Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Magazine Review: Self August 2010 - Bridget Moynahan

This seems to be the Look Younger issue. Several articles on that topic, such as Look Younger in 28 Days (tips like wear sunscreen, get lots of sleep, etc), 12 Secrets to Staying Young (checklist of BMI, fiber intake, blood pressure, etc), superfoods to eat (such as curry, coffee, pumpkin seed, watermelon, etc. Includes a one week diet plan following a 1600 calorie diet).
My fave parts of the magazine were part of the Beauty section. The 1st is Hair Bliss 101: Style Like a Pro which gives instructions for how to do an updo for curls, curls that last, add volume & do a bouncy blowout. Also shows the individual models after they styled their hair themselves with the pro's tips. The 2nd beauty article was Your Kind of Beautiful, which shows trends for different looks (Natural/Girl, Sexy Date, Casual Chic). The trends for Casual Chic were petal pink lips, neutral nails, gilded eyes & messy updos, which product recs for each. Not really new info but it was still appealing.
Since this is Self magazine, there were a few workouts, including Sweat with Your Pet & an pool workout.
They also had a page with info on acai, since apparently there has been some controversy recently (I don't really follow all those "hot, new superfoods" since they change so frequently), an article titled Are You Having Enough Sex? & some really cute bags & shoes.

I liked this mainly for the beauty articles since the Look Younger part seemed to be all old news & I don't have a pet or a pool.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Food: Things I've been loving recently

When I first started watching my weight I posted about the food I ate frequently that fit in with my diet. (You can see the post here: http://thelifeofamelie.blogspot.com/2010/05/obsession-phase-healthy-food.html ) Well, I've recently found some new loves & thought I should share them with you.

Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers.
BF bought a big box of these at Sam's Club, I tried them & fell in love! They are a great salty fix, filling & are only 10 calories each (each cracker is about 2" big). I eat them quite frequently since I can only eat 4 or 6 & fit that into my daily calorie count easily.

Swiss Miss Fudge Bars
Only 100 calories each but quite a decent size. Guilt-free ice cream

World Catch Salmon Burgers
Another Sam's Club find (makes me wonder what kind of goodies we'd find if we had a Costco membership). Healthy, not too fishy. We like to eat them on the Oroweat Thin Rounds (I posted about them last time) w/spinach, tomato & dill mayo.

Luna Bars
I've been eating these for awhile. I always have one in my bag in case I'm out somewhere & get hungry (I get really shaky & sick when I feel hungry). At around 180 calories, these are nice for a snack when you don't feel like putting much thought into what you want to eat. I usually grab a variety from the boxes at the grocery store. They tend to be $.89-1.00 each. My fave flavor is Chocolate Raspberry.
NOTE: Another really yummy bar is the Clif Mojo trail mix bar in Mountain Mix. Has peanuts, pretzels, almonds, raisins & chocolate chip. It's also only 180 calories.

Mini Babybel Light cheese
At first I hesitated to try these because at $4-5 for 6, they were quite pricy. But then I found them at Sam's for $9 for 24, which is a great deal. These are 50 calories each & kinda taste like mozzerella. Individually wrapped so great to grab & go

Yoplait Greek yogurt
I was eating Chobani greek yogurt w/fruit but found that I preferred my yogurt plain w/a bit of honey. The main reason I chose this one is because it $1 for a 6 oz container at Walmart, which is the cheapest of the available kinds at that store.

Skinny Cow Peanut Butter & Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches
These are delish! 150 calories each

Pepperridge Farm Geneva cookie
This is my go-to cookie. If you only eat one (which is difficult), it's only 40 calories.

Werther's Original hard candy
I have quite a sweet tooth & having a cookie or a piece of chocolate a few times a day (even if only 40 calories each) does add up. Just 1 of these is around 25 calories, which is a bit better

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Who What Wear's 10 Fall Trends

Great style: Jessica Alba

Great style: Jennifer Aniston

Magazine Review: Marie Claire August 2010 - Dakota Fanning

I don't usually like seeing young teenagers on magazines for women but I didn't mind seeing Dakota Fanning on this issue. I guess she's never really seemed all that young or immature, which could be the difference.
I will start by talking about the Articles in this issue, since they were a little more interesting. In Love/Sex they talked about mistresses for hire & how men like tans lines (which sucks because I find them horribly tacky & can't tan. I'm pretty sure I've come across actual tan-line porn. Um. Yeah. lol). In the Bulletin they tal about the rise of asexuals (more popular among women than men). 1 Girl, 2 Guys & a Baby is about a women having & raising a child w/her 2 gay BFFs. The Big Bang is about how to pump up your sex life using various aids. There is also an article about honor killings in America & how they usually don't get much press since they often fall under the category of domestic abuse-type situations.
For Fashion, I 1st want to say that I'm not super fond of the individual pieces layout in the 101 Ideas section. They way its set up makes it kinda difficult to see the (usually super expensive) items. This issue's Designer Dossier is on Fendi, & the Big Girl, Skinny World feature is on accessories. Towards the back of the issue they also have a photo shoot with head-to-toe designer looks, summing up that designers look of the season (Fendi, Valentino, Michael Kors, etc).
In Beauty, they have a blurb about what they are calling Grunge 2.0 (which I'm kinda excited about - for unknown reasons), Beauty Snoop is on Christina Hendricks. They also have a section on makeup to complement your haircolor & a page saying how having sex can make you more attractive. Duh. lol

Overall, this issue was kind of boring. Skip it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Food: Black Bean Soup

This recipe is insanely easy & still really good.

1 T. olive oil
1 cup of salsa
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 can of refried black beans
15 oz of chicken broth
Sour cream, optional

In a saucepan, heat the oil & add the salsa. Cook until hot, stirring frequently. Then add the rest of the ingredients, using a wooden spoons to break up & mix in the refried beans. When its hot & fairly smooth, it's done!

Magazine Review: Allure August 2010 - Eva Mendes

I had forgotten about their big giveaway in August until I got this issue. Don't think I'm going to bother to sign up for anything this year since last year I set my alarm for over half of the items & didn't get a single one.
On the subject of Beauty, they have an article about the return of blush (& in it acknowledge that bright blush can look amazing on pale girls as long as applied with a light hand - something most mags tell you to avoid), a Sugar & Spice article about makeup looks inspired by princesses & villans, & Skin Deep, skincare for your skincolor/ethnicity.
This issue also has a Hair Special. Topics include: The Hottest Cuts (shoulder-length, bob, cropped, long & layered with celeb examples & exactly what to ask your stylist for to get their looks), Tools of the Trade for each cut, 13 Hairstyling Shortcuts, and a few words on Brigette Bardot and how she had the "most enduring hairstyle ever" & pics of all the different ways it has been interpreted. Also Wild Things, which features wild, roughed-up, matte hair & how to get that look.
They also had a blurb about the cult-y Chanel nailpolishes, from Vamp to Jade to this season's Paradoxal. I've never owned a Chanel nailpolish but I have knockoffs of every single on of those shades.
Overall, it's a pretty good issue. Worth picking up.

Magazine Review: People StyleWatch August 2010 - Beyonce

This is one of my favorite magazines but it's so difficult to review since it doesn't really have defined articles, just a lot of pictures, with topics that might only last for 1 page. Overall, just get it every month. You won't be disappointed.
One of the longer articles was 15 Hot Fall Trends (military, lace up booties, vibrant eyeshadow, clogs, etc). The military look really shouldn't be considered a trend anymore since it's pretty much seen every season. Can we just say it's classic & move on?
Comment: Why the hell do they have Jersey Shore's The Situation giving his POV on women's outfits? Does anyone really want to attract a guy like that?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Food: Fajitas

This isn't something I normally make but I had leftover tortillas from the black bean quesadillas & an extra steak so fajitas sounded like a nice change of pace. It really was so easy & tasty that I think its something I'll have to make again soon.

For the steak, I cooked it ahead of time, let it rest & then cut into long strips. I then squeezed on half a lemon & used cumin, chili powder, onion powder & cilantro to season (I plan to experiment w/other seasonings though. Think the next batch will have more zest. Perhaps a bit of chipotle?)

I sliced up a green pepper into long thin strips, an onion into strips as well, and sliced some mushrooms. I heated up my cast-iron pan and added 1 clove of garlic, peeled but not chopped. Once garlic has browned, remove & throw in green peppers. Stir occasionally. When they start to brown, add the onion. I did the mushrooms in a separate pan but you could prob add them after the onions have browned if you want to have less dishes to wash. Once the onions are close to done, add the meat. Cook until heated through. Keep pan covered until ready to serve.

Warm up tortillas separately. Top with sour cream, cheese, salsa and/or guacamole.

Yes these could end up being high calorie but if you keep the toppings light it should be less than 400 calories.

Food: Black Bean Quesadillas

I got this recipe out of Women's Health Flat-Belly Fitness Guide book (the kind that's on the newstand next to the magazines). This tastes like something you'd get from Chili's & my BF has requested that I make it again (and he can be kind of fussy). And like everything else I make, its really very simple.

1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 T. ground cumin (sounds like a lot, I know)
1 clove chopped garlic (or 1 t jarrred)
4 fajita-size flour tortilas (I like the Mission Homestyle ones)
1 c. low-fat Mexican blend cheese

In a large skillet, cook black beans, tomatoes, cumin & garlic until liquid dissolves, stirring occassionally. (If you get impatient, feel free to pour some of the liquid off instead of waiting for it to evaporate.) Place folded tortillas on a plate, unfold & cover half with the bean mixture, top w/ 1/4 of the cheese. Fold the other side of the tortilla over the beans & cheese.
You can either broil these for 3-5 mins, flip then cook for 1-2 mins, watching carefully or cook on a cast-iron skillet (which is what I prefer).
Makes 4 servings.

Each serving is approx 330 calories.

Books: The Castaways

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand.

"Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.
Once again, Hilderbrand masterfully weaves an intense tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of endless summer island life." taken from Amazon.com

I picked this up because it seemed like a good beach read. But almost right away, reading it kinda felt like a chore. Yes, there was a death with curious circumstances surrounding it but honestly, I really didn't care who killed who or not. I'm not exactly sure why I stuck with it but I did. Kinda wish I would've used that time for something else since the ending was very meh.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Magazine Review: Cosmo August 2010 - Britney Spears

I want to start by saying that Britney looks awful on this cover. Why on earth didn't they photoshop her more or do her makeup differently? Poor thing.
Anyway, I did enjoy this issue. Light (of course), fun articles, quizzes, etc. Also found out that there are 2 Jackie O & 1 Marilyn Monroe movie coming out. For the Jackie O movies, one will ve on the History Channel & Jackie will be played by Katie Holmes & one on the big screen w/Jackie played by Rachel Weisz. The Marilyn Monroe movie is titled Blonde, w/Marilyn played by Naomi Watts.
On to the rest of the issue...
For Articles, Would You Have a Baster Baby?, Sex Survey (notes are made when married guy's answers differed from the answers of singles guys. Kinda interesting. For example, after sex 71% of single guys want to cuddle & 21% want to watch tv. But for married guys, 32% would prefer to watch tv. lol). In other sex related topics, Period Sex & John Mayer's G-Spot Geometry (lol, I know. WTH?) & Sex Tape Tips (how to adjust lighting, postions, etc to obscure your identity). In a more relationship-y vein, The 5 Smartest Tips We've Heard This Year; things like talking to your SO about what you might want to change in your relationship, cheatproof by confiding mostly in each other, try dirty flirting (aimed at people in long-term relationships).
For Beauty articles, Beauty Cheat Sheet: Keep a Zit Covered for Hours (actually looks like newer, decent advice) & a photo spread on different nail trends (lace-covered, etc).
The main standout for Fashion was a Wear Now, Wear Later photo shoot (w/anouraks, sequin leggins, leather mini) & a photo shoot w/Jersey Shore's The Situation & Pauly D in the background acting like their womanizer selves. lol

Overall, I liked this issue. Good for a poolside read

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Books: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.
"Mark Haddon's bitterly funny debut novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is a murder mystery of sorts--one told by an autistic version of Adrian Mole. Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is mathematically gifted and socially hopeless, raised in a working-class home by parents who can barely cope with their child's quirks. He takes everything that he sees (or is told) at face value, and is unable to sort out the strange behavior of his elders and peers.

Late one night, Christopher comes across his neighbor's poodle, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork. Wellington's owner finds him cradling her dead dog in his arms, and has him arrested. After spending a night in jail, Christopher resolves--against the objection of his father and neighbors--to discover just who has murdered Wellington. He is encouraged by Siobhan, a social worker at his school, to write a book about his investigations, and the result--quirkily illustrated, with each chapter given its own prime number--is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time." taken from Amazon.com

This book is different. It's written in the style of an journal, from the perspective of a young autistic boy. He is trying to find out who killed the neighbor's dog, a crime he was originally accused of. He writes about the clues he finds, also tells about his day, how Good Days & Black Days are determined & has a lot of random trivia & math problems. It really is a great book, definitely worth picking up.

Books: Little Bee

Little Bee by Chris Cleave.
"The publishers of Chris Cleave's new novel "don't want to spoil" the story by revealing too much about it, and there's good reason not to tell too much about the plot's pivot point. All you should know going in to Little Bee is that what happens on the beach is brutal, and that it braids the fates of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan (who calls herself Little Bee) and a well-off British couple--journalists trying to repair their strained marriage with a free holiday--who should have stayed behind their resort's walls. The tide of that event carries Little Bee back to their world, which she claims she couldn't explain to the girls from her village because they'd have no context for its abundance and calm. But she shows us the infinite rifts in a globalized world, where any distance can be crossed in a day--with the right papers--and "no one likes each other, but everyone likes U2." Where you have to give up the safety you'd assumed as your birthright if you decide to save the girl gazing at you through razor wire, left to the wolves of a failing state. --Mari Malcolm -" taken from Amazon.com

Yes, I've been reading quite a bit recently. Guess that's what happens when you get rid of cable. lol. This is another heavy book. It forces you to think about the horrible political situations in second- & third-world countries & the effect on the local people. It is touching but far from a happy story.

Books: Heart of the Matter

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin.
"The author of Love the One You’re With (2008) once again tackles the subject of infidelity in a novel told in alternating chapters by the wronged wife and the other woman. Tessa Russo is celebrating her wedding anniversary with her handsome husband, Nick, a pediatric plastic surgeon, when his pager goes off. At the hospital, he meets his new patient, six-year-old Charlie, who has been badly burned while roasting s’mores. Charlie’s mother, Valerie, a high-powered lawyer who has raised Charlie on her own, is wracked with guilt. As Charlie goes through various grafts and surgeries to repair the damage done to his face and hand, Nick and Valerie become close. Tessa, a stay-at-home mom who has misgivings about leaving her professorship, recognizes the distance growing between her and Nick but isn’t sure what to attribute it to or what to do about it. The premise is a familiar one, but Giffin injects freshness by getting inside both Tessa’s and Valerie’s heads and by making both sympathetic, fleshed-out characters. Giffin’s talent lies in making her characters believable and relatable, and readers will be enthralled by this layered, absorbing novel. --Kristine Huntley" Booklist, taken from Amazon.com

I haven't read any chick lit in awhile so it was a change to be able to read an entire book in a few hours. I have read several of Giffin's books in the past & she is definitely one of the better chick lit authors. This book was a bit of a change from the usual single-girl-in-her-30s-finds-a-man fare. The topic is actually quite heavy, a child being injured & the dissolving of a marriage. Definitely not a feel-good, happy book. But still a good read. Although not something I think I will want to read again so I will be putting it in the giveaway pile.

Magazine Review: Glamour August 2010 - Vanessa Hudgens

This issue was ok. A few good articles.
In the Beauty section they have articled titled Model Trends You Can Do (not too inspiring for me - tips included extreme eyeshadow, big curls, etc), Damaged Hair Fixes, 4 Beauty Tricks from Carmindy & The Haircut That Will Change Your Life (textured bob, modern shag, etc. How to get the cut, how to style, celeb examples).
This is the Denim issue (think Lucky also has a denim issue this month). I will need to buy new jeans after I lose a bit more weight but wasn't all that inspired by what I saw in this issue since I pretty much know what works for me & what doesn't. But anyway, on the denim topic they have ways to wear (preppy, rocker, etc), rules from Armani, 10 stylish women wearing their fave jeans, best jeans for your body type (tall = no capris, hourglass = bootcut, short legs = skinny, pear = flare).
There were two standout articles in this issue. One was We Dated Our Way Across America, advice included "men do want to be in relationships" & "Mr Wrong may be friends with Mr Right". The second article was The Cave Woman's Guide to Good Health, a common sense kind of guide to diet & exercise, things like move, eat real food, connect with others in person, get ZZZs & get healthy downtime.
Overall, a decent issue.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Losing Weight: Progress Report

I am pleased to report that I have lost 7 lbs in the past 2 weeks! Which is 4 lbs under my pre-pregnancy weight. Only 6 more lbs to go before I reach my goal of 125. Then I'll re-assess to decide whether I need to lose more or not. I don't look great when I'm tiny - I have short stumpy legs & am flat-chested so I look best with a few extra lbs to make me appear more proportional.
I have lost this weight by eating between 1200-1300 calories daily. It can be difficult at times to stick within that range but I'm still able to have chips, dessert, etc. If I'm planning to have a big dinner I cut back during the day so that I won't go over my allotted calories. My snacking system works out quite well for this, since most of my snacks are under 200 calories. I also measure *everything*. Guesstimating is far from accurate & it messes up your running total. I don't have a food scale yet so I'm doing my best w/measuring cups & counting out individual pieces (for things like snack foods). Sparkpeople.com has been a huge help in keeping me on track. I've made it one of my homepages & I visit it frequently to input any foods I've eaten. Sometimes I put in everything I plan to eat for the rest of the day to see how much leftover I have for chocolate, chips, etc.
I like calorie counting because it doesn't cut out any food groups. Nothing is off limits, you just need to eat smaller quantities. It does encourage you to eat healthier because healthy food is usually much lower in calories. One pitfall would be all the super-fake, processed food thats low-cal but quite bad for you. I try to avoid that & concentrate more on smaller portions of real food.
As far as working out, I've been stretching & doing light yoga but I think my body is finally ready to start something a bit more strenuous. I will make a post about it when I start an actual routine.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Books: The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.
" Like Frances Hodgson Burnett's beloved classic The Secret Garden, Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden takes root in your imagination and grows into something enchanting--from a little girl with no memories left alone on a ship to Australia, to a fog-soaked London river bend where orphans comfort themselves with stories of Jack the Ripper, to a Cornish sea heaving against wind-whipped cliffs, crowned by an airless manor house where an overgrown hedge maze ends in the walled garden of a cottage left to rot. This hidden bit of earth revives barren hearts, while the mysterious Authoress's fairy tales (every bit as magical and sinister as Grimm's) whisper truths and ignite the imaginary lives of children. As Morton draws you through a thicket of secrets that spans generations, her story could cross into fairy tale territory if her characters weren't clothed in such complex flesh, their judgment blurred by the heady stench of emotions (envy, lust, pride, love) that furtively flourished in the glasshouse of Edwardian society. While most ache for a spotless mind's eternal sunshine, the Authoress meets the past as "a cruel mistress with whom we must all learn to dance," and her stories gift children with this vital muscle memory. --Mari Malcolm" taken from Amazon.com

A word of warning: this book is long. But its quite good & you really get caught up in it. The ending left me feeling quite sad & depressed, even though I guess I did see it coming. But this is still a book I would recommend.

Magazine Review: Lucky August 2010 - Ali Larter

Wasn't able to find a pic of the cover online. Sorry

The staff at Lucky managed to strike the perfect balance of fall-feel but able-to-wear-now in all of the fashion pieces they chose to feature. Too often, magazines are filled with fur coats & dark makeup in the middle of summer. And while its nice to plan ahead (it is what the stores & designers are doing) it can be difficult to get excited over heavy coats, boots, etc while sitting next to the pool in your bikini. But this issue has the best pieces for the next few months that don't make you sweat just thinking about them.
These next few comments seem to conflict what I just wrote above. lol. They have a page on short-sleeve blazers, something that seems very easy to get horribly wrong. Also, Getting It Right: Pantsuits & Sandals. Um, yeah. The people at Lucky didn't get it right either. The Accessory Report is on chain mail (jewelry, accents, etc). In general I don't like it since it can look very cheap but they did have a few cute pieces on the models. The Now & Later editorial had some very cute looks.
The Lucky Denim Guide is pretty much only for those of you that can wear skinnies, since it seemed like (other than the Flared category) all of the others were skinny styles (but in Patched, Cargo, Trouser, etc categories).
The only Beauty standout was I Want Her Haircolor. Shades like sun-dappled brown, dark & glossy, cali blonde, etc & for each they had shade tips, how to maintain & product recs.

As a whole, it's ok. I lean more towards liking it because of what I wrote at the beginning of this review.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

NOTD: OPI Peru-B-Ruby

This is one of those shades that I tend to forget about until one day, I dig it out & fall in love all over again. A really great bright, rich pink.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Obsession Phase: Healthy Food - Calorie Counting

Finally had the baby (4 days late! A healthy, beautiful baby girl) so now I can kick my diet/weight-loss plan into gear. I am approx 137 & would like to get down to 125. I'll be eating pretty much the same as before, just smaller portions. To keep me on track, I signed up for www.sparkpeople.com so I could use their calorie counter. I only input today's food so far but already I'm seeing how off my guesstimates have been. Apparently I didn't think fruits or veggies had any calories. lol.
Hopefully I'll be able to stick with this for long enough to see results. I tend to be lazy & at least controlling what I eat doesn't require sweating. I still have a few weeks before I can start an exercise program. Exercise is something I have trouble making myself do so I will try to post whatever workout plans I'm doing to help keep me accountable.