of savings left, and had a slue of health issues that required me to need health insurance and suddenly the floor got ripped out from under me. I panicked. They gave us a month left to work, no severance, no Christmas bonus, no continuing health coverage due to it being such a small company that was disbanding. It sucked, plain and simple.

I had already known the wrath of the recession; my Mom has lost 3 jobs in the past 10 years due to downsizing, changes in ownership, and relocating to save money which caused me to leave my original college plans; but this job loss could have cost me everything. 

But one day my Mom found a letter from a few years ago about a permanent job placement agency and I remember telling the lady as long as I have health insurance I’ll take anything. Low & behold a marketing analyst position was open which required a math degree and applied computer skills. Jackpot.   I wore my lil suit jacket, printed out my resumes, and strutted into my current office w/ my confidence flared. It was a match and they called me to start working April 1st, 2011. 

A whole year ago. A friend of mine told me recently she hasn’t really felt the recession in the U.S. After I gave her a very cold look, I told her she was lucky, ever so lucky. I got lucky to find a job, and even though it may drive me crazy every other day, I am truly lucky to have my job.

 What a crazy turn of events, but I'm glad I panicked and called that agency a year ago. *Sigh of relief*

Monday, March 19, 2012

Between a Rock & a Hard Place…I Have to Tell Him…

Over the weekend during St. Patty’s Day shenanigans in the city, CJ’s best friend Sean’s girlfriend revealed to me that she is not exactly happy w/ her current relationship. I’ve been thinking that there was something off w/ her for at least a month or so and I guess she needed a few drinks to finally tell the truth. 

CJ’s best friend and she have been bickering lately and all through St. Patty’s day they didn’t take one picture together. We took pictures of her, and she took a pic of him, meanwhile she took a picture of CJ & me without blinking an eye. None of them together. It was odd & when we went out of the bar for her to have a cigarette she admitted to me she didn’t know what to do about her unhappiness because Sean doesn’t seem to have a clue about it. She is not a malicious person, so she doesn’t want to blindside with this information, but I don’t believe in staying in a relationship if your not happy, BUT I do believe on trying to work things out. She doesn’t know if working on it will help…

She loves Sean w/ all her heart, and they have been dating now 2 years, but she feels like he doesn’t even know her anymore. That is not good. I asked her if she has tried to talk to him about this, and she says she’s afraid to because she doesn’t want to hurt him, but…if you don’t speak up and be honest w/ him of course things are going to be messed up. I don’t know all the details but she really did drop this on me suddenly and I’m not sure what to do now…She never said don't tell CJ...

CJ is my boyfriend and Sean is his best friend, I feel like I should tell CJ what Sean’s girlfriend told me but I don’t know if it is my place to tell. I don’t want to see Sean get hurt, but I think him and his girlfriend deserve to be happy. Maybe if I tell CJ to tell Sean to talk to her about their relationship, perhaps it would be a step in the right direction for them to figure themselves out…or it could backfire and I’d lose her as a friend and things could get awkward for all of us. I just don’t know, but it feels like information I should tell CJ. It’s important, ending or working on a relationship of two years. 

I told her maybe they should try dating again; see if the spark is even still there. I also told her to tell Sean that she is going to have a really busy week and just needs some time to herself to relax a bit, so she can pull herself together and see what she wants to do. Maybe I should give her a lil time before I tell CJ…Ahhh…I don’t know what to do…

Would you tell your Boyfriend/Girlfriend if you found out their Best Friend’s Relationship maybe having problems??

 I would love to hear…

Friday, March 16, 2012

Just You...You Being You...

Men truly boggle my mind, especially my boyfriend CJ. I’ll explain…

 I have gone to great lengths over the past almost 2 years with him to look my best and always be show-room ready when I would visit him or hang out; kinda like first-date ready every time. I think it’s because I honestly read too many magazine articles about not letting yourself go, makeup – musts everyday, or watched  too much NICK @ NITE seeing all the ladies in the 50’s & 60’s shows looking perfect every time. I put on pajamas right before I go to bed and usually stay in my nice outfit until then, even tho CJ may have been in sweatpants since I got there. He will beg me to put on pjs but I’ve spent all that time getting ready so I’m not going to just be dressed for the car ride over there. 

BUT, last night I did things a lil bit differently and hell, got the result I wanted…

Thursdays are a rough day for me at work. I order about 3 million newspaper ads to be placed in NY & NJ. It’s a long arduous process and yesterday was spiked w/ more action. I came home washed my hair & then saw my yoga/pajama pants begging me to put them on at 6pm. That’s early for me to be wearing pjs. But I was so tired so I just put them on & an old jersey shirt from college & said Fuck it. My hair was a mess of curls but I did put make-up on and straightened my bangs. 

CJ strolls in to my apartment around 7:30pm and puts his bag down. I haven’t seen him this week because he was helping his mom a lot, so I missed him. I ran up to him and gave him a kiss and he looked back at me and says, “Wow you look really pretty tonight, babe. I like you in those pants…” Uhhh What??? I walked to the kitchen and he followed me to put his arms around me to give me another kiss. He proceeded to tell me, “I love when you’re like this, just you being you.”

So apparently, crazy hair, lil make-up, and comfortable dress-down clothes is what he wants……….It would have been great to have discovered this years ago…LOL. I’m shaking my head as I write this because seriously I didn’t understand what he meant when he would say to not try so hard. It was because I had already won him over, he was in love, and I just needed to be me. It all makes so much sense. I sort of feel like a big load has been lifted off of me. I love him a lil bit more now…yeah definitely! 

All I have to do is be “Me” in my relationship…I guess it really is that easy…=) It is true, you learn something new everyday.

This weekend,  I’m crossing my fingers, hoping it'll be fun…Happy St. Patty’s Day!! Be Safe & Best Wishes!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cupcakes: Easy Rainbow Gold Dust Cupcakes...

St. Patty's Day Raibow/Gold Cupcakes

Time for some fun! My Cupcake Class is running and going strong! I tried to find a great St. Patty's Cupcake, but alas I did not have the luck of the Irish. But I found many pictures of adorable Rainbow Cupcakes w/ the blue skies and fluffy clouds. So in turn, I made them into St. Patty's Day cupcakes w/   gold edible glitter to be the pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow...

My class absolutely loved these lil cupcakes. I have 5 awesome ladies that are so eager to learn and it's honestly so much fun. I never thought a second job could be this great & easy because decorating cupcakes is one of my favorite things. This class is more than I could have hoped for and I'm grateful that they are so nice & genuine.

To help them out and you guys out there in the blogosphere, of course, listed below I have done out instructions & a picture tutorial for this lil gem. Enjoy!

What You Will Need:
1. Cupcakes
2. Green Butter Cream Icing
3. White Butter Cream Icing
4. Wilton Yellow Color Sprinklers - Edible Glitter
5. Airheads Xtreme Sweet/Sour Rainbow Strips
6. Wilton Tips - #17 for the Clouds & #195 for the Green Swirl (Pictured Below)

Step #1: Bake your Cupcake - Whatever Flavor you'd Like.

Step #2: Prepare your Decorating Bag w/ Wilton Tip #195 & the Green Butter Cream Icing. Create a swirl on top of the cupcake starting from the center and swirling out to the edges.

Step #3: Cut the Rainbow Strip in 1/4" of the length to create the arch of the Rainbow. 
KEY STEP: Strip needs to be small enough to stay up in arch and not fall down. Press arched strip on top of the cupcake into the green frosting.

Step #4: Decorate the edges of the Rainbow strip w/ the white icing using the star tip #17. The key here is to fortify the Rainbow. You can add more or less's up to you!

Step #5: Add the gold Wilton edible glitter much as you want...

Step #6: Make sure you tell people that the Rainbow is Sweet & Sour!  =) 

I hope you enjoyed this lil tutorial...HAPPY EARLY St. PATTY'S DAY!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Diet Key Essential I’ve Been Missing…PART I

A Work-out Buddy. Two years ago when I joined the gym it was actually for a purpose. One of my best friend’s had just had a gastric bypass due to pre-diabetic conditions, possible future high blood pressure issues, and sleep apnea. Her weight was about 400 lbs. I’ve known her for years and honestly didn’t realize that her weight had climbed so high. But alas I think she did a brave thing having the surgery and my plan was to go to the gym to help her out and motivate her. That didn’t exactly happen as planned.

When my friend’s nephew was born she re-discovered her sister. Instead of calling me to go to the gym she wound up just going with her sister because they live together. They now are best friends and I am truly happy she found her sister in her life, because it always wasn’t like that it seemed in the 15 years I’ve known them. But alas…I have been replaced. I don’t have the heart to tell her because I think she needed that bond w/ her sister and it really is stronger than ever.

The two sisters now weigh less than me because they go to the gym together almost everyday. But in my defense they live 4 minutes from the gym, and their jobs are have flexible times where they can easily fit the gym into their schedules. I do catch them time to time at the gym and it’s great because it feels like old times, but it’s not as often as it should be. I wish my work building had a gym…that would be awesome.

But now, CJ’s cousin lives by me now and she is looking for a work-out buddy. I think I need that swift kick in the butt and maybe her and I can help each other get motivated. She is 24, a bit of a spit-fire and definitely I think an extra key to my successful diet plan…

She has a similar body like mine. Muscular from high school/college sports w/ a some squish to loose. We aren’t trying to get lose 50 lbs or have Jillian Michaels abs, but we would like to be wearing a size or two less, and POSSIBILY a bikini...I have never owned a bikini…I want to own one this year or at least a tankini without wearing a swimsuit dress over it. It’s time to break out and get the confidence flowing…

Ever since 2 weeks I recognized I had to take it up yet another notch I’ve had some interesting results…that will be PART 2 later. Stay Tuned…