Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rakin' in those 15 hour days!

Hi everyone,

I'm sorry for the lack of posting (and commenting!) Please don't hate me! ;-)

I am trying to read as many blogs as I can, but for the past few days that has just been a very few at breakfast and that's it. I've baby-sat an extremely adorable and precious little girl from 8am-12:30pm the past two days, then today I taught from 2-8pm tonight and rehearsed for a show tomorrow from 8:45-10:30pm. I've also gotten ~5 hours of sleep for the past two nights and am surprisingly not too tired (although, I am doing the highly scientific study to figure out just how much caffeine one human body can ingest....oops). I also got to the gym on Monday and Tuesday (not today) and I'm proud of me for that!

My day tomorrow looks like:

-Coffee/breakfast with a friend 9-10am
-Practice for a show
-Teach 3-4pm
-Drive to teach again from 6-7pm
-Drive to sound check and play an extremely cool show at a local college, 8-11pm (?)

And that's a pretty light day this week! Wheeee! I've been having an EXCELLENT week, even if it's a little busy.

I have another gig on Friday night, then teach all day on Saturday and go to a house concert, then church, baby-sit and an early Thanksgiving dinner with my church on Sunday. So yay for staying busy!

What about you? What's the most exciting thing you have done this week and/or are going to do?

For me, I'd say tomorrow's show is right up there. Because it's rock music that is truly exhilarating to play and I get extremely excited before and during the performance!

I hope you are all having an awesome week! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Home from a great conference!

I'm home and I had a very exciting past four days at a music conference! It was an incredible time of networking with other musicians, booking agents, record labels, concert presenters, and so on. I really enjoy meeting new people, and talking to like-minded musicians so it was a lot of fun for me! I passed out our CD and business cards when people asked for them. There was a great exhibition hall that many companies and musicians had tables at to promote themselves, and there was literally music happening all day, every day! There were musicians all around the hotel (lobby, rooms, etc) who would gather randomly and make music with people who they had just met! I got to play with some guitarists and mandolinists and it was a great experience! Each night musicians would perform for each other in their rooms until 3 or 4am, sometimes later. There were also afternoon panel sessions with topics ranging from songwriting, to public relations, to humor in music and a lot of other things! Very educational! In general, the entire conference was so inspiring of my desire to continue doing music and to make a successful living while doing so! It was such a joy to be there!

I don't have a lot of of food pictures from it, but the hotel we were staying at served AMAZING meals buffet-style, with several options for main courses (on Friday night I remember: chicken masala, trout with baby shrimp, beef something, noodles with Bulgar wheat, and a macaroni dish; on Saturday night I remember: eggplant Parmesan, Italian sausage, ziti, and some chicken, beef and fish dish--I don't remember all very well!), a reasonably well-stocked salad bar with rolls, and MASSIVE amounts of dessert tables, ranging from chocolate cake, to cookies, to pastries, to apple crisp! Additionally, every night we would inundate all of the hotel rooms with live music, and each one offered beer, wine, liquor, CHOCOLATE, cookies, and candy that anyone could snack on.

We also had a great cocktail hour on Friday afternoon, where I snagged about four of these plates (in my defense, I was starving because we had stayed in a friend's room on Thursday night, but we weren't officially checked in to the hotel, so we didn't get dinner on Thursday night or breakfast on Friday morning; I had survived on some almonds and protein bars I packed!)

(Plus random bites of egg rolls, quesadillas, quiche, and pigs-in-a-blanket that servers were bringing around!)

And don't forget the free drink ticket vouchers. Because 3pm is definitely NOT too early for a cosmopolitan:

I might or might not have also had a Bay Breeze, after this drink, because I had another free drink ticket and I didn't want it to go to waste! *That would be tragic!*

I also may have been tipsy after them.... ;-)

Of course, being the foodie that I am, I HAD to try almost all of everything and I exercised VERY POOR judgment in portion control! Hah! I'm pretty sure I'm about 5 pounds heavier than when I left, but there's no way that can all be "real" weight, so I think I should be fine if I watch my sugar for a while, and exercise this week. (And just for the record, I don't regret anything! Yes, next time I might have tried to stop eating when I was full, instead of packing more and more chocolate into me--my stomach hurt MANY times this weekend--but my taste buds are incredibly happy with me!)

I did have a FANTASTIC workout on Friday morning; I went for an hour long jog/walk ("wog") through the golf course that was in back of the hotel. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and I wish I had taken pictures for the blog! I also did a legs workout, with a lot of jumping lunges, which is the most intense leg workout I know, and left my legs throbbing (in a good way!) for about 3 days afterward! (They are still quite sore, on Sunday night!)

Anyway, here are two delicious breakfasts that I had before I left:

-oat bran
-cottage cheese
-cashews (love the super saltiness they add!)
-1 chopped fig
-carob chips
-almond butter

-oat bran
-ground flax
-cottage cheese
-freeze-dried bananas
-carob chips

My goal this week is to do less mindless eating, but here are some of the mindless snacks I munched on in the past week or so:

I ate some string cheese while baby-sitting one morning. Protein + calcium = yum!

On the way to teaching last Tuesday (I know! Sorry, travel throws off blog posting!) I made an EXCELLENT omelet sandwich with sauteed spinach and melted some cheese, added seasonings of curry powder and cumin and then through the omelet in between two slices of bread to take in the car. I also added some organic ketchup and it was reeeally delicious!

And another Amazing Green bar on my way home from a rehearsal late on evening.

I LOVED this flavor! It even has a chocolatey coating! Woohoo!

Speaking of Amazing Grass, the winner of my contest never contacted me, so I'll be doing another random drawing tomorrow. (I'm pretty tired, and trying to get into bed early tonight to recover from the trip!)

In continuing the week-long chocolate binge (OK, not a binge--a poorly judged eating experience!) that was this week, I had a couple bites of this bar:

And this:

(However, I think my period may be showing up--I'm not really sure, thanks to being HIGHLY irregular--yet another great benefit of anorexia **did you catch that sarcasm?!?!** But I do think that that has something to do with the immense cravings, and the unexplained weight gain. Whatever.)

I tried to get back on the healthy eating track today with an omelet that I made with:

-1 egg, 1 egg white (with cumin and curry powder)
-mozzarella cheese

And earlier I had a bunch of Kashi crackers--my absolute favorite cracker, EVER, hands down!! Specifically this flavor with the nutty sesame seeds and the crispness to it! If you haven't tried these crackers, I highly encourage you to do so, because you will love life a bit more!

(I ate a lot more than one serving. Oops. Portion control is not my forte.)

And some bread with hummus and cheese as a quick afternoon snack. Nothing like a little carb-loading, even though there won't be any race tomorrow. ;-)

OK, I'm sorry this post is so long and random! I'm off to read in bed and try to get a good nine hours of sleep in tonight! My latest book is the brilliant and hilarious "Bridget Jones' Diary." I have found it incredibly entertaining so far, and I highly recommend it!

I promise to catch up on blog reading and commenting tomorrow! I hope you're all doing super well! Good night!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getting ready for a conference!

I'm getting ready to go out of town from Thursday to Sunday for a fairly large folk conference. It's about a 7 hour drive away from where I live, and you can bet that I'll be spreading Operation Beautiful love while I'm there! :) So I'll try to post tomorrow but I make no promises because I have to:

-baby-sit 9:30am-2pm
-teach quite a few lessons (2:30-3, 4-6,)
-play a gig from 7-8pm
-pack (luckily I'm pretty quick at this!)
-scan and e-mail contracts for an upcoming museum gallery opening gig

And now for some food for the past few days. The most exciting part is that I went grocery shopping! Halle-LUH-jah! Some good buys:

Notice the carrots...
And now notice the hummus...

...Let's just say that the two of them make an INCREDIBLE snack combination and I might or might not have eaten 1.5lbs of carrots in 2 days. And my skin may even be orange. Ahem, oops and thanks for not mentioning it again.

But now, to more groceries:

(I haven't tried this bread yet--it's in the freezer, waiting for me to get home from my trip!)

I was Hangry on my way home, and tore into these in the car. I ended up eating most of the bag, before I even took the picture. Oops. :)

Once home, I made a DELICIOUS meal of the Indian entree I bought.

I bulked it up by sauteeing some onions, two small zucchinis and some spinach:

And got this:

(I added extra chopped cashews and white rice leftover from Chinese takeout that obviously didn't make it onto the blog!)

And it was SOOO good that I had the leftovers the next day:

For dessert I made a bowl of Greek yogurt (=love!) with crumbled whole grain chocolate chip cookies from TJs (addictive!) and Fiber One cereal and almond butter!

Before mixing:

Much better:

There might or might not have been a second bowl of this. ;-)
At some point I immensely enjoyed this Larabar sample! I liked the Cashew Cookie a bit more, but this was pretty amazing too and I'd probably buy it again.

Another picture (and another snack-ish meal!) in my car:

Peanut butter sandwich. This was before the aforementioned grocery shopping trip, and was just about the only quick and portable thing in my house! (Actually, there were several of these this week, for precisely that same reason! They were all still delicious though!)

Finally, a simple but yummy breakfast: oat bran, Chobani and PB:

Add coffee, always.

It's a little before 1am, I have to be up at 8am, and before I sleep, I need to attend to the extremely exciting, fulfilling and plain, old, fun chore of folding my laundry! Please excuse me, and hopefully you have something more fun to do like getting a root canal....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lots of new (fantastic!) products!

Surprise! I decided to post tonight because I miss you all in the blogging world! Here's some of my lovely eats over the past few days. There aren't that many picture because my appetite disappeared for a few days (weird, that NEVER happens!) but I also definitely didn't take pictures of everything I ate. Here's a few things though.

I wasn't very impressed with this can of soup and won't buy it again. I also eat so little red meat at this point (mainly because of laziness in cooking it--not for any moral or health reason!) that when I DO eat beef my stomach ends up hurting. I picked out the chunks of beef and threw them away. Obviously not too impressed.

On the other hand, this free sample of a kind of cereal that I had never tried ended up being pretty good. It had a slightly disconcerting fake chemical-y taste, but it was still pretty good. I'd give it about 6 out of 10 stars. I might even by it at some point. Actually, scratch that. I'm trying to eat less processed food and foods with fewer ingredients. But hey--it was free, and my policy on free food is NEVER TURN IT DOWN! ;-) It had decent nutritional facts:

My go-to snack. I ate so many carrots last week that my hands/skin turned orange! Not even kidding! Oops. *sheepish grin*

I mixed up another packet of this amazing drink with some 1% milk and some black coffee--mocha style! :)

It was a little bitter so I added one packet of this that I had gotten as a free sample a while ago. It made it slightly better, but I think I'll refrain from adding coffee next time. It didn't work as well as I had hoped.

Speaking of free things (which is THE BEST part of being a food blogger!) LARABAR contacted me last week and sent me some samples which arrived very recently. I always gt excited to see this waiting for me:

And I opened it to reveal:

I was SOOO excited! And I immediately put one in my purse for an emergency snack, which came in handy today as I was running around like a mad woman! I tried the Cashew Cookie and I was SERIOUSLY impressed!! (Somehow, I've never tried this flavor--even though I adore cashews.) Even though the only ingredients are dates and cashews, somehow the texture and flavors were PERFECT! It was quite magical, and no, I'm not getting paid to say that. ;-) I adored it and I WILL buy it again in a heartbeat, especially if it were to say, hmm, come on sale!

(Image used from the Larabar website)

And speaking of new (for me) products, I finally tried this new So Delicious dairy free blueberry yogurt. I bought it because it is sweetened with agave nectar which is low glycemic so it doesn't bother my blood sugar levels as much as regular sugar. I'm normally not a huge fan of soy yogurt at all, but I LOVED this! (Seriously, what's up with so many new absolutely totally freakin' delicious products? Notice how I'm not complaining though!) I would certainly buy this again! It had an interesting texture; kind of like some of the whipped yogurts they (used to?) have out. I thought I wouldn't like the texture but it really grew on me! And the sweet ripe blueberry flavor was incredible! I topped it with a little low sugar cereal and it made a great snack!

I posted an Operation Beautiful note this week. (Actually, I happened to take a photo of this one. I try to post one whenever the opportunity arises.)

Some juice while reading blogs. Vitamin C anyone?

I made a lovely breakfast a few days ago. Nice and nutrient-rich while being pretty light.

I have, of course, been balancing out nice healthy meals like the one you see above with copious amounts of these:

(I apologize for the blurry pictures!)

Those chocolates are taking care of my fat and sugar allowance (har har, it was a joke!) and this Diet Coke is successfully fulfilling my chemical and fake sugar crap requirements. ;-)

I regret none of it. :-)

Breakfast today was the classic "Crap, I'm getting REEEEALLY low on groceries!"

Two slices of Nature's Pride 12-Grain bread with PB and my LAST piece of fresh fruit in the house! (Maybe I'll finally get to go grocery shopping when this weekend from hell is over--not to busy after I make it through tomorrow!)

Well tomorrow I'm teaching a bunch of private lessons (9am-3pm), helping out with a little kids' orchestra (3-5pm) and then playing a 2 1/2 hour community symphony concert. And I have very few groceries, so packing food tomorrow should be interesting....

But I'll worry about that later. Now, I'm off to read in bed for a few minutes and then sleeeeep! Good night!