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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Adventure to a Secret Bakery In Florence (Unhealthy, Delicious, and Froze to get it)

In Florence, there is a special attraction for those who know about them- secret bakeries. Secret bakeries are bakeries that cook for all of the cafes in the city from dusk till dawn. They open their doors to hungry patrons who know of their secret locations and pay very low prices for the goods in the middle of the night. Last night, I went with a few friends on the hunt for a secret bakery in near Santa Croce as the wind was blaring and it began to snow. We patiently waited by a door with dim light peeking through and obeying a sign written in Italian asking us to be quiet because people were sleeping. A gentleman popped his head out, asked us what we wanted, and had my friends and I an embarrassing amount of baked goods fresh from the oven in the cold winter night. I bought 2 for 2 euro (I couldn't wait in the cold for a long time, freezing my toes and nose for one baked good). I didn't eat my treat until we walked back to my apartment- a 30 minute walk away met with falling snowflakes. I had an orange flavored carb concoction with chocolate cream in the center (with the consistency of pudding) covered in sugar- not my usual cup of tea, but it was very sweet and good. I will admit that I am eating the second one as I write this, and I do not regret eating them because I know I have been being conscious of what I am eating and can have the occasional treat. The baked goods were delicious and the adventure was fun (we felt like we had to know a secret password), but we will only repeat it at the end of February when the weather gets nicer and the snow officially stops falling. For now, I am off to the Mercato Centrale in the city center (think of a Farmer's Market with every type of food vendor inside a building). Who knows what I will buy?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In FLORENCE!!!

I just got to Florence yesterday and moved in. I was jet lagged and super tired,  but feel better today. So far, I am getting to know the city and settling in. I am enjoying exploring and everything is very beautiful. I have seen the Duomo, the Odeon, and my campus so far, which is breathtaking. I haven't had the chance to get in a workout because of our long orientation and other associated activities. I am also trying to be conscious of what and how much I am eating, though I haven't really had a chance to buy groceries. More posts coming soon!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Look- I at what I got cooking! (oh, and I am going to ITALIA!!!!)


Black bean chili with veggies and quinoa


My first successful socca- made in a skillet on a stove top with olive oil, water, thyme, pepper, and chickpea flour
Muesli power cookies!

Apple crisp without the sugar or fat- I microwaved an apple and added cinnamon, nutmeg, and oats- so good!



Plat d'jour della mia madre (yes, two languages)- apples, cukes, tomatoes, peppers, grapes, pistachios, and bread with hummus

These are cava cava navel oranges and they are delicious- I have been eating lots of oranges and grapefruits :)

Made my own OJ!!! (from cava cava navels)

I hate cheese, so I tried my hand at making this vegan pizza- vegan bread with pumpkin puree as sauce and tomatoes, spinach, and spices on top. Surprisingly delicioso!

I am obsessed with making smoothies (and eating dried figs). In this recipe, I combined, apple, spinach, banana, lemon juice, and raisins for this sweet concoction.

I have also slowly been becoming obsessed with bodyrock.tv and healthfulpursuit.com. I highly recommend both sites. I made healthfulpursuit's sleepy smoothie (basically a blended muesli) and it was to die for. 

On Monday, I am flying into Italy, where I will live for the next 3.5 months. I am very excited and have been preparing for my trip. I am not yet sure if I will join a gym there or just use NYU's gym on campus. We will see. I will still be posting- just from a new place. I am looking forward to buying fresh fruits from the marketplace and eating the world famous food! Arrivederci :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What do I wear if I am eating with…?

[This is a version of an article that I didn't publish in print, but wanted to share :)]
What do I wear if I am eating with…? Don’t worry. Even born and bred New Yorkers don’t always know how to dress in general, but this guide will give you the know how to dress to a T when dining out. Whether you are dressing for a hot first date, meeting your significant others or roommates’ parents for the first time, or discussing derivative strategy with your internship boss over a business dinner, we’ve got you covered.
First date
First dates can be super awkward and nerve wracking, so make sure that whatever you are wearing, you are comfortable so you can focus on your date. If you are stressing over potential allergies to your new tie that may or may not develop into hives around your neck or that your new top doesn’t fit exactly right, you probably aren’t going to feel relaxed. No matter what, be yourself! Dress in a way that expresses yourself by adding your favorite pieces of jewelry or sneakers.
http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQUI4gxpcaWxGKg-MVkvtp5ykFnwaCgcVmk2kFjwkwBbRw5S3J1YQ
Failure to Launch (2006), Sarah Jessica Parker (Paula) and Matthew McConaughey (Tripp)
Guys: Guys should wear a solid or thinly-striped button up with jeans like Matthew McConaughey in Failure to Launch. If the restaurant you are going to is super casual, go for the classic jeans and a t-shirt. Wear any shoe except a flip-flop because it might seem too casual and some people hate feet! Add sophistication to your outfit with a cool watch.
Girls: Frankly ladies, if you are looking for a partner who is long term, cover up a little! Dress for respect. You can still show off that hot body, but do it by wearing a form fitting dress that only shows a hint of cleavage and covers the mid-thigh, like Sarah Jessica Parker. If dresses don’t suit you, aim for a sparkly tank, fitted blazer, and dark wash jeans with flats.
Meeting the Parents
First dates might be awkward, but meeting the parents is another whole ball game! You will only see your significant other or roommates’ parents once in a blue, but you will never hear the end of it if the parents decide they don’t like you, as was the problem in the case of Greg Focker in Meet the Parents. At least what Greg did do right was dress in a non-confrontational and casual way (entirely opposite of Pam’s crazy dad’s attitude)
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Meet the Parents (2000), Ben Stiller (Greg) and Teri Polo (Pam)        
Guys: All parents are different, so the keys to ‘meet the parents’ dress are to avoid wearing logos and cover up the tats that mom and dad might not approve of (shameful finger wag!). Needless to say, a long sleeve v-neck with beige bermuda shorts and your favorite loafers is a safe outfit because you can always roll up or down the sleeves and still feel comfortable when you are being grilled by ‘Mr. Byrnes’ about your intentions with their daughter!
Girls: Cover up the boobs, butt, and legs, and skip the heels! You might not be going to church, but you are not trying to get the dad or the mother to think anything badly of you! Pam dressed like a girl who a guy would be happy to take home to mom by creating a casual, but non-exposing outfit. Match straight leg jeans with a conservative tank, colorful cardigan, and those fun sandals hiding in the back of your closet.
Dinner with Employer
Usually, if you are going out to dinner with an employer, you will be leaving straight from work, meaning you will have no time to change, so don’t worry about changing out of your outfit. However, the tricks to wearing ‘dinner with employer’ appropriate clothing are layers and stashing some ‘musts’ in your work bag. No matter what, your outfit should stay professional and formal if the nature of the dinner is going to stay professional and formal. Even though the sexual tension between Andrew and Margaret made their work relationship totally inappropriate in The Proposal, their work wear was entirely apt for every professional occasion.
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The Proposal (2009), Ryan Reynolds (Andrew) and Sandra Bullock (Margaret)
Guys: Ryan Reynold’s character, Andrew, shouldn’t have let Sandra Bullock’s character, Margaret, push him around so much. But, his outfit was spot-on. Wear a navy or black fitted suit with a simple long sleeve button-up and dark, leather shoes is a sure-fire way to stay formal, but still have the lee-way to take off your jacket and tie in case you get hot.
Girls: If you know you have a business-related dinner after work, wear a capped-sleeve print dress with a colorful, fitted blazer and solid-colored, pointy-toe heels. You can take off the blazer if you get hot and still keep the nature of your meeting over food professional because your shoulders are covered up. To make your outfit more fun, stash sparkly, statement pieces like dangly earrings or a long necklace in your purse to maybe get the attention of your cute waiter.


TIP: Make sure that you are familiar with the formality of dress wherever you are eating is that you don’t feel over or under dressed. A good general rule of thumb is to keep it covered in any of the three circumstances because they are all a bit more formal than eating in your pajamas or going out to a club.



Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Changing Face of Athletic Wear

The face of athletic wear is changing. Sweats are slowly becoming considered less sloppy and more high fashion than ever before. In fact, much athletic wear crosses into the realm of not-to-be-sweated-in because of the high quality compilations of color, cut, fit, and fabric. Kiss your stained, graying hoodie goodbye in exchange for cute outfits with lots of color and fantastic fits that actually show off your body in a good way (instead of wearing garments that make you look like a gray walrus- awkward and fat) or outfits that just make you look uber trendy. Even sneakers are becoming bourgeois and cool. The gym just got much more attractive…
Lululemon is the gift from the fashion gods to the college student who wants to look nice, but can’t pay those haute couture prices. The Canada- based stores specialize in yoga-wear for both men and women, with prices ranging from about $20-$200 for everything from accessories to jackets. Lululemon is most famous for their Lulu hoodies, which fit like a glove and come in tons of happy and fun colors that will leave you smiling all day long. These garments are anything but sloppy and the stores often offer free yoga classes, showing how Lululemon is sneaking its way into becoming a cultural phenomenon. The likes of Carrie Underwood, Eva Longoria, and LeAnn Rimes have been seen wearing this hot brand. Other brands that offer athletic wear that you should fee l good about breaking a sweat in are Nike, Adidas, Underarmor, and even the Northface because these brands are priced in between the realm of ‘I don’t mind if this gets ruined’ and ‘God, do I look cute’. In other words, you will not have the constant fear of splurging on workout clothes that you might sweat-stain (ew! And arghh!). Legitimately sweat-able clothing should not be splurged upon (golden commandment of workout wear).
Athletic wear is also becoming acceptable to wear as high fashion pieces minus the exercise. Take Alexander Wang for a spin: the 27-year-old fashion genius resides in lower Manhattan and attended Parsons School of Design specializes in garmentry that seeks to break fashion norms. The official alexanderwang.com website self-proclaims: “The ways in which his clothes are unabashedly styled and worn are as important to him as the clothes themselves. Alex’s love for contrasts is reflected through the collection with juxtaposing notes of street and luxe, sexy versus androgyny- vagabond meets street-smart modernist”. His current collection reflects great fit, quality fabric, and reasonable prices for casual wear that kisses athletic wear with his spin on the classic tee-shirt and classy pure cotton pseudo-sweat pant-pants (the line crossed between pant and sweat pant is highly permeable). Though his current collection is classic in fit and cut, the colors are trendy in the sense that you will look like you got the life sucked out of you without any accessories. Alexander Wang is bourgeois (without the huge price tag- most items are between $100 and $200 each) and cool, but should be reserved for trying to look effortlessly cool- not actually breaking a sweat! Some other (more expensive) brands of athletic wear meant to never be sweat in are Y3 (look like you stepped right off the runway wearing this edgy, Japanese-based design; prices range from about $135- $630) and Stella McCartney for Adidas (for casual, everyday lifestyle; prices range from $40- $450). Both brands use creative and innovative design that will leave you swooning for more tank tops, warm up jackets, and even dresses. Basically, you are going to be spending lots of time in the gym.
The only question that remains is what is on your feet while you are doing all those super fun exercises. There answer is your customized sneakers- probably one of the coolest ideas ever. Yes, you get to play fashion designer online using step-by-step templates from brands like Nike, Adidas, and even Converse. It may just be my personal and unwavering brand loyalty, but when exercising on your feet, Nike is the route to run. Your customized sneakers can be specified for sport, gender, style, color, and even voted on as best design. Many of the Nike sneaker options have a built-in monitoring system for recording your athletic progress, called Nike+, with the ability to transfer data to your iPod or iPhone. Many shoes in the Nike collection are made of super light-weight and flexible materials- ideal for whatever activity you may exert your feet onto. As a bonus, the colors they have available literally come in almost every shade of the rainbow, and can be mixed and matched with different colors, prints, and textures. Sweat just got a whole lot cuter. Regardless of whether you are going for a run or just running to class, you may opt for a hoodie and not be shamed because you really don’t look like a hot mess-you are clear and ready for life wearing anything from Alexander Wang to Y3. Go sweats!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tips for ice skating this winter!

I have been skating since I was a small child and wanted to share some tips for all of you out there a bit confused about the ice skating world:

Some tips for skating safely: BEND YOUR KNEES! Once you are bending your knees, make sure you look where you are skating (if you look down, you will most likely fall or run into what/whoever is in front of you). Once you are bending your knees and looking where you are going, make sure that your arms extend straight out in case you fall (so you can easily protect your head). DO NOT hold onto other people when you skate, unless you like being a person-sandwich. DO NOT kick other people with your blades- they hurt.

When renting and tying skates: As a general rule of thumb, get skates that are your size in shoes. The skates should feel snug (so they won’t fall off), but also not so tight that your circulation is being cut off. If your ankles are turned in or out when you walk or skate, you could really hurt yourself. Either your skates are too loose or too big, which means a re-tie or re-size. If you rent skate, try to get a pair that it made of leather (not plastic) and has laces (not Velcro)- after all, you would not want to wear plastic- Velcro shoes, would you?

What to wear: It is cold on the ice. If you are going to an outdoor rink, you may want more layers than an indoor rink (chances are it might snow). Jeans are fine to wear. Gloves are basically required unless you like to lack feeling in your hands. Scarves, heavy jackets, and hats might get in the way or make you really hot if you plan on skating for a while.

Girls- DO NOT wear skating dresses unless you are an ice skater. Also, a secret that no one wants you to know- ice skaters usually only wear skating dresses for performance, not practice (which is what most of their time is spent doing). You look stupid falling down, getting icy, freezing, and wearing tights. Also, skip the short shorts- you will get ice burn.

Guys- It does not make you ‘girly’ to wear figure skates. Hockey skates are fine to wear, also. Keep in mind that each type of skate is entirely different because they have different purposes and are not meant for one gender (guys can figure skate and girls can play hockey). Figure skates have toe-picks, meant for jumping and spinning. Hockey skates lack the toe-picks, creating a bigger “rocker” that enhances quality of edges and speed for playing defense or offense. Wear the kind of skate that you feel most comfortable in.

Breakfast!!! and other health-related plans for the day

This morning I had:
-Organic coffee (hot, plain except I added cinnamon to the grinds- tastes AMAZING!)
-Pure coconut water from O.N.E.
-A sprouted organic cinnamon raisin mini bagel (from Alvarado Street Bakery via my local Stop & Shop), garnished with pumpkin and natural peanut butter (from Peanut Butter Company- love this, but I treat it as a treat because some varieties have tons of sugar, but this is my hands down fav brand!)
-One dried fig

For the rest of the day....
Lunch -> homemade lentil soup with butternut squash, mushrooms, carrots, spinach, dill, peas, corn, and curry
Snack -> Nonfat plain yogurt (it is currently in my house, though I prefer nonfat greek or skyr) with goji berries, muesli, and pecans
Dinner -> ??? Always changes
Dessert -> Pineapple (I sliced it with my giant Korin knife just for fun)

Exercise:
I have been doing 12-min intense interval training exercises to add oomph to my workout, but I plan on also stretching, doing a tiny bit of weights (tiny, tiny), and maybe some running on the treadmill (it is raining today and my brother has the car for the most of today). If I feel up to it, a spot of yoga.

Sleep:
I had trouble sleeping last night and I don't know why. It was really weird. I was just getting back into more regular sleeping patterns, but we will see what happens.

Cooking:
I would like to cook something to eat for later tonight or this week for my family to eat that is healthy. This way, I save my family time from cooking and they reap health benefits, too. Only, I like to make my food really spicy and they don't, so I have to tone down the spices when I am preparing food for other people.

Water:
I know that I still don't drink enough water, so I am working on that, too!