Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fat and Sassy in NYC

Abby says:
New York is my absolute favorite city to visit. Luckily since I go to school out there, I visit often. I travel every year in April to a conference and always meet interesting people, collect interesting tidbits of information and have interesting things happen to me. This year was no exception. I will say, Sheri and I typically travel this one together, so I missed her being along this time around.

I never take "sensible" shoes. I actually don't own any sensible shoes. Therefore, when I arrived at the airport yesterday to fly home, I could barely walk due to the huge blisters and black and blue bruising on the bottoms of my feet -- from walking around Manhattan in high heels. We're talking blocks and blocks of walking for 4 days. I have attempted to become familiar with the subway system, and even purchase a Metro Card when I visit. But, unfortunately when you get on the wrong subway line, you get lost and end up walking anyway. Somehow I accidentally trained from the upper east side to the upper west side instead of returning to my hotel and ended up walking about 35 blocks. Ouch!

Oh well. It was definitely worth it.

On my last evening there I decided to dine at one of my favorite haunts several blocks from my hotel. When I limped in, sat at the bar and opened my menu, to my dismay all the dishes were listed with their individual calorie counts. How depressing! I asked the bartender what that was about. He said it was a New York law for chain restaurants. Yikes.

So, after eating my Caesar salad (approx 860 calories) and my crabcake appetizer (approx 700 calories), a few pieces of bread and a glass of wine (calorie content not disclosed), he slid a dessert menu in front of me. Of course, the calorie count for the coconut cream pie I ordered (along with the other deserts) were not listed!

After consuming all this food (last year Sheri and I split one dinner and it was plenty!) I waddled out, past the limping stage, and hoofed it back to my hotel. Even with my aching feet, it was a great trip.

Sheri adds:
Once I get over my mind-consuming jealousy of your trip without me, I will be fine. As for the food, I believe dieting is not necessary in Manhattan. You are guaranteed to walk off any extra calories.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

100 Things We Love

Abby says:
This is our 100th post! To commemorate the fact that we are still blogging (and that Sheri and I are still friends) here are 100 things we love.

1. The look, feel and smell of a new book
2. British accents
3. The words "I can"
4. Laughter
5. The smell of puppy breath
6. An ice cold beer on a hot summer day
7. American Idol then downloading the great songs on my iPod
8.The feeling of a small (or large) success
9. A great old song that brings back memories
10. A great song that creates new ones
11. People that still say please and thank you
12. A guy that opens the door for me
13. My dog, Maggie
14. The color combo brick red and mustard
15. A great movie
16. A crackling fire in the fireplace
17. A quiet day at the pool (anyone's pool!) or a sandy beach
18. Driving around on a sunny day with a great song on the radio and the windows down
19. Mexican food
20. The cooing sound of a newborn baby
21. The sound of steady raindrops during a summer rain
22. A spicey fragrant candle
23. A clean house
24. Surfing the Internet, blogging and Facebooking
25. A guy in faded blue jeans and and a t-shirt or sweats
26. Sweating during a great workout
27. Being done with my workout
28. Trips to Phoenix with my friends
29. A quiet day with a good book
30. Tulips and lavendar in the spring time
31. Cold sleeping weather with lots of blankets
32. Balance in my life
33. Fall days with clear blue, sunny skies
34. Intimate dinners with great conversation
35. A great bargain find at a flea market or thrift store
36. Coffee
37. Walking around NYC and taking the subway
38. Texting my friends
39. Cold water with crushed ice in a clear glass
40. A night when I don't have homework
41. A trip to the outlet mall
42. Accomplishment
43. Jack Bauer in TV drama 24
44. Every once in awhile getting really dressed up
45. Writing books
46. Writing in my diary
47. Sushi
48. Teaching Spin class
49. Listening to loud music while I clean
50. Living life!

Sheri adds:
51. Sleeping with my dog, Gabby
52. Receiving a handwritten letter
53. Eating just hors d’oerves for dinner
54. Finding money in a coat pocket
55. Mastering a new techno gadget
56. Landing somewhere tropical, especially in winter
57. Chardonnay
58. Discovering a new website or blog
59. Shooting stars
60. Homemade soups in the winter
61. Sculpted arms
62. New words
63. Anyone with a great sense of humor
64. Seeing a great movie the first weekend it opens
65. Daffodils and daisies
66. The smell of sunscreen
67. Sunglass readers
68. Sharpening pencils
69. Clean, pressed sheets misted with Lavender linen spray
70. Rising from failure
71. The fellowship I feel in church
72. Indiana tomatoes and corn
73. Black pants and black skirts
74. Cowboy boots
75. Men with great taste in shoes
76. New school supplies
77. Any fair: The State Fair, Art Fairs, People who are fair
78. Funny quotes
79. Lake cottages
80. Urban areas, especially Manhattan
81. The theater, especially Broadway
82. Girl trips
83. Quirky, dive bars
84. Old movies
85. Things that make cleaning easier like Swiffers
86. Good hair days
87. Baseball caps and a ponytail
88. Going through old photos
89. Chocolate chip ice cream
90. Old sitcoms like The Andy Griffith Show
91. People watching in airports
92. Nervous anticipation
93. Diamond solitaire earrings
94. Objects that evoke a memory of a person or an event
95. People who know how to fix anything from the plumbing to the computer
96. Dogs who swim for tennis balls
97. Parents who teach manners and proper behavior
98. My family
99. My friends
100. The blessing of every new day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

10 Ways of Cutting Back Without Feeling It

Abby says:
In today's economy, I don't know anyone who isn't cutting back somewhere. I am no different. My office lease is up, and I'm moving to a smaller space. Not to be cliche, but I'm consolidating as much as I can in my business where there are economies of scale.

But, I'm trying to cut things without actually feeling it. Here are 10 ideas we came up with to share with you.

1) When grocery shopping I am now buying some generics. On some items, you truly cannot tell the difference -- except in price. Some examples (depending on the store): bottled water, soda, sliced cheese, paper products, half and half creamer. If you take prescriptions, ask your doctor to write for the generic if available. It can mean the difference of paying $20 versus $80 or $100 per Rx.

2) Rather than giving in to my Starbucks fix each morning on the way to work, I am buying Starbucks by the pound at Target -- saving about $20 per week. It's not as glamorous, but you can use the extra money you save to buy a glamorous pair of shoes!

3) I love the Goodwill Store and other thrift shops. If you've got some time and you're willing to dig through the rubble, there are great deals to be had! Some items even have the original tags. It beats the high price of the malls.

4) I am a Barnes and Noble junkie. You can find me there almost every Saturday morning. Now, instead of buying the books, I look at them at BN then try to find them at the library. I am once again an official card carrier.

5) Call your local cable TV company and ask for pricing on a package deal. Mine is batching phone, cable TV and Internet for an unbelievably low price for a two-year term. The potential savings are sizable.

Sheri says:
In addition to the poor state of our economy, I am facing divorce and a never-ending job search. Cutting back has taken on a whole new meaning to me. Like Abby, I want these changes to be as painless as possible and here are a few that can help.

1. Order your pet medications online. Cutting corners is one thing, neglecting your health or your pet's health is wrong. I have saved significantly by ordering through Pet Meds.

2. Donate your time where you once gave money. Yes, all of those organizations still need cold hard cash and yes, you might not be in the position to give at the level you once did. There are still ways to contribute.

3. Sell your clothes and accessories through a consignment shop. I did a major purge of my closet and although most of the items were donated, several went to a consignment shop and I received a small sum. Or, learn to sell unwanted items on eBay or similar sites.

4. Prioritize. I don't pay a trainer (sorry Abs!) and I don't belong to a gym. I do exercise every day. Sometimes it's using free weights and going up and down the stairs. Most days it's taking my dog to the park for a 2-mile walk.

5. Accept the gift. I used to pick up the check on a regular basis. I enjoyed it and it was not a sacrifice for me. These days, I do not have that option on my budget. But, when someone offers to buy my lunch, etc. I graciously accept.

We'd love to hear your suggestions.