Giving up my addiction

I am great at exercising, watching my alcohol intake and eating healthy 90% of the time, but I have a big vice. There is a habit that I just can’t seem to shake, I divulge in it at least twice a day – sometimes much, much more. I know it’s bad for me, but I just can’t help it!

I am talking about coffee.

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Oh coffee I love you. Not just because it wakes me up, I love the feeling of holding a hot cup of coffee. I love the smell of it. I love the taste and how warm and fuzzy drinking it makes me feel. When I say coffee, I mean coffee, none of those mixed mocha-caramel-frappe-whatevers, I like actual coffee with nothing added other then maybe a little milk.

marshmallows and syrup belong in hot chocolate, not coffee.

marshmallows and syrup belong in hot chocolate, not coffee.


That does make my daily habit a little healthier, much more so then my co-worker who drowns his cup in syrup and whipped cream, but sometimes I do wonder if it is good for me at all. There are countless studies claiming the negative effects of drinking coffee, and just as many praising it’s health benefits. In my research (yeah I researched) I found a few articles stating that coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and liver cancer – this is assuming that you keep your intake under four cups a day and don’t add too much sugar, milk and whatever else you see fit.

So coffee may not be too bad, but like everything else it is all about moderation and I don’t think that my two a day habit is doing me too many favors. Last week, after a terrible nights sleep on Sunday which resulted in a millions coffees throughout the rest of the week, I decided to see if I could take a little break from the good stuff.

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Instead of waking up to coffee, I woke up to tea, because total caffeine withdrawal was not something I wanted to experience and I still want a mug of something hot in the mornings. It wasn’t as hard as I thought when I sat down with my breakfast, but once I got to work and started to get ready to teach I really missed the hit. I found myself feeling so tired and foggy, it was hard not to rush out and grab an Americano from downstairs. But I persisted (stubborn Taurus, that’s me), and made it through the seven days.

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Overall I really felt the positive difference in my mind and body.

While the initial hour in the morning was hard, the rest of the day I felt like I had much more energy and was more focused than I usually would be. Often I find myself wanting another cup around 1pm and 3pm, but I felt no cravings for coffee throughout the day. I definitely think that not having the caffeine crash made a huge difference in my attitude, there was no cranky teacher in the afternoon!
I also found that the usual cravings for sugary snacks that I have in that fateful 4pm-6pm period were gone. This was probably due to no caffeine crash as my body wasn’t looking for something to wake me up.
Overall I had a really good week. I am trying to continue the no coffee thing to see if there are any long term benefits, but am still planning on having a cup every now and then. What about you? Anything that you feel like you can’t live without?
And before I forget, Merry Christmas!!!
bm

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Things I’m Loving Lately

My Christmas present to myself was another iHerb order – like I need an excuse to shop on that site. I have so much great love for iHerb, not only can I order things that they don’t have in Korea, but I also get to order items you can’t buy in NZ. Plus the postage is super cheap and it always arrives within a week, although this is kind of dangerous.

I ordered a few new things this week and thought I would add them to the things I am loving list.

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This peanut butter may be my new favorite nut butter (says the girl who downed almond butter in a week last time she ordered it). I am not a big raisin fan but thought I would give it a try as people have raved about it and the cinnamon seemed kind of festive. Yes I did order a peanut butter because I felt it was Christmasy, I have problems. The peanut butter is super creamy and has just enough cinnamon and raisins through it without being too much – it is freaking amazing!! I have been eating it on oatmeal, smeared on apples or just the classic way with a spoon out of the jar. Classy!

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After way too much coffee over the past two weeks I decided to take a break from it for awhile. Somehow I made it through a whole week of work with none and actually felt amazing (but more blogging on that later). As a more natural source of caffeine I ordered this tea and fell in love. It is deliciously minty with a little hint of licorice. Even better it seeps really well so I am able to top up the mug with hot water a couple of times without it loosing any taste.
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Hot chocolate while it’s snowing outside, need I say more.
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Christmas nails!
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These dark chocolate bites are so yummy and make for a satisfying snack that isn’t unhealthy. I love the pomegranate ones, they have a strong taste and after two or three my chocolate cravings are happy.

it wont make you look pretty, but it will make you feel good.

it wont make you look pretty, but it will make you feel good.


Running is something that I go up and down with but lately I have really been trying to do it more. It is a great way to unwind and get some fresh air despite the cold months. As long as you dress right it really isn’t horrible being out there in the cold, after all you do warm up pretty quick.
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Strawberry season is here! That means giant bowls for $5 – my heaven.
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of course Christmas, and getting to spend it with some lovely kids. Makes it a little more special. Plus santa is coming to work this week!\

what are you loving lately?

Feeling a little cheated

After the happiness of knowing that my wedding dress was on its way I was suddenly struck with a harsh reality – I will not get to see this dress for 15 months. Not only that, but my family can see the dress. They can hold it up to show me, admire it and tell me how beautiful it is but that only makes it harder. I know it sounds silly, but I feel slightly jealous of them. On Christmas day when my Grandparents and cousins are over they will, without a doubt, want to look at the dress. But I will still be waiting in a country far away.

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I am so happy to be engaged and living overseas, but I still feel slightly robbed of an experience. I already talked about how I missed out on shopping with my mum and Grandma, and now I feel like a little more of the excitement is being taken away from me. I wanted to open that package up and try on my dress in an almost secret way. A way that would let me just reflect on how happy I am about marrying this person. Instead it seems almost like when I get home I will be on-upped by my family who have seen it, I wont get to have my big reveal.

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That may sound selfish, but to me part of the wedding is the planning and anticipation of it all and this is something I am not really getting to experience being overseas. There are going to be continuous aspects that everyone else gets to see before me, in fact the invitations have been delivered to my families house so unless there is an extra one I will never get to actually see them. I apologize if this all seems selfish, but I needed to get it off my chest. Here’s hoping that I get over it and the next 15 months fly by!

What about you? Any wedding experiences you feel like you are missing out on?

 

When that kid at school made fun of me…. after I made fun of someone else

Heya, hope you’re having a lovely week. Mine has been pretty boring and same-old, in fact I haven’t been posting much lately because I feel like there is little to say. Luckily this Saturday marks our Christmas-tastic event in which we attempt to make eggnog, bake cookies and invite people round for the Home Alone drinking game.

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And of course Wednesday we fly to Japan so that is anything but dull.

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I do want to mention, however, something that was said to me today. I have a class full of 8 year old boys who I really love teaching. THey are funny, smart and when it comes down to it they are great kids. Yesterday they were looking at a photograph of this elderly lady who had written the story we just read. She was a little unfortunate looking and one of the boys remarked

‘Teacher, you know the Hobbit? She looks like Smeagol.’

We all kind of laughed and I half-heartedly said that was mean and then agreed to myself. I allowed them to giggle at it before moving on. Cut to today where I did not blow-dry my hair because it has been way to dry lately and I am attempting to save it. As a result it was a bit limp and lame but I was rolling with it in the hopes that it would stop feeling like I have a head full of straw. I walked into the class and the same boy straight away said

‘Teacher! You look like…’

He trailed off, realizing what he was about to say, but as he turned to whisper it to his friends I heard him say that fateful word.

‘smeagol’

I was hurt. Yes an 8 year old boy hurt my feelings. He didn’t know that I was already feeling a little self-conscious, and he thought it was okay as we laughed about that the day before. I punished him of course and got over it, but it did make me feel bad about myself for the next few hours.

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My point is this, why was it totally okay to allow these boys to say the exact same thing about a stranger the day before but then forbid it when they said it about me. We do this a lot, quickly judge others appearance and throw out something hurtful without really thinking about it. We don’t stop to consider that this is a real person and even if a stranger is saying something mean, it can still hurt.

I know these boys were making fun of a photograph, but next time they do it I am going to punish them just as I would if they said it about a person who was in the room. Negative name calling and judging people on how they look is not okay, they need to learn it and so do I!
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My challenge to you is to stop and think about when you have let slip a sly comment about someone’s appearance and consider how you would feel if you knew someone was saying that about you. Lets try to replace the mean talk which has become part of our daily lives, and focus instead on saying something nice.

Anyway there’s my two cents for the day, thoughts?

What it feels like for a girl

A friend said to me the other day ‘there is nothing easier then being a white male in this world, and they will never understand that.’ Disagree with her if you will, but there is a lot of truth in this. White men hold so much power in this world, they are listened to, respected and hold a majority of the positions of power. A white man can pitch an idea or give a speech and have a wide audience listen to his every world, a women who attempted the same thing would not be taken as seriously. I do not want to make this about race, I am a white women and know that I can’t understand what it is like to be bi-racial or of color, but I do know something about being a girl.

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I know what it is like to be overlooked at work by my male boss. I know how it feels when there is a situation or an important job that needs to be done and your male co-worker is chosen over you. I also know what it is like to push an idea and have it ignored, then when a male counterpart suggests it suddenly they are a genius for thinking of it (that’s happened and it wasn’t very subtle). I want to do well in my career and be a successful women, but it seems like this is really hard. If I do manage to assert myself and stand up for what I believe in then I get labeled ‘bossy’ a ‘bitch’ or (my favorite) ‘oh she must be on her period.’ Think of Hillary Clinton, whether we agree with her ideas or not she is strong and can get an audience to listen to her. Despite this if you open a newspaper (well click on a news website), the day after a public appearance the focus is not on what she said but on how little makeup she wore. There is such a double-standard in our society with men and women where they are perceived as knowing it all and deserving respect, and we have to work our asses off. If you think about, how many powerful females who people respond to positively can you name, and now think of how many men?

I came across this video the other day and I think it really sums up what I have been feeling. Watch it, think about it and try to change it.

 

http://www.upworthy.com/nailed-it-this-ad-calls-out-5-ridiculous-double-standards-women-face-in-less-than-60-seconds-2?g=2&c=ufb1

Oreo Truffles

Cookies are a staple at this time of year, but to really impress people why not have a go at making these truffles. Not only do they look fancy-shmancy but they taste amazing and will trick people into thinking you are some sort of gourmet chef. Plus they only have three ingredients which makes them even better.

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A word of warning, these disappear quickly. I made some on Saturday and they were gone overnight…

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Delectably creamy and chocolatey, these oreo truffles will take your Christmas parties to the next level.

Ingredients

– 2 packets of oreos

– 150 grams of cream cheese

– 1 packet of Hershey’s cookies and cream kisses (or any chocolate really, cookies and cream is just delicious).

Steps

– This is a no-brainer, crush the crap out of those oreos until they are a fine powder and then mix in the cream cheese. I didn’t need much cream cheese for this so add it all slowly, stopping when you have a firm mix. 

– Roll into balls and refrigerate for an hour

– Melt chocolate by placing in a small bowl and leaving this one in a bowl of boiled water. The chocolate will melt slowly but wont burn. Dip  each ball in the melted chocolate as much as you like and refrigerate again. 

Eat and attempt to stop at just one, it is a challenge.

In other randomness I hope you have a lovely weekend. We had some snow here and it is so damn cold that I have the sniffles. In addition to pounding back ginger tonic I am resting tonight. Luckily we had an easy day at work with a field trip to a play and then a birthday party. Check out this cuties bday hair clip.
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And I spent a while teaching them about selfies, preparing our future generations.

IMG_1123[1]Have a good one!

 

Things to Love Lately

Despite the fact that I don’t study and only teach kindergarten, things in my life seem to be crazy busy as the year draws to an end. I have been involved in a few events such as a fundraiser for the orphanages and a ‘give a gift appeal’ for kids who wont be getting anything for Christmas this year and it is all happening over this and next week. I also have this trip to Japan to plan which I leave for in two weeks and have done pretty much nothing for other then book flights and accommodation – ahhhhh! Instead of stressing over how to get from the airport to the city and chasing up people who haven’t handed their gifts in yet I am taking to night to think about what I do have to be thankful for as the year ends.

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The cuteness overload at work. I love teaching these kids (98%) of the time. They are super cute and so lovely to me. I am also so happy with all the xmasy things we have done lately such as baking gingerbread men and making snowflakes.

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Speaking of the season I love it!! So many Christmas movies to be watched, hot drinks to be drunk and decorations to be displayed. I am a big freak when it comes to the season and have been blasting music, and getting into the spirit as much as I can.

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Appreciative mothers at work. We get care packages and food from one particular mother on a regular basis, it always makes my day.

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These truffles – recipe tomorrow.

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The kindergartners graduate soon and had a photo shoot for the special day this morning. They bought in a giant chair and placed a desk with an old-fashioned phone, book and vase next to it. So over the top and Korean. It was fantastic.

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Starbucks holiday drinks for the win.

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Having someone with me to spend the season with. I am not with my family which always makes me sad, but I do have my fiancé to share everything with and I am truly thankful for this.

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Even if we are super cheesy (these sweaters are totally acceptable for everyday wear and not considered ugly in Korea)

Have a fabulous week 😀

No Food Should Be Forbidden

I seem to come across so many lists like this- ‘The top Ten Foods for a Slimmer Waist!’ ‘The 15 foods Making you Fat’ and now ‘Foods Never too Eat’
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http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/eating-help/calories/foods-to-never-eat/#page=1

I get it, there are some bad bad foods out there which aren’t good for our health or waistline. And while I am not saying that it is okay to eat all these fatty and sugary foods, I am saying that we should not restrict certain things from out diet. When we label certain foods as bad or ‘forbidden’ the only thing we are doing is giving ourselves an unhealthy relationship towards eating. Your mind is altered to see foods as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and we become unable to enjoy anything without the guilt afterwards.

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I know this because I have been there. I have had my own very unhealthy and twisted attitude towards food and what I should and shouldn’t eat. When I was at high school I cut out carbs and sugar altogether and became obsessed with eating. In addition to constantly being hungry, I was weak and became pretty unwell. Thankfully I overcame this and now have a pretty good attitude towards what goes in my body, but there are times when articles like this get me and old habits begin to re-surface.

There are so many people out there who cut foods out of their diets for no reason other than they have heard it is bad for you. Sugar is a number one factor here, I cannot tell you how many I know don’t eat anything with sugar in – and I mean they never do. What I have noticed is that they become fixated on everything they eat, constantly label checking and worrying about food which hasn’t been prepared by them. I ask you, cutting out sugar may be good for you, but is it really enhancing the quality of your life?

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Because that’s what is important, the quality of life you live. You should be able to enjoy yourself without guilt, you should be able to eat a damn cupcake without it ruining your day. I mean come on fitness magazine, who wants to go the rest of their lives without a bagel or a bit of frosting? We have heard it a million times but everything is okay in moderation. If you eat a healthy diet 90% of the time then having a treat is not going to kill you. The way I now look at food is that I have a certain amount of calories every day and I can play with these how I like. Mostly it is healthy proteins, carbs, fruit and veggies, but sometimes I will have cookie and just work it into my calorie intake for the day. No big deal. I also eat chocolate everyday because I enjoy it, I just make sure it is a small amount. Having a little bit of treat food is going to stop you from going crazy and craving everything bad. It is going to ensure you have a healthy attitude towards food and it is going to mean that you get to enjoy yourself. Food should be limited if it is ‘bad’ for you, but it should never be forbidden!

 

Elvis Cupcakes (vegan!)

Banana, peanut butter and chocolate – the foodgasmic threesome.

Every bake sale needs something vegan so no one is left out. I wanted to make banana cupcakes because they are always yummy and the banana acts as a wonderful substitute for egg. But plain banana cupcakes are a little boring, and when it comes to vegan baking I always like to make it amazing so that it changes peoples minds. Enter peanut butter.

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These cupcakes are perfectly moist and have a deliciously gooey peanut butter filling. Make them for everyone, vegan or not, but don’t expect them to last long.

Elvis Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup oil or vegan margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 TB cocoa powder
  • 5 TB peanut butter
  • 3 Tb icing sugar

The Steps

Mash bananas in a bowl, add oil and sugar and mix well.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Add to the wet ingredients and mix in slowly.

Separate the mixture into two bowls. Add the cocoa powder (Dissolved in a little water) to one of the bowls and leave the other.

Place a spoonful of the plain banana mixture into a muffin case then top off with the chocolate mix and give it a little swirl with a toothpick to create a marble affects.

Bake at 180degrees for about 15 minutes or until cooked.
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When these have cooled, mix the frosting up. Just mix the icing sugar and peanut butter with water until the consistency seems right. Some people like really thick frosting and others don’t so whatever your preference is. I cut off the tops, gave them a big spoonful of the pb mix and then put a little sliced banana on top to make them look good for the bake sale. But lets face it they are delicious and if they are just for family and friends then who cares, just eat them 🙂

stressed!

It’s Friday!

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But doesn’t really feel like it despite the yummy cocktail I am sipping.

I am having one of those days where it feels like there are a million things to do. This weekend I organized a bake sale to raise money for the Philippines which was a great idea but is turning out to be hard to execute. I knew I wanted to do something when I saw what was happening over – particularly as there is a big community of people from the Philippines in Korea. As one of the foreigner run cafes here in Daegu has a farmers market every month where anyone can book a table, I felt like there was no excuse to not have a bake sale. Despite how easy finding a venue was, things like finding bakers and getting trays and cookie bags and signs made have ended up taking a lot of my time. In addition to that tomorrow morning we are sending a package home which needs to contain a bunch of wedding related things like save the date cards and bridesmaid invites, so I have spent a majority of the week getting these things ready.

feeling overwhelmed

feeling overwhelmed


My plan for tomorrow is to go to the post office, then the supermarket, bake up a storm, make signs and sort our prices before heading to a friends for a crafts night/bake-a-thon. I really don’t feel like this as I am able to bake things at my place but the other girls going have been really generous in offering to help and I need to hang around to get their final products so I can take them to the place in the morning. Sunday will be turning up to the café early to set up, and then hope that people buy our delicious baking and donate some money. The market ends at 5pm which is also bumming me out a big as it is my entire weekend gone because of this bake sale. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not unappreciative that I have a home and there are people in the Philippines who have lost absolutely everything including those special to them. It is just that the end of the year is always crazy with work as the students move up a grade and wedding things have been piling up too. A wee rest over the next couple of days would have been nice!

Anyway, I apologize for the rant and am now feeling a little silly. But that is what this blog is for, a place for me to unwind and put my thoughts into perspective. Right now I am a little less stressed and feeling more thankful for all the good in my life 😀 Cheers for listening blog world.