Month: November 2011

Take Two: Leading a Weight Watchers Meeting

The smile on my face while walking out of yesterday’s Weight Watchers meeting was a drastic change from the near tears I was in when I walked out of the first one I led last week!

IT WENT SO MUCH BETTER!!!

There were a lot of reasons why yesterday’s meeting was more successful than my first attempt.

To start, the topic of the week was something I was a lot more comfortable with – the flexibility of the PointsPlus program and how it’s easy to mold the program to fit your lifestyle. I really live and breathe Weight Watchers and do believe it’s a super flexible program that can fit into almost anyone’s lifestyle, so it felt a lot more natural for me to be presenting it.

On top of that, I had a really good opening and theme idea that I found online (there are TONS of resources for Weight Watcher Leaders for meeting ideas!) so I just felt really familiar and confident with the topic.

Outside of that, I was in a familiar space (the one where I attended meetings as a member and also am a receptionist for a meeting each week), which helped me a lot in feeling comfortable and moving around the room. Despite the fact that I had to arrive at 7am, I also was a lot more upbeat and enthusiastic; aka much more like myself than the awkward person I was last Monday during lunchtime.

The big things that I changed from last week were:

    1. I incorporated movement and tried to walk around the room so I was spreading my attention around and appearing more confident.
    2. I wore a watch so that I knew roughly how long had passed, which helped me to be less nervous about filling the time.
    3. I had a ton of great questions in store for when silences came up.
    4. I delved deeper into members responses by asking follow up questions rather than changing the subject.
    5. I asked follow-up questions to the group at large so that members started talking to and relating to each other.
    6. I was more confident and upbeat like my normal self, rather than reserved and quiet.
    7. I made a few jokes and laughed with the group, which made everyone more comfortable.
    8. I mostly avoided awkward topic transitions.

Don’t get me wrong – it was only my second time leading a meeting, so I still have a lot of room for improvement – but I felt like I did a really good job incorporating feedback from last week’s meeting into this one, and I also got additional feedback from yesterday’s meeting that I can incorporate into my meetings going forward.

I think the biggest difference between walking away from last week’s meeting compared to this week’s meeting is that I now feel confident that I will be a great leader one day. I am so excited to have the opportunity to pay forward everything that Weight Watchers has given me because it really has changed my life completely. And of course selfishly, I am also excited to continue to be involved with the program as it grows and evolves so that I hold myself accountable and continue to keep healthy living and weight loss top priorities in my life.

PS: Two blog readers were actually at the meeting!!!! Sooooo surreal. Hi guys!! =)

Thanksgiving Break Recap + A Meal Plan

Happy Post-Thanksgiving! It’s crazy how quickly holidays come and go, isn’t it!?

Thanksgiving Break Recap

Last Tuesday night, I drove up to Philly after work to stay the night at my sister Wendy’s. I spend all morning and early afternoon on Wednesday hanging with her and Harper (and going for a 4ish mile run), and then left for my parents house in the afternoon, which is just about an hour away. My other sister Heather came with her kids, Claire and Ben, so I got to hang out with them for the rest of the day Wednesday which was really nice.

Thursday was spent cooking all day making some incredible things for the feast! I was in charge of making an appetizer so I made spankopita in mini phyllo shells that turned out great, and I’ll be remaking those hopefully this weekend and posting the recipe next week.  While I started the day with the best of intentions food-wise, the day ended with me feeling uncomfortably stuffed and lethargic. Same story, different day.

I woke up Friday morning and went for a run (and posted about how it was a new day), and rather than head up to Woodstock to my Heather’s new house like I originally planned, I decided to come back to DC early and just lay low for the weekend, which proved to be an excellent decision. I felt like I got the best of both worlds – I got to spend quality time with family, but also got to relax and home and really enjoy the time off. The main reason I decided not to go was because I was DREADING the drive home on Sunday (~6 hours with no traffic, God knows how long WITH traffic), and it was so nice to make the drive with no pressure and be home by Friday evening.

I spent a lot of time with friends over the weekend who were in town, and then most of the day Sunday getting ready for the week, going grocery shopping, cleaning, and doing laundry. I feel like such an adult, so to combat that I also watched way too many episodes of Lost. It’s all about balance.

Weekly Plan

I also managed to do a little cooking on Sunday to get my meals on track for the week. I whipped up a huge batch of black beans and froze half of them, and also prepped several servings of oatmeal to use for breakfasts throughout the week.

Here’s what I came up with for a meal plan:

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Monday Pumpkin Oatmeal w/Cottage Cheese Spinach salad with black beans, cheese, salsa + corn tortilla 100 calorie popcorn Chickpea + Date Tagine w/quinoa (Vegetarian Times recipe)
Tuesday English muffin w/pb + banana Leftover chickpea + date tagine w/salad Cottage cheese + blackberries Black Bean Quesadilla
Wednesday Pumpkin Oatmeal w/Cottage Cheese Sweet potato w/ black beans + goat cheese + spinach salad Greek yogurt w/banana + berries Leftover chickpea + date tagine over quinoa
Thursday Waffle Sandwich w/sunbutter + banana Leftover chickpea + date tagine w/salad Cottage Cheese + apple Quickie Dinner – omelet w/black beans, toast + fruit
Friday Pumpkin Oatmeal w/Cottage Cheese Spinach salad with black beans, cheese, salsa + corn tortilla 100 calorie popcorn TBD

I’m really leveraging that batch of black beans – they are SO delicious and so easy to use for quick meals throughout the week, even though they do take a bit of time to prepare.

As far as exercise goes, here’s my plan for the week:

  • Monday – Club Strength Class/Cardio Kickboxing (check x2!!)
  • Tuesday – Rest
  • Wednesday – Outdoor Run
  • Thursday – Spin Class
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – Running + The Shred
  • Sunday – Bike Ride

I’m sad that I won’t be able to attend a Body Pump Class before the end of the month because of scheduling, but the Club Strength class I’ve been taking seems like it’s really similar. It’s a 45 minute whole body strength training class using weighted barbells and hand weights, and I’ve done it the last three Mondays in a row! That’s the most consistent I’ve been with strength training in ages, so I’ll take it. Last night I also decided to stay for the cardio kickboxing class right after the strength one with the same instructor, and it was INTENSE. I’m also so uncoordinated/clumsy that it borders on embarrassing, but it was fun none the less – and a great workout!

And this morning, I’m delivering my second Weight Watchers meeting ever. Let’s hope it goes a lot better than the last one where I was super awkward. Fingers crossed! Full report back on that tomorrow. =)

Did you travel or stay local for Thanksgiving?

It’s A New Day

Even though I may have wayyyyy overdone it yesterday (hello salted caramel apple pie, pumpkin cheesecake, AND homemade pecan pie), one of my very favorite things about Weight Watchers is what it helps me realize about today.

I woke up post foodcoma this morning around 8am, and immediately put on my running clothes. I went out for a chilly but perfect 40 minute run to start today off right, and then made myself eggs with mushrooms and toast, and already I feel better health wise.

Afterall, today IS a new day!

How do you/did you get back on track post holiday?

I Am Awkward

It’s true. But so is the word awkward. This family photo probably takes the cake though:

Source.

Back to the point at hand… yesterday’s meeting did not go NEARLY as well as I was hoping.

To give a little back-story for newer readers, I’ve been working for Weight Watchers as a receptionist since March of this year. I’ve always wanted to be a Leader, but had to hit my goal weight and Lifetime before I could move forward with Leader training. I reached my goal weight in May 2011 and then became Lifetime on June 23, 2011.

After I hit Lifetime, I got the go-ahead to move forward with Leader training. I was assigned a Leader Coach, Sarah, and was sent to Basic Leader Skills in Chicago in October 2011. This was an intense three day training, and you can read about the experience here.

Yesterday marked the first time that I actually delivered a meeting, and it was rough.

I got REALLY awkward up front, and I think there were definitely a few things that contributed to it.

    1. It was not my meeting, so the members felt a little less comfortable with me than their normal leader, which in turn, made me uncomfortable.
    2. I was being observed by both my Leader Coach and my Territory Manager and they were taking notes on me the whole time, so that made me nervous.
    3. It was my first time giving a meeting, so that made me nervous.
    4. We were in a conference room, and I wasn’t familiar with the space at all.
    5. I was trying really hard to wait for people to talk (which is harder than it sounds!), so I came across as lower energy than I am naturally.
    6. I was hoping the members would talk more, so didn’t have enough questions in my arsenal for when I needed to dig deeper and encourage them to speak more.

That said, there were SOME positives of the meeting:

    1. As a Leader during At-Work meetings, you do both the weigh ins and deliver the meeting. I did a really good job with the weigh in portion since I’ve been doing that for so long and really came across as myself during it.
    2. I have pretty solid presentation skills, so I kept my voice up and did a good job listening and making eye contact with the members throughout the presentation.
    3. I had some good questions, and did a pretty good job with follow up questions some of the time, helping the members to have more to talk about.
    4. It came across that I really love Weight Watchers and know the program really well.
    5. I did a good job telling my story with Weight Watchers and my weight loss journey.
    6. My territory manager said “You are right where you should be” as feedback.

But, there were definitely a lot of negatives, as well:

    1. I was a lot more reserved than I am in normal situations, and this came across as being low-energy and not very enthusiastic. If you ever met me in person, it would surprise you to hear me described like that!
    2. I stayed in the SAME exact spot for the whole meeting, rather than moving around like I should have. This would have helped a lot with my energy/enthusiasm.
    3. I made a really awkward transition during the presentation from asking questions to giving awards for weight loss (it was literally out of nowhere and not smooth at all).
    4. I didn’t have a good sense of how long had passed, so was nervous that I was going over and then was shocked to see how little time had passed and got myself worked up over it.
    5. It was showing that I was pretty nervous during the presentation.
Overall, I think I’m probably being a little harder on myself than I should be. I am just ready to be a really good leader, and I’m not there yet and still have a lot of room for growth. This is probably to be expected as it was my first meeting ever, but still – I feel like I should be good at this naturally!

So, what happens next?

I am delivering another meeting next Tuesday morning, and I have to work on all the improvements and incorporate the feedback I got from this go-round. My territory manager will not be observing again, and I’m much more familiar with the space than I was with yesterday’s meeting, so I am hopeful that it will go a lot better! Depending on how the next one goes, I’ll either lead another meeting and be observed again, or else they’ll have me move forward with my own meetings.

And to be honest, I’m not really in that much of a rush. I want to be GOOD before they give me my own meeting, so I’m trying not to be so hard on myself and trying to take it slow. I have enough else going on this week, so I don’t want this to become a source of stress! Which, coincidentally enough, was actually the topping of this week’s meeting – Holiday Stress.

Perfect Sunday

Yesterday was honestly one of the best weekend days I’ve had in a long, long time. It was the perfect mix of relaxation and productiveness, which started with me sleeping in until 10am, waking up without an alarm and feeling well rested.

I can’t even remember the last time I’d been to a Farmer’s Market, and the Dupont Circle one is just a few blocks from my apartment and is open year-round. I headed out almost immediately upon waking and loved walking around and seeing all the seasonal produce.

Happy Thanksgiving

One of the coolest things I saw was purple cauliflower!

Purple Cauliflower

There are some orange ones thrown in there too. Beautiful right?

I always love the bright colors (and free tastes) available at the Farmer’s Market. So much different than the regular grocery store!

Carrots, Beets, Turnips, and Kohlrabi

Farmer's Market Veggies

Turnips and radishes:

FM Veggies

Another thing I saw was white sweet potatoes, which I’ve never tried (or really noticed) before.

white sweet potatoes

Since I am leaving for Thanksgiving tomorrow night, I really didn’t need too much but did want to grab a few things.

For $16 total, here’s what I walked away with:

Farmer's Market Loot

    • 2 white sweet potatoes
    • 2 regular sweet potatoes
    • 1 delicata squash (my first one ever!)
    • 1 bunch kale
    • 3 mini cucumbers
    • 3 honeycrisp apples
    • 1 bell pepper

I think if they sold bananas at the farmer’s market, I would have done all my shopping there, but instead I made one more pit stop – Whole Foods – for just a few things.

Whole Foods Goods

For $7.47, I ended up with:

    • 3 bananas
    • 1 bag mixed greens
    • Blackberries
    • New-to-me Tofu

Tofu Twin Oaks

I’ve seen Twin Oaks Tofu several times at Whole Foods but always thought it was too expensive. I saw it again today and noticed it was just $2.99 for the block, so I decided to give it a go. I’ll let you know how it is, since I’m having it for dinner tonight! Here’s the plan:

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Sunday Fried egg, refried black beans, corn tortilla, salsa Huge massaged kale salad with almond butter tempeh  Out for dinner
Monday Pumpkin oatmeal with cottage cheese + banana Salad with mixed greens, cucumber, pepper, sunflower seeds, feta, tuna, and balsamic (SO good) Twin Oaks Tofu with roasted sweet potatoes and kale
Tuesday English muffin w/sunbutter and banana Leftover tofu w/veggies over a salad Leftover almond butter tempeh with leftover veggies

After my grocery adventures, I went for a 40 minute run outside (about 4 miles) and the weather was GORGEOUS. I spent the rest of the afternoon planning my Weight Watchers meeting (today I am delivering my first meeting and being critiqued by my Leader Coach + Territory Manager – wish me luck!!!) while doing laundry and watching Lost, before meeting a friend for dinner.

It was really the perfect Sunday.

What’s your ideal weekend day? Do you prefer to relax more or be more productive?

Rethinking

TGIF. For real.

friday cartoon

So one exciting update to report… I got the iPhone 4s yesterday and I am seriously OBSESSED. I got the white 16G, and was able to get it for $170 with free overnight shipping! I also went to the Verizon store yesterday, and got a cute black and white polka dot hard case, because I tend to drop things. A lot.

Some of the apps I’ve already gotten:

    • Weight Watchers (obv)
    • Pandora
    • Amazon
    • Words with Friends
    • Instagram
    • Yelp
    • The Weather Channel
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Mint.com
    • Wells Fargo
    • Scrabble

What essential ones am I missing??

Rethinking

So… one other update for you.

I’ve been feeling stretched pretty thin lately. Between my day job picking up and getting really busy, training to be a Leader for Weight Watchers (I’m working/training in three meetings between next Monday and Tuesday alone!), working as a receptionist for WW, leading a social life, trying to exercise and cook, and blogging daily, I just feel like I have a lot on my plate. Especially with the impending holidays where I’ll be doing quite a bit of traveling, I’m not sure I can continue to blog every day for the time being.

I’ve sort of gotten into a habit which I like very much with the blog in general – I write most posts the night before, set them to publish at 8:30am the next day (which gives me time to update in the morning if need be), and post once a day Monday through Friday. Since I’ve gotten so busy lately, the daily posting has started to feel more like an obligation than something I do because I love it.

Don’t get me wrong – I really do LOVE this blog. I love how many people I’ve been able to interact with, how much accountability the blog gives me, having something in my life that I am extremely passionate about – but I feel like I’ve gotten away from that a bit because I’ve been seeing it more as something I have to do lately. I get stressed when i can’t think of a good topic to write about and I have enough other sources of stress in my life that I have less control over.

I’m not going anywhere – don’t worry 😉 – i just might not be posting on as regular of a schedule as I was. When I have something to say, trust me, I will say it! But I’m not going to just post because I feel like I should even if I have nothing to say, or if I have too much else going on and have to back burner writing on here.

Whew! What a long winded way to explain that things might start looking a little bit different around here for at least a little while. 🙂

Fitness Magazine Questionnaire

I was cleaning out my inbox a few days ago and came across this questionnaire from several months ago in my email. I thought since I enjoyed re-reading my own responses, you might like it too! This questionnaire was first sent to me when I was contacted about having my story featured in Fitness Magazine, which was published in the October 2011 issue.

fitnessmag11

What healthy accomplishment have you completed recently? When did this occur?

I just hit my goal weight, having lost 88 pounds since my peak weight in 2005. I used Weight Watchers to lose most of the weight and starting running, which was a big help in taking the weight off. I hit my goal weight May 12th, 2011, after two years, two months, and nine days of Weight Watchers.. but who’s counting!?

What did you learn along the way?

I learned so much about myself and my body. I learned that I am not destined to be obese or a couch potato, which was huge for me because my dad is very heavy and I always thought there was nothing I could do to avoid it. Despite my upbringing of being a foodie, I have learned how to transfer my love of food towards healthier food, and to balance it out with running, yoga, and biking. I also learned it’s very important to put myself first, so that I have more to give to others.

Did you have a support system? If so, who and how did they help?

I used Weight Watchers to lose most of the weight, and got a support system automatically with that since I went to weekly meetings. My sister was also following weight watchers at the time, so we were able to exchange meal ideas and check in with each other after each weigh in. I also started a healthy living blog, Beth’s Journey (bethsjourney.com) and the support I’ve gotten from readers and the healthy living blog world has been incredible!

What was the most difficult part of the experience?

My boyfriend is a chef and originally from the South, so when I started trying to eat healthier it was a huge challenge to our relationship. He wanted to keep living the same way he was, and never really had a problem with his weight so didn’t feel a need to change. It caused a lot of strain in our relationship, until we were able to both make some compromises. I would use my “cheat meals” for our date nights, and he agreed to use less oil and butter with cooking and more low calorie options for flavoring, like fresh herbs and vinegars. We also began to explore farmer’s markets together and got (and still get) excited about trying new ingredients. Since then, our cooking at home has gotten a lot healthier and we are both feeling a lot better inside and out!

How did you feel during and after?

I felt very unhappy and ashamed of myself before my weight loss journey began. I couldn’t believe I was so young yet so low energy and had let my health spiral so far out of control. Now, I feel refreshed, confident and athletic!

How has your life changed since this event?

My life has literally done a 180. I used to be very sedentary, eat a lot of fried, fatty, and processed foods, and was generally unhappy about how I’d let myself go. I was always very lethargic and ashamed of my body. Now, I cook at home most nights, exercise 4-6 times a week, and eat a mostly whole foods diet. I am now a very passionate healthy living advocate, and even work for Weight Watchers!

What are your three top tips for someone trying to reach the same goal that you did?

  • Realize it’s OK to say no to others sometimes so you can make yourself a priority.
  • Start small with your goals, and over time they can add up to huge changes.
  • Realize that snacking is not a bad thing – its critical to keeping your hunger at bay!

Loving Lately

After yesterday’s downer of a post, I thought it would be fun to do something a little bit more upbeat today and share some things I’ve been loving lately!

1.) The PointsPlus Cookbook

PointsPlusCookbook_11183_md Source

I bought this cookbook last week at my Weight Watchers meeting, and I can’t get over how great the recipes are! (You can also buy it on Amazon here if you are interested.) I wasn’t sure what the recipes would be like, but most of them are largely made with whole foods, are simple to follow, and sound delicious! A few of the ones I’m planning on making are:

    • Spicy Chickpea Lettuce Wraps
    • Grilled Shrimp Tostadas
    • Falafel Sandwiches with Lemon Yogurt
    • Pear and Fig Crostata with Gorgonzola
    • Frozen Banana Dulce De Leche Pie

The only ingredient that some of the recipes use that I’m a little wary of is fat-free half and half, but that is only in a few, and most of the recipes seem to use wholesome ingredients and the recipes sound awesome! I’m so excited to try them and will keep you guys posted when I do.

2.) Boots!

I have had a LOT of luck lately finding boots that fit over my ginormous calves. I got both a black pair and a tan pair, one from DSW that are actually Aerosoles but are adorable (and were just $65!) and the other from Old Navy that were on clearance for $18! SCORE!

3.) Lost

Lost-season1Source.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I am waaay behind on the phenomenon that is Lost. I started watching it from the beginning on Netflix just a few months ago for the first time ever, and am on episode 67 of the 100, exactly 2/3 through! It’s so addicting, and I cannot WAIT to hear/see how it ends!

4.) The Hunger Games

I think I told you guys that I read/was in the process of reading the trilogy, and finally finished the third book when I was in California last week. And, like everyone and their mother, I absolutely LOVED the series. The first book, The Hunger Games, flew by so quickly, that I could not wait to start the second one – Catching Fire. I really loved the second one, but it was a tiny bit slower moving than the first in my opinion. The third book, Mockingjay, took me a little longer to get into, but I think that was largely because I started it around the same time that I discovered Lost on Netflix – and they were both competing for my attention. Once I got to a certain point in the third book though, I could not put it down.

And then, yesterday the trailer came out for the movie, which will be in March 2012 – I cannot WAIT. In case you missed it…

 

5.) My impending iPhone 4s purchase

white-iphone-4_originalSource.

My plan is to get the iPhone 4s in White – the 16gig. This one costs $199 with a two-year agreement on Verizon, and I also will get a $30 credit since tomorrow is when I’m eligible for my new-every-two, which I’m grandfathered in for since I’ve been with Verizon for so long. I’ve heard they don’t offer the phone credit anymore, but $200 doesn’t seem TOO bad for a phone, ipod, camera, and personal assistant, all in one!

6.) Pay Day

I am also LOVING the fact that today is pay day. Enough said!

What’s something you are loving right now?

On the Outs

Technology and I are currently experiencing a really rocky part in our relationship. Right now, I am using a Blackberry Pearl for a phone… do you even remember those? As I mentioned in the Five Don’ts of Bike Commuting, my former phone fell out of my pocket on my first day commuting to work on bike and straight into a puddle. Apparently your pants’ pocket isn’t the ideal place to store your phone while riding a bike.

I am eligible for my upgrade with Verizon this coming Wednesday, so I decided to just suck it up for the month or so with the old Blackberry Pearl I had from several years ago. It works fine, but it won’t even let me take and store photos because it says the memory is full, and it’s kind of embarrassing to use because it looks so ancient. The only good thing is that getting the iPhone 4s (!!!) is going to feel even more like a dream after getting reacquainted with the Pearl.

So there’s that.

But then to top it off, this past weekend, I managed to break both my camera AND my laptop. My camera was in my purse and apparently it got turned while flopping around in there, and the lens got stuck out and now the camera won’t turn on because of a “lens error”. I’m going to just wait it out until I get the iPhone because I heard the camera is pretty sweet on there, and I’m not in a financial position to get both an iPhone and a new camera right now.

Before the camera broke, I did manage to upload all the pictures onto my computer, before that decided to die too. And of course, I selected “Delete from Card after uploading” for the first time in ages, so the pictures are no longer on the memory card and I am unable to get them off my computer. That would be fine if I had already written about the Cheesy Butternut Squash Bake OR had shared the pictures from all my friends who were visiting this past weekend, but alas, I did not.

I’m in the process of reformatting the hard drive, so hopefully I will be able to get the computer usable again, but in any case everything on there is gone – pictures, music, videos, etc. Guess it’s true when they say you should back your stuff up.

So, clearly, technology and I are on the outs right now. Hopefully that starts looking up later this week. Fingers crossed for Wednesday!

What type of phone do you currently have? Love it, like it, hate it?

Foodbuzz: The Swag

You all must know by now how much I love free stuff. I know everyone probably thinks that about themselves, but after attending the Tasting Pavilion, I was told I should do a post on how to get free stuff, because I’m really good at acquiring it, too. Smile

I still have to change my blog name with foodbuzz apparently

To be honest, the swag bags that we were given by Foodbuzz at the beginning of the conference were decent, but not even close to the one from FitBloggin’. There was one do-it-yourself cocktail book, a box of cake mix (which I didn’t bring home because it was too big!), two pounds of Godiva coffee (swoon) with a travel mug, a sample of Cascade dishwasher pellets (ok…), and a few small samples of food/bars. Some people also had OXO peelers in theirs, but mine didn’t have one!

But then, we went to the Tasting Pavilion, and that is where my swag back went from good to great.

LOVEfreestuff

Photo courtesy of Lisa.

I may or may not have looked like a crazy bag lady on my way out, but I didn’t care. And yes, that is my signed copy of Tyler Florence’s cookbook that I’m clutching onto for dear life in my right hand.

I actually ended up sorting through a lot of the stuff and getting rid of some of it before taking off, but that was mostly because my bag was already over the weight limit and I didn’t want to have to pay $90 (!) for the overweight checked bag fee.

Here’s what came back to DC with me:

    • DIY Cocktails
    • Pizza Cookbook
    • Tyler Florence Family Meal
    • Godiva Coffee – 2 full pounds, plus several small samples
    • Godiva Coffee Mug
    • OXO Egg Beater
    • Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
    • Garlic Croutons
    • Sonoma Syrup Co. Almond Extract
    • 18 Rabbits Bars + Granola (the choco banana bunny bars are my new favorite thing and they’re only 3 pts+ each!)
    • Powdered Mushrooms (for kitchen experimentation!)
    • Colored Sprinkles
    • Alexia Wine Charms
    • California Walnuts

My favorites were:

Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean Infused Simple Syrup

We got to try little spoonfuls of this at the stand, and it was SOOOOOO good. There are actual flecks of vanilla bean in there and its perfectly sweet and delicious. I plan to use it in coffee, oatmeal, and possibly to experiment with fizzy water for a vanilla cream type soda.

Sonoma Syrup Co. Almond Extract

This is obviously from the same company, and I just LOVE extracts like this. I usually put a little bit in my oats, yogurt or coffee for a touch of flavor and basically no added calories. This almond extract is delicious and I love how you can add as little or much as you want to control the amount of almond flavor.

OXO GoodGrips Egg Beater

This is a manual egg beater that OXO just launched, and I just love their products. Many of the things in my kitchen are OXO because they are relatively cheap but high quality, in my opinion. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with this, but I am excited to have it. ha.

What’s something a little strange that you’re really good at?

Besides getting free stuff… I am very clumsy, but I have extremely fast reflexes. So, I tend to drop things (and trip myself) frequently, but then catch them before they hit the ground.

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