TCL Highlights from 2010

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It’s time for another The Chic Life – Highlights from 2010. Click here to view my 2009 review post.

January

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I kicked January of 2010 off with the first ever Eat in Month Challenge. I spent a couple of the challenge without a kitchen. I mean…no sink, no countertops, no nothing! I could barely wash dishes in my tiny bathroom sink. I didn’t give up on the challenge, though. I stuck with it and pulled through! If I can make it without a kitchen, you can too! (Click here to view details on Eat in Month 2011).

I also organized the Bake 4 Haiti online bake sale to raise money for those affected by the Haiti disaster. Dozens of generous bloggers donated their baking talents to help us raise funds for the cause. (I still owe you a recap post. A year later would be better than not posting, right?)

February

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In February of 2010, I looked fear in the face and conquered my stage fright when I danced at halftime of the Bobcats NBA game with over 200 other Zumba fanatics.

March

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I held one of my favorite challenges to date in March 2010 – Project Hydrate! I challenged you guys to drink more water and up your hydration levels to the appropriate level and you all did fabulous!

I also went meatless for Lent and learned how fulfilling a vegetarian diet can be. I also posted a series of guest posts related to non-meat eats. Check out the tag – M4L Guest Post.

April

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I learned that rising from failure can yield great results. I auditioned to be a zumba instructor with a local company in 2009 and didn’t get the position. I tried again in April of 2010 and this time I did it! I had a great audition and found out a few weeks later that I got the job!

On Earth day, we started our first vegetable garden!

May

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Hubby and I opened a new door to our cooking styles when we got our first grill. Let the outdoor eating and entertaining begin!

June

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Hubby and I finally had our (long overdue) housewarming party.

July

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In July of 2010, hubby, Bailey, and I took a family vacation with hubby’s family to the lake.

This is also the same month that my Green Monster muffins were born!

August

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I attended my first blog conference in August 2010 – the Healthy Living Summit! I met so many of my blog friends in real life and made new ones, too. In case you’re wondering…yes, the people are just as wonderful in person as they appear on their blogs. :)

September

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In September, I celebrated my 30th birthday by going to the Bahamas. I recorded my first vlog while I was there, too!

October

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In October, I actually celebrated my birthday with local friends. I made them all wear pink, too. hehe

We also had a fun Halloween party!

November

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In November of 2010, I attended my second blog conference – Foodbuzz fest! Such a great time! I had an awesome roomie and met so many more fabulous bloggers in person!

December

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In December of 2010, I conquered my fear of running when I completed my first ever 5k with Caitlin. I met my goal of running the whole thing and managed to complete the race at 35:19. (I’m hoping to PR in 2011 ;) )

I also published a recipe you may have heard of before…dough balls anyone? ;)

***

Wow! 2010 was such a whirlwind! Thank you so much for joining me on my journey through life. I’m so grateful to have all of you as a part of the past, present, and future!

Happy New Year’s everyone! :)

Eat in Month 2011 Challenge

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Just like last year, Hubby and I have been spending too much money eating out! In an effort to save money and eat more healthfully, we are vowing to eat in for the entire month of January. Long time readers of The Chic Life may recognize this post because I did the same challenge in January of 2010. You can check out my January archives to read more about how I did last year. And let me tell you, I went for a long period of the month without a kitchen due to home renovations. I mean, I didn’t have a countertop or sink! If I can eat in through all that, so you can you. I know you can if you put your mind to it.

Anywho, just like last year, we’ve been using “eating out” like a crutch when we’re tired after work or don’t have anything at home to cook and don’t feel like going to the grocery store. Well, for the month of January – no more excuses! We’re eating in…every. single. meal.

The Eat in Month Challenge Concept

Eat every single meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, snacks…whatever!) “in” to save money and eat better. (Hey, this may even fall in line with the New Years Resolutions some of you have made!)

How to Play

  • Cook or prepare all meals at home.
  • If you’re away from home for a meal, plan ahead and bring something from home with you (i.e. to work) to eat.
  • If you got it at a grocery store, it probably counts, unless you bought it at the grocery store cafe. The only exceptions to the cafe rule include: 1. if you create a side salad to accompany a meal you’ll be making at home or 2. prepared meats, i.e. rotisserie chicken.
  • Grocery-store-prepared dishes are ok if they accompany a meal put together at home. IMG_1249.JPG We all have busy lives and taking help from the grocery store shouldn’t be a crime. Example of acceptable use of grocery-store-prepped item: you want to eat sandwiches this week but don’t have anything to go with them. You pick up some bean salad at the grocery store deli to go with your lunch. Another example: you want to make chicken salad sandwiches, but you don’t have or want to buy all the ingredients. You buy grocery-store-prepped chicken salad, take it home, make sandwiches and enjoy lunch. NOTE: Personally, I feel that buying pre-pared side dishes, etc at the grocery store (esp at Whole Foods/Earthfare/etc) are sometimes healthier and more cost-effective than buying all the ingredients to make yourself. Why not use the help once in awhile?
  • Frozen meals count (meals from scratch are better but frozen meals are still cheaper than eating out (more affordable meals and you don’t have to pay tip) and can be actually cooked at home/work/etc.).
  • Challenge starts January 1, 2011 and ends January 31, 2011.
  • Play for a month if you can, or feel free to join for a week or two, or a day…whatever you can do.
  • Those playing for a month will get ONE cheat pass – one meal (not a day) you can eat out during the month of January.
  • Have a blog? If you’d like, post photos and/or descriptions of your meals. If you have a food blog, you very well may be doing so already! Remember, this is totally optional. I’ll probably post most of mine, but that’s because I’m the host of the challenge! I can’t guarantee I will post photos of every single meal, but I will tell you guys if I cheat (which I won’t do). If I did it last year, I can do it again!
  • If you’re on Twitter, use hashtag #eatinmonth to check out updates from each other, get inspiration, request tips, offer tips, and help each other out.
  • I’ll be posting tips and suggestions also on my Facebook page, so be sure to check that out often during the challenge month for updates.

Tips

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  • Get your pantry ready – A lot of times, I have good intentions to eat meals at home, but after a long day of work, if I don’t have any easy meals to whip up, I’m more likely to pick up the phone and order takeout. Having easy meals that come together quickly makes me more likely to put “pantry-meals” together instead of calling someone.
  • Click here to read my Eat in Month Pantry Tips + Ideas post
  • Have snacks ready – If I’m hungry at work, especially when there are lots of quick options around, it’s easy for me to take a 15 minute walk to pick up a snack. By keeping snacks in my desk and in the office fridge, I can just nosh on those instead of seeking snacks elsewhere.
  • Plan ahead – Prep your pantry, create a meal plan for the week. If you have a meal schedule ready, you’ll be more likely to stick to what you already planned ahead to prep/cook/eat. You’ll probably also utilize those leftovers more efficiently, too!
  • Have quick meals in your back pocket – Go ahead and jot down 5-10 quick meals you can throw together using pantry & staple items. Use this list when you’re hungry, out of energy, and out of time. Try to keep your pantry, fridge, etc stocked with a couple of the items needed for these quick meal so you’ll always have something to eat when you’re in a bind.
  • Keep it Simple – It’s nice to try to cook fancy-schmancy meals every night, but if you’re as busy as me, you just can’t do it every day. Allow yourself to put together simple meals, even if it’s heating up a frozen dinner. We know you may have better intentions, but just do the best you can while still being reasonable. Sometimes the simplest meals (spaghetti anyone?) are the best!

The Badge

You guys know I love my challenge badges! I’ve created one you can put on your blog for this challenge:

You can use the following code to add this banner to your site:

<a href="http://thechiclife.com/2010/12/eat-in-month-2011-challenge.html"><img src="http://thechiclife.com/wp-content/uploads/images/EatInMonthJan11.gif" border="0" width="170" height="170" /></a>

The Players

Are you playing along in the Eat in Month Challenge? If so, leave me a comment, whether you’re playing for the whole month, a couple weeks, a single week, a couple days, etc. and your URL if you have a blog.

  • Me :) I’m playing for a WHOLE month!
  • You?

Who’s In? It’s never too late to join! If January is halfway over and you just found out about the challenge, feel free to join in on the festivities! Better late than never! :)

The Holiday Gain

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Not sure why I decided to do it, but I worked today. It was kind of weird to only work 1 day out of the whole week, but in some ways, it will ease the pain of returning to an extra-full inbox and to-do list.

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I had trouble sleeping last night and woke up late-ish, so I rushed through eats today.

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Just a fried egg and piece of my mom’s cinnamon bread. Are you surprised it’s not another rye bagel?? lol

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I also busted out my first Christmas gift – a pretty mug my sister picked out for me. I love the tall shape. It’s actually the same size as my other mugs (content-wise).

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I started to eat leftovers from yesterday’s road trip food, but then I thought…creamy sauce + 2+ hours in the car may not = good food. If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you know it’s best to not mess with potentially spoiled food.

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So, I turned to my pantry to see if there was anything left to eat and found some more TJ’s frozen breaded halibut and cabbage.

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I broke into another Christmas gift today – Amanzi Secret Garden tea.

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The leaves are very pretty.

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The tea is nice, light, and floral.

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I had more of mom’s bread because when you have mom’s bread in the house, it’s hard to resist.

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I was surprised to see there’s still some snow left on the ground in our back yard. The snow is mostly melted around my area. How about you?

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Bailey was pretty tired today. I took him on a brief walk but he spent most of the day…

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…napping.

***

Post work, I went to Zumba! Class was fun and I was glad to work out. I haven’t talked much about working out here lately and that’s because…I haven’t been doing it. I basically haven’t worked out in two weeks and I feel fine. Between all the delicious holiday eats (which I indulged in, but not till I made myself sick) and my lack of working out, I’ve probably gained a few pounds, but you know what…I don’t care. And, I wouldn’t really know. I can’t even remember the last time I weighed myself. I usually just go on how my clothes fit. I think having spent more than a few years of my life with a negative self-image and restrictive eating habits that I’ve reached my breaking point once and it was enough. My ultimate conclusion – Being “skinny” is not worth stressing about gaining a pound here or there or not enjoying delicious foods I love. Bring on the sweets, people. :)

Caitlin wrote a nice post along the same subject (click to view) – be sure to check out the comments.

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I came home and whipped up a quick dinner. I pressed this tofu around lunch and then let it marinate all night. I baked the tofu in 1/2″ slabs at 400 degrees for roughly 20-25 minutes. It was a little softer than I wanted (I like a slightly crispy edge), but it still tasted good and the tender texture was actually quite pleasant. I also made quick sauteed zucchini and onion and brown rice. It was so good. I kind of want it again (and therefore will probably eat it for lunch tomorrow. lol)

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After dinner, I headed out to meet friends at Yoforia. Katy was in town! Also at froyo – Nicole, Brittney, and Katy’s hubby.

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It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve had froyo, most likely due to the cool temps. I really loved my bowl. I had original tart and taro froyo as my base. Toppings = pomegranate arils, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, coconut, and mochi.

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I’ve removed my shiny new dehydrator (a gift from my MIL) from the box and it’s washed and drying for a project tomorrow. Can’t wait!

I have tomorrow off. Yesssss!

On the agenda:

  • Coffee
  • New homemade almond butter
  • Dehydrator project
  • Breakfast
  • Publish Eat in Month details
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Slow cooker chili
  • Clean house
  • Crochet
  • Read
  • Blog TCL 2010 Year in Review
  • Blog TCL – Top 10 Recipes of 2010
  • Prepare for NYE Party

Btw, I’m posting details about Eat in Month 2011 tomorrow! Get ready!

Ooh and I have a blog announcement posting the first week of January. ;)

Do you stress about holiday weight gain?

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