Monday, December 26, 2011

Paraguard IUD

A few weeks ago I got an IUD.  An IUD is an acronym for a intrauterine device that's inserted into the uterus for long-term contraception.  The brand of the IUD that I got was Paraguard, a copper IUD.  There is also another IUD that releases a hormone, but I decided that I did not want any hormones anymore.  I have been on the birth control pill (ortho-lo) for about 7 years now and I wanted to make a change away from hormones.  My husband and I told plan on having children for at least another 4 years, so a long-term birth control method was ideal for us.  

So here's the deal with an IUD.  It has to get put in.  As in, inside of your uterus.  This was not fun.  People told me "oh take tylenol beforehand it will be fine."  But let me tell you it was not.  It was incredibly painful. Allegedly this is a much less painful endeavor if you've had children before because your uterus is already expanded.  I have not had children yet.  Therefore, my uterus is only 4 inches.  I know this because I had an ultrasound earlier this week to have it measured (most doctors require that).

The cramps were very strong for about a day and a half after the procedure.  I worked from home the day of the procedure and was glad that I did.  By a few days after, I felt fine.  One  side effect that I have noticed, though, has been BREAKOUTS.  I broke out like crazy on my chin about two to three weeks after I got the IUD.  But the thing is that the IUD isn't what caused the breakouts - it was going off of the birth control.  Apparently your body is used to a steady supply of estrogen and testosterone from the pill and isn't used to making it on its own.  It can take several months after going off of the pill for the body's hormones to regulate.  I did go to the dermatologist to get something for the acne because I couldn't take it.

The Ob/Gyn told me that periods with a Paraguard IUD are supposed to be heavier and more crampy, so I was prepared for that.  The first period was not crampy at all but definitely heavier.  Probably twice as heavy.  It lasted from Tuesday to Sunday, though, which is more or less how long the periods on the pill lasted.  Hopefully they continue to get lighter as time goes on.

I'll continue to post updates!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Weekend Cookout

Last night we had about 25 friends over for a cookout in the backyard.  It was a blast.  We had neighbors, family, old friends, new friends.  And great food, if I do say so myself.

We started out with some appetizers:

Spinach artichoke dip (I used frozen spinach)
carrots and Trader Joe's garlic hummus
Sweet potato chips from Trader Joes

Main course:

Hamburgers (pre-made patties from Harris Teeter)
Hot Dogs (Ballpark brand Angus franks) - These are sooo delicious
Black bean burgers

Sweet potato casserole
Tracey's baked beans (recipe below)

1 LB bacon- chopped
2 large onion- chopped
½ c white vinegar
1 c packed brown sugar
1 t garlic powder
3 (18 oz) cans baked beans- I use bush’s flavored with bacon and brown sugar
2 (17 oz) cans lima beans
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans
1 (15 oz) butter beans- I use 2 cans of butter beans because I like them, no need to adjust anything else if you do.

Cook bacon in skillet till crisp, drain on paper towel. In bacon fat, cook onions till soft.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl including beans, onion, bacon, vinegar, sugar, spice- mix well.  Put in large casserole dish (lightly greased) and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. 

Salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, chopped up bell pepper, cranberries and blue cheese


Cherry pie (I used pre-made crust and pre made filling I bought at the Fresh Market and it turned out great! Let's be honest people, we can't do it all!)

Everyone ate a lot and had a great time. We hung out in the backyard well into the evening.  Great times with good friends.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How to eat out during a business dinner and not blow your diet

We all know that desks jobs are killing us. And making us fat. So what is one to do when you have a business lunch or dinner scheduled . . . at a steakhouse?  In the legal/finance field, we have what are called "closing dinners".  A big deal closes, the lawyers and bankers get all of their fees, and the lawyers take the bankers out to a big, long dinner to celebrate.  We have one tonight at Del Friscos in Charlotte.

Work dinners can be delicate.  You don't want to be the loser that orders a salad, dressing on the side and that's it.  You'll look silly to both your co-workers and clients and that type of order will inevitably cause you to be the center of attention/conversation for at least a moment.  And you don't want that, especially if you're on the bottom of the proverbial totem pole. But you don't want one night out for WORK (i.e. not with your man) to contribute to weight gain.  I mean, a romantic dinner out with your husband or your girlfriends is one thing.  Work is another.

So, we've got to go in with a battle plan, folks:

(1) Step 1: Look at the restaurant's online menu and analyze your choices.  I'm going to have to order a cocktail, an appetizer, an entree, a side (it's one of those steakhouses that serve sides family style, a la Capital Grille) and possibly a dessert if everyone is ordering one.  Those are none negotiable.  So, we have to evaluate our choices and make the healthiest decisions.  My plan:

App: Oysters on the half shell
Entree: 8oz filet mignon
Side: Asparagus (probably has butter but it's the least harmful of all of the side choices)
Drink:  Club soda/sparkling water and MAYBE a glass of wine.

Dessert: Wild card (not sure if anyone will order and the dessert menu is not online)

(2) Step 2:  Avoid the bread plate.  This will be tough.  I crave the carbs.

(3) Step 3: Execute battle plan.  Don't get swayed by what other people are ordering.  For me, this will also be tough.  I'm one of those "Oooo, that sounds delicious, I'll have that instead" people.  I can also be swayed by specialty cocktails that taste like they don't have alcohol but really do.

I've laid out the plan.  Let's see how it goes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Early Morning Workouts

Given my busy schedule, I've had to give my self over to the dreaded early morning workout.  Since I often have to work late into the evening, I never know when I'm going to get off work and when I do get out of work at a reasonable time, I just want to go home.  Therefore, I'm forced into the early morning workout routine.

I used to hate, I mean hate, morning workouts.  I moved slower in the mornings, I never felt motivated, it was too cold, etc. Terrible.  But now I've sort of grown to like them.  There are several benefits to an early morning workout:

(1) Guaranteed - Unless you oversleep or talk yourself out of what seemed like a great idea at 10:00 pm the night before, you're going to get your workout in.

(2) One shower - If you workout in the morning and then shower, then you only need to shower once for the day.  Plus, everyone looks better with a morning shower!

(3) Classes - I've found that the breadth of classes offered at gyms in the morning tends to be wide.  At my smaller gym, there are morning bootcamp, spin, yoga and pilates classes.   There are always lots of classes in the evening, but you certainly are no worse off choosing to go to a group exercise class in the morning.

(4) Traffic - My gym is located in the building next to the one in which I work.  Therefore, when I drive to the gym, I am essentially driving to work. At 6:30 in the morning, the commute is markedly faster than the commute at 9:00. Granted, I am only traveling 1.8 miles but still... it makes a difference.

(5) Time saved.  By choosing to work out in the morning, you are, many times, packing a bag the night before with an entire day's worth of outfits, makeup, shoes, jewelry and hair products to take the following morning.  While this is a pain at 11:00 at night, it makes for an efficient morning.  You have no choice but to wear the outfit you brought to the gym, so there's no staring longingly into your closet thinking "I have NOTHING to wear.  I need to go shopping ASAP."

I've noticed that I've adjusted pretty well to the morning workout routine.  It's not so bad and you definitely have more energy to "tackle your day."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Top 5 Great Things About Today

(1) Opposing counsel on the West Coast emailed yesterday asking to schedule a call FOR TODAY to go over the legal issues in his Credit Agreement markup.  ON SUNDAY.  Yes, Sunday.  Not a quick, "What's the status on blank" call.  A 150-page Credit Agreement markup call. (Those take HOURS).  I had a panic attack reading the email and feared that the partners I work for might agree to it.  Fortunately, they did not.  No call!  The lonely asshole who clearly has no life will have to wait until tomorrow to talk to us.  Not like I'm not working today anyway ... But, at least I can watch the Heels play.  More on that below.

(2) My husband and I bought an iMac today.  Exciting!  I'm a Mac convert. Love them.

(3) My husband and I both got to have lunch with our dads today.  We ate at George's Brasserie.  Way overly salted.  I'm only now coming down from the head rush.  Disappointing.

(4) Luis is doing the grocery shopping by himself AS WE SPEAK.  Wow.

(5) TAR HEELS IN THE ELITE 8 - They play today at 5:00 pm EST against Kentucky! Go HEELS!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The New, Sugar-Free Me

After much contemplation, I've decided to significantly reduce my sugar intake.  I read somewhere that women are only supposed to consume 25-35 grams of sugar per day.  That's like, one Dannon Light yogurt!  Are you kidding me?  Sugar is in everything, I've realized and I can feel the way it makes me crave more food.  I'm not sure of all the science behind it, but I realize that it's extremely hard for me to feel satisfied (and not snack) after eating sugar.  So, I'm going sugar-free.  I've reduced my sugar intake now for about 2 weeks and it's not really that bad.  I think I can still keep reducing but to be honest, I am just not ready to give up fruit (which apparently is loaded with sugar).  I mean, fruit is nature's candy.  I can't give it up.

Here's a typical day of eating for me on my new "sugar reduced" program:

Breakfast: 2/3 cup of oatmeal with a spoonful of almond butter.  This is really not that bad.  Before, I couldn't imagine oatmeal without sugar or dried fruit or SOMETHING, but with almond butter it is actually very hearty.

Lunch: salad with tofu

Dessert #1 right after lunch - dark chocolate covered almonds from Harris Teeter.  Guys, giving these up is going to be a struggle.  I am so accustomed to eating sweet things after lunch that it's going to be hard to give that up.  Major withdrawal.  I eat 1/2 a serving, which is only 6 grams of sugar.  Still it's the 2nd ingredient in the food so I know it's got to go.

Snack around 4:00 - Plain greek yogurt with some muesli and an orange.  I know this is a pretty high-sugar snack, but I run out of ideas!

Dinner around 8:30 - Salad with tofu, falafel, some sort of protein.  I've had to seriously curtail the amount of dried cherries on the salad because, as I've discovered, those are basically pure sugar.

Dessert #1 - A FEW chocolate covered almonds.

I'm going to keep updating this blog to reflect how the sugar-free program is going.  So far, I can't complain and it's definitely, definitely decreased my cravings to eat more.  I can stay full longer.   We'll see how it goes!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Crepe Cellar - Je suis "not impressed"

This weekend my husband and I decided to have brunch at the Crepe Cellar in No Da.  After all, we had a Groupon for $40 and we figured that we could eat like kings for that much.  I called ahead and the man that answered the phone said that they were not on a wait and that if we headed over, we should get a table, no problem.  We arrived to find the Crepe Cellar a bit crowded, but saw that a table for us was opening up.  Great, we thought!

To make a long story short, the service was terrible.  Diners descended on the Crepe Cellar like locusts shortly after we arrived. There were two waitresses to seat and wait on over 45 people.  Yes, only two!  No hostess! We had to flag the waitresses down for everything - water, coffee, bread.  Luis ordered the French Onion soup as a starter and after 20 minutes of waiting, the waitress came to the table bringing my mussels but no soup.  They just ran out, she said (even though the person at the next table over had just been served a bowl).  It was only 12:30 in the afternoon!  Just ran out? What??  Luckily, the mussels were excellent, marinated in a sweet chili and lemongrass sauce.  We split them.

For our entrees I ordered the wild mushroom and spinach crepe, which was good.  It had goat cheese and carmelized oniions.   Luis order some sort of breakfast sandwich crepe.  He liked it but was not over the moon.  He said the dish made him realize that only sweet things should go in crepes.

Luis then decided to eat like he was on death row and ordered the Bananas Foster for dessert.  I had some spoonfuls and it was delicious.  By that point, though, I was just ready to get out of there.  We had been there forever and I was full and annoyed.  Luis was practically in diabetic shock, which prevented him from catching the fact that the waitress initially charged us for the French Onion soup he never ate.

So, not to be a hater but if you want some French food in your life, to go Lulu on Central Ave.  Sure, there aren't quite so many crepe options, but the services is way better and the food is excellent.  And don't get me wrong, I am all about No Da.  I love the atmosphere there - dreadlocks and all.  I am a hippie at heart.  But I am a stickler for service - a STICKLER.  So, once burned, twice shy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Last night I made this Vegetarian Chili Recipe (minus the bay leaves).  You can get almost all of the ingredients at Trader Joes (which, I feel, is a rarity for many recipes).  It's delicious and filling.  I ate it with a side of Harvest Grain Bread from the Fresh Market.  It was a hearty meal but not heavy on the calorie count.

The best part of this chili was that I could try out my new Le Creuset french oven.  I noted that it heated the contents very efficiently (it was simmering on a low heat).  It is an enormous, heavy cooking pot but I think the more I cook with it, the more I will see the benefits of the enameled cast iron.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cooking Class: Sauces Part Deux

As a wedding present, my friend Kimberly gave my husband and me a gift certificate to Cooking Uptown. Cooking Uptown is located in Elizabeth (right next to Hawthorne Pizza) and is comprised of a surprisingly large cooking store (a la Williams Sonoma) as well as a complete kitchen and prep area for cooking classes.  We decided to spend our gift certificate by take a cooking class: Sauces Part Deux. We did not attend Sauces Part Une, but that seemed to be of no consequence.

The class was a blast. Luis and I made chicken marsala, trout a la meuniere, and pork medallions with a bourbon apricot sauce. Our chef was Nikki Moore, owner of Food Love, and she was really great - very attentive and helpful. Luis lit some bourbon on fire and she didn't seem to mind. I think she even liked us the best.

Would I go back to Cooking Uptown? Absolutely. Very organized, reasonably priced and very fun.

Will Anyone Read This?

Having been reading blogs for awhile now, I've finally gotten up the nerve to start my own.  I figured that I read about all of the mundane details of other people meals, workouts, social outings, fashion opinions, etc., why not put some of my own out there?

This blog will be about balancing a very hectic work life as an attorney in the finance industry with healthy habits, a brand new marriage and an attempt at having a social life. Enjoy!