Monday, January 31, 2011

101 Things in 1001 Days: 16

One of the things I've found most surprising about creating my 101 list is how many people want to help me complete items.  I had only met Amber once or twice and we had chatted about my list.  A few days later I got an email from her saying she had tickets to the symphony and she was taking me (#16: Go to the symphony).  I was so surprised and touched.

We had a great time.  We went to Carnegie Hall and saw Linda Mack, Earl Rivers, and Giulio Svegliado was the conductor.  If you have never been to the symphony, even if you aren't a fan of classical music, you should go.  I had never seen so many people on one stage collaborating to create one song.  I am beyond impressed with any composer who can account for all the different instruments and their sounds, and create music that incorporates all of them so beautifully.

Amber, thank you so much for this wonderful experience.  I hope to see you again soon.

Song of the Day
Today's song is I Hear a Symphony.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

If You Are Looking For Something More Profound

If you are looking for something profound, you might find it on the Positively Anna Facebook page.  But lets be honest, you probably won't.  But if you are looking for little pick-me-ups during the day or your generally want me to like you more, become a fan of the page.  It is as simple as clicking the "Like" button you see at the top right.

I want to hear from you too!  Are you creating a Life or 101 list?  Did you complete something on your list?  Did you just meet a cute guy on the subway? Did you figure out how to bring world peace?  I want you to tell me on Facebook.

Song of the Day
Today's song is Rufus and Chaka Kahn's Tell Me Something Good.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Humor for Change

This video is true testament to the idea that we all have a "voice" and it is possible to use it to improve the world.  

How did you do today?  Did you try to make the world a better place through your actions and words?  I'm not sure I did.  But you better believe I'll try again tomorrow.

Song of the day
Today's song is U2's Beautiful Day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

101 Things in 1001 Days: 77

#77 on my 101 list was "Try a detox" which I accomplished by completing the Quantum Wellness Cleanse. I'm so happy I did this. I lost seven pounds, but the insight I gained into myself and food generally was more surprising/satisfying. Besides some frustration, I've felt great these past three weeks. I've been sleeping well, have a ton of energy and have felt very happy. You also may have noticed that I've been posting a lot more. I have felt more focused as well.

I mentioned that Matt was very supportive. I also couldn't have gotten through the cleanse without the help of my mom (here she talks about her experience) and my friend Jacqui (here is her vegan hollandaise sauce). They both did it too and it was very nice to be able to reach out to others who knew exactly what I was going through.

I generally don't believe in forcing my beliefs on others, especially when it comes to food. But I strongly suggest you try the cleanse. Just try it for a week. I was amazed at how great I felt. And I bet you'd feel the same way.

Follow my whole journey here:
Come Cleanse With Me or The Introduction
Day 4 or So Far So Good
#66 or Adventures in Tofu
Day 11 or That Frustration I Mentioned
Day 12 or Going Veg
#68 or Ooooommm
Day 19 or Matt Steps Up
#56 or AM Workouts

Song of the Day
Today's song is Irene Cara's What a Feeling.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

101 Things in 1001 Days: 56

I included "workout before 10 AM every day for a week" on my 101 list because I know that people who workout in the morning have the most luck sticking with an exercise routine. Because I've been sleeping so well and have had so much energy on the cleanse, I achieved this goal my first week. I'll admit getting up at 6:30 AM and heading to the gym was tough the first day, but it was so great to come home from work that night and not have to feel bad about not wanting to work out. And while I love to sleep in, when I saw I lost four pounds in one week, I thought this was a schedule worth sticking with.

Song of the Day
Today's song is C&C Music Factory Gonna Make You Sweat. Check out this for other fun workout songs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Cleanse: Day 19

Many of you have asked if Matt is doing the cleanse with me. I joke that he is doing it because I do most of the cooking and grocery shopping, but the truth is Matt has been wonderful for the past 19 days. Before I started the cleanse I told Matt I was going to need his support. I acknowledged that this was something I was choosing to do and it wasn't going to be much fun. But it was something that was important to me and that I was going to need his help to make it through. And my man rose the occasion!

I’ve said the cleanse has not been as hard as I thought it was going to be and I think a lot of that is because of Matt. He is a better eater than I am. Much more adventurous. And as long as the dish doesn’t taste like poison, he is pretty happy to eat it. He has been willing participant in my adventures in gluten, animal, and sugar free cooking.

One night I became very frustrated with all the things I couldn’t eat and considered quitting the cleanse. I was hesitant to complain to Matt, fearing he would say “well you made a choice to do this" or "No one is forcing you.” But when I did air my frustration, what I got was a warm hug and a “You are doing so great! You can keep it up!” My energy and resolve were completely renewed.

One of my most vital pieces of advice for a successful cleanse is to reach out to your support system BEFORE you start. Tell them that it is important to you and that you would like their help. This will go over much better than you having a break down a week into the cleanse and shouting at the people you love: “You are all against me!”

Song of the Day
Today's is The Rolling Stones' Happy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Day

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Song of the Day
Today's song is The Impressions' People Get Ready.

Friday, January 14, 2011

101 Things in 1001 Days: 68

Thanks to the Quantum Wellness Cleanse, I have completed #68 on my 101 list: Meditate everyday for a week. The original goal was to meditate for 10 minutes everyday, but if you have never meditated and are fidgety like me, just meditating for any period of time is an accomplishment.

I have said that the Cleanse wasn't just about a diet for me. What attracted me to the Quantum Wellness Cleanse was that it was more of a lifestyle change for 21 days. The book includes lots of meditating and visualization exercises. I've found them very helpful. I'm still not great at meditating. I find if very difficult/impossible to get my brain to hush up. But I'm getting pretty good at relaxing my body, which feels great. I hope to keep meditating after these 21 days are up.

Have you checked anything off your list this week?

Song of the Day
It was announced today that Meatloaf will be joining the cast of the next Celebrity Apprentice. I love me some Meatloaf! Today's song is Paradise by the Dashboard Light.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some 101 Inspiration

A few of my coworkers were inspired by my 101 list and have come up with fabulous lists of their own. I truly enjoy reading others' lists. Seeing what they hope to accomplish in the next 1,001 days gives you great incite into who they are and who they hope to become. I've picked a few of my favorites from each of their lists. I've also included some links if you are curious to find out more. I certainly was!

  • Do a 60 day Bikram Yoga Challenge
  • Learn my blood type and donate blood
  • Take a Roadmonkey trip
  • Go to the Cathedral of Rouen. Take a picture in the morning and at night
  • Leave an inspirational note for someone to find
  • Do a Chinese fire drill in a taxi cab
  • Buy two tickets for the Big Apple Circus and give them away to a stranger
  • Say hello…and maybe even introduce the very attractive guy that lives in the building next door who I have seen for the past four years and secretly have a crush on
  • Pray out loud with a friend or family member, not over a meal
  • Listen to Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs
  • Watch the elephants walk through the midtown tunnel
  • Get a pen that I love writing with
  • Watch the sunrise and sunset in one day
  • Do a major clothes purge – only keep what I LOVE
  • Take a random city bus 10 stops, get off and walk around
  • Find the city’s best lobster roll
  • Go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Go to a bed & breakfast with someone special
  • Go to at least two former presidents' houses
  • Make a headboard for my bed
  • Host a murder mystery party
Some I'll definitely be adding a few of these to my next 101 list. What's on your list?

Song of the Day
Today's song is The Beatles Come Together.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

101 Things in 1001 Days: 61

Because I have been doing the Quantum Wellness Cleanse for the past 12 days, I've completed #61 on my 101 list: be a vegetarian for one week. I've surpassed a week and plan on being a vegetarian for 21 days total. Cutting out meat has been easier than I thought it would be (being gluten free and Vegan has been much more difficult).

I won't continue a non-meat diet after the cleanse is over, but I do believe I will cut back. I've found that I don't need meat to fill me up and I can easily find protein other places. I've also started cooking some of my favorite meals with out meat, like stir fry, and they are just as good.

How is your cleanse going?

Song of the Day
Today's song is Hall and Oats' Maneater.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Cleanse: Tough Stuff

I'm not going to lie to you...this cleanse is tough. In the first week, I was happy-go-lucky. Feeling all skinny and full of energy. But now that I'm on the 11th day, I'm feeling skinny, full of energy, and crabby. I want to have a glass of wine with friends. I want to go with Matt to our favorite restaurants. And I don't want to have to wait another 10 days to do it.

I'm not finding the cleanse physically challenging. I'm not hungry. I'm sleeping great and getting to the gym everyday. But this second week has been hard mentally. I just don't feel like doing it any more. Last night I honestly thought about giving up. But I didn't. And the real reason I didn't was because I'm doing this cleanse to test and strengthen my will power. I want to start the year knowing that I can achieve what I put my mind to. I already know I can do a vegan and gluten free diet, as well as give up coffee and sugar. My real test for the next 10 days is to stick with my resolve. Wish me luck! And thank you for all the support.

Song of the Day
Today's song is The Doors' Break On Through.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Much Better Fate

One of my favorite people on Twitter, Jon Friedman wrote "If your Christmas tree is still up I'd guess it's invoking the opposite emotion that it initially did." That was certainly true of our little tree, which until yesterday sat in the corner silently weeping its dried needles. Our tree along, with millions of others was finally kicked to the curb. But some genius artists in London have created a much better fate for our washed-up trees.
The Christmas Tree Project collects discarded trees from across London and turns them into beautiful stools. How lovely.

Song of the Day
Today's song is Ingrid Michaelson's Be Ok.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

101 Things in 1001 Days: 66

Well I'm proud to report that I manned up and completed #66: make a dish with tofu. The reason I included this on my 101 list is because tofu grosses me out. It looks like a white block of mush sitting in a pool of murky water. Ick. But as I'm not eating any animal products or gluten for 21 days as part of the Quantum Wellness Cleanse, tofu is kind of a must.

So I tried tofu and what do you know!? I liked it. Well I liked it because it doesn't taste like anything. Below find the first dish I've ever made with tofu, which came right out of The Quantum Wellness Cleanse and was created by Tal Ronnen.

Mushroom and Garlic Greens over Broiled Polenta, Tofu, and Tomatoes (makes 4 entrees)

For the mushrooms and greens:
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (any varietal will work; cremini, button, shiitake, trumpet, blue foot, etc.) (I used cremini)
  • 1/2 lb. braising greens (turnip, collards, mustard, Swiss chard, spinach, etc.)(I used spinach), stems removed, washed thoroughly, and roughly chopped into large squares
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
Heat the oil in a large, flat-bottomed skillet and saute the mushrooms for 7 to 8 minutes, or until softened.
Add the greens and garlic and quickly wilt over high heat for about 3 minutes, or until greens begin to weep their liquid and soften.
Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

For the polenta, tofu, and tomatoes:
  • 1 (1 1/2-lb.) package of prepared polenta
  • 1 lb. extra-firm tofu
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the polenta into eight even slices, about 1/2 inch think.
Drain the tofu, slice lengthwise into 4 thin blocks, and press lightly between two clean cloths to drain excess water.
Cut the tomatoes into eight slices roughly equal to the polenta (this may require more than 2 tomatoes, depending on their size).
Brush the polenta, tofu, and tomato slices with the oil, sprinkle with the rosemary, and season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.
Place the tofu and polenta slices on a baking sheet. Place the tomatoes on another baking sheet (using two baking sheets is a good idea because the tomatoes will probably be done before the tofu and polenta). Broil for about 7 to 8 minutes, turning once, or until browned and heated through.
Remove from the oven. Place two polenta slices on a plate, followed by one tofu slice and two tomato slices. Top with a generous portion of the mushroom and greens to finish the plate.

Song of the Day
I haven't played an Whitney in a while. Please enjoy Whitney Houston's I Get So Emotional.

The Cleanse: Day 4

I'm on Day 4 of the Quantum Wellness Cleanse and it is going well. Too be honest, it is not as hard as I thought it was going to be. There are a lot of food options out there, they just take a while to find. As I've spent the past 28 years as a meat and potatoes kinda gal, I've had some trouble navigating the grocery store. Beats the heck out of me where tofu is and I've honestly never looked for a veggie burger.

For me this cleanse is a lot about experimenting. Variety is going to be key for me to get through these 21 days so I'm pretty much trying anything that I'm allowed to eat. Biggest surprises so far: tofu doesn't taste like anything and brown rice spaghetti is not bad. Who knew!

How is your cleanse going?

Song of the Day
Today's song is Phoenix's 1901.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How Is Your Resolve?

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fabulous New Year and got to kiss someone very yummy at midnight. I did!

Did you make a New Year's Resolution? How's it going? I make at least one resolution a year and like everyone else I have some trouble sticking with them. The idea of the New Year's Resolution has been around for hundreds, even thousands of years, so there is a whole heck of a lot good advice out there about sticking with it. I've picked a few articles that you might find helpful.
  • This is for those of you who are taking your resolutions very seriously or have very serious resolutions. Time has pulled together some great advice from people who know a lot about making change.
  • Everyone tells you that sticking to your resolution requires supportive friends but Martha Beck suggests selecting these friends strategically.
  • This is a fun article on how to keep your resolution using social media. For example, there is a scale that posts your weight on Twitter. No thank you!
Song of the Day
Today's song is George Harrison's I Got My Mind Set On You.

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