Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Great Pumpkin Day

If you happen to live in a place that actually has pumpkins that it.* It's Halloween, ya'll! Like, the actual day here in the Phils anyway. We already did our trick-or-treating put on by the CLO a couple weekends ago, and we had our own adult Halloween celebration over the weekend. There's no real tradition of trick-or-treating here in the Philippines, but in some of the more affluent villages the kids do walk around a bit, though they're not really in costume. Our yaya took the kids around since apparently trick-or-treating only happens in daylight hours. So the only nod we had to Halloween today was buying Frankie Halloween donuts from Krispy Kreme *sad face*

So in the spirit of all things spooky - go out and watch thee a scary movie. Whether it's old school horror, new school gore fest, or classic spine tingler - according to this article you could burn about 200 calories just by watching a scary movie. So feel free to sit back and down a few snickers in celebration of the best holiday of the year, you've earned it!

*You can find pumpkins here, they just cost about 4x as much as they would in the US

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Shhh, Don't Tell

But, I think I know Super Dog's secret identity

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fitness Friday: Fitness Foodie Finds

First things first - more inspiration! It's truly never too late to start your journey into healthy living :)

Okay, now on to the meat of our post (pun intended) - clean eating - what is it? and how do you start? (and how do you start part two!). Once you've got a good foundation goin' on in the kitchen, you can start to plan out your meals. Times when I stray away from my usual dietary principles are times when I don't have any food prepared (which happens embarrassingly more often than I would like now that I've joined the FS!).

What to Eat:
Fit Family Meals
A Life to Brag About 
Sorey Fitness
The Gracious Pantry
Clean Eating Online

And, of course, there's always Tosca Reno's Clean Eating Magazine and Clean Eating Books

Where to Shop:
Besides the usual local markets and co-ops, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are usually good, easy bets to find whole ingredients.** If you live in a small town and don't have access to these chains or specialty stores, it gets a little bit tricker...a trickiness gets taken to a whole other level if you happen to live overseas! Thank god for the interwebs - there are options at last!

King Arthur Flour
Shop Organic
Lowes Foods to Go
Benefit Your Life

and, of course, there's always Amazon ;)

Recipe Sites:
And just for good measure, here's a couple of places I love to peruse for awesome recipe ideas.

Chocolate Covered Katie
Little B's Healthy Habits
Heather Eats Almond Butter
Kalyn's Kitchen
Clean Eating Chelsey
The Clean Eating Mama
Oh She Glows

*especially if you live in a country where women's fitness magazines still advocate lifting light weights so you don't get "too bulky"!!!
**I'm partial to Trader Joe's over Whole Paycheck, but, then, I went to college in Seattle

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How Not to Explain the Electoral College in a Foreign Language

So I know election season is upon us because holy crap do we have a lot of speaking engagements lined up to talk about the American electoral system! While not as cool as getting your own sign, I did have my first radio interview on Monday and explained how to register to vote in Tagalog...I think. I may have said something entirely different, but since we did the interview over the phone, I had no visual cues to see if I messed up. So I guess as far as I'm concerned, it went great! ;) I did the rest of the interview mostly in English since I am too much of a pussy to try and explain things like the electoral college in a foreign language yet. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

I'm quite interested in this year's elections because I think we're at a really pivotal moment in our history. I can't tell you how incredibly frustrating it is to see the level of unemployment and economic uncertainty in the US while simultaneously approving work-related visas (especially now that I have a clearer understanding of how the petition process works). My ballot's already cast* but I still wish I could see some of the debates in real time. Even more than the presidential candidates, I wish I could have seen these two live! Never thought I'd say this, but Bill O'Reilly was spot on with his comment, "The display that you saw tonight is why America is America. Robust, creative, no holds barred. You can call it whatever you want, but you wouldn't see this in a lot of other countries."
True dat, Bill. True. Dat....And that's why I fucking love America....And also this.

Totally Random Aside For My Assload of One Dutch Reader:

Stemming from the incredibly wrong, hilarious, and totally politically incorrect** Stuff White People Like, I recently came across another blog that, while not as laugh out loud funny, would still make people who live in der Nederlander chuckle.

*Having lived out of my state of residency for literally my entire adult life, I have never once voted in person, which means the debacle of 2000 really hit home! 

**And usually pretty accurate

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sometimes You're Down and Sometimes You're Up

Goddamn do I love football. The Bills and Redskins win, and the Pats and Cowboys lost. Doesn't get much better than that!* ... or This.

*Unless you count actually winning in my FFB league - Fuck you, Malcom Floyd!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fitness Friday: Free Fitness Finds

So we did some foodie finds, and now we have some fitness finds. Yay! First up, a little inspiration in case you're feeling not so motivated. Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, I thought I'd list a bunch of Youtube fitness channels that offer free (that's right, free!) workouts. Most of these either use minimal equipment or don't use any at all, which should free up some of those excuses bumping around in your head. Even better? If you don't have a Mac*, you can easily use a free (free!) program like Youtube Downloader to download these workout directly to your computer so you don't have to worry about your internet connection in order to stream them. Isn't that fabulous?

Do Yoga With Me
Myomy TV
Fitness Blender
Livestrong Women
Jennifer Aguirre
Be Fit 
Funk Roberts
Strong Like Susan
Vivace Fitness
Vai Vai Fit
Melissa Bender

*You can get this type of program on Mac, too, but it's a little more complicated. So if you've got a Mac and you want to download videos from youtube, just google it to get the directions. 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

More Manila Foodie Finds

Yowza, has it really been so long since I posted? I have found that my periods of blog silence tend to coincide with periods of trouble in the realz life of Pu. Nothing to be worried about - I'm going through a bit of a "thing" at work. These things happen from time to time, part of the growing pains of transitioning to a new job and new lifestyle. I still love what I do and adore my coworkers (they really make the job for me, in many ways!).

I've been keeping quite busy. Last month was my rotation to the American Citizen Services section (where Husband normally works). While the work is interesting and there's always something new and outrageous to face every day, I can safely say that I was happy to return to my old section for the normalcy of a daily routine. ACS work in Manila is very trying, and my hat is off to my colleagues who work there for longer stretches. I don't know that I have it in me to do that! I did have the opportunity to go on an ACS Outreach to Angeles City and Olongapo (where Clark AB and Subic Naval Base used to be before they closed in 1991). I won't say too much, but I would encourage you to google either location to see what they are famous for. I can also share that the highlight of the trip was when colleague S and I were waking back to our hotel down the Angeles "strip" from dinner one evening and were "Sir/Maam-ed" for girls rather than for something like bags or shoes. Stay classy, Angeles City.

But, I digress, I titled this post foodie finds for a reason. As we explore out city's culinary offerings (slim pickins, I'm afraid), I like to add what little tidbits I can find. Recently I discovered igourmet, which is a website that will ship many refrigerated items like cheeses to DPO addresses. This was a revelation for me, and I am thrilled to be able to order different varieties of gouda in addition to my beloved goat cheese! Husband and I are also on the hunt for a restaurant (any restaurant) that is worth the cash. While you can get cheap meals in Manila, believe me, you know they're cheap. If you want good quality food, you're going to pay for it. And, in my personal opinion, they're almost never worth the cost. Meals that go for American prices are rarely of American quality, and you have to avoid the pitfalls of everything being doused in sugar. I had a caesar salad yesterday that was totally inedible thanks to the amount of sugar dumped into the caesar dressing (who puts sugar into caesar dressing??), and that was at an upscale restaurant in Serendra (a fancy area in the Fort). Just gross. We did have a good meal last night at Kashmir, which we went to for a girlfriend's birthday dinner. The samosas were delicious and the food was pleasantly spicy (hard to find here) and flavorful. We also tried Cirkulo and were spectacularly unimpressed. Not only did they allow me to make a reservation for a time when the restaurant was closed (we arrived and they had yet to open the doors, they finally let us and in and then we sat around and waited for another 15 minutes before we were able to flag down a server)* but I was also underwhelmed by the food. I found the tapas to be of huge proportions and lacking in flavor, and the prices were outrageous considering the quality. If this is the restaurant that tops "best of" lists...well, let's just say I've become a lot more forgiving of the mid-range, mediocre restaurants because at least they're a better deal!

Anyway, here's some more foodie blogs for your reading pleasure.

Foodie Manila
The Manila Girl
Runaround Girl
Midnight Mercato
Salcedo Market

*And judging by the responses of my colleagues to my story, this is not uncommon. No one wants to turn away business so instead of telling you they're closed, they will allow you to enter and sit in the restaurant, but won't actually acknowledge or serve you until about 15-20min after the official opening time (island time, you know).