Monday, February 28, 2011

Is it Spring Yet?

It's the end of February, and I think I am getting near my cold weather limit. I think my body believes that it's always supposed to be low 40's Farenheit or below, and I'm just getting numb to the weather. While I am excited for our upcoming trip, even Husband J mentioned that it would be nice to be somewhere warm right now.

Since I can't be there myself at this very moment, I think I will just visually transport me and you to Antigua.

Spring is coming! It has to. :)

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Random Friday with a Side of In 'N Out Burger

Hey, everyone!

Thanks for the great response to my last post. In honor of your great comments, I actually dedicated my workout on Wednesday to you! I ran at a faster rate on the treadmill, and I took 10 lbs off of the assisted dip machine (that 10 lbs makes a difference...ouch!). I'm glad to hear that everyone is doing what they can to stay healthy.

If you have not noticed, I now have a Facebook page for the blog. Feel free to click the link denoted by the letter "F" on the top right and/or like my page by clicking right there on the right. I'd love for you all to join me over there. I am in the process of making the Facebook page better and becoming more interactive with you all. I hope to include more pics and perhaps more video that I might not put on the blog there.

Did I mention In 'N Out Burger in the title of this post? Oh yeah! By the way, I do find it ironic that I just talked about health and am now talking about In 'N Out Burger. Moderation, everyone! ;) This will probably be my only fast food burger for the year, so it should at least be good.

When I was last in L.A. I was a hard core pescetarian, so I couldn't really enjoy In 'N Out like I should have. I was not going to miss tasting it on this trip. Anyhoo, I got off the plane in Los Angeles and was able for the first time in a long time to feel WARM wind on my face. After being cheap on my five hour cross-country flight and not buying the $8 sandwiches offered on the plane, I was totally ready for lunch. Luckily, Big Mitts, my friend and tour guide for our trip, lives VERY close to an In 'N Out. Score!!

A Cheeseburger Animal Style (with sauteed onions + extra sauce)

French Fries

Favorite parts of the meal:
Sauce + the Onions i.e., the animal style in general

Worst part of the meal:
The fries

Okay, some brief general observations:

1. This burger was definitely good. I felt like the elements didn't gel well together though. Parts of it were downright freezing cold, and the burger was sorta kinda just warm. I like my food (especially mass cooked meat) to be pretty warm when I get it. Am I being picky?

2. In 'N Out is rather good burger, BUT is it life changing? I'm going to have to say that I don't think so. I think it's a great FAST FOOD burger, but I have tasted better burgers in general. I think I'd rather save my red meat points for elsewhere, if I've got other options. Plus, I know that they must put the worst things ever in them, but Mc Donald's fries cannot be beat. These In 'n Out fries were a little soggy, and I longed for some more crunch and salt.

3. I think given In 'N Out's price, it's a great deal for the quality of the burger.

So what do you think? What are your feelings about In 'N Out? Did this East Coast girl miss the mark? Maybe I went to the wrong In 'n Out location? Do you have a favorite fast food burger option in your city or town that isn't Mc Donald's or Burger King?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Regarding Health (Eating Well & Exercising)

I couldn't sleep on Friday night. I was essentially tossing and turning in bed. Anyway, this post came into my mind, and I decided to write it. This is long. :(

I decided that I would write a little about health today. When I hit 30, I noticed my body changing. I have always had a healthy appetite and was never one of those girls who ate two bites of a salad, and said they were full. I realized though that I had to change what I was doing because my body was evolving.

I also don't think everyone has to be stick thin to be healthy or attractive but rather just carry a good healthy weight (I'm talking to you, Rush Limbaugh). Personally, I have a booty, and I like it (and so does Husband J). Maybe it's a Black girl thing (much of my experience has shown me that often it is), but if I had to choose between being rail thin and having an ass, I'd choose the ass (Hysterical considering I carry all of my weight in my thighs and butt!). Super skinny doesn't equal healthy to me (there are some VERY unhealthy skinny people out there), but if one can prevent major weight gain and incorporate physical activity throughout your life, all the better.

I'm not going to tell you about eating a certain kind of diet, etc. I am no dietician or health guru, but I have managed to make it into my 30's and managed to live relatively healthfully in a way that I think is sane. I've never counted calories. I've never been on a diet. I don't exercise like a madwoman. Yet as you can see from this blog I love food and eating. Much of what I am going to say here aren't diet and exercise tips. I kinda think of these personal guidelines below as my own version of common sense healthful living. I also may get a little uppity, so feel free to cuss me out in the comments section. :)

A few caveats before I begin:

1. I have good genes - Both of my parents look pretty darn good for their ages and have gifted me with some good DNA that I think helps. Everybody has a different metabolism, body shape and genetic makeup, which is why I am not going to tell you what to eat (for the most part). I also have a body that builds muscle quickly and easily.

2. I am weirdo who craves veggies and other healthy food. Not everyone is me, but I love a good salad or stir fried veggies. Part of the reason I feel I've been able to stay at a good weight is because I've been a pretty good eater. If I don't eat vegetables or drink water, my body rebels in the form of break outs on my face or spending a little too much time in the bathroom (Ahem! I will stop there, but you get the point, right?). Eating well regulates my body looking and feeling good.

So here it goes.....


1. If you don't want to eat it, don't keep it in the house. If you don't want to eat the cookies, don't buy them. There was leftover cheesecake in our fridge from our dinner party a few weeks ago, and I ate it ALL. It was sitting there in the fridge, and I hate wasting food. I can't NOT eat sweets and other junk food, if they are around. I know this is not easy for everyone as we have families and spouses/partners who like certain types of food, but I find if I don't buy those Whole Foods Brownie Bites, I go along without thinking about them. Out of sight, out of mind.

Sometimes these are the only sweets in our apartment. Once the 8 cookies are gone..too bad. That's why I ration them well. :)

I am also lucky that I don't bake very well. That's helped! :)

2. I don't believe in low fat. Food should taste good. Most low fat anything tastes like garbage to me. I'd rather have full three cheese macaroni and cheese, an amazing cupcake or something super rich once in awhile than have low fat cookies every day or every week.

Also I strongly believe that some dishes and foods require butter or whatever fattening ingredient to give it the right consistency and taste. If you take that agent out of the recipe, then you have to replace it with something. What takes its place? Chemicals. Sometimes I read the ingredient list of low fat stuff, and I'm like "What the heck is in this?"

I'd rather just rather enjoy FATTY goodness in moderation.

3. Do I really need to eat that much? Portion control is something that I struggle with, but I am slowly learning to monitor. In the past I have matched Husband J bite for bite, but I know that I can't do that anymore. Even if you are eating pretty healthfully, HOW MUCH you are eating does affect your caloric intake. When I make a dinner at home, I'm often less apt to go for seconds these days because most times I really don't need to. This doesn't mean that I am a saint in this regard. I have my days. It's just something that I am more mindful of now.

4. I try not to take in calories through liquids. One time someone told me that water has no taste. ERRRR?? I was pretty surprised 'cause I think Dasani tastes different from Poland Spring, which tastes different from both Evian and Fiji. They have pretty distinct tastes. Usually it's just me and the Brita with Pellegrino as a treat. Again, I'm no saint. We keep some ginger ale around, but that's to go with the Maker's Mark (cough!), and last summer I was addicted to those Pellegrino Limonata sodas. We have wine in the house, but I'm learning to limit that as it does have calories too. :) I find if I don't drink enough water, I break out and feel like garbage. Starbucks is usually once per week because I get wired really, really easily from caffeine.

Plus, I am a cheap-o at times, and water is free both at work (if your office has a water cooler) and at home.

5. Cook!


I. HATE. EXERCISE. Ugh! I don't enjoy, but I do it. You wanna know why?

a) I am vain. Yup, I am one vain @#$%, and I like to look in the mirror and like what I see. Exercising makes me look good, so I do it.

b) I have a partner who is an exercise freak. Since high school, Husband J has been into fitness and working out. He used to have super big muscles, which is harder to maintain at his age (hee hee!). Even after working a 12 hour day, he will go to the gym after work. He needs it to relieve stress. Also I love my man, but he is short. Husband J knows that being overweight and short as a man is usually not a good look.

I know that it's important for him to have a wife who takes care of herself by keeping fit, and I want to look good for him. Therefore, exercise has to be a part of the weekly plan.

Okay So.....

1. Don't be cute at the gym/at home/outside during your workout. Do the hard stuff! [UPPITY ALERT!!!] I think most of the people who read my blog tend to be women, and I am a woman, so I going to address this issue that way. LADIES, push yourselves! You can do it! I sometimes fee like women are scared to push themselves at the gym, especially when it comes to weight training. I know it looks great, and it's easier to do the modified/"lady" push up, but do a real one. Use the weight machines, but don't sit there for 5 minutes dilly-dallying (sorry but I hate when people, especially women, do that at the gym).

I love weight training because at this age, it keeps me toned. You will NOT look like this if you weight train.:

Her body is amazing, but I don't desire to look like her. I have a friend who is a fitness model, and the amount of exercise and strict dieting required to maintain what she does is no joke. Most of us are never going to want to do that.

Ask the trainers for help if you are at a gym. That's what they are paid to do (Also if it's like my gym, they're actually pretty attractive. Just sayin'....). Certain areas of the gym or certain machines are just not reserved for men. Don't let the men in the gym intimidate you either.

For example, I love this machine pictured below 'cause it tones my arms. I barely see women using it at my gym.

An assisted pull up and dip machine.

I could never do a pull up without a little bit of help, but I sure do love the feeling of accomplishment when I've finished some sets of pull ups and dips.

By the way, I hate cardio, but again, I do it 'cause it's good for me. Sigh....

2. A little bit of something is better than nothing, but make it count. Most days, I just don't want to do anything at all, but if I pop Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred in the DVD player, I kinda feel like a rock star for doing something. It's a great total workout and only last for 20 minutes. If you can find a fast means of working out this way on the days you don't want to move, it will help. That being said, I do believe that whatever quickie session you choose to do should challenge you (see #1). My gym has 1/2 hour classes, or you can run/walk for 20 minutes, or just do basic calisthenics in your living room. Either way...move!

3. Mix it up or put in your schedule. I get bored exercising, and I don't want to make up my own exercise routines. I just want someone to tell me what to do. :( Usually that means that I take a class or video. I've got three different Jillian Michael's videos I rotate, and now I (Gasp!) like to run on the treadmill. Plus, I know I can take spinning or other classes if I can motivate in the nasty weather. If I don't have variety, I will not exercise. Are you like me?

4. Sneak in exercise when you can. I know that living in a walkable urban place helps me to sneak in exercise. Walking instead of taking the subway or taking the stairs instead of the escalator helps me feel like I am moving (There are some crazy sets of stairs in the subways!) I know many people don't live in a place where this is an option, but are there other parts of your life where you can still find a way to keep active?

Okay. That's it. None of this is rocket science, and I am sure you know most of this already, but I thought I would share some of my experiences.

What's been the best way for you to keep track with eating healthy and staying physically fit? Feel free to call me out on anything I've written. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

100th Post!

Hey, all!

I can't believe it. This is my 100th post! Where has the time gone? I thought I would step outside of the usual blogging routine around here and do a vlog!

I had really wanted this to go up on Friday but was having some major problems with Quicktime and You Tube. The audio syncing kinda sucked. :( I tried multiple times to upload the video, and it didn't work. I'm testing out Vimeo for now, and apparently it supports Ipad and Iphones now just in case you guys can't get enough of me when you're away from your computers. :)

Also, I've got two questions for you at the end of the vlog. I hope you give me some questions and answers in the comments sections.

Anyway, enjoy my prattling!

Try Anything Once - 100th Post Vlog from TAOTerri on Vimeo.

Happy Monday off for those in the U.S. (and actually get this day off)!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

L.A. Revisited - Look But Don't Touch on Rodeo Drive

I don't know what it is about Rodeo Drive, but it makes me think of Pretty Woman (I try to forget that Julia Roberts portrays a prostitute 'cause this is one of my favorite movies ever).

Can I share something with you? I often feel weird shopping in nice stores. I don't even like to go in and look at nice things. I've always been this way. I think much of this stems from my irrational fear that was drilled into me going to high school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Back then, many stores had buzzers to let people in, and let's just say that they often used them to keep people OUT. Even trips to Barney's or Bergdorf Goodman, larger high end department stores, have not made me feel very comfortable over the years.

Even if I wanted to (or felt like I could) spend $1,000+ on a purse in a designer store, I just often felt looked down upon by retail professionals. Actually I've had some questionable interactions in some run of the mill stores too (I've got a funny story about this one particular happening in one of my unfavorite American cities, but that's another story.). Either way, just window shopping on Rodeo Drive was enough for me. Could I get over my discomfort there? Maybe... :)

First, my friend, Big Mitts & I started at the southern end of Rodeo Drive in front of a familiar hotel. The facade of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel is just enough to remind me of Pretty Woman. The camera angles are EXCELLENT in that movie as this hotel is much smaller in person.

We crossed the street towards Via Rodeo, a relatively "new" short shopping street running parallel to Rodeo Drive.

Oh, Louis Vuitton. Maybe one day I'll own some of your luggage. Why am I attracted to the practical things (or however practical $1,000+ luggage can be)?

Staying on the theme of luggage, I really liked Rimowa's pieces.

Just in case you're wondering, the small case is $750. The SMALL one.

I'm sure you are more interested in the fashion on Rodeo Drive.

I did think that their open air store was offbeat and unexpected.


Michael Kors
A special shout out to the very nice sales people at Michael Kors. They let us browse, talked to us and even complimented something I was wearing. :) Even if it was a sales tactic, it made me feel special.


Did I get over my misgivings about fancy schmancy stores? Maybe just a little. The Michael Kors folks were really nice and quite fun to chat with. It was also late in the day on a weekday, so perhaps they were a little extra bored. :) Who knows? Maybe one day, I'll feel comfortable enough to actually BUY something.

Do fancy stores intimidate you, or am I just a freak? Do you have any favorite luxury stores or high end shopping streets near you where you like to browse, window shop or actually buy something?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Back Trackin', Rhode Island Edition - Rhode Island's "Wine Country"

Parts of this post were originally published on my wedding blog, Chic...Personal...Fun, and

While Husband J and I spent a lot of time on boats and on the water during our first couple of days of our mini-post-wedding getaway in Newport, Rhode Island, Newport has other places to experience that don't require a lifevest or cause seasickness.

One thing that I failed to mention before was that my sister-in-law and brother-in-law were kind enough to give us a little basket of mini-moon cheer for our time in Newport. In addition to the sail boat trip we had (and other cute gift basket items), they also gave us a gift certificate for a tour and tasting at Newport Vineyards. Yes, that's right. While it's not Napa, Rhode Island has got its own little wine making area right next to Newport in neighboring Middletown and Portsmouth, Rhode Island. In addition to Newport Vineyards, Greenvale Vineyard is just a short drive from the heart of downtown Newport.

One of the winemakers checking on some Cabernet

Being the foodie that I am, it would be awfully whack of me not to make some wine suggestions. Personally, we liked the whites the best, particularly the Great White, In the Buff (cool name ;)), and the Riesling. Newport Vineyards also makes this great, crisp Rhody Coyote Hard Cider.

After the vineyard trip, we had a nice lunch at the Castle Hill Inn. The Inn has a great lawn right on the water where you can relax with a drink and a nearby patio and eat their fabulous lunch and dinner options. We recommend the chowder, the lobster roll and the Cobb Salad.

Pretty view, huh?

We could sit and watch the boats go by while sipping some cocktails.

Happy Valentine's Day from us!

Have you been to a winery in an area not known as a major wine-making region?

Friday, February 11, 2011

L.A. Revisited/Food Porn Friday - Lunch by Santa Monica Beach at Ma Kai Lounge

It's Friday. Let's ease into weekend.....

I love being near the ocean.

Combine eating AND being by the ocean and that was our sunny and relaxing lunch at Ma Kai. Granted, it wasn't waterside, but it was right on Ocean Avenue overlooking the Santa Monica Beach area and across from Santa Monica's Palisades Park. After a beachy stroll where you've worked up an appetite, a leisurely lunch is definitely appropriate.

Seared Ahi Spinach Salad
An attempt to be healthy. :) Sauteed to slightly wilting spinach with a balsamic reduction, plump shitake mushrooms and refreshing tuna slices.

Salmon with Mango & Avocado sushi roll
A nice mix of mango & avocado. A good regulation sushi roll that wasn't spectacular but did the job.

Kobe Beef Sliders with Pineapple BBQ Sauce
Definitely not the best sliders in the world, but can you argue with the something like pineapple BBQ sauce? The sauce saved these sliders, if not elevated them.

Plus, when you're not working on a weekday, a little afternoon cocktail isn't all that bad, is it?

Paradise Martini
Cruzan coconut rum, framboise (raspberry liquer), mixed with pina colada mix and muddled strawberries with a fabulous garnish (for Big Mitts)

Kama Sutra Martini
Malibu mango-infused rum shaken with sake and lychee syrup (for me)

This lunch was perfect to get us through the afternoon. No, we did not stumble down the beach back to the car. :)

Ma Kai Restaurant & Lounge
101 Broadway Avenue
Santa Monica, California 90401

Cheers to a Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

L.A. Revisited/Adopt a Block - Indulging My Sweet Tooth in Beverly Hills

Aahh, Beverly Hills. It makes me think of some of my favorite past Beverly Hills residents.

Come on. I had to. :)

Let's take the Adopt a Block feature nationwide!

I didn't expect to get a sugar rush during a quick trip to Beverly Hills, but when roaming around for parking spots (something that I usually don't get to experience), I spotted the Paulette Macaron shop. I know macarons have been pretty popular in the past few years whether as a wedding dessert or as a way to fulfill a craving for something sweet, fancy and French; but I have to admit that I missed the boat on this food trend. This visit changed that.

Nice shop, right?

I love how colorful the macarons are.

A tower of macarons?

Big Mitss and I ended up getting a pack of 12 with a variety of different flavors. I am now a convert to macarons! My personal favorites? Pistachio (I believe that was a special that day), Caramel, and Coconut. I find I don't like the fruity flavors as much (that means the Passion Fruit), and I'm not sure that chocolate macarons are all that great either. I will have to try some more here in NYC soon.

Big Mitts pointed out the Famous Cupcakes shop practically across the street from Paulette Macarons. Can I admit to you that I was weary of this place? Another cupcake place? They're "famous"? Riiiiiiight. Yet after tasting these cupcakes, I have seen the light. Dude, when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me. Don't judge food by its storefront.

First of all, this place is kinda spiffy....

Also imagine my surprise that I like something that the Kardashians like too.

There were so many to choose from: Cookies 'n Cream (chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse topped with Oreo buttercream frosting), Chocolicious (milk chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting) and the 24 Karat (carrot cake with walnuts crowned with cinnamon cream cheese frosting).

We ended eating one of the specials for the day, Mocha Latte.

From what I could tell, it was chocolate cake with a coffee-like frosting with a fabulous coffee-chocolate ganache center.

I know I'm showing you half eaten food, but I can't resist this cupcake.

If I can say anything about these cupcakes, it's that they tasted homemade like someone just baked them at home and decided to sell them in the store. Really! I couldn't believe how fresh it tasted. The coffee-chocolate flavor really did taste like a mocha from your favorite coffee shop. We also had a Chocolicious that we ate more than a day later and that tasted good albeit like a cupcake I would normally get with the cake not as forgiving. I think buying from the store must be the way to go.

So, yes I found all of this sweetness in one block of Beverly Hills (specifically, the corner of Charleville Boulevard & South Beverly Drive). I'm still thinking about that cupcake.....

Paulette Macaron
9466 Charleville Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90212

Famous Cupcakes
168 South Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, California 90212

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

L.A. Revisited - Griffith Park Observatory

During my last time in Los Angeles, I never made it to the Griffith Park Observatory, but this time around I made sure not to miss it. Griffith Park is the largest park in L.A. and the eleventh largest urban park in the United States. In addition to the Observatory and its planetarium, there are golf courses, athletic fields, hiking trails and the Greek Theater, a concert space.

After checking out the Los Feliz neighborhood and thinking about a past glorious brunch here and about a crazy night of seeing Marty & Elayne at the Dresden (Swingers reference), Big Mitts and I took a short drive through the park's winding roads and came to the observatory at the perfect time: sunset!

Can you see Big Mitts? It was either get her in the pic or the observatory. I chose the latter. Darn, camera!

A close-up of the observatory

Can you see something a little different about me in this pic? If you pick up on it, I will be very impressed.

From such a high point in the area, the observatory's position really provides awesome views of the city. I'm not used to seeing L.A. from above.

To the west with a view to the ocean.

When I turned around, I looked right into this! I still haven't been to the sign. Apparently, you can get up close.

Downtown Los Angeles

If you're interested in taking in more than just pretty views of the city, be sure to go inside and learn about the stars and the solar system. The planetarium there has a few educational programs that run throughout the day as well as exhibits.

What a gorgeous ceiling!

A Tesla ball that emits electricity. Big Mitts and I learned more than we could have ever imagined about Tesla from one of the scientists there. Apparently, Tesla wanted to light the entire US with free electricity. I'll take no electric bill, thank you!

I forget what this cool looking thing does. Does anyone know? I think it has to do with planetary or lunar movements.

Close up of above

There are telescopes here, except I don't think any of them were open to the public when we were there.

The Griffith Park Observatory area is a beautiful, free and educational way to experience Los Angeles. Make a stop there on your next trip.

Thanks, Griffith J. Griffith! (yes, that REALLY is the founder's name!)


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