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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saturday's Weight Watchers Series

This week was a good week. The added movement seems to really be making a difference. I weighed in at 331 so I had a loss of 3 lbs. and a total loss of 23.8 lbs. Overall, I am very pleased with the results.

I actually weighed in on Friday because I wasn't going to be in town on Saturday. I knew that there was no way I could miss a week of weigh-ins because it would be the start of the end for me. I knew that I would start slipping and before I knew it I would have to skip another week. To be on the safe side, I knew that I had to weigh in on Friday.

I increased the water this past week and hit it most days. I think that really helped make a difference. Hopefully, this week I can keep it up.

I added in walking during my lunch breaks and that helped a lot. I will keep doing it this week and try to get in some additional days. Also, starting this week, Riley and I will start the Couch to 5k Program. We both have added the Application to our phone and we are ready to go.

On an unrelated note, the reason I went out of town was to go visit my Mom and purchase my new car. My family has completely outgrown my Ford Focus and we were ready for something bigger. I went back to my dealership I bought the Focus from and they were wonderful again. I can't recommend Varney Ford enough. My credit is pretty shaky at best and they go above and beyond getting me into a car. If you go to Varney, make sure you ask for Jim Nichols. This is the 2nd car I have purchased from him and he is wonderful sales guy. So what car did I end up with? A super awesome 2011 Kia Sorento.

Isn't it beautiful? I borrowed this picture from Varney's website but this is my actual car. I am so in love with it. Which is a good thing because I am going to have it a long time.

Ok, check in with you guys next week!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Boston Flower Show 2014

Last Sunday we got up at the ungodly hour of 6 AM (well it was ungodly for a Sunday). Did we do this because we like to find unique ways to torture ourselves? Yes!...I mean no. We were headed to the Boston Flower Show and we wanted to get there early because we knew it would be crowded. Spoiler alert...the crowd level definitely achieved nightmare level in our opinion.

We drove down to Revere, MA to the Wonderland Station so we could take the Subway the rest of the way in. It cost $5 to park and by the end of the day we had spent $17.50 on Subway fare. I like the Wonderland Station because it has a huge parking lot with lots of available spots. I also like getting on at the beginning of the line so we were guaranteed a seat. It took 2 transfers to get to our final destination. We were headed to the Seaport World Trade Center which has a stop off of the Silver Line on the T.

Gabrian was having such a great time checking out everything on the train. We ended up meeting a Pilot from Jet Blue on his way to the airport for work. He saw Gabrian having such a great time and gave him a set of wings and a card that showed the type of plane he flies. Gabrian was so excited because the only thing he loves more than trains, is planes!

We were so excited to finally get to our destination and there were some great photo opportunities. These statues represent Polish Soldiers and were called the Tunnel Warriors (I am half Polish and needed to represent).

We crossed the bridge and I was able to catch this great skyline picture. It would have been perfect if the Sun wasn't in Gabrian's eyes. Oh well, I still like the picture.

We finished our trek only to discover we went to the wrong place! We ended up at the Boston Convention Center. What a disappointment to travel all that way and find out we were in the wrong place. They had a delicious sounding Seafood Convention that we were very tempted to stay for. Fortunately for us they have very attentive staff at the Convention Center and noticed our confused faces right away and turned us back in the right direction. When we had come out of the Subway we turned to the left but we should have turned right and headed in the opposite direction. It was nice to hear that we were not the only ones making that mistake and lots of people were being sent in the opposite direction.

I had fun clicking away on my camera as we headed toward the World Trade Center. You would think I hadn't worked in the city for 3 years based on how I was excited about everything I saw. Although, I don't think the whole time I was working and living in the area, I had ever ventured to this area.

We finally made it to the Seaport World Trade Center and found ourselves in a beautiful but very empty lobby. Gabrian and my Mom found some comfortable seats to relax in while I picked up the phone that was located at the desk. The phone Concierge let me know that yes I did make it to the correct place but we did not go into the correct entrance. We needed to head back outside and go back to where we came from and then take an escalator down to street level to get into that entrance. While Gabrian and my Mom continued to relax, I sought out a nice bathroom a level down from where were located. From that level I could see the Flower Show but a guard was blocking it and he said we had to go through the front entrance. It was so frustrating to be so close and not be able to go in.

We turned ourselves around again and finally found the entrance! We made our way in and paid the entrance fee. It cost me $20 to get in and I think my Mom was slightly less with a Senior Discount. Gabrian was free to get in. Our first order of business...was the bathroom. Seriously, after all that the first thing Gabrian wanted to do was use the bathroom even though we had just left one. Of course all the bathrooms in the Flower Show had a line 20 deep (at least) for the Women's Room. Gabrian wanted to use the Men's Room but I just didn't feel comfortable with that.

Next thing we did was enter a contest to win trip on a Cruise. There were about 6 tables on each side of the entrance and each table had 4 tablets set up to enter the sweepstakes. I am thinking that since no one has called I haven't won but it should would have been nice. I think it may have been a telemarketing ploy but since I put down my actual income, I don't think they are going to be that interested in me.

After all that travel and excitement to finally find the show, the very next thing we did was find the first available bench and staked it out as our lunch spot. We always bring our lunch to this show. We generally find the food offered overpriced and not very good (although it has been years since we have actually eaten at the show and the last time I was even at this show it was at a completely different location so the food may be delicious now). Gabrian had a lunchable and my Mom and I both had purchased Sushi from the Market Basket. It was such a delicious lunch and it was fun to overhear people clearly jealous of our Sushi. We actually had several people approach us asking where the vendor was located to buy Sushi for themselves. The Flower Show should start selling Sushi, I think it would be a huge seller.

After all of that we were finally able to start exploring. It was so fun to see all of the displays set up. I would love to have one of these landscapers come and transform my tiny backyard. I would love to have a Garden Oasis. The smell in this place was incredible. Hyacinth is one of my favorite scents of all times and just about every display had it in some form. It is such a sign of Spring for me.

My favorite display included these birds. They looked like a Dove (and I think that is what they were) but they had tails that could really plume up almost like a peacock. I could have watched them for hours. It was so neat to watch them strut around with their gorgeous tails. I think I want a couple of these for my backyard.

I don't have any room in my backyard for another tree (I already have a very established crab apple tree) but this one was so pretty. If I ever get a bigger yard and I was in the right climate I would like to add one of these (it probably would have helped if I had jotted down the name of it for future reference).

After waling around, Gabrian decided it was time for a little rest. I thought this was the coolest chair. When I was little I remember going to a furniture store that had a huge armchair in this proportion. I still think back fondly to climbing up into that chair. So I was so excited to recreate that experience for Gabrian.

After that rest we headed out to find the Kids Area. This was such a great idea for families traveling with Children. My Mom and I were able to take turns here with Gabrian while the other one would go around checking out all the vendors and see what they had to offer. Gabrian loved all the different craft projects they had to offer. Every two hours they switch out the craft people and a new project starts up. We happened to catch them in a switch over so Gabrian got to try out two of the projects.

These mushrooms were in several of the displays and they had a vendor selling them. They offered this size set for $35 and I had seriously considered buying one. I just couldn't commit to them and handing over my cash so I walked away empty handed. I think this vendor comes to the show every year so maybe next year I will be ready to part with my money since I am still thinking about them.

This was Gabrian's favorite display. He absolutely loved the fish in this one and spent a long time examining them. Do you think there is something wrong with us that we were more taken with the decorations than the flowers themselves? We found the vendor selling these fish and had a great time studying them even more. They were super expensive though and I doubt we will ever have one come home with us. They were about $75 for the smallest one offered (not the ones that were pictured here) and they could get really expensive.

We finished the show with Gabrian eating ice cream on a bench with my Mom while I did one more circuit of the vendors. I bought some dip mixes (mostly because I felt guilty trying so many samples without buying anything) but nothing else came home with me. We had spent several hours at the Flower Show and we had a really great time.

We headed to meet Riley at the South Station (he was coming in from Providence after spending the weekend with his Dad). This Sunday happened to be the Sunday before Saint Patrick's Day and it was the day of the parade. We timed our visit to South Station the same time that most of the Parade People were headed back home. It was such a rowdy group and they all appeared to be about 19. Old enough to be obnoxious and traveling in large groups but not old enough to hit up the bars. It made me feel very uncomfortable waiting for Riley with a 4-year old. There was lots of foul language and outrageous behavior. The only seats we could find were the ones right next to an automatic door that opened approximately every 12 seconds. It was so cold there and I don't think I was ever so happy to see Riley and get the heck out of there.

As were headed out to go to Chinatown for dinner, Gabrian announced he had to go to the bathroom (he has perfect timing). He than grabbed his crotch and did the pee dance. I looked at the line for the Girl's room that had 127 people in line waiting for it. So Riley was volunteered against his will to take Gabrian to the bathroom.

We finally made it to our dinner destination. We stopped at two different bakeries on our way there and stocked up on all the Red Bean pastries I could handle. I love those things. Dinner was delicious and it was fun to try new things. I do think I have found a  new weight loss plans. I will now only eat at places that inform me that I have ordered enough food and I will have too much. She wasn't doing it to be mean but what a cultural difference. I can't imagine going to another restaurant where they prevent you from ordering more food and tell you that you have enough.

After dinner we walked to the T and made our way home. I think Gabrian's favorite part of the day was being on the Subway. Look how happy he looks in this picture. We got home around 8:30 PM, and had a really nice full day. Every person in the car fell asleep (except for me of course) and left me to entertain myself during the 2 hour drive.

I definitely will be doing this again next year and highly recommend that you try it out for yourself next year!

Saturday Weight Watcher's Series

This picture has nothing to do with Weight Watchers but I thought it would be a good idea to update with how I look currently. I recently had a haircut and I am still trying to adjust to the shortness. I like the style and that it forces me to keep it out of a ponytail but I am not in love with having such short hair. Unfortunately with my type of hair which is thin but heavy this may be the best style for me.

Ok...enough about my hair, you didn't come here for that (at least I don't think you did). I had my weigh in yesterday. I weighed in at 334 which was a loss of .4 and a total loss of 20.8 lbs.

I struggle with weeks like this because of the low loss. I am trying to adjust my attitude this time around on my journey. I try to view it as my new life and the loss is not a race. I will be doing this the rest of my life and I will get to goal weight when it happens.

I know I could choose not to eat my weekly points or my activity points and probably see much quicker losses. However, I just don't see that as a long term solution for me. I have been able to stay on the plan because it is so livable for me. I would not do well if the changes were too extreme for me. I like how Weight Watchers gradually eases you into it.

I don't know if it is true although it does make sense, that if you if you don't eat your Activity Points and Weekly Points while you are losing weight you will find that you are not able to use them when you are on maintenance at goal. I have heard this online on the forums and by several leaders that your body adjusts to a new set point of eating and if you were to all of a sudden introduce it at the end to a whole bunch of new points it would cause you to gain. I am going to go with this theory as long as I keep going in the right direction.

During this month at the meetings we have been discussing getting more activity. I hate exercise and do everything in my power to avoid it. It is just so boring and it makes me detest it. I have an Active Link that I wear every day strapped to my bra. It is linked to my Weight Watchers account (it cost me $40 to purchase it and I have a monthly fee of $5), so it knows my current weight in order to calculate Activity Points. I like it because you don't have to do "exercise" but it monitors your activity. So things like chores, cooking dinner, walking around the grocery store, dancing with the toddler all count. The other thing I like is it keeps you honest about how many points you have earned for the day. I can't do 30 minutes of exercise and count points but than do nothing the rest of the day. You have to reach a baseline of minimum amount of activity during the day before you can earn points. It was eye opening for me the first time I didn't get points for going on a walk.

A couple of things have stuck out at me during this last meeting. Our leader mentioned that activity is the only way to alter our metabolism. The more active we are, the faster our body will burn calories even during non-movement time. I keep turning this one around in my head digesting it. It has certainly got me thinking of ways to get more activity this week.

The other thing that the leader mentioned is that if we think exercise is boring than we just haven't found the right one. This past week I walked during two of my lunches. I had my iPhone with me listened to my podcast. The Bob and Sheri show kept me entertained during the walk. I wouldn't say I loved the activity but I can do it and it is free.

For now I will continue on with the walking but there have been a couple of things that I am considering for the future. I have downloaded the Couch-to-5k onto my iPhone. I did that the last time I was successful with weight watchers. I never completed it but I had gotten pretty far before I got pregnant. Looking back I should have kept going. There was no reason I couldn't have at least done it during my first trimester. Maybe I wouldn't have gained everything back if I attempted to continue with my plan. But I digress, this time around I have the App for my phone so no more stop watch for me. I can listen to my music and wait for the voice to tell me what to do next.

Another thing I have been thinking about is joining a dance class. Maybe a tap class or ballet. Gabrian goes to a dance center and they have adult beginner classes. I am thinking about signing up for a class this Fall. I think it could be really fun.

Part of my issue is with the weight I am at now I tend to injure myself pretty easily and it just deters me from doing anything else. I tend to get overzealous and make this bold statements of all the exercise I am going to do (sort of like what I do on the blog about all the great posts I am going to produce). I don't ease myself into exercise and than do something to hurt my knee or foot and I just quit the exercise all together.

This time around I am going to try to gradually build myself up. I started this journey by really doing no activity except for what I doing during my normal day. Now that I am entering week 10 I feel like I should step it up a little. On the weekends, I have no problem getting about 6 points a day doing errands and chores around the house. My goal for this coming week is to also earn 6 points during the work week. I am not going to set out a specific task I have to do to get those points but I am thinking walks during my lunch time will help greatly with this goal. If I can get the 6 points for each day, I will try to maintain that for 4-6 weeks and then try to raise the daily goal. I will report each week with my progress (maybe, because we all know how I do when I make bold statements like this).

The other thing I want to focus on this week is my Achilles Heel...Water. Why the heck is so hard for me to get in 6 glasses a day? It is so annoying that I rarely hit this goal. This is the week that I am going to do it every day (hopefully).

Ok...this is way longer than I thought it was going to be. I didn't realize I had Activity so much on my mind. See you next week with an update!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Blue Burrito Cafe Restaurant Review - Westbrook, Maine

 Blue Burrito Café is that awesome neighborhood restaurant where you wished everyone knew your name. With the friendly and welcoming staff, you definitely felt like you were warmly being welcomed in. I was really looking forward to using my Groupon deal that was set to expire at the end of the month. I purchased it for $15 and it was good for $30 of food. It was very much appreciated when our waitress let us know that alcohol was excluded from this deal. There is nothing worse than getting a surprise charge on your bill.

When we first arrived I was worried that it might have been more of a bar experience. The restaurant entrance was roped off and you had to enter through the bar. It ended up there was nothing to fear because a few steps in and you were in the restaurant.

We were greeted right away and I was happy to see the room was larger than I had originally thought. The tables looked like picnic tables that sat four people. There were a couple of high tops sprinkled throughout along with a couple of picnic tables that were cut in half to fit two. We were placed at one of the latter.

Our next door table mates were perfect. I am not sure how familiar you are with eating out with just a toddler as your companion but at times the conversation can be lacking. Our next door neighbors were a couple with a baby about 18 months old. Gabrian and the baby hit it off and shared some crayons and coloring books. The way the high chair was positioned it looked like he could have been sitting at our table. The baby's (Timothy) parents were great conversation for me. It really gave the restaurant a neighborly feel.

The waitress was prompt in taking our order and we settled in for the wait. The colors were so bright and cheerful. I should think about painting my walls some fun colors (not sure if my landlord would appreciate that though). It wasn't long before my drink came out.

I ordered the Jalapeno and Raspberry Margarita ($8.25). It was an interesting drink and I am not sure I would order it again. There was nothing wrong with the drink but I just don't think it was the one for me. They had so many other fun choices, that I would have to wait awhile for that one to make it back into rotation. The raspberry aspect was just too sweet for me. I don't like overly sweet drinks and this one I think gave me a cavity. I did like the jalapeno kick to the drink. It was interesting to have something so sweet with a spicy tone following afterwards.

Gabrian ordered a Beef Taco ($4.50) which came with chips and a glass of milk ($1). He was so eager to eat, that this was the best shot I could get. The beef was great because it was actually steak instead of ground beef, which Gabrian is not a fan of. The chips passed his high level of a sophisticated palate. I was tempted to try one out for journalistic purposes but thoughts of my Weight Watcher's meeting banished that thought out of my mind.

I went with the Black Canyon Ranch ($14). The menu description states that it is a pan seared flat iron steak, served with Hopi Indian potato, roasted garlic butter & glazed carrots. The skirt steak was delicious but I would be surprised if it weighed in at more than three ounces. I kept thinking the rest of it was hidden under the potato but there nothing but potato. The carrots were great dressed in the buttery glaze. The potatoes were very similar to a loaded baked potato. It had bacon, cheese, sour cream, and what tasted like marinara sauce. I really enjoyed this but think I would try the burrito bowl next time.

We still had some money left from our Groupon and a tiny little space in our stomach so we were ready to fill it up with some delicious dessert. I was intrigued with the Frozen Mexican Chocolate Mousse but was unsure on how to calculate my Weight Watcher points for it so I decided to pass.

Gabrian chose the Double Chocolate Brownie Sundae ($6). It looked delicious but looking back I probably should have just gotten him a scoop of ice cream since that is all he ate and I ended up surpassing my $30 anyway. I don't know why my math skills are always so off when I am at a restaurant. I guess it is a mind trick to order more food.

I went with the Tres Leches Cake ($6). This was so good. I realize if I ever want to do real food reviews I need to get more descriptive and actually describe the food instead of just calling it delicious. But I can't help it with this one. This cake was so delicious. It was so moist and sweet with almost a pudding quality. The whip cream tasted freshly whipped and went great with the cake.

Funny story about this picture of the cake. I try to be discreet as possible when taking pictures and hope that no one notices me click away. However, I must not have been on the down low as much as I thought I was because a waitress (not mine) asked me how our dessert was and did I get a picture of that gorgeous cake. I nodded that yes I did, but I wondered later what she thought I was taking the pictures for.

Overall, I thought this was a great meal and hope to have many more here in the future. I thought the staff was wonderful and really made me feel comfortable having Gabrian there. As we were leaving, our waitress noticed Gabrian's backpack sticker (from Dora the Explorer) and sang him the back pack song. It was the sweetest thing ever and made Gabrian feel so special.

If you would like to try Blue Burrito Café for yourself, they are located at 652 Main Street, Westbrook, Maine.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Disney Contest - Please Vote for Gabrian

I just entered this picture into a contest to win a trip to Disney. You can vote daily from March 15 - 30. Please help us out by voting here.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Thai Me Restaurant Review - Biddeford, Maine

My Mom was visiting this past weekend and joined Gabrian on our weekly trek to Biddeford. Market Basket has finely moved up North to us and I make a trip every week to do my shopping. We also hit up the awesome Trans Market for all of our produce.

We have been slowly branching out and trying the restaurants in this area. This week we decided to try Thai Me in the downtown Biddeford area. I recently purchased a Portland Dine Around Book and this was my first restaurant to try out.

We had just finished visiting Reilly's Bakery and decided to walk to the restaurant. We arrived a little after 12 and we were the only ones there. I was initially a little nervous but a crowd soon joined us. We got our choice of tables and Gabrian chose the one with the best tulips.

We received two menus. One contained the multitude of sushi rolls and the other one had the more typical Thai fare. Our coupon was buy one entrée and get $6.95 off a second one. We focused on Thai food because we knew we would be sharing with Gabrian. We had a lot of choices in our price range. The lunch menu had many items that started at $7.95 and up.

While we placed our order and then waited for the food to come, Gabrian practiced being Grandma. I thought he did a pretty good job pulling it off. There wasn't very much of a wait before the food came out for us. I was really impressed with their speed to the table.

I went with the Massaman Curry with Beef ($7.95). This was served with your choice of White or Brown Rice. The sauce was perfect and I could have licked the bowl if there we not any other patrons in the room. I liked the mix of vegetables except for the wedge of tomato served with it. It was just an odd choice to me for the entrée. My only complaint with this dish is there was very little meat. I think I counted about 3 tiny pieces of beef included in this. Otherwise, I thought it was so delicious and would definitely order it again.

My Mom went with the Spicy Chicken Pad Thai Noodles ($7.95). This was another winner for us. My Mom detests crispy vegetables and likes them to be cooked well done. The restaurant pulled this off perfect without having them cross over to mushiness land. She liked the kick to this dish and it was still fine for Gabrian. Although I did notice him sucking down the water.

We didn't walk away with any leftovers but we had plenty to share with Gabrian. We even had enough when he asked for a refill on his plate. So if you are 2 woman with a 4-year old, you will find that you have plenty of food for your group with the 2 entrees.

We ended our meal with Thai Pumpkin Custard ($5.95). This was served with whip cream and a gorgeous flower. This was the perfect ending to our meal. I could eat another one of those right now. It was served warm which was fine with me but my Mom would have preferred it to be served cold. Otherwise, we all raved about it.

They ended our meal with a bowl of mints. Gabrian had a great time choosing which color he wanted to eat. I think he ate the rainbow.

I really enjoyed our meal here and definitely think Thai Me will be in our Saturday rotation. If you would like to try them out yourselves, they are located at 144 Main St. in Biddeford.

Benkay Restaurant Review - Portland, Maine

A couple of weeks ago we went to Benkay Restaurant for a Sunday lunch. I had purchased a Groupon and was excited to use it. It cost me $26 and we were able to get $50 worth of food. It was good Sunday - Thursday anytime and we could have also used it on Friday or Saturday before 5 PM. As of today they are still offering this awesome deal. You should check it out!

When we arrived it was really busy and it looks like there were only 2 waitresses working. This was the same weekend as the Portland Flower Show and I am not sure they were expecting it to be as busy as it was. They are in walking distance from the show and I think a lot of people took advantage of that. Even with it being so busy, they were able to quickly seat us.

Our orders were taken pretty quickly. I was impressed with how our waitress was handling so many tables at one time. Shortly after placing our order the Miso Soup came out. Miso Soup is one of my favorites and I was hoping that Gabrian wouldn't like his so I could get a hold of a bowl (my meal did not include any soup) but it ended up being Riley that was not such a fan. I was able to eat half of his bowl.

This picture is Gabrian's bowl after he finished slurping out the very last bit he could get out of it. Gabrian is a Miso Soup lover just like me. This soup was delicious. It had that wonderfully distinct taste of the soup with lots of delicious seaweed in it. After our soup we settled in for a bit of a wait for our main meals.

Riley went with the Chicken & Vegetable Tempura ($10). It was quite impressive when it came out of the kitchen. Riley had a really fun time trying to figure out the different vegetables underneath that batter. It was the perfect meal for a 15-year old boy. He loved all the fried food.

Gabrian ordered the Katsu Chicken ($11) which came with a bowl of white rice. This serving was huge and he ate well over half of it. He loved the chicken and the dipping sauce that came with it. I was able to snag a piece of it and it was very moist with a crispy coating.

I had the Spider Roll ($9) and the Spicy Scallop Roll ($12). My mouth is watering just looking at these pictures. The scallops were succulent and tasty. The sweetness of the scallop worked perfectly with the spicy sauce that goes on the roll. The Spider Roll contains my favorite soft shell crab. The only thing I could find fault with is the lettuce in the Spider Roll. That is just a personal preference that I prefer my rolls with out lettuce.

The boys had a great time trying out the chopsticks (although Riley's picture is making him look less than thrilled). I love that plastic piece for the chopsticks to help get Gabrian get used to using them.

We really enjoyed our lunch here and would definitely go back. I would say the only snafu is our wait between the soup and our main meal. I chalked it up to them being overwhelmed by the crowd from the Flower Show. Since it was a Sunday, it was no big deal because we had nowhere else to go anyway.

I would highly recommend going to Benkay for a meal. If you would like to try them out for yourself, they are located on 2 India St in Portland.