An Update On My Haircut

This time last week I was kind of in shock after cutting my hair.  It wasn’t the 11+ inches of length I took off that had me feeling off balance, it was the experience of having my haircut by a very very inexperienced student. If you missed it, you can read the whole story here.

I wanted to thank you for all of the kind words and support and thoughtful comments you left on my blog, Facebook page, on Instagram etc. It made me feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful friends – both friends I “know” and friends I’ve come to know from this blogging community. So, a week has gone by. I’ve obviously recovered from the experience, and I’m still feeling very positive about the whole thing.  I’m glad I could make my third donation to Locks of Love.  I’m glad I could be there for “Amanda” when she was going through a rough time and was confronted with fear and anxiety as she tackled the task of my haircut.  I’m glad I could learn for myself that my hair is just my hair, it’s not what make me me – I’m not lost with out it.  I’m glad that I was able to get in to see a grown up and more experienced hairstylist on Thursday, and that she was able to give Amanda’s cut some more shape and movement.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss my long hair a little bit, because I do. But I’m feeling more confident about my new style, and I’m excited to start growing it out again.  This time I don’t think I’ll let it grow to my waist, or maybe I will so that I can keep donating to Locks of Love. We’ll see.

I promise this will be the last completely vain post about my hair for a while.

9 Comments + Posted in: Beauty, Life & Style

Low-cal Turkey Mini Meatloaves With Chipotle Glaze

{Apologies for the very un-sexy iPhone photo}

In my last post I was vexed about my inability to meal-plan, grocery shop, and cook for one… I haven’t really made any strides on those fronts.  Thankfully, this recipe is fantastic because you can make a big batch and freeze half of it for emergencies or lazy nights in the future. I shared the above picture on Facebook last night after baking up some turkey meatloves, and was cajoled into bringing half into the office to share with coworkers.  I’m happy to do it, makes me happy to feed the ones I love.  You’ll be happy to feed the ones you love too if you give this recipe a shot.  It’s very healthy, very tasty and best of all very simple to make.

I first starting making a version of this recipe in 2009, when it was featured on an episode of the Biggest Loser. I’ve since put my own spin on it, packing additional flavor without adding too many calories.  If you’re creeped out making something savory in your cupcake/muffin trays – use liners (annoying to peel off in my opinion).  I have 4 trays, 2 for savory 2 for sweet.  This recipe is also great to make for new parents, friends recovering from illness etc, just purchase disposable aluminum muffin trays and then you don’t have to worry about getting your dish back.

Recipe, makes 24 cupcake sized meatloaves.

2 large zucchini
2 yellow onions
2 carrots
8 cloves garlic
6 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 cup quick cook oats
40 oz 99% lean ground turkey
4 egg whites
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp cracked pepper

Glaze
All the adobo sauce in the can
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350, grease 2 muffin/cupcake trays.

Roughly chop the veggies and dump them in the food processor.  I did them one veggie at a time (first onions, then carrots so on so forth).

Using your hands mix all the ingredients in a big bowl (smushy & cold feeling, eek!) until evenly combined.

Use a 1/3 cup measure or an ice cream scoop to drop rounded scoops into each section of the muffin trays.

Bake for 20 mins

While they’re baking combine all the glaze ingredients in a smaller bowl.

Take the meatloaves out of the oven and spoon the glaze over top. Bake another 5 minutes.

Done.

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The One About The Time I Cut Off All My Hair…

Full disclosure… This post is too long. This post isn’t about food. Not even a little bit. It’s not even about living a chic WASPy life of international travel, fancy nail polish or fine dining. This post is about a haircut – but it’s also about finding myself. Maybe? A Little?

Ok, real talk… this is going to be vapid.  I think it will also be funny, and I hope you’ll hang in there with me and read along.

A little back story for context purposes: I was raised by two doting and dynamic parents who instilled in me from a very early age, a belief that I was FANTASTIC. This belief that I was fantastic had little to do with my relative adorableness, and a lot to do with being smart and kind and funny and interesting. God bless them for that. But I’m human, and  probably sometime around my high school years, I wised up to the fact that relative adorableness plays a role in society. Today, despite the fact that the majority of my self-worth is based on my confidence that I am smart and kind and interesting… a part of my self-worth is tied to my appearance.

I’ve never been especially confident about my appearance, save for one thing. I have great hair. Really great hair.

Documentation of my great hair, circa June 2012

What’s funny about how I’ve invested most of my pride in my personal appearance in my hair, is that I spent a lot of my childhood looking like this:

Replace the tux with a tshirt and pleated skirt and you have me circa 8 years old.

No really  - I was perhaps 25% less feminine than the above for most of my youth.  You see… when I was in elementary school, my Grandmother (who lived with us when I was growing up) would call a cab and take me to Lord and Taylor to get a Justin Beiber haircut while my Mom was at work.  My Grandmother was the epitome of chic. She was timeless in her Salvatore Ferragamo flats and argyle sweaters – she was Audrey Hepburn meets Angela Lansbury. She had this phenomenal short haircut – sort of  Dorothy Hammil by way of Mary Martin in Peter Pan. She thought that a similar doo would be adorbs on her Granddaughter.

She was fucking wrong. (I don’t have any photos to support how wrong she was, next time I’m at my folk’s place I’ll scan some and update this post. Trust me, it wasn’t chic).

I looked like a little boy for most of my formative  years – there’s no two ways about it. But the best part about this Justin Beiber sob story is that my Mom always took these surreptitious Lord and Taylor haircut trips like a champ. She would arrive home after a long day of work to be confronted by her little manchild daughter with a Cathy Rigby pixie cut, and instead of being aghast and immediately displaying her disappointment she would take a deep breath, smile and tell me that I was beautiful. She would quickly follow that compliment with a reminder that I was smart funny and kind and therefore FANTASTIC.

So perhaps the fact that my childhood was peppered with tragic boy cuts explains my tendency as a grown woman to let my hair reach bizarre lengths. I may not be a size zero, or be 5’8″, but I know that I have shiny hair that is naturally straight but holds a curl for days. I know that it is an interesting shade of auburn. A shade that my Mother’s colorists have yet to replicate with dyes (read, I’m screwed in a few years when I go grey). Wanting to maximize the physical trait I felt most confident about makes perfect sense. So I let my hair grow really really long. It was all fun and games until I accidentally TUCKED MY HAIR INTO MY PANTS.

Creepy bathroom photo from Thursday evening when I was leaving work. I had just tucked my hair into my waistband. Not ok.

After some gentle nudging from my coworkers, and an intense intervention style conversation with my friends Lauren and Marissa, I knew it was time to cut my hair. So today I went to the salon and chopped 11 inches off.   I originally was planning on cutting 4-6 maybe 7 inches max. But after some thought, I knew that I needed to cut 10 inches so that I could donate my hair to Locks of Love.  I’ve donated to Locks of Love twice before, most recently chopping 14 inches on my 26th birthday. I knew I had it in me to make that drastic of a change, and I also had never had hair long enough to still have “long” hair after making a donation. I was excited.

This should be a really happy story. A story that ends with me walking out of the salon looking phenomenal with a super chic and more age appropriate haircut. A story that ends with me filled with the satisfaction that by cutting off all my hair, I was helping children suffering from medical hair loss.

Unfortunately, I scheduled my haircut at a beauty college near my apartment. I know! I know! It sounded convenient at the time. What should have been a 60 minute appointment ended up taking over 3 hours. The stylist cutting my hair (We’ll call her Amanda) had only cut 2 other people’s hair prior to me.  Y’all, “Amanda” was 18 years old. She was honestly TERRIBLE at being a hairstylist. The shampoo process didn’t even go well. She was shaking as she sectioned off my hair to cut it. I honestly thought she was going to vomit when she put my hair in three different pony tails to cut my donation for Locks of Love.

About halfway into the haircut, Amanda lost it. I was about to cry. She DID cry. She confessed to me that she was only getting her cosmetology degree because she wanted to be a makeup artist and that she really didn’t like cutting hair. OMG literally it was my worst nightmare was coming true. Given the history of my tragic andtrogenous haircuts in my youth, and how much of my womanly self-image I have invested in having super long hair, this could have been very traumatic for me.

I don’t know what happened, but something big did happen. When my Amanda was visibly struggling and seemed completely lost about what to do next, I could have lost my shit. I could have asked her instructor to come over and finish it for her. There were several moments over those three hours where I was screaming on the inside. But somehow, I experienced this sensation of tremendous calm. I didn’t lose it. I didn’t let on how terrified I was that she was going to butcher my hair. I even stopped her and asked her to take a deep breath at one point. I made eye contact with her in the mirror and told her that she was doing a fine job. I told her that my hair was ok, and that we were going to get through this and that WE were going to be ok.

What the hell?  Who am I? I usually have to have a glass of wine or two prior to a simple trim just to stay mellow. I am not this chill. I am not this gracious. Or maybe I am?

Maybe I’m finally old enough to have the perspective to know that it’s just a haircut and it will grow back. Despite the fact that my most significant source of confidence about my outward appearance is my hair, I was willing to let Amanda fight her way through this horrifying three hour haircut. Maybe it’s because I could sense in her that she didn’t have much self confidence, and I HONESTLY wanted her to feel good about herself for finishing the job. I wanted her to feel proud of herself, to feel like she was smart and kind and funny and interesting. I wanted her to feel like despite the fact she kind of sucks at cutting hair, she was FANTASTIC.

So that’s my haircut. It’s not terrible. It’s not super short considering I chopped off 11 inches. It needs a little attention to give it some shape and address some issues like the fact that it’s approximately two inches longer in the front than the back.  I’ll likely get a “revision” haircut in the next week – at a real salon, clearly. But it’s not the end of the world.

I’m not Samson, completely stripped of all my powers now that I’ve cut my locks. If anything, I feel empowered that I still feel attractive with a sort of shoddy haircut. I feel especially good knowing that by handling this tortuous three hour haircut with grace, I perhaps made a young woman feel good about herself.

At the end of the day, this was just a haircut. I didn’t find Jesus or the meaning of life in this haircut, but I do feel like I found a bit of myself through this process.

It will grow back.

52 Comments + Posted in: Beauty, Life & Style

Lightened-Up Chicken Salad



I love mayonnaise laden dishes like chicken salad, potato salad and egg salad, but who can eat like that regularly and not become gigantic? This lightened-up version uses non fat Greek yogurt with just a little bit of mayonnaise.  I didn’t miss the mayo at all. It’s not as rich as traditional chicken salad, the yogurt gives it more tang.  I liked it, even if it is an impostor of the the chicken salad I know and love.  The key to making this chicken salad flavorful and tasty without using a ton of mayo is to marinate the chicken in yummy things and to liberally season the dressing with fresh herbs like cilantro.  If you’re not a fan of cilantro, try flat leaf parsley or dill.  Go easy on the dill, it’s powerful stuff.

A big scoop like the one pictured above has 25 grams of protein and only 160ish calories. That’s not too shabby.  You can eat it in an open face sandwich with nice rye bread.  You could put it on crackers.  I chose to eat it alone with a side of cherry tomatoes and strawberries for dessert. It’s a great make ahead meal to have on hand in the fridge for when you’re busy, need a quick snack or want to pack a meal to go. I made a batch over the weekend and ate it for lunch almost every day last week.

For the marinade (enough for 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts):

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup white wine
1/8 olive oil
Juice of 2 whole lemons
Zest of 2 whole lemons
1 Tbsp cracked pepper
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

For the chicken salad
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup celery cut into small dice
1 cup non fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonaise
a few dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp cracked pepper
dash of salt (to taste)
1 handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Mix the marinade ingredients in a gallon ziploc bag and let the chicken breasts marinate in the fridge for around 4 hours. Check on them every hour or so and squish the bag around so that all surfaces of the chicken are covered in the marinade.

After marinating place the breasts on a foil lined baking sheet. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes (or until cooked through, will vary depending on the size of your chicken breasts).

Allow to cool to room temperature. Roughly chop the chicken into half inch pieces.

In a large mixing bowl combine the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well adding the celery once the wet ingredients are combined. Gently fold in the cilantro, then the chopped chicken breasts. Transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid and allow to sit in the fridge overnight.

 

 

3 Comments + Posted in: Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups & salads

Impromptu Pasta

TakeThatMonday

It was one of those Mondays today. The kind where you aren’t panicked by deadlines but still feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water. Maybe it’s because the weekend was so relaxing and the day isn’t actually that rough, it just seems like it because it’s juxtaposed with a lazy Sunday.

I had some lovely happy hour plans with a friend from high school and his wife, but had to cancel when a hiccup late in the workday kept me in the office till nearly 7 jamming out to 70′s rock while on hold with a service provider {You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave…}. By the time I got home, I was absolutely starving. Ravenous I tell you.

My pantry and fridge are virtually devoid of “snacks.” I generally have ingredients that could be assembled to make a meal, but not so much that’s ready to eat at the drop of a hat. Determined to make a delicious supper for one on the fly, I opened my fridge and saw that I had some building blocks for a quick pasta dinner.  I didn’t have a plan right away, I just started chopping.

A well stocked fridge and pantry keeps me from wasting money eating out when I am starving after a long day.  If you have some veg, eggs, maybe some cheese and a whole grain of some sort… you have a meal.  A well stocked fridge and pantry also encourages me to make relatively healthy eating choices. Yeah, this was pasta and it had oil and Parmesan, but the veg was all organic and from mostly from my local farmer’s market.  The pasta was whole wheat and I used a judicious amount of cheese. MyFitnessPal tells me that I didn’t screw up my day, even though I indulged at dinner.

ImpromptuDinnerIngredients

Tonight I made a simple pasta with sautéed onions, garlic, cherry and grape tomatoes with a kick of flavor from crushed red pepper and some brightness from a squeeze of lemon juice. Top that goodness with some shaved Parmesan and you have a super simple but somewhat luxurious seeming meal in about 15 mins flat. The basil pictured above didn’t get used, I’ll save that for my next impromptu dinner.

Have you ever heard those home-keeping tips like “rub a little vanilla extract on your light bulbs before you have company,” “simmer orange peels and cinnamon on the stove during the holidays,” or “bake cookies if you’re trying to sell your house?”  All those tips, those tips are bullshit. Listen to me – if you want your house to smell insane, you want to be sautéing garlic, onions and red pepper in a mix of butter and olive oil ALL THE TIME.  Bath and Body Works needs to come out with a candle in this scent.

OnionsGarlicCrushedRedPepper

The best thing about this quick weeknight dinner (other than the heavenly smells filling my apartment) is that I have left overs for at least two more meals this week. I’ll either take some pasta to work for lunch tomorrow, or eat it for dinner after grad school in the evening (my Tuesdays are long).

I didn’t follow a recipe for this dish, but I’ll give you some tips on how to throw together a quick pasta with what you have on hand at your place.

- Start your generously salted cold water on high heat before you do anything else. By the time you’ve finished prep work and chopping, the water will be almost boiling. You’ll have just enough time to sauté everything while the pasta cooks.

- Never ever cook your pasta as long as the package instructions say you should.  They are liars and if you listen to them you’ll have mushy pasta. I subtract 2 ish minutes.

- The smaller you dice things, the faster they’ll cook. If you cut them in a uniform size, they’ll cook more evenly.

- Use mostly extra virgin olive oil, but do use a little real butter too. You’re welcome.

- Don’t cook the garlic over too high of heat, it will burn easier than the onions.  I usually cook the onions for several minutes before adding the garlic and red pepper flakes. I tossed in the cherry tomatoes about a minute before I drained my pasta, then squeezed a bit of lemon juice over the sautéing goodness just before adding the pasta to the pan.

- Toss the cooked pasta in pan with the sautéed veg. It makes it a more cohesive sauce instead of just bland noodles topped with yum.

- Salt and pepper are amazing, use them liberally. Red pepper flake and lemon juice give the dish a flavor that has some heat and brightness at the same time.

- You could make this with whatever you have in the fridge. Mushrooms, squash, peppers etc – the method of prep is the same. Kind of like an omelet or frittata, pasta is a great vehicle to help clean out your fridge.

8 Comments + Posted in: Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

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