Saturday, August 29, 2009

How to Not Gain (Much) Weight on an Exotic Vacation!

Whew..ok, I'm finally (almost) caught up enough to post about my Birthday Cruise to the Bahamas!

Beren and I had a fabulous time and though this was my first cruise experience, it will definitely not be my last. You can't beat the convenience, only unpacking once yet still being effortlessly transported to several locations. The entertainment on board was outstanding, the accommodations small but adequate, and the ship was gorgeous! Then there's the food...groan..I had heard horror stories about midnight buffets, round-the-clock feasting and the subsequent post-vacation weight gain and, yes, those things existed! I could have easily put on a ton of weight in those 4 days and would have thoroughly enjoyed the experience...until I got home. Instead, though, I made good, if not perfect, choices with a better outcome. Did I gain? Yes. In fact, the day after we returned I wrote a frenzied e-mail to Ms. Bitchcakes lamenting the initial 4-pound gain which a day later settled into a 2-pound gain. She and my cruise-aficionado friend Jersey talked me down off the ledge and away from a depressed binge. As they said, it was mostly water weight thanks to the incredible amount of salt used in food prep, and maybe a tiny bit due to the slightly increased calories. Yet today, after 5 days ashore, the scale reads the same number as when I departed.

So, here's how I did it. First off, there is absolutely no reason why can't eat healthfully at each & every meal, at least on the ship we sailed on. The buffet was chock-full of whole grain breads, fruit, salad, vegetables and even veggie burgers! For breakfast I had whole-grain toast, scrambled eggs, yogurt, fruit & coffee. A typical lunch was salad, fruit, seafood, Asian-style mixed vegetables, etc.

At dinner I did indulge in whatever I wanted (fish one night, pasta another, Thai the last) and even had dessert at two of the meals but they were both sugar-free! Since they didn't leave a bread basket at the table, the waiter brought it around, I wasn't tempted to consort much with the devil either. Honestly, though there were several courses and the food was amazing, the dinner portions were reasonable, small by restaurant standards, so I left feeling satisfied but not stuffed!

Even at the private island where we spent our first day, there were plenty of healthy choices and since it was so freakin' hot, water was my beverage of choice.

Besides, we walked around the island for 20 minutes until we found a secluded area in which to relax, no way was I walking all the way back just for a cocktail!

And speaking of alcohol, I admit to sneaking some vodka save money and also control how much I was consuming. The poolside bar had a special going, $6.00 for 3 days of unlimited soft drinks and once I found out they carried Sprite Zero, I was sold! So, while I did have several cocktails a day, for the most part they were relatively low-calorie, no fruity umbrella drinks for me! At dinner one night I ordered a bottle of champagne (thank you, Jersey, for gifting me!) but shared it with my dinner companions. I also had a couple of the local beers, but more about that later.

In addition to watching my food intake, I literally walked my ass off! In addition to trekking around the island and the ship in general, we also hiked for a solid two hours in Nassau, non-stop! The attractions were definitely worth the effort...

...but I felt totally justified in partaking of some local favorites once we arrived at our final destination! For the record, this conch salad is super-healthy, consists of cucumber, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, hot pepper, lime juice and of course, conch. The local beer was not light but, again, I only had two and enjoyed every drop!

And, instead of the midnight buffet, we eschewed the ship's night life for the most part and turned in early. Both of us have an active social life at home and tend to be early risers anyway, we didn't feel like we were missing much. It was more important to us that we take advantage of every waking moment!

So, I didn't lose this week but so what? I went on vacation, enjoyed myself immensely and can still fit in my favorite jeans, I'll take that any day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why, Thank You!

I am back home, had a fabulous time on the cruise but am buried in laundry and trying to catch up on the work I missed while away. I'm anxious to tell you all about my vacation, hope to find some time tomorrow to do just that but in the meantime I must take a moment to receive a lovely award from two of my favorite bloggers!

Thank you so much, Orange & Black Kittehs; You know how much I enjoy reading your blog as well, this gift from you is truly an honor!

Back to the grind, "see" you all tomorrow!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Bon Voyage!

Passport? Check! Sunscreen? Check! Sexy Nighties? Check! Dreaded Bathing Suit and Pareo to cover? Check! Check! I've got my pink vintage suitcase packed and ready to go, will be leaving for the port in just a few minutes! I'm so excited and grateful to Beren for taking me on this birthday cruise, can't wait to relax and have some fun in the sun, despite the horrors of donning a bathing suit in front of hundreds of people. *shudder*

I am not going to kid myself, it's highly unlikely that I'll be logging every bite or sip I take this weekend but I'm going to do my best to make good choices (such avoiding the midnight buffet!) and stay focused on my goal. I've been assured by other WW members that I can indeed eat healthfully while on the ship so I'm sailing out with Confidence and a Commitment to Control myself! Not very easy for this Leo Party Girl but I am gonna do my damnest!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, will check in with stories & pics to share on Monday!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

My 45th birthday had a few sad moments..missing Mom's early AM birthday call..her cards, both e-mail and computer-made, and of course seeing her on my special day, the person with whom I'd spent every Aug 20th of my entire life. My Sweetie and my wonderful daughters did their best to make the day special for me, as did my amazing group of supportive, loving friends. Thank you so much to all of you everything, I feel incredibly blessed!

And for any of you who wonder why I refuse to cut my hair, the above photo, circa 1970, should explain it all! *shudder* Why did moms think those pixie cuts were so adorable?! I love my red dress, though, guess that was my favorite color back then as well!

I did get treated to a little beauty treatment, many thanks to Lily and her recently-graduated hairdresser BFF! I love that she respected my wishes and didn't get all scissor-happy on me. *grin*

Now off to bed for this birthday girl, I have another big day of fun tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good-bye Forty-Four

My Last Day at Age 44, and (hopefully) at this Weight

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Swimsuit Shopping...need I say more?

Dear South Florida Department Store Buyers:

Just a reminder, we live in the tropics where the temperature rarely drops below 70 degrees, thus the need for shorts & bathing suits year round! It is currently 95 degrees in the shade and will continue to be so for several months, what makes you think I want to look at sweaters and wool or ever? Also, in case you've forgotten we have tourists here year 24/7 who might not bring appropriate clothing for our sweltering summers and therefore need to shop for said items. If they can't find summer garb in your stores, where are they gonna shop? Don't even think to mention the boutiques on the beach because unless your waistline (and your wallet) are the size of Kate Moss you're shit-outta-luck, baby! If you require a double digit I guess you're expected to don a mumu, sit on the sand and gaze longingly at the skinny beach babes frolicking in the ocean, perfectly cool & comfy because they were able to purchase cute swimsuits on the spur on the moment! And, um, some of us might be going on a cruise in a couple of days and happened to save the particular gruesome task of bikini-shopping for the very last minute!

Oh, and one more thing, do you think that you could provide separate dressing rooms for those of us non-skinny chics? 'cause it's bad enough to be standing naked under those horrific bright lights and three-way mirrors, struggling to squeeze my fat ass into a size Large only to hear from the other stall, "But look at how BIG this is and it is a size ZERO, now what am I going to dooooo?"

Really, there is just only so much torture one woman can stand before she's driven right out off your fancy store and straight to the nearest bar where she's going to down as many vodkas (2 POINTS each) as it takes to convince her that her old tattered swimsuit is just fine for the vacation and, in fact, it makes her look like a freakin' goddess!

Not that I did that or anything..I'm just could happen...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday, Monday...

I had such a wonderful, fun-filled weekend, all I want to do now is head back to bed, pull the sheets over my head and sleep...ahh...if only it were possible!

I did fairly well the past few days, stayed pretty much on program even when tempted by Beren's frying, my friend Hilda's baking and the general festive atmosphere that comes with birthday celebrations. There's lots more to come, though, considering that my actual birthday isn't until Thursday! *groan* It'll take all of my willpower not to overindulge, just need to hold tight to the image in my head of me at goal weight, looking fabulous at 45!

To start my week off on the right note, I'm making this yummy-sounding recipe tonight, looks quick & easy and by substituting Shirataki noodles for the pasta I should be able to shave off another POINT or so!

Mama Mia Vegetable Pie

POINTS® Value: 3
Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 35 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Have some leftover spaghetti? Then give our savory pasta pie a try.


1 tsp olive oil
1 medium bell pepper(s), chopped
1 small onion(s), chopped
3 medium portobello mushroom(s), (equivalent to 1/2 cup) chopped
12 oz canned tomato sauce
6 oz firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1 spray(s) cooking spray
2 cup(s) cooked spaghetti
3/4 cup(s) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded


* Preheat oven to 375ºF.

* Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pepper, onion and mushroom; sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and tofu (be sure to thoroughly drain the tofu before crumbling it up and adding it to the sauce). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer mixture, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

* Meanwhile, coat a 9-inch-deep pie plate with cooking spray. Arrange spaghetti in bottom and up sides of pie plate. Pour tofu mixture over spaghetti; sprinkle with cheese.

* Bake for 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing into 6 pieces.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I am one happy chica this morning! I stepped on the scale at my WW meeting & discovered that all of my hard work paid off: 2.2 pounds gone! Felicitaciones to me!

That was just the motivation I needed to keep on going, stay on track, say No to the bloomin' onions & their equivalent such as the enchiladas I'm making the family for dinner tonight. Yeah, it's a quick & easy Friday night meal, but even prepared with chicken breast it's 9 POINTS per serving, demasiados in my opinion. I can have a lovely fiesta just as easily with Hungry Girl's version below:

Surprise, It's Pumpkin! Enchiladas

PER SERVING (1 enchilada): 188 calories, 2g fat, 948mg sodium, 31g carbs, 5g fiber, 8g sugars, 10.5g protein -- POINTS® value 3*

This wacky-sounding recipe was born after we accidentally used leftover pumpkin in place of refried beans. But it tasted FANTASTIC, so we perfected it, and now we're passing it on!

2 medium-large corn tortillas (like Mission Super Size)
3/4 cup enchilada sauce, divided
2/3 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
1 slice fat-free cheddar cheese, halved
1 1/2 tbsp. taco sauce
1 tsp. dry taco seasoning mix
Optional: salt, black pepper, fat-free sour cream, chopped scallions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring a pan sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat on the stove. Add onion and, stirring occasionally, cook until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Add pumpkin, taco sauce, and taco seasoning to the bowl. Mix well. If you like, season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spray a small baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Warm tortillas slightly in the microwave.

Lay tortillas flat on a clean, dry surface. Spread 2 tbsp. enchilada sauce onto each one. Place a half-slice of cheese in the center of each tortilla. Evenly distribute the pumpkin mixture between the centers of the tortillas.

Wrap tortillas up tightly and place them in the baking dish with the seam sides down. Cover with remaining 1/2 cup enchilada sauce.

Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes, until enchiladas are hot. Carefully remove dish from the oven, and sprinkle enchiladas with shredded cheese.

Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Plate those babies and, if you like, top with sour cream and/or scallions. Enjoy!


Have a fabulous Friday, TGIF!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bloomin' Ridiculous!

I am tagging along on a little business trip with Beren, just an hour or so up the road from My Town. This is a monthly must-do meeting for him, a luxurious 24-hour escape for me. It's wonderful to lie around the pool, take a walk on the beach, lounge in the hotel room, basically pretend to be a lady-of-leisure!

Anyway, part of the experience is dinner out the night we arrive. Now, let me remind you that Beren and I don't often dine out. It's just too expensive, dollar and calorie-wise, and hey, I'm a damn good cook in my own right! So, we tend to eat at home most of the time, allowing restaurant meals to be an occasional treat. Last night was one of those occasions. While examining my options, I thought it best to stick to a chain restaurant rather than local fare, figuring I could look up the POINTS values more easily. Add that to the fact that we had a gift card and the decision was made: Outback Steakhouse. Whoa...not such a good choice after all! Unable to find any info on the WW site, a quick google led me to this website which provided what I hope is accurate information. My options were so limited, I couldn't believe how high the POINTS were for these menu items! I finally settled on:

Caesar Salad (dressing on the side) 6 POINTS
5 Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie 2 POINTS
2 glasses of wine 3.5 POINTS

Total Meal 11.5 POINTS

Not bad, would have preferred a bit more substance for dinner but it was the best I could do and felt satisfied. Besides, it's all about the dining experience, right? Sitting across the table from someone you love being served and not having to clean up the dishes afterward!

Now, Beren on the other hand made very different choices! Here's what his meal consisted of:

1/4 of a Bloomin Onion (not including dip!) 14 POINTS
3 Slices of Bread (approx) 6 POINTS
1 Tablespoon Butter (approx) 2 POINTS
Caesar Salad (dressing on the side) 6 POINTS
5 Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie 2 POINTS
2 Pints Fosters Beer 6 POINTS

Total Meal 36 POINTS

But that's not all, folks! We then took his daughters out for ice cream, I had a glass of water and he ate a waffle cone with a large scoop of ice cream, don't know the exact value but I'm guestimating about 7 POINTS. So, for dinner My Man ate 43 freakin' POINTS, 2 days' worth of food for me, and he still manages to look like this (yeah, that's about as pin-up as he gets):

What the hell is wrong with this picture?? I hate men and their metabolism..grrrr..

Anyway, on a positive note, I left the restaurant proud as hell of myself for sitting there with a huge Bloomin' Onion and a loaf of bread in front of me, and I didn't touch a bite! Whoo-hoo! I think that deserves a reward, don't you? How about a nice long walk on the beach followed by a poolside lunch with a friend? Yep, that'll do it.

Signing off for now, your faux lady-of-leisure,

Friday, August 7, 2009

Shopping Day

Since I rarely work on Fridays, I reserve those days for my WW meeting, errands, cleaning, etc, all of the stuff I don't wanna do on weekends when Beren is home! Yesterday I hit the grocery store, today is Costco because I do appreciate a big strong man when doing that bulk shopping. *wink*

There were a few new-to-me products mentioned at the meeting, am looking forward to trying them but in the meantime here are the items I keep on hand all the time; if these are in my fridge & pantry I have a much better chance of success. Even more important if I'm going to get rid of the 3 pounds I gained this week! *groan*

*Boca & Morningstar Farms products - veggie burgers, dogs, sausage, etc
*Veggie Cheese
*Arnold Sandwich Thins
*Flat-Out Wraps
*Perdue Perfect Portions chicken breast
*Weight Watchers yogurt
*Jiffy Pop 100-calorie mini-bags, various flavors
*frozen shrimp
*Thomas Light English Muffins
*Boars Head turkey breast

I also can't live without Pyrex, I have a huge collection of both vintage and new pieces, use it almost exclusively for food storage. I'm not big on plastic, am nervous about the health risks and would much prefer glass. It cleans better, lasts longer and looks prettier! The only exception I make is some Tupperware for dry pantry items and Rubbermaid Chug bottles which are BPA free and are the perfect water bottle, in my opinion. I buy them in bulk at Costco, keep half a dozen or so in the fridge at all times. The family is much more likely to choose water over some other liquid if it's cold & readily available! And they are so cheap, if one of the kids leaves them at the beach or at a friend's house, no big deal, I'm only out a couple of bucks.

Once I got everything put away I started cooking! I sauteed 1 bag of shrimp with Mrs. Dash seasoning, grilled chicken breast w/Mojo sauce, divided everything up into individual containers and put them on my shelf in the refrigerator. I made a huge salad with romaine, peppers, tomatoes, etc, just about every veggie I could think of was thrown in there. This way when I get home from work and don't feel like cooking some days, I can throw together a simple salad with either shrimp or chicken and Poof! Dinner's done!

Today I'm going to make use of my slowcooker, am tossing together Laloosh's Black Bean Chili, doubling the black beans & eliminating the meat to make it vegetarian. Again, this a cinch to prepare today since I took the time to cut up the onions, etc yesterday when I unpacked them from the grocery store! Planning really is everything.

Now, off I go to Costco, if only I looked like Ms. Von Teese while pushing my grocery cart...swoon....

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

No Excuses!

By now most of you have probably heard about Applebee's and Weight Watchers being sued for fraudulent calorie/POINT calculations in their WW menu items. I have mixed emotions about this; on one hand I myself have ordered a couple of those menu items over the years and in fact have chosen Applebee's on occasion because I thought I could order with confidence, assuming that the POINT calculations were accurate. So naturally I'm frustrated and annoyed but on the other hand, give me a break, do we really need to sue the companies over it? Did the "victim" really gain a ton of weight from Applebee's? Surely she didn't consume every single meal there, did she? Listen, anyone who cooks knows that portions aren't exact unless you whip out your measuring cups, spoons and food scale and I find it highly unlikely that your average chain-restaurant chef went to that amount of trouble, it just ain't gonna happen! And furthermore, why sue Weight Watchers? They weren't in the kitchen preparing the meals! Ah, of course the reason WW is under attack is because they have deeper pockets than an already-struggling restaurant chain.

Like so many of these widely-publicized lawsuits nowadays, this one is just plain silly. It smacks of the million excuses I've heard (and used) for being fat, "It isn't my fault I gained weight; it's because of the restaurant, or my husband, or my job, or my children!" Oh, please, there's a bevy of "reasons" we can spout for being overweight but come on, do we really believe that? Bottom line: I am heavier than I want to be because of choices I made. No one forcefed me that bowl of pasta or loaf of French bread, I'm a grown-up person and made that choice with full knowledge of what it would do to my hips!

I'd advise Ms. Curry to do what I do: don't believe a damned thing you read on restaurant menus because they are rarely accurate and if you go out to eat you'd better be prepared to spend a hundred calories more than you expected. This is why I cook and enjoy 99% of my meals at home where I control the ingredients, portion size and actually do make use of my measuring tools. Really, it's the only way to ensure that you're getting exactly what you asked for!

And for further discussion of the "no excuses" theme here, I finally made my way back to a meeting and weigh-in, having decided that I am really, really not a good candidate for Monday meetings. I know that the Monday people are "most dedicated" and it would help keep me on track over the weekend..etc..etc..and I could make all kinds of excuses for why that doesn't work for me but the bottom line is this: I party on the weekends, eat & drink too much and it shows on Monday morning. I could choose to curb my entertainment but I haven't, and I won't, and that's that. My lifestyle is what it is, and I like it that way, and even if it hampers my weight loss efforts I'll continue to do it until I don't want to anymore. *shrug* So the only way this is going to work for me is if I know this and make WW work into my lifestyle rather than the other way around. Sure, some changes have to be made, I can't gobble up anything I want 7 days a week and expect to lose. But, if we have the Flex Points and we can use them when we need them, why not? In my case that's going to be Friday - Sunday and then I have until the following Friday to toe the line and work at losing. Like many of you, this is much easier during the work week when I am on a more regimented schedule.

So, anyway, I weighed in and got exactly what I expected: a gain. 3 freakin' pounds. Excuses are plentiful: time of the month, vacation, water retention, blah..blah..blah..but the truth is that I ate more than I worked off! Plain & simple.

Now, once again I crawl back on track (and the treadmill), determined to make next week's scale experience a positive one. I'd ask you to wish me luck but that's not what's required; what I need is hard work, more determination and self-control along with a healthy dose of tough love and NO EXCUSES!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hump Day History Lesson: Corsetry

Inspired by the Pin-Up Blog, I present you with a lesson in corsetry. I don't know that I'd want to be wear them every day but now & thinking I'd love to be laced up! *wink*


And the goddess Sophia..she certainly does that black corset justice!

And although not shown in it's entirety here, you must see the movie Possession for my favorite corset scene..swooon....forget the sex, the way he unties her corset is (almost) good enough for me!

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Mother the Pin-Up

Today marks the 6-month anniversary of my Mother's death. Far from being healed, I find myself missing her more & more each day.

To honor her, I took the morning off from work and have spent some quiet time thinking of her, putting flowers on her grave, etc. I plan to make a nice dinner tonight, her favorite dish lightened up just a bit.

Yes, she did love my stuffed shells, followed by cheesecake or cannoli! How she kept herself so thin is beyond me. The photo above was taken when she was in her early 20's, quite the pin-up, eh?

I miss you, Mom..Love Always,