Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Money in the Bank

Today I found out I didn't get the leadership camp job in New York I wanted for this summer. Oh well. Now I have no plans for the months of May-August. My only real requirements are a job that is a 1) Money making opportunity and 2) Outdoorsy enjoyment opportunity. Any ideas?

Here are some things I'm excited for:

1) The $$ from the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 being deposited into my bank account on May 2. I know I will be doing my part and putting it right back into the economy. Every U.S. citizen who files taxes will get one!
2) My classes this semester to be over. One month and counting...
3) Mountain biking season (whenever the snow melts).
4) SUMMER. Especially sandals.
5) Some new makeup, especially eye shadow and lipstick from MAC's Heatherette collection.

Life is so good! The sun is shining, the church is true, and I just bought some healthy and delicious riceworks chips at Costco. Plus, I have been making the best bagel and egg sandwiches for breakfast. Good food in the morning usually equals a pleasant day. Maybe I will post the recipe...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

No Visitors Allowed

I was serving a small CES luncheon at the Jo yesterday that included Elder Ballard, Elder Nelson, Elder Tingey, Sister Beck, Pres. Samuelson, and the other church school presidents and advisory council members. They were all very nice, and Elder Nelson practiced pronouncing "Wednesday" in Spanish with me and ate some fruit and carrot cake for lunch. But enough with the stalker notes, here's the real dirt.

I couldn't help but overhear as I set up the buffet table that BYU-Hawaii is no longer accepting visiting students. I don't think this has been officially announced because I couldn't find the news anywhere (even Google left me dry), but maybe I'm just out of the loop. I don't know who exactly said it because my back was turned, but one of the brethren said very matter-of-factly, "A visiting student is a surfer who wants to spend six weeks in Hawaii and takes one or two classes so they can tell Mom and Dad it's school." They might be old, but these guys still know what's up!

Students and non-students alike will still flock to the chill capital of the world, Laie, HI, for their summer fun. Any young[ish] person can live in the unkempt and dirty off-campus student housing for a comparable amount to spending a summer in Provo. Don't get me wrong, I loved my house on the beach, but the termites in the counters, cockroaches on the floor, and ants on my face were a bit bothersome. But it's all part of the experience, right?

Oceanfront property- $350/month

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring is Coming!

I'm pretty over the snow and the cold weather. The only activity that allows me to deal with it at all is skiing. I was starting to think winter would last forever because of all the snow Utah's received, but thankfully it's almost mid-March and it appears spring weather is just around the corner. The close proximity of a new season leads to a very important question: what am I going to wear when the sweaters and Uggs are all boxed up?

I am in LOVE with this amazing Charlotte Ronson top. Unfortunately it's a bit steep for my budget- $172 at Urban. But I'm sure I can find an acceptable knock-off amidst Forever 21's hundreds of blouses. The shorts are more affordable at $38, and they come in four cute colors.

I really love this look and it will be the basis of my spring wardrobe- light, airy tops, shorter shorts (because my legs will be looking good after so much running...right?), and big floppy hats. Shoes are a given: Rainbows, of course. And I will be stocking up on fun tees by Volcom and Roxy.

I don't know how I feel about the higher waistlines that are back in style. I really liked the low-rise jeans and it feels weird having material up to your belly button. On the plus side, they are much easier to pair tops with. Hopefully Shade doesn't go out of business due to a decreased demand for long shirts to cover the very tacky mid-drift.

I'm glad skinny jeans are still kickin' because I just started wearing them! I'm not one to immediately embrace trends, especially when it comes to fashion. A lot of things just have to grown on me (music, etc.).

I'm really excited for new sunglasses. I usually let myself buy a pair every summer. Last summer I wore white VonZippers, and they got me loving big glasses. I'm thinking about either a bright blue or green pair this year, or this Roxy pair. I will definitely have to try them on first. You like?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Crazy For Cacao

When I was little I liked everything white. White bread, white rice, white tortillas, and vanilla ice cream were prevalent in my chubby girl diet. Back then chocolate was just too much for my developing taste buds to handle. But now that I'm 'all grown up' I'm a chocolate devotee- one might even say an addict.

I eat chocolate on a regular basis and I don't feel guilty about it. That's because I eat dark chocolate that's full of antioxidants in addition to pure deliciousness. Since I've become accustomed to the rich, deep flavors of dark chocolate, I don't touch white (which doesn't contain real chocolate) and I only eat milk in desperation.

Farmer preparing dried cocoa beans- REUTERS/Daniel LeClair

I read an interesting article about the surge of gourmet chocolate production in Central America that prompted this post. It was really neat to learn that my love of chocolate is reviving farms and communities in the poorest of countries such as Belize and Guatemala. The demand for organic "fair trade" chocolate has sent Central America's cocoa output soaring; it's gone up 40 percent over the last three years (Reuters). I never knew what the term fair trade meant before, but Wikipedia informed me that it's a pledge from companies to pay third-world farmers a fair amount for crops in addition to promoting social and environmental standards.

Cocoa beans in cacao pod- Dagoba website

The best places to find good chocolate are health food stores such as Whole Foods or Wild Oats. When looking for the highest quality chocolate a good rule of thumb is to check the ingredients. If the first ingredient is sugar then move on. I look for cacao or cocoa beans listed first. Cacao pods come from the cacao tree and contain cocoa beans which look like dark almonds. They are chocolate in its most raw form.

My favorite brand of chocolate is Dagoba, especially the infused varieties such as lime or cherry. The company was started in 2001 by a 30-year-old chocolate lover named Frederick Schilling who wanted to create some dang good chocolate and help people out while doing it. I'm sure those farmers in Central America appreciate him! Another surprisingly good choice is Hershey's Cacao Reserve bars available at your neighborhood grocer.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Better Than Jamba Juice

Shakes, especially protein shakes, are a delicious and healthy snack. A bag of protein powder (chocolate or vanilla) from Costco ($19.99 for a huuuuge bag) is a must-have in any athlete's well-stocked kitchen. Shakes are great because you can easily get many of the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy, happy body in one easy meal. Plus, they're just plain delicious! Here's a recipe for what I consider to be The Ultimate Shake. I started making this shake to get all the stuff I wanted to eat during the day in one dose, and then I found almost the exact same recipe in a health book, The Circadian Prescription (Baker and Barr) . The book suggests that drinking one of these every morning for three weeks will convince you that their book about the 24-cycle of the body is true gospel. You don't have to read the book, but this shake really is the bomb!

1/3 cup whole milk yogurt (Live & active cultures- nothing better! Yogurt is one of the healthiest foods and you should try to consume it daily)
1/3 cup milk* (I prefer raw, unpasteurized and unhomogenized- but more on that in the next post)
1 tbsp. flax seed oil (a fantastic source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, plus it keeps you regular!)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (most women, especially athletes, don't get enough protein, so load up! plus it adds a sweet taste without added sugar)

Blend, then add:

1 cup frozen mixed berries (again from Costco, $9.99 for a 14 c. serving bag; oh, the antioxidants in berries are so, so good for you!)

*Fruit juice is also delicious instead of milk: orange, cranberry, acai, etc... Make sure it's 100% fruit juice not from concentrate.

I basically never measure this, so these are all approximations. Add some liquid/berries to make the shake your preferred consistency.

I have one of these shakes every day. It's especially good right in the morning. Along with a piece of toast with peanut butter, this is one of the best pre-workout meals- energizing, satisfying, and doesn't make you feel too full. It also works as a post-workout recovery shake as well.