March 2010 Issue of Elle Magazine Tidbit...

Get ready for this because you're not gonna like it...

According to an author of some diet book on NPR, 3 ounces of alcohol may possibly reduce your fat burning by a third.

Three ounces? Really?

Skeptical?  So is the author of this column.

I found it interesting.



New SM Playlist 3-31

Because I am absolutely restless with the current one...

1. Black Dog, Led Zeppelin

2.  Motownphilly, Boyz II Men

3. Baby It's You, Jo Jo

4. Monster, Lady GaGa

5. Little Secrets, Passion Pit

6. Butterfly, Crazy Town

7. Want It, Danity Kane

8. P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing), Michael Jackson

9.  Chop Me Up, Justin Timberlake

10. Jumpin' Jumpin', Destiny's Child

11. Fergalicious, Fergie

12. How We Do, The Game

13. Anna Molly, Incubus

14. Rompe, Daddy Yankee

15. Take Me Out, Franz Ferdinand

Total Time: 1 Hour 29 Seconds

Have a beautiful day, friends.




5 Things I've Learned 3-24-10 to 3-28-10

I feel like imparting some, perhaps somewhat obvious, pieces of wisdom on my lovely friends this morning.  These past few days I have learned a few things that might be worth sharing...

1.  If oil starts to burn out of your pan... you're screwed.
I burned the h-e double hockey sticks out of some food this past week.  And for whatever reason, I kept cooking my "blackened" creation even after my oil burned out of the pan.  Moral of the story? Audrey has a hard time cooking on high heat without ruining dinner.  Any insight into successfully doing this would be much appreciated.

2. Don't carry a pile of laundry half your height up the stairs... you just might trip.
For those of you who know me intimately, this is no surprise.  My mother calls me Grace quite often and it's meant for the irony.  I definitely did trip up the stairs this week and now I have a gross bruise on my left knee and a little bit of fluid around it.  It sucks.  Make a second trip.  It's worth it. And it would burn more cals.

3. Sleeping in the floor of a dorm room is not for anyone outside the 18-21 year old demographic.
I had a fabulous reunion this weekend with my sisters in Blacksburg Saturday night. We had a great night catching up.  Some of our plans fell through to stay the night in our sorority house when some visitors from headquarters planned a last minute visit, ousting us from the comforts of a couch.  My friend Meghann's little sister so graciously allowed the two of us to sleep on her floor in Lee Hall.  That's right.  Lee Hall. Sound familiar even to those non-Hokies following me?  Well that's because I lived there freshman year.
And let it be known that a soon to be 24 year old drunken married woman has no business sleeping in a dorm room floor.  Whilst brushing my teeth with Meghann in the bathroom, we were alarmed at the sounds of a poor girl puking her guts out in one of the stalls.  We had a brief back and forth on whether or not to help her.  Good thing we passed on aiding her and instead judged her shitty friends for not being in there with her.  Because it turns out we could have gotten Meg's sister a Judicial Referral for helping.  How much sense does it all make?
Also, let's talk about my back hurting two days later.  I normally don't mind floors... or maybe that's a carpeted floor with some cushion... Dorm room floors are harder than the hardest of rocks.

But it was free.  And a funny experience.

4. Old photographs and artifacts are a part of history I reallllly enjoy.
I think it's the element of story that does it for me.  The tales these pieces of someone's life can tell you that a history textbook cannot.  And also the strong tie to family reels me in.  I saw a couple interesting things in the past few days.
One was an old newspaper clipping from 1904.  It was a wedding announcement from my Grammy's grandparents wedding.  My Grammy's grandparents.. so let's see.. that makes them my great, great grandparents.  Two greats.  The headline said "Married in a Buggy."  Apparently my great greats had a spontaneous wedding on a mountaintop in a buggy.   How cool is that?  The wording of the clip was better than sex plus chocolate cake for a language lover such as myself.  "They are among the county's most deserving people."  Or it said something like that.  Wow.  How neat the way these were written in the early 1900s!
I also had the pleasure of viewing old photographs of my Grammy's of her modeling her high school basketball uniform.  And let me tell you she was quite the looker.  For those of you who know my grandmother, she now stands near the five foot mark and is thin.  Not back then!  Grammy was voluptuous with a tiny little waist!  When I told her she looked sexy in one of the pictures, I got a pretty big laugh.  But really.. you don't think of your grandparents as they were young- their appearance, their hobbies and energies. I told her I wanted to get copies of the photos. (P.S: She would absolutely die if she knew I publicly commented on this.. but I found the experience priceless and worth sharing.)
Mom, Grammy and my Aunt Nel just went through some of my Aunt Elsie's stuff a couple weeks ago.  She was a great great of mine, too.  Apparently they found a really creepy old doll, some old coins, among other treasures.  I am the owner of some of her vintage scarves.  Do you ever think about the way your material belongings define you after you're gone?  Not that it is all of your essence, but it's what you have left behind.  I love the story it tells.
These are the things everyone should want to locate and hold onto in their families, in my humble opinion.

5. It is so much easier to be nice than to be a jerk...
I have nothing to say about this (lie), except for it's true (truth).  And not everyone understands it (too true), as easy a concept as it appears to be (duh!)

Sorry it's lengthy today.  Lots on my brain!




Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser: The Best All-Purpose Cleaning Tool EVER

Tis the season to spring clean...and man I have been trying!

So far, I have done the basement/downstairs/den/office/bathroom area and everything on the entry level except the kitchen.  And let me just tell you this:

Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser was sent from heaven above.  Is there anything it can't do?

Scuff on the wall? It's history.

Ring on the counter top?  Gone.

Wanted to spread the know.  If you haven't used this lovely little sponge-like tool, you should invest.




Reform Ramblings

I typically try to avoid battles of political conflict like the plague...  However, after this historical vote last night, my wheels have been turning.

First of all, I think there is much to be said for the corrupt nature of our political system.  People don't just change their stance on something so substantial.  And by people, I mean senators. Do you ever wonder what really happens behind closed doors in Washington? What kind of money, threats and bribes are thrown around on a daily basis? I think it's something to ponder.  And due to the nature of the beast, we will likely never know the half of it.

As a general rule, I tend to fall slightly left of center on most things.  And health care reform makes me so damn nervous.  Here's why:

While there is such an immense need for correction/intervention of some sort into this situation of jacked up costs of health care, I really worry about what is truly in the bill in the way of tax policy change.  How does it affect my immediate family?  How does it affect my parents?  My grandfather's businesses?  From my initial dive for info,  I think the business front is where the control that is imposed begins to blur the line, if not straight up contradict, the true meaning of democracy.  And yes, there are people without health coverage, people who desperately need health coverage.  The people in their corner want a change... including myself... but only to a reasonable extent.  There are also a really good chunk of people who publicly and outwardly oppose reform.  So that said how do you really find "what the American people want?"  Isn't that a gross over-generalization to say that Washington is giving America what America wants when America was effectively divided down the middle on the bill?

Because I think like this, I will share this thought -> From a communication perspective, I think speaking in generalities hurts President Obama with his opposition in the country.  While I understand his strategic nature of his choosing words wisely, my feeling is he sometimes leads his listeners to wonder what he really means.  What information could he be withholding?  This could have a less desirable effect for him...  the gradual degradation of his credibility.

On another note, I don't believe everything people say sometimes, particularly when it's heated/emotionally driven.  So the facebook statuses, uber-conservative relatives and partisan news networks don't tell me much.  When people are pissed, you have to take things with a grain of salt.  I definitely need to do my homework and research this soon-to-be law a little further.




StairMaster 60 Minute Playlist

Yesterday I reached a goal.  I can now stay on the Masta for an hour.  I needed some new tunes.  Here's what I am thinking:

1.  I'm in Miami Bitch  LMFAO

2. American Boy  Estelle Feat. Kanye West

3. Around the World   Red Hot Chili Peppers

4. Skinny Little Bitch  Hole

5. Love You Madly  Cake

6. Poison  Bell Biv DeVoe

7. She Wolf  Shakira

8.  Resistance  Muse

9. Control  Janet Jackson

10. Seniorita Justin Timberlake

11. Little Lies Fleetwood Mac

12. Waiting for Tonight Jennifer Lopez

13. Thnks Fr Th Mmrs  Fall Out Boy

14. Don't Stop Believin'  Journey

15.  Take Me Home Tonight Eddie Money

Playlist Total Time 1 hour, 2 minutes, 13 seconds.

What do y'all think?




Today is Awesome

Today is awesome.  You know those days where you just feel amazing??  Today is one of them, my friend.  Must be the luck of the Irish... even though I myself am not Irish.  Anyway.

I woke up early.  The sun was just starting to peek above the mountains.  It was then I knew I was in an unstoppable, kick-ass, lovin' every damn minute of it, kind of mood.

This feeling went on a brief hiatus when I resumed studying for econ (Debbie Downer noise). No surprise there that Econ is a huge buzz kill.  But then, to my utter disbelief, I got an A on the first proctored test.  Something must have finally clicked!! So I walked to my car with the goofy ass smile on my face from absolute dumbfoundedness.  You know when you think you will never understand something and then you do well and it shocks you shitless?  In other coursework, I push myself expecting to get an A, so when I do, the excitement is always pretty minimal.  But in the rocky start of my Econ student career, I pushed and still floundered.  That is why this A kicks ass.

So then I went and tanned, which let's face it, makes every woman (and man, if he's up to it) feel like a bronzed godness (or god, where appropriate). At the onset of any spring-like weather, you can go barelegged and not be reflective.  And as I always like to say, tan fat looks better than pasty fat.

Then I went to the gym.  I am now ten minutes away from making the StairMaster single-handedly responsible for my all my cardio activity in the gym.  50 minutes today. All. time. high.  I have found reading a magazine/book helps the time go more quickly.  I took my Econ book yesterday and a Marie Claire today.  Music also continues to help motivate me, but I need to make a new playlist because I find myself skipping tracks on my current one. :-/

Frankly, I think I am obsessed with my newly implemented exercise routine and diet.  But do not be alarmed friends.  For where I am and where I want to be, obsession is not a word of danger.  It's actually quite productive.  And I don't cheat or shortchange myself.... ever.  My personality demands I make an all or nothing decision because areas of gray will cause me to falter.  And I have made that decision.

After my workout, I walked outside, got in my car and it was HOT.  Thank God warm weather is projected to continue approaching!

The sun is still shining.  My dogs are looking up at me and I think I will take them outside on a leisurely stroll (and yes, I said leisurely stroll in a British accent.)




New SM Playlist 3-13

Okay so, I don't know how the hell it happened, but I need a new playlist for 40 minutes on the Masta.  Here it goes:

1.  The Sign, Ace of Base, 3:09

2.  Are You Gonna Be My Girl, Jet, 3:37

3. Take It Off, The Donnas, 2:42

4.  Rehab, Amy Winehouse, 3:33

5. Desperately Wanting, Better Than Ezra, 4:37

6. Crazy Bitch, Buckcherry, 3:23

7. Damaged, Danity Kane, 4:07

8. Beat It, Fall Out Boy (ft. John Mayer), 3:53

9. What Are You Waiting For?, Gwen Stefani, 3:43

10. Gotta Get Through This, Daniel Bedingfield, 2:45

11. I'm Real, JLO+JaRule, 4:19

For a grand total of 39 minutes and 42 seconds.  I won't start the playlist until 20 seconds in.



My name is Audrey, and I'm a recovering caffeine-a-holic...

Do you know how obsessed I was/try not to still be with Diet Coke?  I was probably sucking down 5 cans of Diet Coke/day.  My recent revelation that this could be prohibiting my progress with weight loss has inspired me to cut my caffeine intake cold turkey!!

The first couple of days I had a pretty tough headache.  I kind of felt like an addict going through drug withdrawals, which really, was exactly what it was!  But now I am just adjusting to my newfound beverage lifestyle.

I have three new best friends:

1. Water:  I always liked a cold glass of "high quality H2O."  Now I am trying to carry it on my person.  Which has been moderately successful.. I guess.

2. Crystal Light: I now try to have Iced Peach Tea Crystal Light made at the house if I have a hankering for something sweet to drink.  It's actually not that bad.

3. Archer Farms flavored spring water (available only at Target, Blueberry Tangerine flavor is fab...):  We just bought these this week.  So delish.

Happy Weekend to all!




Sandy B

Sandra Bullock is now an Oscar winner.  She is also 45 years old.  Have you ever seen a more flawless face on a 45 five year old?  She is stunning and looks absolutely timeless.  I'm no fashion critic, but I think she played it safe on her Oscar look and it was a smart move.  How could she look back on her look below with any semblance of regret?
I was so elated that Sandra Bullock won Best Actress last night at the Academy Awards.  She appears so humble, and being a veteran in the biz, I think it was her turn.  Not to mention her speech was wonderful.

Results of this victory? I need to see The Blind Side now.  I was putting it off because I thought it would likely make me cry.  Well I knew it would make me cry.  I just saw the Today Show interviewing the woman who inspired the film and was even more intrigued.  Netflix tells me I have to wait until April 2010.  Le sigh.

Side note:  A woman won Best Director.  That. is. amazing.




The Tall Mythical Creature in the Corner of the Gym..

And no... I'm not trying to pick up a second boyfriend at Gold's.

I'm talking about the StairMaster.  For years I have yearned to incorporate this calorie burning profesh into my workout routine only to feel downtrodden as it rejected me five minutes in.  Or did I think I might die if I continued on?  It still kicks my ass daily.  Look how scary it is!

No machine in the gym is as intimidating.  The treadmill, bike and elliptical are pie.  Yesterday I saw a man on the Masta with a drenched shirt.  He looked like he had been roaming in the Sahara for 6 months.  I did it for ten minutes and it looked like I met him 3 months into his journey.

My doctor who is helping me in my weight loss suggests doing the Masta every time I set foot in the gym, gradually adding time to it... adding 5 minutes/day is her suggestion.  This sounds hard to me.

So, I decided that I will create a specific playlist for this machine so I won't be watching that time like drying paint.

What's more disheartening than trying to push yourself to stay on the machine and then hearing some lame N*SYNC song that you can't recall adding to your gym mix in the first place... what was it doing in the gym mix?!  Shouldn't it have been on the guilty pleasures playlist?

So today I should be doing the Stair Masta for 15 minutes according to plan.  Here is my debut Stair Master playlist that I hope will keep me motivated:

Song One:
Lil Wayne, Eminem, Kanye and Drake 5 minutes 57 seconds

Song Two:
Misery Business
Paramore, 3 minutes 32 seconds

Song Three:
Get On Top
Red Hot Chili Peppers, 3 minutes 19 seconds

Song Four:
Four Minutes
Madonna and Justin Timberlake, 3 minutes, 12 seconds

(and I will be getting down at fifteen...)




Oh, Econ...

Into the same pot as my Family Financial Management class at Tech, which haunts me to this day, by the way, I am adding another dreadful course.  Principles of Economics.  Don't ask me how I evaded econ in my undergrad career. I suppose it was just lucky... or was it?  Maybe having a teacher to seek face to face help would have been a blessing.

I am enrolled in online Principles of Economics at VWCC to fulfill a licensing requirement for my VA teacher's license. This piece of paper entitling me to a job I will ultimately love is ever-so-close... yet so far away, thanks to Econ.  How in the hell am I getting 70 and 65 on my take home tests?  Did I kill too many brain cells in these past two years?  I feel like a huge idiot.

Maybe some people's brains are hard-wired to be Econ-lovers.  My soror sis, Manisha, majored in Econ and is now in law school.  For her, it works and look where she is now--kicking ass and taking names.

For me on the other hand, I would rather play with modeling clay and glue pompoms onto pieces of construction paper in a journey to make something beautiful.  My brain does not love Econ.  My brain loves children and seeks to be creative on the daily.

I feel like I am learning a foreign language.

At least we get to retake the "take-home tests", as they are called.  But how do you do any better a second time on an open-book exam?  I tried printing off my corrected first try tests for Chapters 2 and 3 to no avail.

My lovely computer simply printed a screenshot of questions 1 through 3, which of course, were the ones I got right.

Pray for me, friends. Pray. for. me.




Some people choose crack; I choose TLC

The Learning Channel, or TLC as we all know it, is my drug of choice.  I say this because I am oh-so-addicted to the relationship-based programming.  But then there are times when I feel feelings of utter regret and anger toward my vice after I overindulge in a good dose of TLC

Top Five Reasons I love to hate TLC
1.  The introduction of Kate Gosselin into my (and America's) life
Kate wearing a dress that is too young for her on SYTTD.
This is the prime example of someone who is famous and does not deserve to be famous.  Someone explain to me how Kate Gosselin is any sort of upgrade from the likes of the trashy OctoMom?  Is it because she appeared to have the perfect life and her kids are adorable?  And Jon.  Don't get me wrong- I can't stand his ass either.  And in no way am I promoting his infidelity in a positive fashion, but damn, can you blame the guy?  Bitch is crazy.  By the way, the kids are adorable.  But you can't tell me Maddie and Kara haven't already started displaying the uber-control freak tendencies from mommy dearest. With the cancellation of the show, Kate in all her power(money)-hungry glory seeks to be on a bigger stage.  Dancing With the Stars? Really? Ugh. Just UGH.
2.  One bajillion, fafillion, momillion kids and counting
"Duggar" will likely become an ethnicity choice on all official government paperwork if they keep it up.  I understand the religious convictions and beliefs.  Not only do I understand them, I respect their family's choice to believe/practice religion.  It's a freedom we all have.  But you cannot tell me Michelle Duggar is not on a strong dose of happy pills.  Ever notice how calm she is?  The woman has 19 kids!  That would be like me taking an entire classroom of kids home with me at the end of a long day, fixing 21 plates of dinner, tucking 19 little ones into bed.  Probably anywhere from 6 to 8 bedtime stories.  I can't imagine this life.  I think it is why it fascinates me so.
3. Say Yes to the Dress and all other associated wedding shows
After planning a wedding, there is just this lonely void in an ex-bride's life.  Thank you TLC for your wedding programming.  Nothing fills my black hole of wedding emptiness like Randy on Say Yes to the Dress and that new gem of a program with four brides attending/bashing each other's events.  Whoever wins gets a dream honeymoon.  How's that for planning motivation, current brides?
4. Stacy and Clinton
They never get old.  They are wise like prophets.  I never tire of seeing them whip someone's style into shape.

5. A Baby Story and Birth Day
Daytime TV for people specially crafted for those who are home in the day time.  Practically the exact same show is masquerading under two different names with A Baby Story and Birth Day.  It's good for me to watch shows like these to remind myself that this pregnant time in life will likely suck until it's very end.  Swollen feet and faces, asses growing exponentially.  Thanks, TLC.  I can wait.


Songs I feel like playing on repeat today...

1. Need You Now by Lady Antebellum (because let's face it, they are everywhere these days!)
2. Carryout by JT (because it's so flippin' catchy.)
3. Rise Up by Diane Birch (because it's oh-so-soulful for this overcast day)
4. Paris Nights, New York Mornings by Corinne Bailey Rae (actually, scratch that- I would play her whole cd on repeat.)
5. Friends, Lovers or Nothing by John Mayer

Listen to it. Love it.



Shoo, Jimmy Choo!

Matt and I have spent many hours in the past two days talking about our finances.  What a drag, right?

Financial speak and I have not always had the most fruitful of relationships.  Let me put it to you this way... I consider myself to be a pretty good student, yet found Family Financial Management at Tech to be one of the most difficult courses of my undergrad career.  Not kidding.  Money market mutual funds, compounding interest, blah blah blah...  Maybe it had something to do with it being on a Friday morning, too...

The dreadful course aside, I finally found the book at Barnes and Noble that is speaking to me in all the right ways.  It is called Shoo, Jimmy Choo: The Modern Girl's Guide to Spending Less and Saving More by Catey Hill.  This book gives easy to understand instructions for those of us who didn't major in finance on how to lessen/eliminate debt, save money and stay our fabulous selves.  It emphasizes the importance of giving yourself little allowances in spending.  However, it also helps you identify why you spend and seeks to teach you how to sacrifice a little.

Why buy this book?

Because, I'm sorry, I'm not scrimping on skin care and drinks out.  But at the same time, it is very important to my family of two to start growing, rather than just sustaining ourselves pay period to pay period.

So I put my big girl panties on and made my first real budget with my husband.  $100/month of fun money... do you think I can do it?



Basil Curry Chicken

Let me just say this.. I don't cook.  I mean I do, but I don't.  I enter the kitchen with the best of intentions... but good intentions don't always result in a good end product.  So I can do anything as long as I have my GFG (George Foreman Grill) and some frozen microwavable Steamfresh veggies, but how creative is that, besides not at all? Well last night I think I found a recipe that is both inexpensive to make and relatively easy (if I can do it, anyone can).  Not to mention it was a hit with my husband Matt.  And I didn't think it was half bad myself...

So if the kitch has been a bitch, I recommend this recipe out to get out of a cooking rut!

Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce

2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. chili powder
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 of a large red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced (i used minced garlic in the spice jar)
1 13.5-14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tbsp. cornstarch
3 tbsp. fresh snipped basil
1 tsp. ginger

1. In a medium bowl, combine curry powder, black pepper, 1/4 tsp salt and chili powder.  Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. Add to spice mixture, toss to coat. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours to allow spices to penetrate meat.

2. Pour oil into a wok or large skillet.  Heat over medium/high heat.  Add onion, peppers and garlic.  Cook and stir about 8 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Remove from wok.  Add half of chicken to wok.  Cook and stir for 4 to 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.  Remove from wok.  Repeat with remaining chicken.

3.  Stir together coconut milk, cornstarch and 1/4 tsp salt until smooth.  Carefully add to the wok.  Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly.  Return chicken and onion mixture to wok.  Stir in basil and ginger.  Cook and stir about two minutes or until heated through.  Serve over hot rice (I used whole wheat cous cous and it was great!)
Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!