Blushin’ & Brushin’

Happy Monday, friends! I know there may be some of you anxiously awaiting the announcement of the Pure Protein prize pack giveaway, but you’ll just have to hold on a liiiiiiitle bit longer — sorry! First up, I want to tell you about part of the awesome weekend I had! Actually, the entire weekend was pretty stellar, but I’m just going to tell you about Friday today. Yep, that’s how good it was — it deserves its very own post.

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So the evening kicked off when I met my friend Rachel for dinner in Georgetown. We met up at Clyde’s, and shared a cheese plate. Obviously, this means that things started out well.

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For my entree I got a sea scallops dish with roasted brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, and some kind of raisin/current sauce. It. was. awesome. I’ve only been to the Clyde’s in Tysons Corner before, and it was fine, but I can definitely say I enjoyed both the service and the food a TON at the Georgetown location. But! Dinner wasn’t the main event of the night. In fact, it was merely a precursor to…

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A boozy painting class! Okay, so I know that it probably sounds lame that I am so excited over a painting class, but I have wanted to do one of these things for FOREVER, and I am just soooo glad I finally did. It definitely lived up to my expectations. Which, okay, to be fair, were to A) paint and B) drink wine, both of which I did so… not that hard to meet. BUT IT WAS STILL SO MUCH FUN!

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Rachel and I went to Blush ‘N’ Brush in Georgetown, which was a little studio tucked off of Wisconsin Avenue. For those of you who may not be familiar, the way these painting classes work is that you are mimicking another painting, and you’re allowed to drink (yay!). You can bring your own wine, of course, but they also sell wine there, so we just purchased a bottle.

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They had blanke easels set up for everyone in a long time facing towards the front, so you could see both the instructor, who showed you what to do throughout the whole process, as well as the finished painting we were copying.

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This is the painting we were all aiming towards replicating. Blush ‘N’ Brush posts what painting each class will be doing on their calendar online, so you can actually specifically choose your class based on what painting you’d like to do! Pretty neat. Rachel and I had actually originally planned to do this a couple weeks ago, but then I got the flu, so we had to reschedule. Because of that, I wasn’t actually sure what the painting was going to be until we got there! I got a little nervous when I saw that there were people in the painting (anything realistic is a novice artist’s nemisis, hahaha) but it ended up working out okay, I think. Well, I guess I’ll let you guys be the judge, hehe.

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Ta-da! The class was a little over 2-hours long, but the time honestly FLEW. Maybe it’s because I just had so much fun with it (I used to LOVE to paint and do art when I was younger, even though I’ve never had much talent for it) but really, I was so surprised how after we finished up the background the instructor told us we’d already been painting for an hour.

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The instructor gave us the option to add in a little Washington (or whatever city you wanted, I guess) monument in the background, and I kind of messed mine up and made it super ginormous and fat, but thaaaat’s okay. I mean, you know, it’s just like… city pride… or something? Hahahahaha.

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And even my little silhouette people turned out moderately okay! I tried painting a little dog walking alongside them, but it didn’t really work out… so I painted over it, haha. Guess I need some more practice before I can attempt to freehand stuff. Or maybe I just need to drink less wine while doing it…

Naaaaaaah. πŸ˜‰

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So yes! If you’ve been on the fence about trying one of these things out, I heartily recommend it. I had a great time, the instructor was really cool (she said my work was “strong” woot!) and the whole atmosphere was just fun and relaxing. This being my first time, I can’t really compare Blush ‘N’ Brush to any other places in the area, but I would definitely go again. It is a little bit pricey ($60) though, so just something to keep in mind. In my opinion, it was totally worth it, but I know some people might not want to pay that much to copy someone else’s painting, haha. Me though? I’m super proud of it, and will absolutely be hanging it up.

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Though hopefully I’ll be able to hang it straighter than I am able to hold it…

OKAY! So, that little giveaway thing, let’s get down to it! And the winner is…

1635744 Aileen! Whoo-hoo! And not only do you win the protein prize pack, but you might also possibly win the best comment ever prize. Since many of you probably recognize the name anyway, I feel the need to disclose that Aileen is a friend of mine — however, as you can see to the left, the plugin that I use to pick giveaway winners is completely random. Congratulations, Aileen!

Have you ever done a wine & painting class before? Are there any other fun, creative things, similar to this, that you would recommend checking out?

Two Good Things

Good thing #1: I’m almost done being sick! Almost. I actually have my voice semi-back to normal, and my temperature has been down in the normal range for over 24 hours. THANK GOODNESS. I am so over being sick. Donezo. Bright side? This flu has been the most effective diet ever. Down 6 pounds in 5 days! Now, if only I could make it stay that way… sigh. Too bad I, you know, am actually excited to have an actual appetite again. C’est la vie.

Good thing #2: The giveaway winners for signed copies of my book, Terra, have been drawn! If you are one of them, email me at [email protected] with your address. Oh, and if you’d like me to sign the book for someone other than yourself, just let me know in the email!

So, without further adieu, the winners!

1) Megan @ Love, Literature, Art, and Reason

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2) Sam Dailey

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3) Jasveen

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4) Allison W.

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5) Janice

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Congrats, guys! Again, be sure to email me with your deets!

And if you didn’t win, don’t lose heart. Terra is only $4.99 on Kindle, Nook, iTunes (YES, NOW IN THE iBOOSKTORE!!), and Kobo, or $9.99 for a paperback on Amazon!

Thanks to everyone for participating, this was my most-entered giveaway to-date! Which feels awesome, because it means you guys want to actually read my book. (Or, at least you do if it’s free, hahahaha.) For those of you till on the fence, definitely check out all the awesome reviews Terra has been getting on Amazon and Goodreads and decide if it’s something you’d like to take a $5-chance on. πŸ˜‰ (End shameless plug here.)

‘Til next time, friends! <3

Facing the Scale (Weigh-in)

Tempestuous.

That is the word that I would use to describe my relationship with the scale. Weighing myself is always a loaded experience for me. It goes beyond whether or not I will be pleased or displeased with the number staring back at me. More often than not, those blinking, back-lit digits will determine my feelings about life, the universe, and everything. How unfortunate it is that a 5-second revelation every Wednesday morning can leave me feeling elated or depressed, attractive or ugly, confident or feeling worthless.

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Whyyyy?

I imagine that many other women feel the same way. I know several who have sworn off the scale for exactly this reason. Instead of letting a number validate their feelings, they prefer to judge their health via less rigid means: the way their pants fit, how they feel, how they look in the mirror. I don’t argue that this is probably the (mentally) healthier approach.

Unfortunately, I think that only works if you’re in a place where you’re already content with your pant size or how you feel or how you look. I’m not. I still want to drop another size or two, I don’t feel great about how I look all the time (though granted, I’m more and more content with it every day!), and I don’t have the self-awareness to know when I’ve gained weight based on my reflection (others may call it “denial”, hahaha.) As I’ve found from the past two months of delicious debauchery, steadfast scale-ignoring, and the subsequent weight that I’ve put back on, I am not in a place where I can forgo this particular frenemy.

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The fact of the matter is this: I need to weigh myself to know that I am making progress with my weight loss. When I’ve reached my goal, I can and will reevaluate the ways that I measure my health. Just like I don’t intend on counting calories forever (God forbid! Ugh.), I don’t think I’ll be weighing myself every week for the rest of my life. But, for now, while things are still in progress, this is simply how it’s gotta be.

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And so it shall be. As you may recall, my last weigh-in left me staring the stark realization of a 10-pound holiday weight gain. Boo. That said, I’ve been on point with my eating, and I even made it out for a couple of (painful) runs (the plan is in motion!) so let’s see how things measured up!

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 198.4 lbs
This Weigh-in: 194.2 lbs
Difference: -4.2 lbs

HUZZAH!! A great start to Weight Loss: The Sequel. A loss like this makes me think that maybe, just maybe, some of my regained pounds were water weight from the onslaught of salt and sugar I had been consuming? Well, even if at first glance that sounds like me being my usual, delusional self, the proof is in the pudding. And the pudding is a 4 pound loss! I am really pleased with this jump, and it definitely makes me feel optimistic about how things are going to go this year. I guess it just goes to show what a little clean eating and a few attempts at running can do, even after months of delicious awfulness!

And now, to continue all this fuzzy feel-goodery, let’s make someone else’s day! The random winner of the Hello Hydration giveaway is…

Congratulations, Lindsay! Shoot me an email and we’ll work out the details! πŸ™‚

What does your relationship with the scale look like?

Boxing Day

Happy Boxing Day! In celebration of this day of… um… box…ers…?, here’s a song about it that my brother and his friends wrote 3 years ago! (Click through to view the video if you’re reading this via email.)

I have the day off from work today, as many of you probably do as well, so I’ll keep this short. Also, I haven’t dared to try to offload the pics from my camera this weekend out of sheer fear at the number of them. So instead of scarring dazzling you with picture after picture of food and gifts (mostly food. Almost all food.), I decided to take a quick second to check in and announce the winner of the Vera Bradley & V8 giveaway!

I had an awesome Christmas, which I’m sure you’ll all hear about relentlessly throughout the week. My family was once again very generous, and gifted me with some awesome things. You’ll see many of them in use over the next few weeks especially, since my kitchen equipment arsenal has almost doubled overnight, hehe. There will be plenty of time to brag about my rockin’ Christmas swag later though. For now, I need to get down to biz-naz. I can’t believe how many entries there were for this giveaway! I’m just sorry I couldn’t have drawn more than one winner. Can I get a drumroll please?

Congratulations Micky! Email me ([email protected]) and we’ll sort out the details! For those of you who didn’t win, fret not! I have another awesome giveaway coming your way soon. πŸ™‚

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Hoorays!

I might not have had much to say, but I sure have questions for you all today!

Did you have a good Christmas? Do you have off work today? Any big Boxing Day plans? Shopping the post-Christmas sales? Am I the only one who is devastated that Christmas is officially over?

Here We Go Again!

Good morning, friends! As you’re reading this, I’m probably on the train to Philly for the 3rd Annual Healthy Living Summit! Guff, my third blogging conference of the summer. Wheeeeeee!

I couldn’t leave without reporting on just a couple last things, though. First up, check out what arrived on my doorstep yesterday!

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My first order from Arganica Farm Club! I bought a Living Social deal for a one-month subscription to this CSA-like organization that delivers local, direct-from-farm groceries to your door. Basically a dream come true for me, since you get the wonders of a CSA but you actually get to pick and choose what you’re buying. Well, it’d be a dream if it weren’t so ridiculously expensive under non-groupon circumstances that is.

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The deal included a produce crate full of goodies, as well as a $25 gift card. I spent that on the seafood and goat cheese, and everything else was a surprise! I just hope that things don’t go bad before I come back from the City of Brotherly Love!

In an attempt to ensure that the aforementioned horror does not happen, I froze the fish filet and used up the following ingredients in this week’s crowning cooking achievement:

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The trick to getting really nice scallops is to make sure they’re good and dry before they hit the pan.

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Pat them down, then add them to a nice hot skillet with some EVOO (or butter). Only flip ’em once and remember, they cook FAST.

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I served mine alongside some caramelized onions and summer squash. Not a bad presentation, eh? That’s because I actually tried this time, hahaha.

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I also grilled up that ear of corn in the skillet – a little unconventional perhaps, but it worked! Chalk it up to me being far too lazy to actual wait for water to boil.

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Delicioso!

So hopefully I’ll be back after the conference with many new tidbits to share on both health and blogging! I’m not aware what the wi-fi situation is going to be up there as there unfortunately seems like there’s some confusion surrounding that, but I’m sure you’ll still be overloaded with posts and tweets and updates. Just one last thing before I go: the winner of the Adora Chocolate giveaway!

Congratulations, Andrea! Email me your details at [email protected]

Have a great weekend, everyone! If you’ll be at HLS later on today, let me know! I’ll look something like this:

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Heh.