Tag Archives: food

Things I Loved in 2014

I did a “Things I Loved This Year” post for 2013, and here’s another one of sorts for this year. One thing I’ve noticed is that I’m consuming fewer and fewer things that I dislike. I think I’ve just gotten better at realizing what I like. Every book I read this year got at least three stars on Goodreads. I only saw a few new movies and didn’t hate the ones I did see. If I wasn’t getting into a show, I didn’t continue watching it—I stopped watching How to Get Away with Murder after five episodes and didn’t make it past the pilot of The Leftovers. (I did stick with Season 3 of Homeland to see how it ended, but didn’t continue with Season 4.)

If I finish the book I’m currently reading by tomorrow, I’ll have read sixty books this year. I’m going to post more about the books of this past year in future posts, but some highlights were Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, and Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. All YA, interestingly enough. Also, at book signings, I met both Ann M. Martin and Neil Patrick Harris!

You know, I haven’t seen that many movies yet. All the Oscar movies are coming out now, though, so I’m sure that will change over the next couple of months. So far, I’ve enjoyed Gone Girl and The Fault in Our Stars, both of which are based on books I’ve read.

TV Shows
The Good Wife was a big highlight. So was Jane the Virgin, which is hilarious and adorable. Gina Rodriguez is just really sweet and relatable in the title role, and it reminds me a lot of Ugly Betty. I’ve recently started watching Community, too, and am enjoying it.

LES MIS. Freaking fantastic. I also saw a production of Into the Woods that got me interested in the movie that just came out (haven’t seen the movie yet), and Finding Neverland when it was in Cambridge—I liked it but didn’t love it. My friends and I also saw both The Book of Mormon and The Lion King in Boston, both great.

I never disliked her, but this year I’ve started to like Taylor Swift more than I anticipated. I think part of it is a backlash-to-the-backlash thing—I’ve never really understood why some people who don’t like her are so vicious towards her. If you don’t like her music, fine, but what has she, as a person, ever done that’s so bad? So I put a lot of energy into defending her, but it was really only this year that I started to like her music.

I also really enjoyed Ramin Karimloo’s solo CD. Speaking of which…

I still love Jon Hamm and Aaron Paul, but Ramin is one of my new favorites. And a late-breaking addition: Trevor Noah, the new Daily Show correspondent, whom I can already tell I’m going to love.

I discovered that almond butter fudge—really just almond butter mixed with coconut oil and frozen—is awesome and healthier than most other desserts. I also started making this awesome cinnamon-apple smoothie.

Things I Loved This Year

I’ll do another post about the events of last year, and I’m going to do some more substantial posts later on books, movies, and TV, at least, but I wanted to do this post on some of the things that I enjoyed the most this year. Without further ado:


October was my book month. Two books I’d been anticipating for a long time were published that month—Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Halfbook and The Disaster Artist, a book about the making of The Room by Greg Sestero, who played Mark. I also attended the Boston Book Festival, where I had conversations with J. Courtney Sullivan, Tom Perrotta, and Hallie Ephron. I read many other wonderful books throughout the year, and I’ll blog about them more in a future entry, but some highlights include John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Judy Blundell’s What I Saw and How I Lied, J. Courtney Sullivan’s The Engagements, Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead.


The best movie I saw for the first time this year actually came out twenty years ago—Schindler’s List. I don’t know how I made it to this year without ever having seen this movie. And…wow. I have such a hard time talking about this movie because I’m not sure I can in a way that does it justice. It completely deserves the reputation it has—I will say that. And the very end has me in tears every time. (I’ve seen it quite a few times since I first saw it in August, most recently last night at Erin’s. Yep, our super-fun movie night was with a three-hour movie about the Holocaust.) It also motivated me to learn more about the real story behind it, so I’ve now read several books about Oscar Schindler and the Jews on the list- so many that I could tell where writers got their sources from. And there’s so much more I want to say about this movie that I’m not sure how to say, but just know that it profoundly affected me.

Future entry coming about the movies that actually came out in 2013.


The two TV shows I caught up with this year that I loved the most could not be more opposite. Parks and Recreation is this happy, upbeat show about nice people doing good things. Breaking Bad is a dark, tense show about an increasingly evil guy doing increasingly terrible things. They’re at opposite ends of this TV mood scale, but I loved them both so much- Parks and Rec because it’s funny and sweet and I enjoy all the characters, Breaking Bad because it’s incredibly well-written and acted and basically a masterpiece. (Yes, I’ve seen this clip.)

I also started watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report regularly for the first time. The week of the marathon bombing, I desperately needed something to make me laugh. Previously, I’d only watched these shows sporadically, but after that week I put them both on my DVR. They keep me sane.


I didn’t listen to much new music this year. I did listen to a LOT of U2. I’ve always liked them, but over the summer I started listening to them kind of obsessively and discovered some songs I hadn’t heard before or re-discovered songs I hadn’t listened to enough. As for new music, I enjoyed Sara Bareilles’s The Blessed Unrest, especially her song “I Choose You.”


Aside from the very welcome news that Les Miserables is coming back to Broadway next year, there was a lot of good theater in my life this year. I traveled to New York to see Lucky Guy on Broadway, which was wonderful and moving and…there’s so much I could say about it and maybe I will in a future post. I saw Wicked for the second time. I saw a local production of Les Mis. I also saw a great play in the fall called The Power of Duff.


Two devices have massively improved my life this year. I bought a Roku, allowing me to stream Netflix and Hulu on my TV, and it’s been fantastic. (Future post about everything I’ve been watching via Roku.) I also finally caved and got my first smartphone, which was a good decision. I’d always been afraid I’d end up spending too much time online if I had the Internet on my phone, but that hasn’t really happened. Plus, now I know when the bus is coming.


My two biggest celebrity crushes this year are both guys on AMC shows- Jon Hamm and Aaron Paul. It’s kind of interesting- with guys in real life, I’ve never been attracted to good-looking jerks, and I realized this year that even with celebrities, there’s a personality element present with everyone I like. Jon Hamm, I am convinced, is a perfect human being. I could look at him all day, and I think it’s a travesty that he doesn’t have an Emmy yet. But even if, for some strange reason, you’re not into his looks or his acting, you have to love him after this. And this. And this.

Aaron Paul (who does have two well-deserved Emmys), is possibly the most adorable person on the planet. I love him on Breaking Bad, where he played one of my favorite TV characters of all time, but he seems like such a sweet person, too. Read this. And this. And watch this clip of him on The Price Is Right before he was famous, because it’s hilarious. And look at his Twitter and his Instagram, from which I have learned that he really loves his wife and he really loves pizza.

When Pigs Fly bread is the best kind of bread, and it’s awesome when you toast it and spread avocado on it.

Remember that if you take nothing else away from this post.

Happy New Year, all!

Boston by Katie

Over MLK weekend, I traveled out to San Francisco for my friend Jenna’s wedding to a great guy she’s been with for ten years. I met Jenna back in first grade, and I freaked out a bit when I realized that was TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO. My friendship with Jenna is as old as a college graduate! Anyway, the wedding was lovely, and it was great to see Jenna and her family. I didn’t know many people there besides Jenna and her parents and sister, but everyone I met was awesome!

I only had a couple of days in San Francisco, a city I’d only been to once before (on my first business trip, when I was twenty-three, had spent the entirety of the previous year in Massachusetts, and so completely broke that I was over the moon at the idea of my company paying me to travel). Jenna and her new husband Mike had put up a Google Map with all their favorite places in SF on their wedding website, so I used that as my guide when figuring out what to do!

Also, I found the flower shop from The Room (or what it used to be- now it’s a coffee shop) and took a picture. I HAVE NO SHAME.

Anyway, that combined with conversations with some people at the wedding about their own visits to Boston got me thinking- if I were giving people ideas for what to do on a visit to Boston, what would they be? When I went to New York over Memorial Day weekend last year, I used this post from Nugs for ideas on what to do. Here’s my post on what to do when you’re a tourist in Boston!

Touristy Stuff
Public Garden and Boston Common: Two parks across the street from each other, both lovely. The Public Garden has the Make Way for Ducklings statues as well as the Swan Boats when the weather permits. Boston Common has athletic fields and Frog Pond, which is good for skating in winter or wading in summer.

Freedom Trail: For all the history buffs. It starts at Boston Common and takes you through historical sites like the Old North Church, the Paul Revere House, the burying ground with John Hancock’s phallic-symbol tombstone, and the Bunker Hill Monument, which is a great exercise in stair-climbing.

Museum of Science: For all the science buffs. There’s always some cool exhibit here- I saw one last year on Pompeii- and there’s also the Omni Theater and the Planetarium, plus all the regular exhibits.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace: Faneuil Hall is a historical marketplace and meeting hall, and the area surrounding it is full of stores, restaurants, bars, and street performers.

Cheers Bar: I actually never watched Cheers and I’ve only been here once, but people seem to love going here! Just make sure you’re going to the real Bull and Finch pub on Beacon St. rather than the knockoff bar in Faneuil Hall.

Newbury St.: You have to at least walk down Newbury St., even if you don’t buy anything. It’s so lovely and old-Boston. And although many of the stores are too expensive for the likes of me, there are some cheaper ones, too.

Fenway Park: Hopefully you can go to a game, but if not, see if you can take a tour. I love this park.

The North End
The North End is the Italian neighborhood of Boston, full of restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops. I’m actually not that crazy about Italian food and therefore not the best person to ask about which restaurants to go to, but I have developed some favorites.

Fiore: I tend to forget the names of nice restaurants I go to in the North End, but this one I remember solely because of the awesome roof deck. If it’s summer, go up there at least for a drink!

Pizzeria Regina: Best pizza in Boston, in my opinion. It’s a franchise now, but the original restaurant is in the North End- go there!

Mike’s Pastry/Bova Bakery: Mike’s Pastries is very popular, with good reason. You always see people walking around with cannolis in Mike’s Pastry boxes tied with string. However, because it’s so popular, the lines can get a little nuts, so if you don’t want to wait, head one block over to Bova Bakery, which is just as good.

Abe and Louie’s: If you want something on the fancier side, this is my favorite steakhouse in Boston. Definitely not cheap, though.

Legal Harborside: There are a lot of Legal Sea Foods restaurants around, and they’re all good, but this one, which is fairly new, is my favorite. It overlooks Boston Harbor and if it takes you a long time to get a table (which it will, if you don’t have a reservation), go up to the top deck and order a drink and sushi while you watch the boats.

Paris Creperie: It’s not exactly an authentic French creperie, but even so, I love this place. Aside from great crepes, their Nutella hot chocolate and frozen hot chocolate are orgasmic.

Fire and Ice: This is a cool concept for a restaurant. You put as much raw meat and vegetables as you’d like into a bowl, select the sauce you’d like, and then give it to the cook in the center of the room, who throws it onto a big Mongolian grill and cooks it right in front of you. It’s a lot of fun!

Anna’s Taqueria: Cheap, cheap, cheap Mexican food. I’m a big fan, although my West Coast friends don’t seem impressed by it.

Grendel’s Den: Speaking of cheap, from 5-7:30 on weeknights, this restaurant in Harvard Square has food at half-price if you order a drink!

KO Pies: This Australian food hole-in-the-wall is right down the street from my office. Yeah, I know, Australian food? But this place has amazing meat pies, chicken schnitzel burgers, potato wedges, and Lamingtons.


Drink: This is such a cool bar. While you can order your standard wine and beer, there’s no menu–rather, you have a conversation with the bartender so that they’ll mix you something you’d like. “Let’s have a conversation about your alcoholic needs!” It looks kind of like a science lab, with long tables, and the bartenders will grind up ingredients or squeeze the juice out of fruit.

Scholars: This is a fairly new bar that has a little bit of everything- great beer list, great cocktail list, dancing, pool tables, private rooms. Also, it’s HUGE- I can’t stand bars that are cramped.

Common Ground: Most of the time, this place isn’t quite so special. But Friday night is “My So-Called 90s Night,” and dancing to all this nostalgic music is so much fun I don’t even care what I drink.

Pretty Things

Boston Harbor Islands: If it’s summer, take a boat out here. They’re beautiful and a lot of people forget about them.

Arnold Arboretum: This is in Jamaica Plain, but you forget you’re still in the city when you’re here. Great for hiking or just sitting by yourself.

Other Good Things to Know

As much as I complain about the T, you should take it in Boston. Cabs are more expensive here than in any other city I’ve visited. Don’t take the cab unless you’re taking an early flight or are at a bar until later than 1:00 AM.

For some reason, a lot of people from out of town mispronounce “Copley” as in “Copley Square.” The first syllable is “cop,” not “cope.”

If you like seafood, you should eat it. Actually, even if you’re not crazy about seafood, you should eat it in Boston. I’m convinced that you can’t get good seafood outside of New England.

We really do say “wicked.”

Cooking and Pinterest

For a long time, I didn’t cook. I used to come home from work and heat up a Lean Cuisine or pick up something quick on the way home. It wasn’t that I didn’t like cooking, I just didn’t want to make time to do it.

For a long time, I didn’t get Pinterest, either. I even wrote a post where I said how I didn’t like it. Well, I stand corrected—Pinterest is awesome. And so is cooking. And cooking withPinterest is the best of all. (I still don’t like the other four things I mentioned in that previous post, though.)

So, time to share with you some of the Pinterest recipes I’ve tried and loved recently. And feel free to follow me on Pinterest here!

Avocado Toast

I love avocado and guacamole, but it had never occurred to me to spread it on toast. This was super-easy to make and tasted awesome—and the red pepper flakes are what give it that extra “oomph.”

Avocado Fries

THESE ARE FREAKING AMAZING. I never would have thought of this. Fried slices of avocado covered in breadcrumbs? It sounds so weird but they are really, REALLY good.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that this was a possibility. A crust made from cauliflower? Yep, believe it. And while you shouldn’t expect it to taste like normal crust, it is good. I am going to have to try it again, though—mine turned out a bit burned in some places, so I recommend making sure that the crust is spread evenly before baking it.

Crockpot Cashew Chicken

So. Freaking. Good. I need to utilize my crockpot more often. I like to try to make myself the kinds of dinners I have when I eat out, and I do love cashew chicken. This was delicious, and the recipe gave me enough food for dinner all week.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

I’ve been making a lot of seasonal desserts—pumpkin, apple—lately, and this was one of my favorites. I made it when Julie came over to play a Downton Abbey drinking game with me—I figured we needed a British-esque dessert! It was super-easy to make and tasted great. (Although, once you spoon it into a dish, it looks kind of gross.)

Candy Corn Bark

You might not be able to make this again until next year, since candy corn has disappeared. But I made it for my chorus (we have a bake sale every week) and it was a big hit! I recommend using regular chocolate rather than white (because, seriously, real chocolate is always better than white chocolate).

I have a zillion more recipes I want to try. I might never be a great cook, but I enjoy it, I’ve made some tasty food, and it makes me happy!

How Not to Be a Snob

I feel like lately, I see more and more people copping to being some kind of “snob.” Music snobs. Beer snobs. Wine snobs. Book snobs. TV snobs. Food snobs. Fitness snobs. And the thing is, they don’t even say it in an embarrassed, yeah-I-know-I-shouldn’t kind of way. They’re proud to be snobs. They are proud to look down on others.

So it’s time to make something clear here.

It’s okay to have likes and dislikes. It’s okay to have opinions.

It is not okay to be a snob. Ever. For any reason.

This is especially relevant now that Aaron Fucking Sorkin has come out with a new show that’s been blasted for using the same kind of snobbery that pissed me off so much when he tried it with Studio 60. As usual, if you don’t like it, you’re too stupid to get it—or, despite being  a reporter for a major newspaper, you’re a silly “Internet girl.” The fact that so many people defend what he says and does is what makes posts like this necessary.

So how do you know if you’re a snob or just expressing your opinion? It’s pretty easy. Let’s have a brief primer on what kinds of snobs there are and the things they say:

The Music Snob

One of the most infuriating kinds. You know those people—the ones who look down on you as a person if you like that overplayed pop song or that indie band who went too mainstream. The ones who consider pensive indie rock or less-mainstream classic rock the only music that matters. The ones who will tell you how wrong you are for listening to what you’re listening to. And 90% of the time, music snobs are people with no musical talent themselves. But they’re so good at listening, you guys! Their ears are so discriminating!

What it’s okay to say: “I actually don’t really like them. That one song gets on my nerves.”

“I did like them, but now they’re starting to annoy me.”


What it’s not okay to say: “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand how anyone can listen to them.”

“See, this is what you shouldbe listening to.”

*eye roll* “Is this [non-snobby band]? Really?”


The Beer Snob

Here’s the thing: beer is inherently something not snobby. It’s the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world. Historically, it’s been a drink for the masses, for the common man. Some people don’t like it, but most people who aren’t teetotalers have tried it at some point.

So of course people felt like they had to invent reasons to feel superior for drinking beer. Microbrews! Craft beer! Light beer sucks! You’re an idiot for drinking Miller and Bud!

And the worst part is, they consume their pretentious obscure brew so fucking slowly, because they want to savor it and not, of course, because it actually tastes like crap, that it’s going to be awhile before they get so drunk they forget to keep putting up the snobby charade.

What it’s okay to say: “I don’t really like that beer…it tastes too watered-down to me.”

“Have you ever tried this? I’ve been getting into craft beer lately.”

What it’s not okay to say:  “I don’t know how you can drink that. You don’t think it tastes like shit?”

“Oh, come on. Don’t they have any good beer?”

The Wine Snob

This kind of snob has been around longer than the beer snob, and thankfully, it’s less culturally acceptable among people my age. You know exactly who these people are—people who, like the characters in Sideways, swirl the wine around in their glasses, stick their noses in to smell it before tasting, and go into monologues about the quality of the wine until people’s eyes glaze over. Save it for the country club dinner, dude.

What it’s okay to say: “I’ve been getting into wine tasting lately. It’s really interesting!”


What it’s not okay to say: Pretty much anything else. No one cares.

The Book Snob

Here’s where I should make something clear: there is a difference between snarking on something you don’t like and snarking on the people who enjoy that thing. On the TV front, I used to be a big fan of Television Without Pity, and on the book front, there’s nothing wrong with making fun of a particularly cringeworthy book. A few years ago, the Twilight series was the snark of choice, and now it seems like every other post on my Google Reader is about how much Fifty Shades of Gray sucks—Lorraine’sposts are especially funny. (For the record, I have never read Twilight or Fifty Shades of Gray and don’t plan to.)

What’s not okay is making fun of the people who read those books—stereotyping them, insulting their intelligence—or telling people that they shouldn’t read it, like Joel Stein did with young adult books. I’ve seen a lot of photos begging people not to read Fifty Shades of Gray. But my feeling about this, which I’ve expressed before, is that at least they’re reading something—in an age when books have never been more threatened, why would you want to discourage people from reading?

What it’s okay to say: “Oh, my God, [plot point or badly written phrase] is so ridiculous.”

What it’s not okay to say: “Don’t listen to her—she’s just some idiot who likes Twilight.”

The TV Snob

This is an unusual one because it has nothing to do with what the snob likes and everything to do with what the snob dislikes: reality TV, Two and a Half Men, and sometimes just TV in general. It’s funny—people don’t generally get snobby about watching critically acclaimed shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, etc., but certain people will make sure to let you know what they think of you watching American Idol or Jersey Shore. I don’t think they realize that most people aren’t actually taking their reality shows that seriously. And if you’re one of those people who uses that tone to inform people that you don’t watch TV…um, kindly shut the fuck up. Contrary to what you may think, this makes you less interesting, not more.


What it’s okay to say: “I actually don’t have a TV. I just decided there were other things I’d rather spend my money on than cable.”

“I don’t really like reality shows. They’re all so staged.”


What it’s not okay to say: “Um, I don’t watch TV.”

“Um, I don’t watchreality shows.”

“You actually like that show?”


The Food Snob

There are about a million varieties of this one. There are the snobs who won’t eat in chain restaurants. The snobs who don’t eat junk food and make sure to let you know what they think of people who do. The snobs wholook down on you for eating meat. The snobs who look down on you for not eating organic. The snobs who look down on you for eating the healthy diet that you’re not forcing on anyone else.

Who really cares? This is a why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along kind of thing. You eat what you like, I’ll eat what I like, if we’re eating together we’ll figure out together what works for us. It’s really quite simple.

What it’s okay to say: “I don’t really like that restaurant. What about this one instead?”

“I’ve been trying to eat healthier—I found some really great organic recipes!”

What it’s not okay to say: “That is not food. How can you eat that?”

“You like Domino’s? Have you never had any other kind of pizza before?” (Side note: a friend of a friend actually said this to me once, and I kind of wanted to smack him.)


The Fitness Snob

So you work out. Great! You should be working out! You’re an inspiration to us all! But for the love of God, we do not need to hear about how much you work out and how we should all be doing it, too. Not everybody likes yoga or running or strength training. And those of us who do aren’t necessarily willing to run five miles at 6AM every day and then work out again at night. (So that I don’t sound bitter, I need to clarify that I’ve run two half marathons and am not averse to working out, just to hearing about how much other people do.) If someone asks you for workout tips, you give them—otherwise, you say nothing.


What it’s okay to say: “I’m really getting into running lately. It’s kind of addictive!”

“I’m really liking yoga. I feel great after I do it.”

What it’s not okay to say: “Oh, I feel so great after running five miles before work, like I do every day. Have you been working out lately?”

“The world would be a better place if everyone did yoga.” (I’ve mentioned this before, but someone actually said this to me at a party once.)

The Snobby Snob

Most people know better than to be this kind of snob, but some people have managed to surprise me. I had a roommate who went to Cornell and, like Andy on The Office, mentioned it every two seconds. His family had money and in his mind, anyone who didn’t come from a liberal, educated, East Coast background was probably stupid. The 2008 Democratic National Convention happened not long after I moved in, and when we watched this guy speak, after his great mention of how “we need a president who puts Barney Smith before Smith Barney,” my roommate said, “There’s no way he came up with that line himself.”

Yeah. I’m not even going to give examples of what to say and what not to say because, frankly, everyone should already know that.

I’m sure there are plenty of other kinds of snobs I haven’t mentioned. What other kinds of snobby things do people say that they shouldn’t?

Attack of the Vodka Bottle

Last night, vodka almost killed me. And not in the way you think.

So, it’s Restaurant Week in Boston, a misnomer since it actually lasts two weeks. Julie and I decided to go out to Tremont 647, a restaurant neither of us had been to. I was wearing a cute red dress from ModCloth for the first time. The food was excellent, and afterwards we decided to go out for some after-dinner drinks. I had been to a South End martini bar called 28 Degrees for a Boston Bloggers event last summer (there’s another one coming up soon, and I’m looking forward to meeting some new people!) and I wanted to go again for a normal night out.

Julie and I went to 28 Degrees, which is a very nice, lounge-y bar that also has a DJ playing. We were delighted to secure seats at the end of the bar, near the wall. I ordered a Ginger Snap Martini and Julie had a Cranberry Sour. We were sitting there drinking and talking and having a lovely Friday night.

Then all of a sudden there was a gigantic crash and my new red dress was absolutely soaked, and the bar in front of me, my purse, and my lap were all covered in shards of glass.

What the hell?

My first thought was that someone behind me was either crazy or somehow offended by us sitting there drinking and talking and had thrown a drink at us, so I turned around to see who was there, but the people behind me looked as bewildered as I felt. The bartender was apologizing profusely, so then I thought maybe he’d broken something, but then he told me what had actually happened: on the shelf on the wall next to me, the vibrations from the music had inspired a big vodka bottle to start dancing, and it had shimmied its way off the shelf to its spectacular demise on the bar in front of us.

Seriously. Aside from being very lucky that it was something clear rather than red wine or something else that would ruin my brand-new dress, I don’t know how we weren’t hurt. And what if we had been? Can you imagine being killed by a falling bottle of vodka? I just finished Six Feet Under, a very weird but sometimes touching show, on DVD, and someone dies at the beginning of every episode, often in a very strange manner. Death by vodka bottle seems like something that would fit right in on that show. And can you imagine calling my parents if I had been hurt? “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. H., your daughter was injured at a bar. No, she wasn’t drunk. No, she wasn’t in a bar fight…she was just hit by a falling vodka bottle.”

And dying this particular Friday night would have been especially tragic. Not only would I have not gotten to accomplish the rest of the items on my bucket list, I would have missed the return of Mad Men and the Hunger Games movie!

To be clear, though, I still definitely recommend 28 Degrees. The staff was very nice and found us two new seats at the bar. They also gave us all our drinks on the house and threw in some bread pudding as a we’re-so-sorry-please-don’t-sue-us gift. Julie, I’m sure, will be blogging about our Friday night desserts soon!

So, that wasn’t the way I would have chosen to get free drinks, but, hey, I’ll take what I can get.

The 17-Day Diet

Remember this post, where I lamented all the weight I’d gained? Since New Year’s Day, I have lost fifteen pounds. Ten of those were lost in the first two weeks of the year.

I’m doing my best not to sound like an advertisement (so we’re clear, I don’t do promotions, giveaways, or paid entries on this blog), but seriously? The 17-Day Diet really works!

Before you buy the book, just know this: while the diet developed by Dr. Mike Moreno is great, his writing style is kind of obnoxious and condescending. So you’ll have to try to ignore that when you read the book.

But here’s what you’ll find in there. The name is somewhat misleading, since it’s actually three cycles that each consist of seventeen days. In Cycle 1, you can eat as much lean protein (chicken, turkey, some types of fish) and certain vegetables as you want, plus two servings of certain fruits, two probiotics such as yogurt, one to two servings of “friendly fats” such as olive oil, and condiments in moderation. You also drink lots of water and green tea. You drop weight rapidly in this stage, which encourages you to keep going, but you do it healthily—no starving yourself, no following rules that are contrary to common sense.

In Cycle 2, you alternate days that follow the Cycle 1 rules with days where you can add in some more foods—shellfish, lean cuts of beef and pork, and certain starches. In Cycle 3, you can add more foods—more dairy, whole-grain breads, one serving of alcohol a day, and certain healthy snacks—and also kick the exercise up a notch.

If you’ve lost all the weight after those three cycles, you then follow one of the three cycles during the week and strategically indulge on the weekends. If you haven’t, you start again at Cycle 1 and continue until you’ve lost the weight.

I managed to stick to the diet pretty well in Cycle 1, although I admit to a bit of cheating in Cycles 2 and 3. I also could have exercised a bit more (lately, I have been so exhausted from work that I have not been doing much exercising), so honestly, I think I could have lost even more weight. Some additional thoughts:

  • Cycle 2 was by far the hardest. In Cycle 1 I kept telling myself, “Seventeen days, you can do it!” but Cycle 2 is not much different.
  • It was also hard trying to tell people why I wasn’t eating certain things. “Diet” has a negative connotation, so I was reluctant to tell too many people that I was on one.
  • What was not hard at all, surprisingly, was not drinking alcohol for thirty-four days. While I’ve never been a big drinker, I was expecting alcohol to be hard to avoid in social situations. But whenever I found myself at a birthday party or at a bar with coworkers, I just drank water and diet soda and not very many people noticed. I was dry for most of college, even living in substance-free housing for my first two years, and this experience reminded me how much I actually do like not drinking.
  • I recommend locating recipes that work for each cycle before you start them. I went through my Weight Watchers cookbook before I started the diet, so I ended up cooking a lot more.

I am lucky that I’ve never been very overweight and staying in the healthy range has never been too difficult for me, but this helped me get back on the right track. In December, I spent too much time eating crap and not exercising, so I needed something to help me stop. And this isn’t a gimmicky diet—it just takes things that you know are common sense (i.e. eat lots of vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein) and gives you a practical way of applying it.

In conclusion: I absolutely recommend this diet to anyone trying to lose weight. If you have any questions for me, ask away!