Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cyber Regret

Now that Cyber Monday is decidedly over, I've realized I absolutely need a bunch of things that were on sale yesterday (but are no longer).

Guess these will have to wait until December 26...

Countertop Wine Cooler/Cellar
Spotted for ~$40

Did you know that wines age best when they are kept at a constant, cool temperature? This is especially true for red wines, which are more vulnerable to temperature changes than white wines. Even more, wine bottles need to be kept away from direct light sources, as light can cause wine to break down faster. As if all THAT wasn't enough, small vibrations from movement aren't good for wine, either! (Wine is fragile, apparently)

I'm slowly becoming obsessed with getting into wine.woot.com. There are enough multi-bottle wine deals to appeal to my desire to be the type of person who can identify chocolate and leather notes in her merlot. Allowing my purchases to age properly means I don't have to drink four bottles all at once, which is a good thing for all of us. I'm even kind of saving money, in a sense.

Laser Printer
Will pay <$100

My Samsung stopped working over the summer to protest being moved from NYC to DC to Philly to NYC.

Now, admittedly, there may be an issue with the driver, and it may be fixable...but I've spent hours attempting a repair and haven't made any progress.

For the right price, we may see some capitalistic magic happen.

42" or Bigger HDTV
Spotted for less than $600 on various sites

Wah, I want. My current TV is an old, square CRT that has a slightly purple stain in the corner. I can't complain too much since it was given to me for free---but it was given to me for free, so that should give you some sense of the quality here.

Unfortunately, the HDTV purchase may have to wait for a bit longer than December. I'm moving from NYC to DC in May and I'd fear for the safety of the TV. I also don't quite understand the difference between LCD, Plasma, and various resolutions/pixels/whatever. I'm relegating myself to cyber-wallflowerdom until I figure out the technical specs.

Heart-Shaped Waffle Maker
Spotted for $20 on Amazon

I mean, come on. Does this one even require explanation?

Also in the category of "random kitchen gadgets," I'll be looking for an ice cream maker, a roasting pan, and perhaps a grind & brew coffee maker. (Reviews seem to suggest that cleanup is complicated for this last one)

...So, did you pick up anything nifty on Black Friday/Cyber Monday? My haul included a few pieces of clothing, an electric griddle, a computer monitor, and a few (okay, seven) bottles of wine.

Eat the Rainbow!

It's 2:15am, and I find myself busted out of an online poker tournament I was hoping would take me at least another hour (grrrr 88 v. AQ). I managed to waste the entire day today by transferring blog entries from iWeb/MobileMe to Blogger/GoDaddy, so I might as well just go whole hog and stay up too late to wake up for my 9am Bankruptcy class. Bankruptcy that I will have to file, by the way, if I don't go to bed before Anthro's new sale items are (potentially) posted at 3am.

What better time than now to think about food?

Eat This, Not That, in affiliation with Men's Health Magazine, posted a list of "8 Foods You Should Eat Every Day." After reading it, I switched my daily salad from mixed greens to spinach (and I'm adding black beans and tomatoes, too).

Note the importance of color on this list. Most of these foods are different colors (and substitutions are the same color). In the natural world, different colors indicate the presence of different vitamins and minerals. Eating something of each color every day (ROY G. BIV - eating the rainbow) ensures that you are getting the widest possible range of vitamins!

1. Spinach (1 cup fresh, 1/2 cup cooked)
Eat it because: it builds muscle, reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Contains lutein, which keeps your vision sharp. It also contains folate, which "increases blood flow to the nether regions."
Consumption Suggestions: I have been using it as the base to my salads, but it's great in omelets, mixed in smoothies (green monster time!), or just steamed with salt and fresh pepper.
But I hate it: You can get similar benefits from Kale, bok choy, or romaine lettuce.

2. Yogurt (1 cup)
Eat it because: yogurt contains pro-biotic bacteria that keep your digestive system healthy. They also improve your immune system and can even protect you against cancer. This article taught me to look for the "live and active cultures" label on the product; some yogurts are heat-treated after being fermented, which can kill the beneficial bacteria in the yogurt. The "live and active cultures" seal is "the industry validation of the presence and activity of significant levels of live cultures."
Consumption Suggestions: Yogurt makes a nice, thick base for smoothies or sorbets. It's also a hearty breakfast with fruit. Add some uncooked old fashioned oats the night before and you'll wake up with a soft, creamy treat. You can also use it as a base for salad dressing or sauce.
But I hate it: vegan alternatives (Kefir, soy) are okay.

3. Tomatoes (8 cherry tomatoes or 1 glass tomato juice)
Eat it because: tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is an antioxidant that can decrease the risk of several types of cancer, plus coronary heart disease. Interestingly, processed tomatoes (like the pureed kind in a can) are just as potent and healthful as fresh tomatoes.
Consumption suggestions: Make your own tomato sauce using canned crushed tomatoes (amazingly easy). Add tomatoes to omelets or salad (or eat them as a snack with some yogurt dip!)
But I hate it: You can substitute red watermelon, pink grapefruit, japanese persimmon, papaya, or guava. I think color is important here.

4. Carrots (1/2 cup)
Eat it because: they contain carotenoids, which also reduce the risk of cancer (this is starting to get old, frankly), and help alleviate inflammatory conditions like asthma or arthritis.
Consumption Suggestions: baby carrots are delicious raw and with dip, but you can also puree them into a soup, roast them with maple syrup, or bake them into a carrot cake.
But I'm not a rabbit: Carotenoids are also found in sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, yellow bell pepper, and mango. Carrots have the fewest calories, though!

5. Blueberries (1 cup fresh, 1/2 cup dried)
Eat it because: they are a superfood, very high in antioxidants that prevent cancer, diabetes, and loss of memory. They also contain vitamins A and C, which improve heart health.
Consumption suggestions: blend them in smoothies, add them to oatmeal, bake them in a pie, make jam. I keep a bag of frozen blueberries in the fridge as a cost-effective way of having a bunch around at all times.
But Willy Wonka traumatized me: try acai (even more antioxidants than blueberries, but harder to find), purple grapes, prunes (for some real trauma), raisins, or strawberries.

6. Black Beans (1/2 cup)
Eat it because: Beans, beans, they're good for your heart! The more you eat, the more you absorb antioxidants that also improve brain function! Oh yeah, and you'll get some fiber in there, too.
Consumption suggestions: Great way to add low-calorie protein to salads! Good as a side dish. Make chili. Add to soup.
But I've got a hot date later: These substitutes won't help you avoid some of the less fortunate side effects of beans---peas, lentils, and pinto/kidney/fava/lima beans may have similar digestive effects.

7. Walnuts (1 ounce = 7 nuts)
Eat it because: Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like Salmon), have more polyphenols (anti-inflammatories) than red wine, and contain protein to boot.
Consumption suggestions: Add to salads, baked goods, steamed/sauteed/roasted veggies, your morning oatmeal, or eat by the handful. These make a good post-workout snack.
Inferior Alternatives: Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, macademia nuts, and hazelnuts all have some of the walnut's properties, but not all of them.

8. Oats (1/2 cup)
Eat it because: fiber lowers your risk of heart disease and slows the release of carbohydrate sugars so as not to spike your blood sugar and cause carb cravings. Amazingly, oats also contain protein for your muscles. Don't forget - eating protein more often will keep you more satisfied throughout the day!
Consumption Suggestions: I eat it for breakfast with fruit mixed in (either hot or mixed with yogurt the night before). Add an egg white to your morning cup before microwaving for an extra protein burst (and for fluffier oatmeal). Bake oatmeal into bars for soft, healthy snacks throughout the week. Add to meatloaf for texture and fiber.
I'm out of oats: Quinoa, flaxseed, and wild rice will do. Quinoa does actually work as a breakfast grain - add milk, cinnamon, and a bit of honey.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Collecting Compliments

I’ve been---overshopping---a bit lately. Partly because I need new fall/winter clothes now that I’m more than 20 pounds lighter than I was last fall/winter, and partly because I enjoy shopping. It’s fun to look at pretty things, fantasize about how they would look on me and what I would wear them to/with, then to hunt for deals, and acquire something(s) new. If I didn’t have a well-paying job locked up for next year, I’d be a bit more concerned about my spending. (As it is, I’m sure an upcoming entry will discuss budgeting...maybe...I’ll start after my next sale purchase...)

I’m going through an Anthropologie phase at the moment.

Their look is classic, and my overspending is consistently reinforced by the stream of compliments I receive every time I wear one of their pieces. Since learning that Anthro posts new sale items online (almost) every Tuesday at 3am Eastern Time...well, online poker often keeps me up until then, anyway, so why not just snag a few $20 pants before they sell out in the morning? (For comprehensive Anthro sale coverage, check out Roxy’s incredible work over at Effortless Anthropologie)

My most recent splurge purchase over at Anthro was a fabulous cardigan by New Orleans designer LiaMolly (beware of clicking the link. The stuff on that site is overwhelmingly desirable). The cardigan I bought is called the “Coin Purse Cardigan”; I’d spotted it in an Anthro store during my Halloween Las Vegas trip, but the regular price was far too expensive for me to stomach. The sale price was still sort of absurd ($89), but the piece was so special that I splurged. I splurged all over myself.

I adore the colors of this piece. The orange and yellow is so warm and autumnal, but the bright blue trim makes me think that the cardigan would transition well into spring. The textures of the knit are varied, with a large almost bubbly gauge on top and a smaller, tighter gauge for the leaves.

The colors alone make the cardigan fabulous, but what really sold me on the price tag was the gimmick in its namesake:

The pockets! They are coin purses! I mean, seriously! Just take my $90 and let me go to bed in shame already.

The fit is snug, which I kind of like. I’ve paired it with both a solid top and an outrageously patterned top, and I think both may have worked. What say you? Should I be sticking with solid colors here?

PS: I love the boots in this second outfit. I went through about eight pairs at Zappos before finding one that fit over regular (not skinny) jeans + big calves, and that didn’t look totally slouchy. Order a half size down.

I'm totally listening.

After receiving several helpful suggestions that this blog cover the whole gamut of stuff this Jewish girl likes, you can look forward to revamped content, highlighting:
  • Shopping and Clothes. I am doing too much shopping (and maybe wearing too many clothes).
  • Fitness. I’m training for a half marathon in February - the day after my birthday!
  • Travel. I’ve got less than a year left of freedom (read: law school) before I start working. I am going places, literally.
  • Cooking/Eating. I’m doing a lot less cooking than I have in prior months, but I still have to eat.
Thank you to those who gave me constructive comments (read: “Less Weight Watchers!”). Let’s roll with it!
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