Monday, January 31

Ya gotta fake it 'til you make it

It should come as no surprise when I admit I've been a bit whinier lately. Since getting 2nd degree burns on my hand, an ear infection (who even gets those past the age of 6!?), being diagnosed with anterior compartment syndrome and having high heels taken away from me, my levels of motivation, productivity and general sense of enjoyment in day to day activities has severely waned. This whole not being allowed to run thing is seriously messin' with my head.

I've been in a funk lately. On Saturday, I didn't even bother to get out of my pajamas or leave the flat. Normally I would totally condone this type of behavior. Everyone needs some mental rehab days where they spend way too much time in bed watching DVR'd episodes of mindless television entertainment. But this wasn't my first day...or my second for that matter. I've been rocking the ole' sweatpants/dirty hair/no makeup combo for far too long.

Saturday night, after stalking Twitter and Facebook for the 900th time and noticing how everyone else seemed to be doing productive things with their days, like brushing their teeth or bothering to put on a clean t-shirt, I realized the madness had to stop. So I declared Sunday our Fake It 'Til Ya Make It Day. Foul moods be damned, Sean and I were going to salvage the rest of our weekend. And our sanity.

While I don't necessarily consider myself shallow, I do believe that one of the reasons for my funk was my complete lack of appreciation and care for myself. The sports therapist prohibited me from running, not from showering. It became obvious that I needed to change my attitude (and my outfit) pronto.

Things started out rocky as there was a lot of work to be done:

(I pray to God no one has a huge HD computer monitor and has to see this up close. Yikes.)

I'm not kidding when I say my feet resemble Bear Grylls. They are scary.

Fast forward an hour or two later and it is amazing what a little suds and scrubbing can do for a gal's morale.

Well, well, well. What do we have here? Look Gippeto, it's a real live girl!

When I woke up yesterday, I was most certainly faking it. As I straightened my hair and put on make up, I grumbled to myself how silly it all seemed. Did I really think this was going to solve anything?

It did. I had one of the best days in weeks and it wasn't the result of retail therapy, chocolate therapy, or tequila therapy (all highly recommended though) was simply because I stopped looking at things with such a negative perspective. Rather than sit on the couch and bitch about how there's never anything good on British television, I shut the tv off and went outside. Instead of complaining that I'd rather be in my tan suede stiletto booties, I appreciated the fact that I could walk yesterday free of shin pain. These small, simple steps made all the difference.

Does this fix my messed up shin, ear infection, and burnt hand? No. Have the stressors in my life been solved? Of course not. But my attitude certainly changed. (It is a scientific fact that it's difficult to be mopey in ruffles and tights, ya know)

Last night, Sean and I tried to make one of our favorite recipes. It's complicated and takes a long time to prepare, but we were ready for the challenge. Unfortunately, dinner had other plans for us. At every step of the recipe, something went awry. Wrong ingredients, ruined noodles, mis-measurements, you name it and we screwed it up.

But as I sat at 8:30 pm on a Sunday night, eating what resembled eggplant diarrhea for dinner and staring at a sink full of dirty dishes, I couldn't help but laugh... some point in the day, I had stopped faking it. I was happy.

Sunday, January 30

52 Flavors Challenge Week 4: a quinoa quandary

Quinoa. Keeeeeeeen-waaaaaah. can I accurately describe my feelings toward this week's flavor challenge?

Let's put it this way: If Indian food was a giant carnival with Chanel bags being given away as the prizes then quinoa is like watching 8 hours of PBS at your grandma's house... while listening to classical music... in the rain.


While I can appreciate quinoa for its stellar nutritional stats, I don't think it's something I'd enjoy eating on a regular basis so it is difficult to say whether this belongs in the like or dislike category. This leaves me in a bit of a quandary, so to say. A Quinoa Quandary. (muah ha ha ha)

One thing I most certainly did not enjoy about this meal was the preparation. Perhaps it's because I couldn't find pre-rinsed quinoa in my grocery store or the fact that our kitchen here is severally ill-equipped, but quina, you are one high maintenance bitty.

First of all, it rolls freaking everywhere from the countertops to the cracks in the floorboards. Annoying. None of my strainers had mesh wire fine enough to handle rinsing the quinoa properly so I had to improvise with a paper towel.

This proved to be a lot trickier than I had originally intended...between the craptastic, cheap-as-possible paper towels and the minute grains of quinoa, things went from bad to worse in a matter of minutes.

Once the quinoa was properly rinsed, I tried transferring it into the pot to be cooked. (tried being the key word to this sentence). Except 90% of it was stuck to the paper towel. Being the culinary genius that I am, I figured I'd just scrap the pieces off with my fingers. Mistake. Huge mistake.

Not only was the soggy, sticky quinoa now clinging to the paper towels for dear life, but it was spreading like a mutant germ all over my hands as well. I just couldn't shake the stuff. I had a disaster on my hands of quinoa-astic proportions. (Gosh, I'm really nailing it with the cheese ball jokes this evening)

By the time I scraped the remnants off my fingers, colander, and counter, I had enough left for approx 1 serving. Gone were the plans to make a main dish out of this stuff for our lunch. (That's okay though, right around the time I started pulling pieces of quinoa out of my hair and swearing loudly enough for the neighbors to cringe, Sean opted for a sandwich instead. Wonder why?)

I decided take a spin on traditional oats. I simmered the quinoa for roughly 10 minutes before pulling it off the burner and letting it sit until all the liquid was absorbed. When it appeared to be ready, I sidled up to my homemade serving station and started piling on the toppings.

(Dear Sweet Lord Baby Jesus, please forgive me for the sin I am about to commit. I am posting an oatmeal-esque picture of food on my blog. Something I've sworn to all that is holy I would never do. For my repentance I shall forgo all forms of chocolate for the next week. until tomorrow. for the next hour)

End result? Eh. That's all I can really say. Eh. I'll take my peanut butter, chocolate protein powder, looks like baby poop but tastes like candy regular ole' oats again any day. While I still have a huge box of the stuff sitting in my cabinet, I can't promise I'll be making it again any time soon. Like I said earlier, I appreciate the nutritional value which makes me want to give it another go 'round, but texturally and preparation wise- no thank you!

Now, this doesn't mean you can't make me quinoa. Homegirl never turns down a free meal. I am a college student after all.

Here are some of the great recipes you guys passed along. Keep 'em coming!

  • Stacy from Every Little Thing gave me an edamame quinoa salad recipe. This is what I was originally going to make before the shit hit the fan.

  • Caitlin from The Twenty-Fifth Year didn't give me a recipe but she did rub in my face how she once had an awesome burger made with quinoa. Can I have one of those please?

  • Amanda doesn't have a blog, but she sent me the link for this yummy looking salad.

  • Heather from Kiss My Broccoli offered up this tasty treat with peppers, pizzerts, and portobellos (oh my!)

  • AJ from Queer Vegan Runner tweeted me a breakfast recipe she found from *insert name of awesome blogger here * (AJ, can you let me know where you got it, so I can give her credit? Thanks!)

  • Next week's flavor: British desserts!!!!!!!!! I am really excited for this one. (As if you couldn't tell but the 2394823094 exclamation points. If I could have possibly included a heart over the i and a My Little Pony sticker on there, I would've. I'm that excited about it) I plan on making sticky toffee pudding, banoffee pie, and some sort of custard. I should probably just go ahead and title next week's 52 Flavors Challenge: The week Marie stops fitting into her jeans and puts Sean into a sugar coma. It's going to be great. If you have any tips or tricks for these traditionally British desserts, I'd love to hear them!

    52 Flavors Tally:
    Foods I like: 2 (Fennel, Indian)
    Foods I dislike: 1 (Figs, Quinoa)

    *Side note: A huge thank you to those of you who emailed me to be contributing writers for my school project. I hope no one was offended by my decision to solicit on here. I can promise you it was a one time thing! Thanks again for all your support xx Marie *

    Friday, January 28

    How do you indulge yours?

    Facebook stalking, eating expensive chocolate, shopping sprees?

    How do you indulge in your guilty pleasure?

    We all have 'em...the things you know you shouldn't love but just can't help being addicted to (*cough* Jersey Shore *cough*)

    I'm currently getting my Masters in Publishing (Magazine and Digital Media) here in London. In addition to completing a 20,000 word dissertation, we are responsible for creating, designing, and launching a publication. My group and I have decided to create Guilty Pleasure, the magazine filled with low brow culture for the high brow crowd. With articles like "Diary of a Facebook stalker" and "Will and Kate's Big Fat Gypsy Wedding", we are taking a tongue-in-cheek, satirical look at all the things we just can't help loving.

    While it is primarily for educational purposes only, the magazine WILL be distributed in large quantities around the University and used for future purposes, so we are required to be legit and legal about it.

    This means no pulling images off Google and no loading all of December's blog entries and pretending their real content. I don't think I can create a 40 page magazine filled entirely with pictures of Snooki, me drinking red wine, and chocolate. Unfortunately.

    This is where you come in! (Shameless self promotion and merciless beginning on my hands and knees begins now- This is your warning - Proceed with caution)

    Our magazine needs you. If you are interested in becoming a contributing writer, photographer, or illustrator, please let me know! So whether to love to write, illustrations are a hobby, you're really into satirical humor and pop culture, or you just want to be a nice person and help a sista out, this is your chance to jump on board!!! While I can only pay you in my love, admiration, and shots of tequila, this is the perfect opportunity for you to bolster your own professional portfolio.

    So immediately after you finish reading this post, head over to our magazine's website: Guilty Pleasure Magazine to learn more information about how you can be a part of our team. If you like what you see, you can also find us on Twitter @Guilt_Pleasure. (Just think, that means you'd get twice the amount of Marie in your daily newsfeed. Now who wouldn't want that?!)


    Disclaimer: This project is for educational purposes only. While our group will be creating a business model involving advertising revenue and sponsorships, Guilty Pleasure Magazine will not be receiving any monetary funds during this process. I repeat: I, nor anyone else involved with this project, will be affiliated with any forms of monetization. Technically, since we paid tuition, we're actually paying to do it. This makes us sad. and broke. very very broke.

    Thursday, January 27

    What I would've said

    I had something nauseatingly kitschy and cute written in a vein attempt to showcase the photos below. I felt like I needed to disguise my true intentions. What I really wanted to say was: Look! I took these photos all by myself! The fact that I spent 45 minutes laying flat down on the floor and took 100 shots of berries is ridiculous. But I did. And you know what? I loved. every. single. second. of it!

    I'd also really like to tell you that I'm absolutely falling in love with photography. I cannot stop thinking about it and I'm excited by how much I've taught myself over the past couple weeks.

    I was also thinking about just coming right out and admitting how immensely proud I am of myself for taking these photos and stating boldly that even though I know they aren't perfect, I am in love with each and every one of them.

    I mean, that's what I would've said. If I were going to write the post in that way.

    Oh wait, I guess I just did.

    Wednesday, January 26

    How NOT to train for a marathon

    Two posts in a row about running? Who am I?

    Let's jump straight into it, shall we?

    My words of wisdom can be divided into three categories: training, diet, and lifestyle. I don't consider myself an expert on the topic, but as someone who obsessively compulsively researches things and considers Google to be the 2011 version of the big man upstairs, I want to share what I've learned. My hope is that someone can learn from the mistakes I have made and prevent injury to themselves in the future. Please feel free to include your own advice, input, concerns, or disagreements in the comments section. I'd love to hear other people's opinions on this topic!

    1. Training plan
    I based my training plan off Hal Higdon's Intermediate 18 week Schedule. You can find the Google doc of it here. The plan is more intense than other ones he offers, especially for someone who has never run more than 13 miles before. But because I want to eventually qualify for Boston and I tend to think I'm quite the bad ass, I pushed myself beyond what I was really ready for. This was my first mistake. The plan called for 4 days of running during the week, a long run on the weekend, and a cross-training day, only leaving me with one day of complete rest.

    When I created my plan, I had intentions of doing hot yoga as my cross-training but classes were too expensive to carry on for the long haul. That, coupled with hesitancy from a track coach who advised me that the heat and excessive stretching could put extra strain on my muscles, led me to drop the cross-training completely. Because we do not have access to a gym here in London (unless I want to drop £65/mo. eeeeek!), I wasn't strength-training either. No cross-training, no strength-training, and 5 days in a week of running. No bueno. When I marathon train in the future (God willing), I will be sure to incorporate cycling, swimming, or the elliptical into my plan.

    I was already running a lot, but on top of that, I was running very fast (in relation to my own standards). I didn't understand the concept of slow, easy, recovery runs. I viewed every run, even if it was for 3 miles, as a race to beat my previous time. Sure it was nice to brag that I ran 11 miles at an 8:07 pace, but I couldn't walk after that for 4 days. I know that speed work is an important part of marathon training, but there is a big difference between practicing speed work and being a speed demon dummy. I was the latter.

    2. Diet
    Running and food seem to go hand in hand. While training, I certainly took advantage of the extra calorie and carb intake. My pre-run fuel consisted of peanut butter toast with bananas...the official breakfast of every runner everywhere.

    I stuck with Gu gels for any run over 6 miles and would typically have 1 Gu for every 5 or 6 miles depending on how long the run was. On my runs over 10 miles, I'd stop somewhere and grab a Powerade at the 9-10 mile mark.

    Overall, I don't place a lot of fault into my diet. I generally eat pretty well and although chocolate makes an appearance quite frequently, I like to side with the belief that it's good for the heart. However, I wish I made a more concentrated effort in my calcium, iron, and other vitamin intake. I only drink almond milk and rarely eat yogurt, so the calcium in my diet is severely lacking (unless cheese plates count. and pizza. Do they? Can we talk to someone about making cheese pizza into an appropriate calcium source, because I can't seem to get enough).

    In the future, I am going to be sure that I am upping my supplements during intense training periods and having a more balanced diet to ensure that my body heals properly from all the work I'm putting it through.

    3. Lifestyle
    I'm using the term lifestyle to encapsulate an array of different topics. First, it is important to make sure you are wearing the proper shoes and not running in ones you shouldn't be wearing anymore. I should've swapped my shoes after 300 miles and I estimated mine to be around 600 when I switched them up. Oops. I love my Saucony Kinvaras, but they are a "minimalist" shoe. My PT said that for the time being I need a shoe with more heel support to get over my injury. A lot of stores will offer a free Gait analysis. It is valuable to get one done and see how you run and figure out what shoes are right for your individual style.

    Did you see my ice bath video? You probably should. It's kind of awesome. I sing the ultimate Mariah Carey song. Ice baths came into my life on my first double-digit run of this plan and I instantly fell in love with them. (Yes, you read that correctly)

    They helped me recover from my long runs so much faster. However, when I was home in the States over Christmas I ran a 15 mile run on a Sunday and then an 11 mile run on a Friday (with 3 shorter runs in between) and didn't take an ice bath at any juncture. It was the morning after that 11 mile run that the shin pain began. I credit this injury to my lack of ice baths. My body had gotten used to them and I packed in two long runs in a week without any proper recovery.

    Lastly and most unfortunately, one of the other main causes of my injury were my high heels.

    (These Louboutins are for dramatic effect only. If I actually owned a pair of them I'd wear them EVERYWHERE. I'd probably shower in them. Doctors be damned)

    This makes me the saddest of all. In the hours following my 11 mile run, I threw on a pair of 4 inch heels and strutted myself to the infamous New Year's Eve party. Now, I'm no mathematician but an 11 mile run - ice bath - proper stretching + 4 inch heels + dancing your ass off like a Spice Girl= disaster in waiting. Sigh. I avoided high heels for the 3 weeks after that (Although not actually on purpose, more because I am SUPER lame and had no where fun or cool to go). That was until this past Friday night, Sean and I went on a quadruple date to a fancy Chelsea restaurant and there was no way my Uggs were making an appearance. By the end of the night, my shin and ankle were so sore I could barely walk down the street. Major fail on my part. Along with no exercise for the next 2 weeks, I am on high heel restriction for much longer. Perhaps I'll just go barefoot like my girlfriend Brit Brit.

    Just kidding.

    Last, but certainly not least, the most important thing I've learned during this process is to never ignore an injury. I first felt pain in my leg on New Year's Day, but didn't get an x-ray until the 8th. After that, I spent two weeks off and on running. I even attempted 6 and 8 mile runs while in pain a majority of the time. It wasn't until January 20th that I finally sucked it up and realized this isn't going away any time soon and made another appointment. On January 24th, three and a half weeks later than the first time I felt pain, I finally faced up to the facts. I can't help but wonder, if I had taken the time to rest properly and spoken with someone sooner, where would I be now? There is something to be said for pushing through a mental or physical obstacle, but the important thing is to know your limits and know the difference between a "good sore" and an "oh shit, what did I just do to myself".

    So there you have it. All the things I believe you should avoid doing when training for a marathon.

    As I sit angrily on the couch, looking out the window scornfully at all the happy people running and frolicking about (dramatic, much?), I can't help but be a little pissed off at myself. In hindsight, a lot of the things on this list are fairly obvious. But maybe this is all part of it. It's a learning process. Back in the day, before healthy living blogs caught on like wildfire and marathons became equated with walking to the end of the driveway to get the mail, marathoners were considered to be h.a.r.d.c.o.r.e. They were few and far between and highly revered. There is a reason for that. Marathon training is hard. I knew it'd take a lot of physical effort, but I didn't realize how drastically it would impact the other facets of my life. Now I know and I'm going to carry all of this with me into my next training cycle.

    Next time, I'm going to do it right. I don't know whether that will be in June, July, this fall, or 2012, but one thing is certain: one day, I will earn the title of marathoner.

    (and when I do, I will be that obnoxious girl who wears her medal for like 3 days afterwards so people ask me about it. I'll also be sure to write a marathon recap post so profound that I'll have you simultaneously crying and peeing your pants with laughter. Get excited.)

    Tuesday, January 25

    Figuring out Plan B

    They say when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade.

    I say screw that. Give me a lime 'cause this homegirl needs a entire bottle shot of tequila. Pronto.

    I know the "right" response to bad things happening is to say you're blessed for what you do have. To be humble about it and not whine too much. To look forward into the future and figure out your Plan B. But sometimes, well sometimes Plan B is just plain old crappy.

    Like Sunday night for instance. Plan A was to make dinner with a side of green beans. Apparently that wasn't in the cards for me though. Mid stir, I found a maggot (EW!) in my veggies. (I'll spare you the picture of it, but rest assured we took one and promptly tweeted it to the grocery store we bought it from). Since I wasn't in the mood for bug-invested beans, Plan B called for frozen broccoli instead, which resulted in me spilling the pot of boiling water all. over. my. hand.

    (I am aware of how completely ridiculous this looks. The first aid medic we spoke with told me saran wrap is a good alternative in the first hours because it allows you to soak the burn in cold water while still simultaneously having the antiseptic burn cream on there. Just a future tip in case you ever find yourself in this position. I'd also recommend actually washing your hair before allowing someone to take a picture of you and post it on the Internet. Ugh.)

    So much for that Plan B.

    My second dilemma comes in the form of my marathon training. Plan A was to run Barcelona on March 6th. Those of you who have read my marathon-related posts or follow me on Twitter know that I've been having a lot of problems with my shin. After a trip to the ER and several weeks of ice, elevate, repeat, there has been no improvement. I went to a sports therapist yesterday to get a better answer and it turns out I have "anterior compartment syndrome". From what I understand, the muscle has gotten too big for the sheath and is swelling. When I exert too much pressure on it (i.e. running), the swelling causes friction against the sheath and results in micro-tears along the muscle. ACS comes in two forms: acute and chronic. Because I've been running for two years, including half marathons, and this is my first instance of pain, we are hoping it is a one time thing. If it continues I will need surgery to cut holes into the sheath that allow the muscle to expand properly. While I love a good pampering as much as the next gal, the thought of surgery and being put out of the running game for that long makes me want to cry.

    For now, my treatment is a lot of stretching. I am not allowed to do any form of impact exercise for at least the next 2 weeks. My only options are swimming and that weird arm spinning machine old people do at the gym. (Please tell me someone knows the machine I'm referring to. I tried finding pictures but typing "old people arm workout" into Google wasn't very efficient. Shocking)

    I am a myriad of emotions at this point. I am angry, frustrated, disappointed, and relieved to name a few. I'm relieved to know that I'm not crazy. (Well concerning my leg anyway, the verdict's still out on my brain) I was beginning to think I was just being a big wimp about the pain. On the other hand, I'm frustrated and supremely bummed that I won't be accomplishing this huge goal I've set out to conquer. I know eventually I'll get to the point where I can tell myself to stop whining and be proud of the 12 weeks of training I did put in. I ran 15 miles in a blizzard in Boston. I shaved 6 minutes off my half marathon time. I've learned about muscles, proper running form, and training plans. All these are things to stand up and shout about and the logical part of me knows this...but every once in a while you just want to say screw it and throw yourself a pity party.

    a pity party with chocolate. A LOT of chocolate.

    I haven't figured out Plan B for this medical malady yet. I'd really like to do a marathon before Sean and I get married in September, so right now I've got my eye on either the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon on June 5th or the San Francisco Marathon on July 31st. I'm also considering a race closer to home, with a fantastically flat and fast course in hopes of rocking an amazing time. (*cough cough* Boston Marathon dreams *cough*) Nothing is set in stone. I need to give myself a chance to heal and ease back into things.

    So there we have it. My official announcement: I will not be running the Barcelona Marathon. I suppose my follow up announcement should be: Since I've already spent $400 on plane tickets and my entry fee, I will still go to Barcelona and instead of running 26.2 miles, I will be drinking my body weight in sangria. (If I learned anything from marathon training, it is the importance of staying hydrated)

    Stay tuned, tomorrow will feature a post I am aptly titling "How NOT to train for a marathon". I've gleaned a few tips and tricks from this process that I believe are helpful to preventing injury in the future.

    Until then, I bid you adieu. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are hosting today's pity party and I've heard Cadbury is sponsoring it. (and we all know those ladies aren't going to eat any of it)

    Sunday, January 23

    52 Flavors Challenge Week 3: Delhi Deliciousness

    I'm going to ruin the element of surprise and just tell you straight up: I love Indian food.

    It is delicious. Like really delicious. Like super yummy I want to eat it all the time delicious. (How's that for imagery, imagination, and creative license? Book deal anyone? Book deal? No? Okay then)

    Since Indian food is more of a culinary genre than a flavor, I wanted to maximize this week's challenge by both cooking some Indian recipes and venturing out to try it from a restaurant. I scoured the internet for recipes that sounded easy and not-so-scary. I checked out Jenna from Eat Live Run's Channa Masala and Vegetable Curry, but since I've never had chickpeas before either and that will eventually be one of my 52 Flavors Challenges, I ruled both out. Instead I went with an Indian Curry Chicken recipe for our main dish with Mama Pea's cauliflower on the side. We followed that up with some garlic and coriander naan (and red wine, of course).

    After a successful at home meal, Sean and I took to the streets so I could get the full experience. We ordered a few dishes between the two of us: Balti Tikka Chicken Masala, Abo Gooli, and Special Naan (the bread was stuffed with garlic, onion, cheese, minced lamb, coriander and chili pepper- spicy, a little smokey, awesome).

    Everything was, once again, delicious. (I really need to think of a new word besides delicious. Can someone buy me a thesaurus? Quickly, before I start simply referring to it as epic)

    I am SO glad I decided to give Indian food a shot. I was scared of it before this week. It ranked right up there with spiders, cockroaches, and Sean's breath first thing in the morning- terrifying. But there were a few tricks and tips from my lovely readers and comments that helped to ease me into it. I also have a few foolproof strategies of my own for surviving in the kitchen. I hope these will help you as much as they helped me.

    Survival Strategy #1:
    Before cooking even enters the picture, you need to set up shop. There are a few key elements any good chef must have on hand and I don't mean a bitchin' set of Wusthof knives. (Although I'd love some please!) My secret weapons? A glass of cabernet, a little social media, and a framed picture of toy chefs playing with garlic.

    Every cook needs a picture of garlic somewhere in their kitchen. When things start to get hairy, I just turn to my little garlic guru's and am instantly calmed. Namaste.

    Survival Strategy #2:
    Don't judge a book by its cover. I know this is really more of a life strategy than a cooking one, but it's applicable here as well. As I was researching recipes for this challenge, the names alone terrified me. Garam Masala sounded like an island in the Carribean, not something I was going to put in my mouth (errr...that's what she said). But when I got to the grocery store and started reading the spice ingredients in curry powder and garam masala, I was delightfully surprised.

    Garlic? Cayenne? Cinnamon? Yes. Yes. Yes.

    Survival Strategy #3:
    When in doubt, dance it out.

    Wondering what to do while your curry simmers for 25-30 minutes? Feeling a bit anxious that you may either a) burn off all your taste buds with these weird sounding recipes or b) burn the entire house down because you turn the flame for the rice up to high?

    The solution to all of your woes? Dance. Turn on a little Cee-Lo Green, crank up the volume, and whip out the spoon shaped microphone, because it's showtime baby.

    Survival Strategy #4:
    Don't get scared if your dinner starts to resemble baby poop.

    As the curry began to take formation, it got uglier and uglier. In a matter of minutes, we somehow went from this:

    to this:

    See what I mean? Having never cooked anything like this before, I wasn't sure what to think. It smelled incredible, but looking at wasn't pleasant. It didn't help that every 2 minutes Sean would walk into the kitchen, look into the saucepan and remark "that looks like poop" and turn around and walk out. Thanks, dear.

    Survival Strategy #5:
    Say it with me: alcohol is our friend. Some people pick wine by the region and some pick by the label. Me? I pick by the price. £4.98 for this bottle? Souuunnnnds great! I'd predict my success rate with this method is about 76%. Not ideal by any means, but when you're a poor graduate student in a foreign country, you need to prioritize. I can't wipe my ass with a bottle of £15 Merlot.

    This week, however, has been a lesson in food and wine pairing. The Wine of the Week special I got tasted like gasoline the first night we tried it. It was way too spicy and bitter and a slightly smokey flavor that I hated. I sighed and pushed it to the back corner of the kitchen. When Indian night rolled around, Sean suggested we try the wine again. He thought the spice we hated so much earlier would be more complimentary when paired with the curry sauce. He was right! Perhaps it was because my mouth was literally on fire, but the wine tasted fantastic with the meal. I couldn't believe what a difference the right food made.

    Survival Strategy #6:
    Marry a man willing to do the dishes.

    'Nuff said.

    Soon enough, it was time to try it.

    It was spicy.


    I put in a little too much cayenne pepper. Woops. (Side note: I love that my hand is blurry in this photo. Who would've known we should've put it on Sports/Motion setting since I'd be fanning my mouth like a rabid dog)

    (If you'd like the Clif's notes version of today's post just watch the video below of my first impressions eating Indian food. Try not to be intimidated by my awesome unwashed hair, undecorated "dining room", or the giant curry stain on my t-shirt)

    So there you have it, I love Indian food. A lot. While I do not have the time, patience, or desire to give you step by step recipe instructions for the meal I made (#SorryImnotsorry), I will give you the links to them:
    So ch-ch-check them out! You won't be sorry!

    Next week's flavor: Quinoa. I know. I know. Pick your tongue up off the floor and be careful not to break your jaws as your mouth dropped open in shock. I realize it's practically illegal for someone in this community like me, who writes about running and stalks healthy living blogs on a daily basis, to have never eaten this magical grain product, but alas, it is true. So what do ya got for me? I know you have some incredible recipes up your sleeves, ladies and gents. I want breakfast ones, dinner ones, lunch ones. I will eat it on the couch. I will eat it on the street. I will eat it all over London, Sam I am. Send those Quinoa recipes my way please!

    52 Flavors Tally:
    Foods I like: 2 (Fennel, Indian)
    Foods I dislike: 1 (Figs)

    Friday, January 21

    Things I wish weren't true

    • Snooki's book made the New York Times Bestseller list. Ummmm....this is the same girl who couldn't find the beach last week, right? Okay, just checking.

    • The DVF wool cape jacket a la Blair Waldorf is on sale right now. For $400. It is also completely sold out.

      Not that I'd actually buy it, even if it were available. But goshdarnit, if you tell me something is on sale and then won't even let me tempt myself with buying it, it simply makes me want it even more.

    • My shin still hurts. Sick of hearing about it yet? Good, I'm sick of complaining about it. I have an appointment with a sports therapist on Monday. In the meantime, I am milking this whole "injury" thing for all it's worth. Sean, can you bring me some water? I can't get up, my shin hurts. Sean, will you do the dishes tonight? I can't stand at the sink that long, my shin hurts. Sean, can we please watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills tonight? It makes my shin feel know, because it hurts. I'm pretty sure this is one of the things Sean, more than myself, wishes wasn't true.

    • Callie being pregnant with McSteamy's baby Why God? Why?!

    • My jar of Nutella looks like this:

      Empty. Sad.

    • and the floor of my closet currently looks like this:

      Eek! Even sadder.

    • The exchange rate from US Dollars to British Pounds is currently 0.62 for every 1. This means if I go to Hogwarts and give my homeboy Harry $100, he's only going to give me a little over sixty quid in return. £62.79 to be precise. Whacha doin with my extra 40 bucks there, Potter?

    • Last time I checked, the FDA nor Surgeon General had released any reports showing that beer is, in fact, healthy for you.

      That's okay though, it certainly isn't stopping me.

      Your turn. Dish it out: what are a few things you wish weren't true?
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