Sick Days

It’s a rare occasion that I get really sick. Sometimes I’ll feel slightly under the weather, and it only happens about once or twice a year. Well, today I woke up with a mean throat ache and some congestion. Not enough to totally wipe me out, but enough to keep me from attempting a commute in -4 F (-22 F with windchill) weather.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Chilly view from my balcony.

Instead I chose to stay home with these snuggle bugs:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAnd eat a hearty breakfast

2 farm eggs, chicken sausage and Paleo bread.
2 farm eggs, chicken sausage and Paleo bread.

There’s no better remedy than eggs and puppy love to nurse me back to health. In spite of the fact that now I have to get up every 4 hours to take Skye out for a potty break. It’s a struggle every time– she hates the cold– and she often ends up going in forbidden places (like the lobby). She’s adjusting to winter here and I totally feel her pain.

IMG_7570
This was taken even before the dip below zero degrees, but still pretty cold.

When I moved to Chicago from L.A. about 5 years ago, I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into. I didn’t have a winter jacket and I wore rain boots because I had no snow boots. I was freezing half the time and thought I’d never survive.

Then I learned it’s all about the layers, hats, gloves, scarves and, of course, a decent down jacket.

No need for expensive North Face craziness. Macy’s and other department stores have a respectable assortment of down jackets that will do just fine. I’ve had my Calvin Klein and DKNY jackets since my first winter (I purchased them as soon as I realized what I had gotten myself into). They were about a third of the price of a North Face jacket and are still going strong, and, of course, are suuuuper warm.

My Calvin Klein one kind of looks like this. Since I bought mine so long ago, it’s probably no longer for sale, but there are tons of similar styles.

My boots: the classic Sorel Tofino boots:

Gotta go all out with the shoes, but never forget a good pair of thick wool socks!

Luckily, today I get to sit around in my robe all day and not worry about winter. Until tomorrow.

Advertisements

Meal Planning This Week and Testing out a New App- MealBoard

This week, I tackled the task of optimizing my meal planning strategy. True story– this is what approaching 30 looks like. It’s also a sign of the times that I’m actually not ashamed, heck, even proud! of this project.

I used to use ZipList to plan meals, and then it became so buggy that it was simply unusable. This was incredibly frustrating since I had invested a ton of time uploading all my recipes to my ZipList account and then it lost most mobile functionality. I tried using Menu Planner and didn’t like the interface; same story with Pepper Plate.

It’s unfortunate that Alex and I both have different phones (he has a Windows phone and I have an iPhone), so syncing across platforms was always going to be a tough hurdle for us. Keeping that in mind, and previous negative experiences, I decided I would focus on finding a planning app that contained specific characteristics:

  • Stable platform
  • Easy, drag-and-drop meal functions
  • Easy recipe creating and uploading from the web
  • Pleasing interface (it needs to be pretty!)
  • Intuitive to use
  • Creates a grocery list that I can later transfer to Wunderlist (which is the list app that my husband and I share)

I think I have finally found what I’ve been looking for: meet MealBoard.

It’s $4 at the app store. Not bad, and well worth it in my opinion (so far). Like any meal planning app, you’re going to spend a lot of time uploading your recipes. You won’t, however, spend a lot of time figuring out how it works since it’s super user-friendly.

You can also upload a ton of recipes from the web (including PaleOMG!), making it even easier to get your repertoire of dishes set up. I like that you can easily move meals around from day to day, in case Tuesday rolls around and you decide fish isn’t really what you’re digging anymore or you decided to dine out that night. There’s also a Pantry feature that lets you see what you already have in stock, a categorizing function for your meals (salads, appetizers, seafood, etc) and tons of other shiny bells and whistles.

I must say, thus far, I’m pretty impressed. First on the meal plan: paleo breadSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOm nom nom nom.

Pittsburgh stroll

The day after Christmas Alex and I took a stroll down downtown Pittsburgh. Alex had to exchange a jacket at a local shop, so we decided to make an afternoon of it.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESPeople were outside enjoying the unseasonably warm temperatures. We drove around looking for fun shops but things were mostly closed. Still, we had a great time, although I wouldn’t recommend the new Starbucks Chestnut Praline Latte on the seasonal menu. It was like drinking bread; I didn’t really dig it.

Serial: I too have an obsessive personality

So for the past week or two I’ve been listening to Sarah Koenig’s Serial Podcast. If you haven’t heard about it and/or have never been interested in podcasts or anything of the sort in your life, I think this one might be a game changer for you. Trust me, I wasn’t either, until Serial.

Sarah Koenig, who’s a reporter, begins to delve deep into the case of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, back in 1999 when they were both seniors in high school. He’s been serving a life sentence ever since. Koenig believes, however, that there were holes in the case against Adnan. She seeks to uncover whether he was in fact guilty by revisiting all the details of the case and trying to piece the puzzle together herself (with a team of various experts and supporters). She introduces new clues and evidence in every week’s podcast. She interviews all the key witnesses in the case. And week by week you get the sense that Adnan may have been wrongfully convicted.

              Adnan Syed
               Hae Min Lee

This is the perfect podcast to listen to on a long walk to work or while jogging on the treadmill; it really makes the time fly. I also find that it’s a great alternative to TV when your eyes have been strained from looking at a computer screen all day long. It’s possibly sparked a new interest for me as far as entertainment mediums go (podcasts, that is).

Listening to the podcast I realize that I, much like Koenig, have an “obsessive personality” (I may have made this term up, or maybe I’m misusing it, but whatever). I  allow myself to be sucked into and consumed entirely by a particular project or task or concept. It’s like whenever I set my mind to something, I get into the zone:

skye
                                                                               Skye’s seriously focused, “in the zone” face.

This makes me extremely detail oriented when it comes to stuff I have an interest in. Paleo, makeup, fashion, cooking, etc. being some of those things. It has its pros and cons, especially if it leads to quick burnout.

That’s why it’s nice to give myself a break by listening to a podcast that lets someone else do the obsessing, and I can just reap the entertainment benefits selfishly. I still take it seriously, though: I can imagine just what it would mean to Adnan’s family to know that their beloved son/brother/friend was exactly the same person and not some monster locked up in a prison.

Only time will tell, so I’ll just have to listen in. And be careful not to get too sucked in.

Two nice reds

The other night my sis-in-law was asking me what some good wines were at Trader Joe’s. Right off the bat I made clear that Cabernets were usually off the table with me (pun totally intended) as they tend to be a bit too acidic for my taste. I did, however, remember a couple of favorites that I had in my wine fridge.

Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir. I believe this was recommended to us by the sommelier at Mariano’s actually, but it’s a smooth and rich wine that I really like.

IMG_7446

And this delightful Laurent Dublanc Cotes-du-Rhone. It’s very light and refreshing, which is surprising for a red.IMG_7449

I did advise her, however, to stay away from the VintJ label, which I’ve found to be not so great.

IMG_7447

Since it’s winter, most of what we’re eating is hearty and savory, which usually requires a nice balanced red to go along. Although, I must say, the occasional Viognier is never out of place at our dining table.

If you have any good wine recommendations I’d love to know (just drop a comment below).

Cyber Monday Manager’s Special: the new TV

IMG_7438Yesterday we got a TV that’s about as big as I am. Alex was beyond stoked. I was just happy that we finally have a “Netflix” button on the remote control, instead of having to turn on the X-Box every time I wanted to watch Gilmore Girls. I really have simple wishes.

After a delicious dinner of Italian Bell Peppers (from Practical Paleo; if you haven’t gotten the book already, you might want to consider your life choices), we unwrapped the beast:

IMG_7442(yes, I am working on a jigsaw puzzle at the moment and I am the biggest nerd that ever lived) It looks a lot bigger in person. And we’re hoping to get a sound bar and ditch those dumpy old speakers.

I then proceeded to savor my delicious dessert consisting of organic dark chocolate with almonds from Trader Joe’s and organic blueberries, the best combo:

IMG_7441I’m telling you guys, organic berries taste about A MILLION times better than not organic berries. They’re like a dollar or two more but sooooo worth it. Trust me on this.

I’ll review my other Cyber Monday picks as they arrive in the mail, hopefully a Friday roundup will be up this week. Can’t wait to see if all these sale items are what they’re hyped up to be!

It’s been too long

Thanksgiving just flew right past me! Can’t believe it’s already December and Cyber Monday! This year we were trying to find a good deal on a quality TV set, mostly because Alex likes to watch football until his eyes fall out. I tend to watch TV on my laptop… is that crazy? Even when I could be watching it in the TV right in front of me. I just find it strains my eyes less to watch it on my laptop, which is probably because our TV is pretty crappy. Womp.

So, we made our way out to Desert Ridge in Phoenix, AZ for Thanksgiving, as I previously mentioned. First I said farewell to work:

IMG_7399Then we hopped on the CTA to Midway airport, desert bound…

CTA photobomb
CTA photobomb

…and pretty much the first thing we did when we got to AZ was hit the pool, of course:

IMG_7402Like the absentminded fool I am, I totally forgot my bathing suit and had to borrow my mother-in-law’s, which was totally fine, especially since she also let me wear her matching white sunglasses. I looked pretty Miami-fabulous, and decided to top the look off with red lipstick for added flair.

No evening would be complete without a little game of Settlers of Catan in the Kandabarow household

IMG_7404Nerd-a-thon.

And, of course, a beautiful hike through the warm desert:

IMG_7405

Hydrate!
Hydrate!
"We look like a Susan G. Komen ad"- Liv
“We look like a Susan G. Komen ad”- Liv

The night after Thanksgiving, we did Mastro’s Ocean Club and, of course, Dad-in-law ordered the Seafood Tower:

IMG_7416I paired it with a SUPERB Fess Parker Viognier

IMG_7415Absolutely delicious, all around. I heart Mastro’s, especially their bone-in steak. mmmmmm.

The next morning we had breakfast at a place that basically looked like Happy Gilmore’s “happy place”

"We've only just begun to live..."
“We’ve only just begun to live…”

Then walked the grounds of the resort to get our body moving after a filling brunch. Wandering around the city we stumbled upon a pediatric dentist’s office that had an impressive space theme:

IMG_7423IMG_7424Pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. This guy really followed through on his vision.

After an exhausting week of eating, drinking, hiking, card/board game playing and shopping (so much ULTA), we finally came home to this baby:

"Where's my dinner?"
“Where’s my dinner?”

She’s working through a little Demodex infection, hence the little scar on her face. Poor baby, she’s always got something going on. But giving her a big ol’ hug was the perfect ending to a tremendous Thanksgiving weekend. Can’t wait for Christmas.

Flash sale: The Primal Blueprint and Paleo Girl are just a dollar!

I’m sort of going to play the town crier role here today, but just wanted to write a quick post letting you all  know that today The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and Paleo Girl by Leslie Klenke (the teen version, in a sense) are on sale on Amazon today at 99 cents each for the Kindle version! How awesome is that? If you’re curious about paleo or primal eating, this is a great way to get started. I’ve linked the pictures below to the Amazon page for quick access. Hooray for deals!

P.S. If you do get Paleo Girl, try the Better Than Oatmeal recipe for a great breakfast staple. Happy paleoing.