Dancing in the Sun

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After a most-enjoyable, healthy, nutritious, and energy-providing lunch, I got ready with my friend Megan to do a zumba performance at a local park!

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The park was packed for a special event featuring some of the local activities and organizations. We were showing off how fun a dance workout can be.

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I guess everyone wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather!

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The sun was shining and the skies were blue with white fluffy clouds happily floating by.

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Me with some of my faves: Kat and Megan

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I met up with the girls I was dancing with, and we chit-chatted by the stage before it was our turn.

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Hubby showed up with Bailey just in time to take some photos of us dancing.

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Now, I know we’ve talked about stage fright and stuff and how I have it big-time, but today…I was fearless! I mean I was honestly not nervous at all. I was excited and happy. It felt great to be dancing in front of so many people!

Here are some photos from our event:

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Bailey almost made a guest appearance.

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Wheeeeeeeeee! So F-U-N!

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Afterwards, Hubby and I headed out to a local shopping center that has a great outdoor eating area. We wanted to enjoy the sun and the beautiful weather some more.

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We even took Bailey with us.

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He was so stoked.

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Hubby really wanted nachos but doesn’t like them sans meat. So, he got chips and queso instead. I had a few of his chips.

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Then we headed over for something I wanted…

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Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream! Ok, actually, I got chocolate brownie fro-yo, not “ice cream”. It tastes just as decadent as ice cream to me but it’s not quite as bad.

Small Rant on Portion Options

I wanted a kids cone (1 scoop) but they apparently told hubby (I was outside holding Bailey) that was only for 12 and under. Why the heck can’t an adult get a single scoop? I understand that adults shouldn’t order from the kids menu, but they should have a single scoop on the adult one. This kind of goes to the problem I see in restaurants in general in the the states – GINORMOUS portions! Restaurants think everyone always wants everything bigger and more this and more that (and sadly they do). However, I can have a single scoop of ice cream and be perfectly content and I don’t think I should be forced to purchase more than I want.

Assuming a scoop = about 1/2 cup, then according to benjerry.com, a kid’s cone has 170 calories (1 scoop froyo) + 114 calories (sugar cone) = 284 calories for a kids froyo cone (remember, this is for a KID).

Now, for an adult, that’s 170×2 (2 scoops froyo) = 340 + 114 = 454 calories in a “regular” adult froyo cone. I realize everyone eats a different amount of calories they try to eat, but this is more like the amount of calories I’d consider for a whole meal. And yes, I’ve eaten desserts and meals that I’m sure are way over this amount, but I like to do that very infrequently and my point is that one should have the OPTION to consume less calories by ordering a smaller size if they so choose.

The chocolate brownie ice cream version is worse – for an adult 250×2 (2 scoops ice cream) = 500 + 114 = 614 calories in a “regular” adult ice cream cone.

Now, you guys know I love my desserts and I love my sweets and I eat bad things and decadent foods. But, I don’t see any point in eating these things unless I really WANT to. And if I don’t want 2 scoops of ice cream, I should be able to order ONE.

I mean, this kind of goes to the whole, “big eyes” syndrome. My parent’s use the term “big eyes” when your eyes are bigger than your stomach, i.e. you put more food on your dinner plate than you can actually eat because when you look at it, you think you can eat more than you really can. Anywho, put too much food in front of someone and they’re going to try to eat it.

Again, I know ice cream and froyo is a decadent treat. I don’t care about the amount of calories/fat/sugar/whatever in them. My deal is really about portion options and not being able to get small enough size (especially when one scoop is a pretty standard size at most places).

And please don’t read into this little rant too much because I’m not really super mad or anything…just a little peeved. Ben & Jerry’s – I still love you and your froyo, but if you put a single scoop on your menu I will love you even more. :)

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Anywho, my solution was having hubby help me out by eating off some of the top. Thanks hubby!

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Random reader question: when the paper sticks to your ice cream cone, do you eat it? I scratched and chipped mine off. No glue for me, thanks! :lol:

Earthfare Outing + Society Too Caught Up in Figures for Diet?

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Aww…he’s such a cute sleeper…

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Had to share these cute photos of Bailey asleep on the couch last night while I blogged away. He’s such a goober when he sleeps sometimes.

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On to today…

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Oatmeal with coconut milk was calling my name, but so were the eggs and Great Harvest bread which are both about to expire any day.

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So, since I was WFH today, I whipped up one of hubby’s fave breakfasts – fried cage free eggs and toast – 2 servings – one for each of us.

Work was so much better today from the comfort of my house. I really think I’m more productive here anyways.

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The only break I took today was to take some quick photos of Bails. He’s such a great little model.

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For lunch, I heated up more of my healthy vegetarian (guess it’s actually vegan, too) 3-bean chili, which I brightened up with some fresh parsley. I love how vibrant all the colors of this chili are!

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On the side, I toasted up more Great Harvest honey whole wheat, which I topped with some Laughing Cow cheese, fresh parsley, and hemp seeds.

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I ended up feeling full before I finished, so I decided that rather than forcing myself to finish, I’d save it for later.

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Hubby got us some doughnuts from our fave local bakery, which I enjoyed in the afternoon.

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Yogi tea echinacea tea.

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Yogi tea quote: “If you don’t love where you come from, you can’t love where you are going.” What do you think about this quote? Do you think it’s true? I don’t know about the quote, but personally, I am just recently coming to peace with where I came from. I’ve started to appreciate my life up till now with all the times I felt like both a success and a failure.

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I had some more doughnut holes later in the day.

You guys know I love my sweets and I pretty much eat them whenever I want, though usually as a way to say “take that restrictive eating! I eat what I want!” But, I’m coming to a point where I’m becoming more open to change and to possibly even giving up some of my sweets. Note – keyword = “some”. You guys know I’m big on gradual changes, but I’m keeping an open mind and I’m planning to do some research. We’ll see how things pan out.

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I met up with some girlfriends tonight for a casual dinner at Earthfare. From left to right: Michelle, Emily, Kath, Moi, and Kate.

(Group shot photo thanks to Kath)

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After picking out our eats, we took a moment to capture them on our cameras.

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I got a salad with romaine, baby spinach, purple cabbage, broccoli, cucumber, carrot, sprouts, bell pepper, celery, and balsamic vinaigrette.

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Plus a minestrone soup.

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Of course I enjoyed a whole wheat chocolate chip cookie, which I discovered this week is also vegan.

Oh and Michelle let me sample the vegan blondie she got and it was really good too! I may have to get that next time!

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I made use of the Stonyfield reusable tote I got yesterday to do some grocery shopping tonight.

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I picked up some staples: whole wheat pastry flour, tofu, roasted chili paste, wheatberries, walnuts, sunflower seeds and a new frozen mea to try – Macaroni & Three Cheeses.

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I also got some Augisa & Co Organics vegan body lotion (locally made!) and some all natural almond extract.

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It turns out the lotion is made by a lady I met once. She had the booth next to me when I was selling my handmade jewelry at a local craft show. Neat! I’m glad to see she’s doing well – I always liked her lotion.

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By far the best deal was the granola and Larry’s coffee beans I scored for FREE! Yes, that’s like $15 worth of stuff for free because I am signed up for the Earthfare email newsletter and they sent out a coupon for free granola and coffee with purchase! I forgot which flavor of beans I got but the description said something about being smooth with hints of vanilla or something and that sounded pretty good to me. For the granola I selected the Berry flavor.

If you live near an Earthfare, you must sign up for the newsletter! Such great deals! You can sign up at the bottom of their homepage at earthfare.com.

Also, take their Boot Challenge. It’s easy – they show you 2 products and you guess which one Earthfare would not sell in their store due to their policy on only selling high quality, healthy products (you can read their list of banned ingredients here). After submitting your guess,they tell you which one they would not permit in their store and why. I think the challenge is a fun and easy way to learn more about products you consume. Knowledge is power people. ;)

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Oh and I swung by Barnes & Nobles quickly to pick up a gift for a friend. These aren’t the gifts for them. These are things I picked up for me: Well Being Journal and Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. The magazine looked like a good read and though Kath said I could borrow IDofF, I decided that it may be good to keep in the house for reference, so I bought. But thanks for offering Kath!

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On another tangent, I washed my new (yes, I got it for Christmas but still haven’t used it) Martha Stewart blue food processor parts today. I have a fun food project planned and just need to put it together. I’m so excited to try out my food processor – I’ve been wanting a good one for a long time!

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Tidbits

Heard about Zumba but not sure what the fuss is about? Want to know what to wear to class? What to expect? Check out my post on Zumba 101 – read the questions and answers for those new to Zumba.

I’ve answered more Formspring questions – see answers on my last post. Ask me some more questions on my Formspring profile (click).

I’m workingon some more detailed pages, but I did a quick update of my About page. Check it out.

Is Society Too Caught Up in Figures for Diet?

On another note…did anyone else see the news article today that Weight Watchers and McDonald’s have teamed up? Yup, McDonald’s is going to start promoting and selling WW-friendly meals. Is anyone else reminded of the so-called Taco Bell drive-through diet.

Is it healthy to make your WW points if all you ate that day was overly processed fast food? Are 1200 net calories of chicken sandwiches and french fries better than a day’s worth of whole foods?

I understand that counting calories, fats, and sugars really help some people lose weight, but, personally, I tend to get lost and confused trying to keep up with too many figures. I do okay focusing on one area at a time, but my best success in getting healthier has been when I returned to my roots and what my Dad has taught my family: eat the best quality food possible – the less processed the better. When I focus on eating as much whole food as possible, I have an easier time maintaining a weight loss (or losing weight) and I feel better, too. Instead of stressing over every gram of fat I’m consuming in a day, I can enjoy my food and know that I’m nourishing my body and that the fuel I’m providing it is high quality.

Do you think our society has gotten too caught up in figures when it comes to their diet (diet as in “food and drink regularly provided or consumed” as defined by Merriam Webster)? When you’re grocery shopping or deciding what to eat, what’s most important to you? Do you worry more about making sure you don’t go over your calories for the day (whether those calories include fast food and overly processed food) or do you focus more on the quality of your food (opting for whole foods, organic, etc)? Or something else?

I’ve created a poll so people can weigh in on their personal preference:

What is most important to your diet?

View Results

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I’d absolutely love it if you elaborated on your answer or provide an answer you don’t see in the poll in a comment. :)

Last Photography Class…Boo!

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Eats of the Day

When I found those dried black currants , I decided to also pick up some dried, pitted dates. Such good oatmeal mixins, no!?

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I rounded out the sweet oatmeal with a savory Morningstar “sausage” and some Earthfare House Blend coffee.

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Choco-Coconut Date Oatmeal

Add to a pot:

  • 1/3 cup organic skim milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (so much better than quick cooking or instant – for real!)
  • 1/2 tsp chia seed
  • 1/2 tsp flaxseed
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Cook stove-top until thickened (over medium low heat)

Stir chopped dates (about 4) into the oatmeal after done cooking but leave in pot to warm through.

Toppings:

  • sliced almonds
  • about 1 tsp unsweetened organic coconut

And you guys have said it before, but I’ll say it again, yes this looks decadent, but take a looksie at that ingredient list. No added sweeteners! :) I just used the natural sweetness of the dates to sweeten the bowl.

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I had an early lunch #1 of a toasted AB+J (almond butter – Barney Butter and jelly – Earthfare organic pomegranate jelly)

So good toasted! If you like PB&J, you must try it toasted! I just put mine in a toaster oven on 2 toasting cycles, but your time will probably vary. You could probably also use your oven to toast it.

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Lunch #2 – more healthy veggie 3-bean chili with some Kashi honey sesame crackers.

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Lunch dessert – endangered species supreme dark chocolate – my last mini bar.

Work was really hard today, but nothing a good photography class couldn’t cure…

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Last Photography Class

Tonight was my last photography class. :( I don’t want my classes to be over! So the sad part is that they are but the good part is that I know I will take more in the future. I may not take classes again soon (only because of financial constraints), but I will.

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I did some of my homework this weekend (subject = composition), but figured a couple more shots wouldn’t hurt.

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I met up with Kate to grab dinner before our last class (she’s taking the class with me).

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We hit up Fuel pizza and got exactly the same thing! Great minds Kate! :D

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Side salad with balsamic dressing.

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Spinach-tomato pizza.

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And a cinnamon knot. So bad but so good. ;)

Tonight, for our last class, we learned about how to use the flash properly. A lot of people say never use the flash. A lot of other people say, it’s ok to use the flash if you know how to really use it. Me, I’ll probably stick with no-flash until I can get the Canon Speedlite 430 EX II I have been lusting over for the last…oh…3 years. I don’t know how people purchase the big ticket items on a whim, but me…I need to save up (and forego the flash when other things like…I don’t know…the house? come up).

Anywho, after learning about flash, seeing our teacher do some example photos and taking our turn at practicing, our last and final class was over.

Wow, these 8 weeks of photography classes have FLOWN by! I can’t believe they’re over already. I really am sad about that. My Tuesday classes were something I looked forward to every week.

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Kate, me, Emilie (our fabulous photography instructor)

Thanks to Kate for doing the class with me.

And thanks to Emilie for being an awesome instructor!

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Stonyfield Oscar Prize Pack

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I got home to find a package waiting for me. My Stonyfield and Food Inc Oscar prize pack (won on Twitter) was here! Hooray!

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Inside the package, I had lots of goodies: a reusable tote, a spatula, recipes, a card, a $25 gift card to Whole Foods, a Why Eat Organic CD (or DVD?)

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…a the Going Greener Guidebook, Oscar Bingo sheets, Oscar party tips, Food Inc the book, Food Inc the movie and coupons for Oikos…hooray!

I haven’t seen Food Inc yet, but I can’t wait! I’m hoping to have a Food Inc party once our house is ready…with lots of yummy vegetarian and vegan snacks.

Thank you Stonyfield for the fabulous goodies!

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More Q&A Updates

Have you seen my Zumba page yet?

Also, I’ve been working on my Formspring questions and answers, so here are some updates:

I just found a studio in town that offers Zumba. What advice would you offer to a beginner? Is it better to take the zumba class, a dvd, or a zumba light class if your just learning.

If you’re extremely nervous about going to class for the first time, then you might want to look up some videos on youtube to get an idea of what a class is like. Or, you could practice for awhile on the DVDs. BUT…honestly, I would just leap headfirst into a class. And remember to not worry about what others think – just let loose and have a good time. Do the moves as best you can – it doesn’t matter if you don’t do them perfectly. It doesn’t matter if you do them completely wrong – especially the first time. You’ll get them at your own pace. Where I dance, we say “If you’re moving, you’re doing it right.” :)

Was it difficult to house-train Bailey?

Not really. He’s a really smart dog (corgis in general are a smart breed) so he learned quickly. He was also really good about not chewing on things.

If someone gave you a million dollars with the restriction that you could not spend it on yourself or anyone close to you, what would you do with it?

If it was given to me to decide (as in I had to decide, not a joint decision with hubby), I’d donate money to charity, set up a vegetable garden in at least one local school (b/c I think it’s important for kids to know where their food comes from), and set up a scholarship in my parents’ names (because the older I get, the more I appreciate everything they’ve done for me). But, that’s just off the top of my head. If someone really gave me a million dollars, I’d spend a lot of time researching my ideas before committing the money.

*edited here on the blog to add that if I were really given a million dollars, I would also consult hubby to decide what to do with the money*

Do you like to travel? And if so, where would you like to visit?

Yes! There are SO MANY places I want to go! I’d really like to go to Paris, San Francisco (and wine country), and New York City some time this year, but I’m not sure that will be feasible since we’re new homeowners. I’d also really like to see Hawaii, Italy, Spain, other areas of France, Canada, The Virgin Islands, Colorado, Sedona (AZ), Fiji, The Philippines (where my mom is from), and I’d like to go back to the Bahamas (where Hubby and I got married). :) I’m sure there are more places I just can’t think of right now.

If there was one thing in your life you wish you could be better at, what would it be?

I’m a pretty Type A, analytical person, so I’m always working on being better at different things. If I could choose one, I think at this moment in time, it would be “organization.” I’d like to get my schedule, house, and life in general more organized. I think if I were more organized, I’d be able to focus better on other areas of my life and on those around me (hubby, family, friends).

What/who inspired you to start blogging?

I started my first blog as a means to promote my jewelry business – an idea passed around by an online group of jewelry artists I belonged to. No one read it (it was pretty boring…lol), so I converted it to a fashion blog (separate blog from TCL). I started TCL as a new blog to blog about my life and left my fashion blog to clothes/shopping/outfits.

Where did you get that yummy looking burrito?

Which one!? I eat a lot of burritos. I got one from a place called Cantina 1511 and one from a place called Energy Cafe most recently.

You asked about our fave restaurants-we live near Raleigh, we love Napper Tandy’s IRish pub, love Ella’s seafood in Calabash, the Crab Shack in Tybee Island, GA

Neat! Thank you! :)

What are your top three favorite stores to shop from?

I don’t know that I can just pick 3. I like different stores for different things. :) I grouped some here…

3 Favorite Grocery Stores:

  • Earthfare
  • Whole Foods
  • Trader Joes

3 Favorite Clothing Stores:

  • Banana Republic
  • J Crew
  • Nordstrom

3 Favorite Places to Shop for Plateware:

  • Crate and Barrel
  • Pier 1
  • TJ Maxx/Marshalls/Etc.

You always have the cutest coffee mugs and tea cups! Where do you find these? :)

Thank you! :) I made a page with info on where I found some of my favorites: http://thechiclife.com/plateware

Thanks for all the great questions guys!

Have any more questions? Post them here on my Formspring page (click).

Reader question: What’s your fave way to eat PB&J? With almond butter instead? A special flavor of jelly? Toasted?

Handling Mistakes at Work

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Today started off good but then quickly not-so-good.

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I think a good, healthy breakfast is the perfect way to start the day, because I kick things off feeling energized and nourished.

In today’s bowl: rolled oats, 1/2 milk, 1/2 water, flaxseed, chia seed, sliced banana and unsweetened organic coconut sprinkled on top.

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Things took a turn for the worse when, whilst in my car at 9:15am, I got a phone call from a co-worker who reminded me that I was supposed to be on a phone conference for work, running a LiveMeeting at 9:00am. Big-DOH! I felt like an a$$. :oops:

I hauled it to the office and got on the meeting as soon as possible and wrapped up as best possible, but wow…that was so unprofessional.

But, you know…everyone makes mistakes. The best thing you can do with mistakes is learn from them.

Here are my tips for handling mistakes at work:

  1. Take responsibility – acknowledge the mistake
  2. Don’t make excuses – no one wants to hear them anyways
  3. Apologize – call or email the person you let down/offended/whatever and apologize
  4. Learn – figure out where things went wrong
  5. Apply – don’t let it happen again – use your new knowledge the smart way

Today, I acknowledged that I was late for today’s meeting. I didn’t make excuses by blaming traffic. I emailed my co-worker to apologize for being late to today’s meeting. I learned that I need to pay better attention to my schedule and probably get to work earlier. Im hoping to be more aware of my calendar and work on going to bed and waking up earlier so this doesn’t happen again. :)

And you know what my co-worker emailed back? “It happens to the best of us :-)” (yes with a smiley). I am lucky to have an understanding co-worker who helped ease my embarrassment.

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In shocking news, I broke away from my cubicle to take a real lunch break with some co-workers. I got a combo with 2 slices of pizza, 3 garlic knots (with marinara), and a coke.

I ended up eating 1 1/2 slices of pizza, 2 garlic knots, and half the coke. It was too much food and I had plans for an early dinner.

And what did I do with those leftovers?

I traded them in for a treat!

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Sweet hubby felt bad about my morning starting off so rough and brought me a cupcake, so I gave him my leftovers. Fair deal, right? Ok, just sweet hubby then. <3

I normally like to pair indulgent treats with healthy meals to help them balance out, but I wasn’t going to sweat it today. I enjoyed every bite of this delicious vanilla cupcake with chocolate icing. Mmm…

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I actually forgot about my lunch plans and packed some soup for lunch today. This worked out well because I was able to eat my “lunch” for dinner at my desk, before photography class.

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I had leftover roasted tomato + black bean soup and 10 kashi honey sesame crackers.

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Then, it was photography class time!!! I can’t believe I only have one class left. :cry:

Tonight we learned about composition.

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I brought a Luna Cookie in Peanut Butter Chocolate. It reminded me a lot of a Clif ZBar both in texture and taste. I like ZBars, so I was good with the flavor/texture. I also liked that the calories were under 200 – this is hard to find sometimes. It seems easy to find a meal bar but not so easy to find a snack bar < 200 calories.

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We got a fun homework assignment so I’m hoping for good weather this weekend so I can have some photography fun!

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Hubby gave Bailey a bone earlier in the day and said since Bailey got a treat, I got one (see cupcake above).

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I couldn’t believe the bone was still intact by the time I got home.

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Hubby said Bailey was carrying the bone around like his baby.

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He’s so silly sometimes! :lol:

Over and Out

Remember to tell me what you want to see here on The Chic Life by voting on this poll (click)

And ask me anything (keep it clean, though, please!) on my Formspring page

Reader Question: Have you ever made a mistake at work? What did you do to bounce back from it? What did you learn?

Tripod Shopping Tips for Food/Craft Bloggers

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If you’re a food or craft blogger, whether you have a point and shoot or a DSLR, a tripod is probably a good investment, especially if you’re working with low lighting that will slow down your shutter speed, giving you blurry photos.

Before I get into the tips, I should point out that these tips are more geared towards the beginner. If you’re a photo pro you probably know all this and more (so leave a comment with your tips if you’d like!). ;)

Point and Shoot Tripod Tips

If you have a point and shoot camera, you can get a decent tripod from your local photography shop for around $20. It’s not top of the line but it’ll get the job done. I’ve also seen some neat ones with bendy legs that you can wrap around stuff like poles or fences, which seem pretty neat.

If you have a point and shoot, I would get:

  • A standing one for $20-ish
  • A tripod with the bendy legs.
  • Basically, I’d keep it simple. :)

DSLR Tripod Tips

If you have a DSLR, you’ll want to make a better investment. When I went shopping, I wanted to purchase a medium quality tripod. I didn’t want the cheapest one, but I didn’t want the top of the line either. I wanted one I could use for a long time and one that gave me some good flexibility in usage and ability to upgrade later (upgrades as far as head). The tips below are geared towards such a tripod, but could be beneficial no matter which level you want to purchase.

Here are some of my personal tips (apply as best fit your specific situation, financially, lifestyle-wise, etc.):

When you’re ready to start shopping and/or buy a tripod, go to your local camera shop. Most small photography stores hire real photographers, so they can offer you real life advice and tips from their experience or from what they’ve heard from their customer feedback. I also like having someone there to answer my questions as I think of them or make decisions between different options. Plus, you’ll be supporting a local business On top of that if you build relationships with your local shop, they can help give you extra advice in other areas or on future purchases. Some small photography shops even sell used tripods (or other equipment)! I am so glad I went to my local store – the man I spoke with was soooo helpful! Btw, you can probably get tripods online cheaper, but saving money won’t save you anything if you get the wrong one (not that buying one in person guarantees you won’t but it helps) plus supporting local businesses rocks!

Ask the right questions. Explain how you intend to use the tripod so the person assisting you can help narrow down some good options. Ask questions about usability based on the types of photos you take now, where you plan to take your photos, etc. If the person helping you understands your needs, they can better help you.

Good tripods are expensive. But beyond price, think of the investment sitting on top of your tripod. You could get a cheap camera, but would saving $50 be worth your $500 camera crashing to the ground and breaking? IMO, no. My tripod cost me $170-ish and was considered one of the lower-end ones! I was very surprised at how much good tripods cost. I heard you can get decent ones for $80 but the man at the store said it would be worth it to pay more if I thought I’d use it after my photography class. I really didn’t want to spend so much but I did want to get a good tripod that would last me for a long time, too.

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Save money by purchasing a tripod that already comes with a head (make sure you can replace the head for flexibility). Most tripods are actually sold without heads (the attachment at the top of the tripod where the camera is connected to the tripod). I looked at one tripod that was about $150 and a head that was $100. Talk about a lot of moolah, and I wasn’t even looking at the most expensive ones! The nice man at the photo shop where I went showed me a tripod that already came with a head, which saved me some money. He said I could upgrade to a better head later when I have more money.

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Get a tripod that has legs that do not attach in the center. Many tripods, especially the more affordable ones will have legs that attach in the center. This will limit what angles you can put your tripod in. My tripod, pictured, does not attach in the center, so my legs will flatten all the way down if I want. I don’t know that I’ll ever flatten my legs all the way down on my tripod, but I can at least widen them as much as I need or do different angles. I have more flexibility in leg positions this way.

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Get a tripod that will extend very tall. If you’re a food or craft blogger, you may find yourself wanting to take photos looking straight down onto something on your countertop. If your tripod puts your camera high enough, you can accomplish this with the sturdy hold of a tripod (as opposed to your shaky hand).

In case you’re curious, I purchased the Vanguard Tracker 4 tripod. I’m very happy with it so far. It’s a bit heavy and doesn’t come with a bag (so I may sew one?) but it works well.

Questions? Comments? Tips you’d like to add? Leave me some comment love. :P

PS I’m planning on doing some posts on my personal photography tips – just a head’s up

Just a Day Just an Ordinary Day

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First off, I just want to say, thank you new and long time readers of The Chic Life. You guys keep me going with this little blog. Thank you for your comments and support! :)

So, just when you think you’re going to have a day like any other, you find yourself taking 200 photos (yes, in that same one day)! Craziness!

First off, the avocado oatmeal from yesterday has been quite the buzz! Seems like a love it or hate it kind of thing. I think avocado as a sweet flavor is unusual to most, but if you like avocado, why not try it? (Btw, I will be making avocado ice cream once things warm up for any one who’s interested).

Lunch Prep

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I made myself a bit late this morning by making egg salad. I should have made it last night, but…well, I didn’t. I was too busy spilling martinis all over myself! ;) jk

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Nevertheless, I whipped up the egg salad pretty quickly and slapped it on some good bread in a tupperware – ready to take to work.

Seedy AB+J Power Toast

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Of course, I couldn’t leave for work without breakfast! Nice, hot coffee and…

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Power toast!

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Today I had a Seedy AB+J Power Toast.

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A slice of honey whole wheat Great Harvest toast served as my base.

On top:

Nice and crunchy!

Have you tried my Power Toast yet? If yes, let me know how you like it! :)

Work Eats

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Hot black tea with cream and sugar.

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I was so excited to try my egg salad sandwich today!

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It was AWESOME! I need to perfect the recipe, but I’ll be posting it soon.

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Some honey sesame Kashi crackers on the side.

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I had a rough morning so sweet hubby brought me a treat – a doughnut from our fave local bakery.

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Tulsi tea – work your magic! Make me well! Still feeling a bit under the weather…mostly like I have a cold now at least, which is an improvement over last week.

Photography Class (AEB)

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After work I went to photography class.

We did a photoshoot uptown. Here are some of my fave photos of the night:

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Isn’t the reflection neat?

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Taaaallllllllllll!

We practiced AEB – Auto Exposure Bracketing (what is AEB? When your camera takes the same photo 3 times with 3 different exposures). Look it up in your manual. It’s great to know about it and how to use it. ;)

Here are some examples…

All 3 taken on AV (aperture priority) and ISO 400 and AEB at +-1:

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f3.5, 1/20 shutter

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f3.5, 1/80 shutter

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f3.5, 1/5 shutter

* * * * *

Here’s another example, still on AV, ISO 400 and AEB at +-1:

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f3.5, 1/6 shutter

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f3.5, 1/25 shutter

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f3.5, 0.6 shutter

* * * * *

Aaand another example, still on AV, ISO 400 and AEB at +-1:

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f3.5, 0.3 shutter

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f3.5, 1/13 shutter

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f3.5, 1.3 shutter

I love how the water looks like it’s glowing in the last photo.

NOTE: Basically I set the aperture at f3.5 and the AEB adjusted my shutter speed as needed.

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Let me just add that the whole time we were taking photos, we were FREEZING! Boy was I glad I brought gloves, though they were not quite enough. I was wishing I had some thermal underwear for real!

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Luckily, we were all freezing and our class took a pit stop at Starbucks before heading back to wrap up class. I got a tall soy hot chocolate sans whipped cream.

Once we got back, we hooked up our cameras to the TV in the class room to share our photos. I shared mine from tonight, some from our Valentine’s Dinner and some from Chinese New Years.

Then, it was time to head home.

Dinner

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Since class ends kind of late, I made a quick dinner using stuff from our freezer, which thankfully only took about 25 minutes.

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TJ’s breaded halibut, TJ’s sweet potato fries (baked), and steamed organic broccoli with a drizzle of real butter.

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Of course after I took most of my food photos I remembered I had some fresh parsley to sprinkle over the fries. At least I remembered before eating them! :mrgreen:

Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Shannon of The Daily Balance has nice explanation of lent, so I’ll just direct you there (click) if you want to learn more about Lent. Oh and for anyone who missed out on Eat in Month, Shannon is doing something similar for Lent, so maybe you can join in? If you’re willing to wait longer, I think I’m going to repeat it next January!

Anywho…I’ve been trying to figure out what to give up for Lent. I’ve given up lot of tough things before: chocolate, dessert, sweets, and even caffeine!

While giving up sweets again seems like a good idea, I thought I’d try a little something new.

So…

…any guesses what hubby and I are giving up for Lent?

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We’re giving up…

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MEAT!

That’s right…we’re giving up meat. I’ve never tried giving up meat for any period of time, so I’m curious as to how this is going to work out. I’m a little worried for my meat and potatoes hubby but he’s a tough cookie, so I know he can do it!

Here are our guidelines (with some slight exceptions):

  • eggs are ok
  • seafood is ok
  • no chicken
  • no pork
  • no beef
  • no ostrich
  • basically, no meat-meat

Basically, we’re going pescatarian for a month-ish. I’m pretty pumped! :D

If you celebrate it, what are you giving up for Lent?

Heart Yourself Campaign

I’m still accepting heart photos for the Heart Yourself Campaign. I’d love for you to send one in! :) Email me at thechiclife at gmail dot com.

Click here to view some inspirational self-love heart photos.

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