The New Year is right around the corner, almost 36 hours from now. Wow. Have you gone over your Top 10 in 2010 yet?It feels great and a little bit crazy seeing my resolutions/goals written out so clearly and thoroughly, and then sharing them with the whole wide blog world. I hope ya'll are ready to keep me accountable ;).
To prepare I've been staying active and eating well. As I mentioned yesterday, I've been waking up every morning to strength exercises. Beyond yoga, and Sagan's guidance, I have discovered Exhale's Core Fusion Pilates Plus. It was a gift from Fitness at the end of the summer and I'm only now discovering how valuable it is with 10-minute ab workouts and upper-arm & body-sculpt thigh bonuses; Quick, challenging, and just what my body needs to be in tip-top shape for 2010. This is my favorite workout DVD to date.
This time around I'm doing a variation of a synergy cleanse with plenty of juices and raw foods. I've been feeling amazing and oh so very clean, especially after a few days of holiday indulgences.
Last night, I had dinner in parts. For my first small meal I shredded a handful of red lettuce and topped it with a pan-seared Sunshine burger. This is my first time trying these spectacular blends or organic ground raw sunflower seeds, brown rice, carrots, herbs and sea salt.... and oh my gosh! Veggie burgers are great every once and a while because they're so satisfying but I like to limit my soy proteins so these are perfect and delicious in every which way. Get your hands on these asap!
When our company arrived, I also picked a little at our cooked vegetable selection with a splash of wine (although from this angle it looks like a hearty glassful, ha) and then I was off to spend time with an old friend of mine. All we did was sit in her room, drink wine, and talk... and I crawled into my own bed at 3:30 am this morning. Don't you hate love it when that happens? We've been friends since we were six and there's never a boring moment when we're together :).
At the moment I'm sipping on the refreshing water from a cute little coconut and catching up on blog-reading before I head into the city for the night. The plan is to dine with a lovely & familiar bloggie and then meet some abroad friends on the lower West side. It will most definitely be fun but I've already decided that it won't be too crazy of a night... I have to save that for New Years Eve after all ;). Do you have plans yet? I'm spending mine in Manhattan, as will the ball, haha obviously, so I'm hoping it will be the best one yet. See you in 2010!
Why, hello there beautifuls! It's been a week since I've blogged regularly, I'm sooo glad to be back :). Since we've obviously missed quite a few meals together, I thought I'd display "the day after Christmas eats" with today's twist for the day: New Years Resolutions. Can you believe 2010 is only days away?! I'm not a big fan of forgotten goals so I made sure to that my incentives are realistic and reachable while still being above and beyond anything I've accomplished in 2009. Let's get started...
1. Blog with a Purpose: I'm trying to reach people that are interested in learning and experiencing more of the world (oh how profound). This is a food blog, a travel blog, and it's also so much more. I'd like to continue to include personal insight into cultural differences and similarities, prejudices and hopes of acceptance, and generally other things that I've face and/or learned about first-hand or in the classroom while having a blast doing it. 2. Make time for Yoga: For the past month, a favorite blogger of mine, Sagan, has been hosting the 200 reps challenge. Although I haven't been following her regimen to a "T", I have been waking up every morning to some variation of strength-exercises whether it's a yummy yoga session, a pilates plus workout (more than amazing let me tell you), or a combination of both. I find myself not only feeling stronger but also mentally-better knowing that I've developed a fitness routine I can actually stick to. Now to stick to it (talking to myself, no need to worry)!
(The boy's breakfast: Strudel Coffee Cake)
3. Graduate without Regrets: College offers the best of all worlds; there is the opportunity to study subjects and topics of interest, be involved with extra-curricular organizations that enhance that experience, go to events and presentations of the political, social, or entertainment kind, and, of course, party, party, party with bffs (and for real this time). Over the past five semesters that I've physically spent on campus, I've missed out on bar nights because of studying, skipped a club meeting because I didn't want to walk there alone, or not gone to a presentation because I was too tired to get out of bed after a crazy night out. Since this upcoming one will be my last, I'm determined to make it the best one yet, and a find a balance amongst all the things I enjoy doing. 4. Re-discover Passions (like sketching): I'm artistic. There I said it ;). From the time I was 12, I went to art/music/theatre camp and took multiple classes in the visual arts and writing. Then, about the time I went off the college to study magazine journalism and modern foreign language, I somewhat put my artistic passions on the back burner. I haven't sketched anything far too long. And what am I waiting for? I'd like to visit more museums, see more plays/musicals/exhibitions/music performances, and of course, sketch, without an end in sight.
Chickpea & Barley Salad with Mixed Vegetables
5. Keep in Touch... only better: Just ask any of my friends or family from when I studied abroad, I suck at keeping in touch. I mean well, I really do, and my relationships with many people are of utmost importance to me, but for some reason when you put me in a place, far, far, away, I can never seem to hold close contact with more than a handful of people. That has got to stop! At some point this year, I may no longer be living with the fam, I definitely won't be surrounded by people I'm used to seeing daily at college, and high-school friends will be scattered more than they already are, so I will otherwise have no other choice but to consistently keep in touch. I just have to make sure that I actually do! 6. Travel some place NEW: I mentioned on a recent video post that I was casually-discussing a trip to Colombia with my grandmother who is from there. I'd absolutely love for that to become a reality but by the chance that it doesn't work out I'd like to take a trip to a new country, or even entirely new continent with other globetrotting friends. Liz did say she'd be up for a Eastern European backpacking tour after all ;). A road trip with my new Garmin would even be sufficient.
7. Prioritize Giving Back: Being in a sorority makes volunteering easy... in the sense that Greek life hosts a countless number of charity or fundraising events and my own house is very active in all of them. I love it because it's so necessary and also because once cannot do good without actually feeling good. I may graduate in ridiculous debt but I am still very much able to make a difference in the lives of those who need it, and I will.
8. Race (and train) Again: I truly became a runner over the five months that I was in Santiago and tried my best while in Strasbourg but I've let it go (rather sadly) after my first 5K over the summer. I miss the quiet mind meditation of pounding pavement or ground and the adrenaline rush when I was steps away from completely a run, or race. I plan to sign up for a few races come nice northeastern weather and make use of my running shoes again as soon as possible.
Pasta with Soy Meat Sauce and Wilted Spinach
9. Find my Calling: Probably impossible at this point, I know, but I'm focusing on the baby steps. I have accepted the idea that I may be unemployed for a short (or long) time following graduation. Still, even with shrinking publishing field and uncertain job market, when I do get my first adult job I sincerely hope that I find myself doing something I love. Hopefully my social media experience at Modelinia, my spectacular internships at Fitness, my bi-monthly Food News for the Lost Girls and my weekly posts for GoBackpacking.com will help make that a reality, whatever that reality may be. 10. Become Comfortable in my own Skin: This one is going to be the real challenge. My body has certainly done it's fair share of changing from the skinny young teen I once was and I haven't quite gotten to the point of accepting it yet. Plus, although beyond worth it, the study abroad weight gain hasn't helped. I have gotten to the point in which mentally, I've found a sense of peace in being kind to myself through a nutritious diet and active lifestyle, but now I just need to not let go of it as it transforms my emotional and physical being. Some day and each day from there on out, I'll truly believe that the person in that mirror (me) is beautiful.
And the celebration continued! After mass the second round of guests started piling in, this time those from my Mom's side of the family and a couple of family friends as well.
Our appetizer spread included chicken salad, tortilla chips, salsa, left-over ceviche, crudités, and Gena's Marinated beet carpaccio with wilted beet greens. Besides the last one, I didn't pick much, just spent my time in the midst of girl talk. I would blame it on the fact that I was feeling somewhat Grinch0-like, but, who I am kidding, there's always so much of that to go around anyway ;).
Since my two second-cousins are both vegan, by the time linner was ready, we were more than prepared to serve a completely cruelty-free meal. I joined in as well, and between the roasted root vegetables, steamed veggie medley, salad, garlic asparagus, and sweet potato, I was more than satisfied with my plate. I even went back for more :).
Ultimately, it was between a pork roast and vegetables galore... not a tough choice at all.
Then it was time for more presents! For the longest time my siblings and I were the only kids on my mom's side. From that I guess you could say we're spoiled but that's not where I'm going with this ;). What I am trying to convey is that now, our six first cousins are all below the age of nine, and I love it. It's absolutely adorable watching their faces light up as they pass out and unwrap gifts. Here I am in the middle of finding that I am the new owner of a sexy (if I do say so myself) pair of Rock & Republic jeans. Other gifts included the annual Broadway play (January 3rd) and travel money. Clare bear, to the right of me, and my grandmother also got very lucky :).
Following the exchange of our sweet new things we moved onto dessert. My aunt brought over homemade Spanish cookies (courtesy of her mother-in-law), and my uncle and family made M&M cookies. It was a tough choice by in the end I just went for a nice big mug of homemade hot-cocoa and an M&M cookie. It most definitely was not vegan but it was delicious for sure.
One of my cousins was not feeling well so he, his two brothers, his mom (my aunt) and their friend left soon after but otherwise the fun ensued. Since I was on somewhat of a sugar-high at this point, we quickly snapped a great-grandchildren picture,
and then proceeded to dance the night away. Clockwise from top right (just in case you're interested): me, Jake, Jorgie (my brother), Bianca, Deanna (my sister), Clare, our great-grandmother (94), and Kyle. As you may have inferred by my first holiday post, us younger generations were pretty hyper, and even made the boy join in upon long-awaited arrival. Beforehand, however, we were literally out of control, without any egg nog having passed our lips.
Embarassing? Maybe. But years from now I'm sure I will appreciate it. Or at least I hope so. I hope you enjoyed your holiday to the fullest, in whichever way you know how ;). Regular posting will re-commence tomorrow, I, for one, am very much looking forward to it. Take care sweethearts!