Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy new year friends!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Positive Attitudes

A few days ago, I got into a little scuffle with my brother regarding my general attitude.  It was sparked by his comment that I was on the whole, rather negative.  Initially I wasn't sure why it struck me so offensively but now that some time has passed, I realize it's because I really do tend to approach many things very apprehensively and I put a lot of pressure on myself.  It can be a good thing and a bad thing. I do very well by holding myself to a high standard of performance and doing everything I can to achieve it.  However, the price paid is a lifestyle of undulating levels of stress, that wreaks havoc not only on my psyche but also those around me.

I certainly don't want to be such a tornado of stress that those around me, especially those I care about most, are negatively impacted, and that is certainly something I want to work on.  I believe there can be a balance between stress derived from desired-goals and a positive attitude.  There's no benefit to be a spitball of stress that no one wants to be around.  As with most pursuits of balance, there is no easy formula.  It's always going to be a work in progress, but as of now, I need to start that work.

After considering ways I can improve upon this, I came up with the following that I can start with:

  1. Multi-task less.  When I'm studying, I'm just studying, and when I'm having a meal with my family, that's all I'm doing too.  Giving 100 % attention to each task will not only permit me to be more effective at each respective task but it will also prevent the anxiety/stress of the studying/work from permeating into my family's life. 
  2. When I'm stressed, go for a walk or do some yoga.  I don't know about you, but I often feel like my chest is going to explode with anxiety and/or stress.  Sometimes I let it out by venting (which isn't entirely a bad thing), but it's usually not venting to a therapist or willing recipient.  I'm just disowning my stress and putting it on someone else, and I'd like to be able to release the stress and replace it with positivity without hurting anyone else.  Walking and/or yoga and/or deep breathing may do the trick.
  3. Complement myself for my hard work.   With high goals and self-expectations, I'm often find myself disappointed and don't give myself a break.   I believe there's a time for self-criticism in order self-improve but self-complementation is just as important.  I can't expect someone else to be my biggest cheer leader. It's gotta come from me first.  
Does anyone else struggle with this? Any suggestions?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

After one week of working out

After my exam last Friday, January 21st, I decided to hit the gym for 7 days straight.  None of those gym sessions were very long: on average, ~1 hour each.  Still, I was exhausted after every one, which was a sign that I was sorely (literally!) out of shape.  I tried to clean up my diet a little too, staying around 1500-1600 calories per day.  

Yesterday (day 7) was the first time I felt like I could go a little longer on the elliptical, so I also began my 0 to 5K running plan (which I got through a free iPhone app).  I re-tried the khakis that were too tight for comfort last weekend and noticed that they were a little less unbearable (still, a long way to go!).   And this morning, I decided to give a weigh-in a try.  Oh boy... all I can say is, it's a good thing I didn't do a weigh-in last week.   After 7 days of a lifestyle makeover I was at:

134.6!  Hey, at least I'm <135? I guess that's the positive way of looking at it.  The other way would be, holy cow.  Did I really hover over 135 for for the last bit of my semester?  How did I put on nearly 10 pounds this semester?  I guess I totally underestimated the consequences of my junk-eating and frequent-overstuffing.  The number doesn't make me very happy but I'm motivated to see something in the lower 130s next Saturday.  It'll require my continued efforts at the gym, increased water intake and continued dedication to cleaner eating.  My academic credence is that Nothing worth achieving is ever easy, and the same applies to my weight!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Just 5 days away from 2013

With just 5 days left of this year, I've got resolutions on the brain.  Actually I've been thinking about them since before Christmas, and I've concluded that I'm going to set 6 month goals.  An entire year's worth of goals is a bit daunting and never (ever!) accomplishable.  So here's my list of goals (a list that is still a work in progress) to be accomplished by July 2013:

  1. Lose the extra weight (~20 lbs)
  2. Get into a Masters program
  3. MIT diploma
  4. Build up this blog
  5. Run a half marathon in under 1:51
  6. Save $7K 
  7. Pay off all credit cards
  8. Book deal with MIT Press
  9. Find my own apartment
  10. Super MCAT score
As you can see, there is a lot I want to get done in six months, but it's not impossible.  
#3 & #7 are in the works.  
#1 & #5 will take steady, unflagging dedication to healthier eating and increased fitness
#2 will be launched after my exam on January 4th
#4 has been started but will required significant networking and consulting to build
#6 will require penny pinching! Not the most fun project but will definitely be worth it
#8 & 10 will be launched after all my Masters applications are sent out
#9 will be accomplished after getting into a masters Program

What are your goals?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Twas a Truly Lovely Christmas

As planned, we went out to walk around Boston  Common.  It was a chilly day but still lovely out with the faint layer of snow blanketting the city.  After 40 or so minutes of freezing outdoors, we headed to "The Bar" at Taj Hotel, and enjoyed some coffee with cake.
Shortly there after, we returned home to whip up Christmas Dinner: Aged Sirloin, Chanterelle Risotto, fresh bread rolls, Sautéed Brocollini, Sautéed Asparagus and Microgreen Salad with Truffle Dressing.   Everything was delicious!!!  

 What a wonderful christmas evening!  

Back to work tomorrow though :/

Merry Christmas!!

Our family opened presents from beneath the tree last night. 

This morning, we had french toast and/or eggs with coffee (of course!)

Outside the window was a bird eating berries off our window sill arrangements. 

Now we're off for a leisurely family outing in the city :)

Merry Christmast Everybody!

Monday, December 24, 2012

10 Easy Ways to Save

I don't know about you, but after a string of birthday and Christmas shopping, my bank account is suffering.  If you're also a student like me or simply trying to save, here are a few tips I've learned along the way:

1. Skip the coffees and meals out.  Pack your lunches, snacks and beverages.  You'll be surprised by how much you can save.  No shame in not spending!
2. Clean out your closet.  Donate the things you no longer wear, and figure out new ways to wear the things that you still like.  It's like shopping from your own closet, and you will definitely save a pretty penny.
3. Do your own grooming (besides hair cuts).  Nails, facials, spa treatments, waxing.  Do it at home.  Trust me- this is a huge wallet saver and you will probably getting a cleaner experience. You want a relaxing activity? Try a bubble bath or a walk outdoors. It's free!
4. Use only useful Coupons or Groupons! List the things you need before looking for coupons and discounted vouchers like groupons.  Sometimes those "deals" can be so attractive that we just swept up into the advertised sales and buy things we don't need!
5. Put away your savings as soon as you get your paycheck.  So if you get paid $1000 per paycheck cycle and you want to save 40%, stow away that $400 into a separate account before paying your bills or going shopping.  Just pretend you're only making the leftover $600!
6. Car pool.  Gas is about $4/gallon these days.  Even if you can't carpool every day to work and/or school, try to car pool for gym trips or grocery hauls.  Not only is it more fun to go with a buddy but it saves you a few bucks!
7. Always have a budget.  The fiscally responsible thing to do is always pay your bills on time in full and only spend what you have, but the reality is - most of us can't live that way.  We have mortgages, rents, health care bills, school loans, etc., and whatever it may be, we have to pay in installments.  That's OK.  Just have a plan (ideally to pay off your debt(s) in a reasonable amount of time) and keep to your budget.
8. Set aside "play money."  We all need it.  Whether it's an expensive meal out with girlfriends, or a dress you've had your eye on, you need to give yourself a little wiggle room.  We're not robots, and we need a little fun money.  As long as you have a little wiggle room, you're a lot less likely to go crazy off budget.  It's kind of like a diet.  If you allow yourself a little indulgence regularly, you're less likely to binge after 5 days of strict dieting.
9. Reassess your monthlies.  Examine your health, car& home insurance plans, gym membership rates, mortgage rates, credit card rates, heating/AC bills, etc.  Not only should you compare your plans to other options, but you should also figure out how you can improve your bills.  Can you lower the temperature setting in your house?  Can you do without the expensive gym membership you never use?
10. Focus on what you have, not on what you don't.  Just like with your closet, if you look at everything you have, you're always going to want more.  Use everything you have fully, and then try to get only the things you absolutely need. Like I said before, there is no shame in not spending. There is only shame in overspending!

Can't Commit But I can Celebrate!

Wow.. Can't believe I finished finals week successfully!

It was a tremendously stressful time, but I did it and hot d@mn, I am proud!

I have another test on January 4th so I'm starting to prepare for that today but I took Saturday and Sunday off after my final on Friday.  I deserved it!

I got my butt back into the gym, cut out the regular chocolate intake, and slept 8 hours each night.  Holy crap, I am sore but good sore.  My brother, who's in town for his winter break, is helping motivate me to get into the gym each morning

In other news, I very much related to Andrea's Can't Commit entry.  I too, have trouble committing to things like weight loss, exercise, group activities although I can always commit to school things.  It can often be very disappointing to set up goals like workouts-of-the-week, that usually doesn't pan out, but the reality is, I only have a finite amount of energy that I can dedicate to discipline, commitment and dedication, and most of that goes to school.  Whatever I have left over is committed to family and maintaing my sanity in the midst of mountains of work.  This semester, I was working 30 hours a week while taking 6 classes, so I let myself off the hook.  I let myself indulge in food and not worry about working out.  It wasn't the healthiest thing to do physically but I wasn't going to beat myself up over an impossible task.

Now-- I have one exam to study for, applications and work, I still can't commit fully to the fitness and diet regimen I would ideally commit to, but I'll do a little better by working out and eliminating a little junk from the diet, and try to be a little more conscientious about what I put in my mouth.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1 Paper.  Done.
1 Test. Done.
1 Presentation.  Done.
3 Exams. Done.

Still to Go:
1 Exam to Go!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1 Paper.  Done.
1 Test. Done.
1 Presentation.  Done.
2 Exams. Done.

Still to Go:
2 Exams.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

1 Paper.  Done.
1 Test. Done.
1 Presentation.  Done.
1 Exam. Done. 

Still to Go:
3 Exams.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December Popsugar Box!

Yay for December Popsugar Box:

Love these!

Tea Sampler by Tea Forte
I love Tea Forte! Especially their chamomile and earl grey:)

Tintarella di Luna soap by Jaboneria Marianella Soap

This smells like an Italian perfumeria in soap form
Minimergency Kit by Pinch Provisions
This is so handy and petite.  Love it!

Peppermint Poles by Bogdon's
These are so yummy and only 17 calories per a stick!

Microfiber Cleaning Cloth by Goswype
Works perfectly on my glasses and has the advantage of eliminating up to 98% of germs and bacteria!

Next 7 days

1 Paper.  Done.
1 Test. Done.
1 Presentation.  Done.

Still to Go:
4 Exams.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2 More Giveaways

I'm giving 2 more things away.  They are also brand new- never opened or used!

Nail Polish Applique by Incoco in the color "Sinderella" 

Blusher by Kryolan for Glossybox in the color "Glossy Rosewood"

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bear with me

I know I haven't posted in a while but just bear with me for the next few weeks.  I have 2 term papers due, 4 exams, 1 presentation, 2 projects and 2 quizzes all within the next 2 weeks.  Oh yea.. and WORK.  We are so slammed at work right now.. just great timing of course.   I'll take plenty of breaks and comment on y'all's lovely blogs, but I may be a little absent from my own for a bit.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Giveaway!

Comment to win any one of these giveaways!

2nd Time Giveaway Item: "You Glitter Be Good To Me" and "I Think in Pink" by OPI

Another 2nd Time Giveaway: Cabana Glama Make up Kit by Benefit:
It contains Hoola bronzer, Posietint lip & cheek stain, Some Kinda-Gorgeous Medium foundation, Ombre Eyeshadow palette and a Double-Ended Sponge Applicator!

Perfect Cover BB Cream in No. 27 (SPF 42) by Missha M

Golden Eye by OPI

Just comment or email violin724 @mac . com

Back to Blogging

The past week has been such a head-jammer: Thanksgiving, then post-Thanksgiving duties, appointments and a million exams.  I'm in the homestretch at school.  Exactly 2 weeks of classes left, and 10 days of exams.  It's a tough road but I see the light!

The diet hasn't been entirely atrocious but not the best either.  I've decided not to stress about it so much.  With my demanding schedule and goals, I can't commit as much as it takes to lose the weight I want and need to, but that's okay.  My priority is school and my career right now, not my physique.  When my schedule loosens up a bit, I'll refocus on the exercise and diet.

There are 33 days left of the year.  What are your 33 day resolutions?

Mine are:

  1. Finish school with flying colors
  2. Budget my Christmas expenses
  3. Moderate my food intake
  4. Exercise 3x/week
  5. Get at least 5.5-6 hours sleep/night

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Abdominal Pain.
I did Zumba for the FIRST time today and wowjeezus, my body is feeling it.  Especially my abs.  Maybe it's aggravated by PMS? I dunno, but it hurts.  (sorry, tmi?)
Anyways.. Hot d@mn, that is a hard workout!

I got a private zumba first-timers lesson from a Zumba/Pilates/Personal Trainer at MIT.  She's an awesome awesome trainer.  If anyone's in the area and interested, just shoot me an email and I'll get you her info.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


A few months ago, I had a falling out with a group of my closest girlfriends.  We've known each other since grade school, so basically we've known each other longer than we haven't.  I'm not going to go into the details of the fall out but it suffices to say it all happened due to betrayal, I was on the betrayed end and I'll leave it at that.  I wasn't sure/ready to just get over it and move forward so I just took my space and focused on my life.  Recently, I decided to forgive even if it didn't feel like the easiest thing to do, and extended my olive branch.  I thought, after our history, we would figure out a way to patch things up.  It turns out I was wrong. No one took hold of my branch and it looks like it's really the end for now.  Of course I'm disappointed.  I've known these girls forever but I can't force them to do anything, nor can I change what happened.  The only thing I can do is to internally forgive the whole situation, let go of all the negativity and move forward.

The same is true with my own hurdles.  In the past, I've set up big goals for myself only to swing and miss and I get pretty bummed about it.  Striking out is a statistical expectation but emotionally, you are never really ready or expecting it, and it takes a toll.  It chips away at your own self-confidence and pride.  The thing is-- that is all normal.  We are human, we are supposed to keep striking out until we hit the homer.  (Don't know why I'm so into sports analogies these days, sorry!).  We've just gotta keep getting up, dusting yourself off, and trying again.  Most importantly, we need to forgive ourselves for the screwing up.  I personally find that last part the hardest.  I really get in my own way!

Since it is Thanksgiving, I started thinking about all I have to be thankful for this year, which turns out to be a lot!  Then I started to think about how much I've disappointed myself.. which makes my stomach sink, but what's also obvious is that those disappointments are nothing in comparison to all the blessings in my life.  Now, let me just say- I'm not one of those people where a light goes off and my feelings suddenly change.  It takes time for me but I'm proud to say that I do have the ability to analyze my emotions with my logical side and even if it's slowly, do a little work on the more irrational.  Anyways, this post is about forgiveness.  Forgiveness in order to find thankfulness.  The little things that irk you? Those can be let go.  The things that you're thankful for? Those cannot.  Just think about it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Random but true

This family looks like a commercial.  Down to every last detail.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

No Excuses.

This evening, I hit a breaking point during my studying.  I have so much on my plate right now - 6 classes plus work and trying to maintain my sanity...well that last one is the hardest.  And tonight, I just lost it.  The proverbial 'straw' was a moldy sweet potato. Let me explain.

After the GRE on Friday, I had a delicious dinner and then went straight to bed. As soon as I woke up on Saturday morning (at 4:30am!), I started my homework and studying. I grabbed chips, bread, instant noodles (basically any easy carb to snack on) and ate mindlessly as I kept studying through the entire day (and evening).  The same thing was on the bar for today. (side note: I've been sitting so much that my butt literally feels bruised).

By the evening, I had eaten every junky carb in the kitchen/pantry (which I know, is totally gross!).  This should have been a red flag, but.. sigh.. it wasn't.  Anyways, after all the junk eating I wanted something warm and slightly healthier and something that I could make in less than 5 minutes.  I nuked a sweet potato, and once it was ready, I removed in from the microwave with a paper towel.  I rushed back to my desk, panicking at the realization that I'd lost 5 minutes.  Without even looking down at the potato, I started eating it and studying at the same time (bad!).  Only at the end of the potato eating, I started to realize it had a funny texture.  It was then that I looked down and realized.. holy crap, I was eating something BLUE.  I was eating mold.  Yeah.  You read that right.   It was a small potato, so I'll be alright but the important thing was- I had just unintentionally eaten a moldy potato.  What was happening to me?

As I looked up from the BLUE potato, I saw candy & granola wrappers, literally in every nook of my desk that didn't have books on it, and in my trash, so many empty chip bags, that I flushed with embarrassment.  Now, I know I said before that I would do whatever it took to hit this semester out of the park, but I had just hit into the foul zone.  Literally.  It finally clicked- what I'm doing.. well, it's gotta stop.  This is not healthy, not sane, not productive.  There is NO EXCUSE for this grossness.

Not giving myself 20 minutes to breathe in some fresh air outside or 15 minutes to whip up a healthier, more satisfying meal, not letting myself off my study chair.. none of these things were okay.  I'm not a robot.  (Even if I were, I don't think moldy potato is the right battery lol).  I've decided, NO EXCUSES, I'm not going to do this to myself anymore.  I'm going to take breaks, stretch/exercise, eat better, and LOOK at my food as I eat it.  I can't become perfectly healthy with my current workload but tonight I realized I was far beyond unhealthy.

Now, I tend to make grand plans on how to improve myself but they are usually too grand and quite unrealistic.  I am not good at working on a longterm lifestyle change but I am pretty good at tackling each day.  So here are my goals for the next 24 hours:

1. Get 30 minutes of stretching/yoga in before bed tonight
2. Eat 3 square meals tomorrow
3. Drink two 1L bottles of water tomorrow
4. Eliminate junk food, candy, gum, bars

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Popsugar box of November!

Who doesn't enjoy a lovely surprise in the mail? Not me!  I was happy to receive my Popsugar box of November today :)

An Intro Card

A few recipes for Thanksgiving!

A box of Thank-You Cards by Snow & Graham

One Credit for Stylemint

Yemen N.10 Spices by La Boite

Blood Orange Lip Balm by Mor Cosmetics

Latest Weigh -In

Weighed in at 133.6 This morning. Last time I weighed in was on 11/7, and I was at 133.2 lbs.  Considering how much pigging out I did during this 10 day span, I'm okay with the latest stats.  The calorie run down was:

Day              #   Cal   Avg  Burn  Net   Avgnet  Cum-net +/- Weight
Wednesday, 11/7 1 1450 1450 -400 1050 1050-200.0    -0.1 133.2
Thursday, 11/8 2 2000 1725 -600 1400 1225 -50.0 0.0 133.2
Friday, 11/9 3 2300 1917 -100 2200 1550 900.0 0.3 133.5
Saturday, 11/10 4 2400 2038 -100 2300 1738 1950.0 0.6 133.8
Sunday, 11/11 5 1000 1830 -400 600 1510 1300.0 0.4 133.6
Monday, 11/12 6 1300 1742 -100 1200 1458 1250.0 0.4 133.6
Tuesday, 11/13 7 1200 1664 -100 1100 1407 1100.0 0.3 133.5
Wednesday, 11/14 8 1450 1638 -200 1250 1388 1100.0 0.3 133.5
Thursday, 11/15 9 1650 1639 -300 1350 1383 1200.0 0.3 133.5
Friday, 11/16 10 1500 1625 -200 1300 1375 1250.0 0.4 133.6

My BMR is 1250 calories so I've gotta stay closer to that number when I don't have time to exercise.   Time to buckle down!  I have a photo session on the 22nd of December!

ByeBye Twinkie

Hard to believe, but it's the end of an era... of Hostess!

I guess, someone else will take up the job of producing snack cakes like these but it'll just never be the same. 

RIP Hostess..

On the other hand, have you all tried Chocopies?

They are the quintessential old-school Korean snack cake and I would argue they are even better than Hostess cakes.  If you're nearby a Korean grocery store, pick up a box and give 'em a try!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Took the GRE today, and now I'm dunzo!  I'm so tired, I can barely see straight.  Time to rest it up before getting back on the work saddle tomorrow.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

GRE Day!

12:30pm EST Friday the 16th, is when my brain will be hitting it out of the park on this exam. Hollah! Lets get this party started! J/K- I'm going to bed now to rest up!