In the Western world, black cats are for some reason considered to be bad omens. They are an omen of death and misfortune. They are also considered to be some serious bad luck. There’s all kind of folklore that puts down black cats And on days like Friday the 13th (today) and Halloween, superstitious behavior goes through the roof. We even get emails from the Humane Society reminding people to be aware of their black cats are on these days because people can be cruel and act on superstition. Which is absolutely beyond me, but still. I’m here to be the black cat’s champion!
I mean, come on, have you ever seen pictures of Nymeria? She’s adorable. It’s all fun and games to avoid walking under ladders and such on Friday the 13th, but there’s no sense of being scared of or being mean to black cats. After all, in Japan (and in other places in the East), black cats are good luck.
Continuing with this discrimination, at animal shelters, black cats will be severely underpriced compared to the rest of the cats there. Why? Because people are less likely to adopt a black cat. This seemed crazy to me! That kind of thought never even crossed my mind! Nymeria was way cheaper than Misty because she was an ordinary black cat. Insane!
So I’m here to put an end to that stupid superstition and petition for black cat’s rights! Alright, getting a little ahead of myself, but you know what I mean. Don’t shy away from certain cats because the color of their fur or their eyes. Everyone has different personalities and a black cat could be the one for you. In fact, Nymeria (our black cat) is our most precious of the babies. She has such a unique personality compared to most other cats. She’s cuddly, loving, needy, and mischievious. It’s really really difficult not to love her.
My rant is over. Enjoy your Friday the 13th and pick up a black cat! Hey, it may even give you some good luck. 😉 And as always…stay hungry and fit!
It has been cold in Boulder. I know Chris likes it, but I’m not a huge fan of 30 or 40 degree weather. However, there are remedies to this! Such as hot chocolate…tea…oh and, VEGETARIAN CHILI! We would eat this a lot at home when I lived with my parents and it was always so tasty and gave that perfect sense of warmth and comfort. And I never realized how easy it was to make until I started cooking for my own. This chili lasted us a few nights and for a few lunches, keeping us warm against the turning seasons. This recipe comes from my family. It’s easy, healthy, and vegetarian-friendly.
We usually have it alongside some cornbread. It always fills me up with a sense of home and happiness. I know I will be making it more as the days get colder. The second day we had it, Chris added some ground turkey into it and it was also delicious! This recipe is incredibly easy, delicious, and healthy. Use this recipe to stay hungry and fit!
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Sorry for the no-Monday post, but I was busy studying and Chris was busy scuba-diving. I thought I would share the weekend in pictures…enjoy!
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This is going to be a joint post, written by the both of us, about Chris’ birthday and the flood that erupted on his very birthday here in our home of Boulder, Colorado. And it isn’t stopping. As I sit here, I’m watching more rain pour down as it has since 8am. We got a few dry days, but now the rain is here for a while. Where to begin? Let’s just start with Chris’ actual birthday. I’ll be writing most of it, and he will pop in here and there for certain things.
6:30am, Thursday, September 12th. Chris is still sleeping in bed, I need be at work by 8, but I want to go to our favorite bakery and surprise him with croissants. It’s been raining for a few days now, started Monday and worked its way until today. It’s still raining now. I slip socks and crocs on and head out. I get to the bakery but I am kind of dumbstruck and don’t know where to park. The entire right side of the street is flooded. Now this is before we had any flood alerts or thought there was a problem. I turned around and parked on the other side of the street. The bakery was open and I wanted to get him croissants! There was a worker outside and I asked him how to get through it, and he said, “I just got my feet wet.” I still looked for a way, but it was useless. Water was pouring from the north and streaming into the streets. I ended up walking through a foot and a half of water and they had no croissants! Wish I had taken a picture.
So I get back, wake Chris up, wish him happy birthday and give him breakfast. We turn on the news and see that it’s pretty bad all over. Highways buckling, houses flooding, people trapped. We eat breakfast and open presents, all the while he is communicating with his coworkers. (It’s Chris now) I want to thank everyone for all of the awesome gifts. I’ve always been quite spoiled. I received a gift card to Macy’s, Amazon, and AMC cinemas along with $30 cash. I also got some nice Burberry cologne, a handmade snake-like bottle opener, and a handmade Giraffe head cork wine topper. I was upset with Alana for getting me so much. She got me the newest iPad with a case and keyboard attachment. She also got me two hoodies: one sleeveless one from H&M and a Legend of Zelda one from Woot. I can’t say what I like the most but all of the gifts were very thoughtful and will fit in this household nicely. I am excited as always to use the AMC tickets for two free movies for the two of us. Especially since there are a few movies coming out next weekend that I want to see. Thanks again to everyone for the kind wishes whether it was family or friends.
Back to Alana. The 119 (how I get to work) is flooding and Longmont is bad. Chris and his staff decide to close the shop and he goes to make sure the flood damage is okay. Everyone advises me to stay home, so I do. This is all very new and not exactly sure what to expect. It was nice for Chris to have his birthday off of work, but we felt for everyone suffering. Luckily, our apartment is 3 floors up, and we are on a safer side of town. We didn’t do much that day, played video games and stayed inside.Chris loved being able to do that, since normally we have too much on our plate. We just made sandwiches for lunch and enjoyed the down time.
We get a call around 3pm from one of our good friends who lives a block away. He is driving home from Littleton (highways are an absolute mess) and his wife and kid are at home with a flooded bedroom. We run to get the shop vac and bring it over to their place. They were the lucky ones. The western building of their apartment complex got completely flooded with 2 feet of water. We immediately begin to vacuum the carpet out which is saturated and getting worse. A battle we can’t win against the pelting rain coming at us. By the time our friend gets home, we have already dumped out 32 gallons of water.
We knew we couldn’t suck up all the water so we go outside and decide to dig a trench away from the windows and then use the mud to create a barrier. It was messy, wet work, but it did give some layer of protection.
After we finish up, we wash the mud off in a flooded street. We go inside for a little bit more clean-up. Chris is bummed so many places are closed. I had this elaborate plan for the day, that I would take him out for lunch, that after work we would workout and then surprise him with China Gourmet and a birthday cake. Nope, not gonna happen. However, one of our most favorite places in town was miraculously open. They know us well at Korea House and invited us with open arms. We were soaked, muddy, and tired, and this meal invigorated us. We got a fixed menu with beer, bulgogi, korean soup, soups, salads, and mochi ice cream. Because it was Chris’ birthday and because the chef loves us that much, he served us with a big beautiful plate of some of the most flavorful sushi I’d ever had. He also gave us a large bottle of hot sake and another beer for free. Happy Birthday, right? It was just what we needed to bring our spirits up. We told them if they needed a place to stay (they live in Longmont), that they could always come to us. We left happy and it was pouring harder than ever.
We get back safely, though main streets are flooding. We play some more video games for a while and then we get into bed. Things are only getting worse. Chris passes out, but my stomach is in knots. So before I continue, let me just tell you about the wonderful Twitter #boulderflood. Online news can’t do enough. I have been on the #boulderflood this entire time, getting minute-by-minute updates from news agencies, emergency agencies, and real-life people struggling in the flood. It has been an absolutely amazing resource, I still follow it now. So as I’m lying in bed, reading the #boulderflood hashtag, things start getting worse. The Emerson Gulch has broken and now a 30-foot wall of water is heading straight for the Creek. I know college kids can be drunk and stupid and people reported seeing some near the creek, fooling around. I stress about their lives. About how the death toll might rise. After a few hours, I finally get to sleep, only to dream more about the flood and wake up too much. Here are pictures from the house we house-sat at:
Friday. Despite only a few hours of sleep, we wake up semi-early. The rain has stopped and light can be seen. We stay inside for a bit and then decide to go venture out with Marga and Michael to see the damage. The “unaccounted-for” toll has risen to around 130. There is a lot of debris everywhere, but things are drying up. Mud is the problem since there were massive mudslides the previous night. I hear Lyons is an island and Longmont is incredibly flooded. The YMCA where I work at is closed. Our old street (we just recently moved) got flooded and now instead of pavement, it is a mud street. Our previous neighbors are carrying buckets of mud-water out of their house. It is all mucked up. We continue on for about 5 miles total, seeing the damage. But we don’t even go to the bad area, we get tired and head back.
We end up going to the gym, finding a bit of normalcy in our recently turned-upside down life. After a great shoulder workout (my traps are still sore!), we head back home. More video games. We are happy for the lack of rain. I can even see a star or two. We also watch From Up on Poppy Hill, the newest Miyazaki film. We go to bed around 2am.
Saturday. Another dry morning! Evacuations continue at a much higher rate now. The National Guard is here and you can see and hear the military helicopters going here and there every minute (no exaggeration). Our friend (with the flooded bedroom) invited us to go play frisbee golf as we often do on Saturdays. Sure, why not! Well, half the course had some bad flooding, but that didn’t stop us. Afterwards, we went to Glacier (our favorite ice cream joint here) and Chris finally got his free ice cream (because it’s his birthday). We go back to the apartment for a little bit and then head out to the gym for a good chest workout (yes, my pecs are sore). As the day continues, formidable clouds begin to form. We come back, watch Castle and play video games. And have mac n cheese and ramen for dinner, good comfort food.
And now it’s Sunday. Still raining strong. Flood alerts are back. Road closures are back. Unaccounted-for toll is up to 530 people. Tragic stories on the news. I hope I can get to work tomorrow. And I truly hope everyone stays safe. I wish I could reach out and help more people, but it’s hard to get to most people right now. Chris certainly had a birthday that nobody will forget. I will stay vigilantly attached to the #boulderflood to stay in touch with everyone and all events. Please send good energy this way. And some dry weather. And despite all these horrible events, everyone reaches out to each other to help. That is what is keeping spirits up, when everything else is gone. Stay hungry and fit!
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This past Saturday night the Humane Society of Boulder Valley held its annual Puttin’ On the Leash event. The theme for the 21st year was Animals in Wonderland (influenced by the story Alice in Wonderland) and there were lots of fun costumes and decorations to play into that theme. As soon as I saw advertising on their web page and in their thrift store, I was immediately curious. I saw that it was a fundraiser and silent auction so I immediately bought us two tickets because I love auctions!
The table seating and premium seating were all sold out, so I bought general admission tickets at $60 a piece and it was quite a steal in the end. The event was catered by some great food providers and there was free liquor. It was also all you can eat and drink. So we ate a ton and drank a good amount. It was not extremely long but just the right length. We walked through the doors a bit before 6 p.m. and left around 10 p.m. For the first two hours we walked around eating and checking out all of the auctions… bidding on the ones that were interesting. We were probably some of the least wealthy individuals there so it was hard to compete with large older bankrolls but we did our best.
In the end, there wasn’t much that we really had to have with the exception of a series of paintings by Scott Kennedy about dogs (huskies/malamutes). I won one of the three and although it was my least favorite, it was Alana’s favorite, so I was happy. A lot of people immediately bought some items at a buy it now price which really ruined the spirit of the auction, in my opinion.
We also won a private tour and lunch for eight people at the Celestial Seasonings factory, an Ubooly, two salon grade haircuts, and a Moosejaw clothing package. All in all it was an expensive night but the money went to a good cause… the source of three of our little precious babies (Sajah, Nymeria, and Misty). The HSBV hoped to raise 115k and it ended up raising 370k so we are thrilled for them.
The live auction was in another world because the starting bids ranged from $1,000 to $7,500. Even though we were only interested in a few prizes, we could not compete but it was fun to watch the auction. It was a tremendously fun time and part of one of the best Saturdays of my life. Not only do we plan on returning next year but I’m going to save up for the event and buy premium seating ahead of time. Check it out if you’re in the area or just visit the HSBV to see all their adorable rescue animals! Having a pet can really help you stay hungry and fit!
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Watch out, it’s another stop on our New Jersey Easter Vacation! And of course, yes, it’s another food stop… And this time, it’s PIZZA! Who doesn’t love pizza? (Awkward for lactose intolerants…) So if you read our About section, you know I hail from California. Before I went to New York, I thought we Californians had pretty good pizza. Boy, was I wrong! Not that Californian pizza is horrible, but it just doesn’t compare to New York or New Jersey pizza. Especially, Tony’s Italian Kitchen.
It’s easy to pass up Tony’s, it’s in a tiny strip mall along with some other offices like Chris’ chiropractor and other little places. But once you discover it, it’s a gem! Luckily, Chris and his family had been getting Tony’s pizza for years, so all I had to do was tag along. The first bite I had, I was able to declare this the best pizza I’ve ever had, and trust me, I’ve had a lot of pizza. More specifically, it has the best cheese pizza. His family very often gets it to bring it home. And then I always eat too much.
So during this New Jersey Easter trip, it was our second food stop after having bagels for breakfast. We had two of our friends with us and split a large cheese pie between us. The wait was tantalizing. And then it came out to us, sizzling and hot. We always let it cool a little so the cheese can settle. And you should always have a Peach Snapple with it too. That first bite into that pizza was awesome. We hadn’t had it for six months or so, so it was that much better!
What really makes Tony’s the best is the amazing sauce. I don’t know what they do to it, but it is so fresh. It was really difficult not to scarf it down way completely fast. The crust is scrumptious and dusted to perfection. If you think you’ve had good pizza, come to Tony’s Italian Kitchen and see if you’ve really had the BEST. Cheers!
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We came across this adorable Boulder eatery while enjoying a nice warm night (compared to the winter we’ve been getting). We were actually strolling around after a dinner, wanting more food (the name is HUNGRY and Fit, remember?) and we stumbled upon this cute joint. I’ve passed it before and always wanted to step in. So we did.
As soon as I stepped in, I was reminded of my friend, Mary Kate, and her mom who owned a candy shop. Same smell, but instead of being Irish themed, this was allllll about chocolate. They had some chocolate brownie samples out (I am the absolutely sucker for samples of any kind, it’s a problem), which were delectable! I may or may not of had more than one–oops. While Chris looked over the goodies, I looked around the rest of the shop–there was so much going on.
They had every kind of chocolate you could imagine (some of it pricey, but probably because it’s all homemade) and the whole theme was centralized around the Southern Americas where cocoa comes from. Really a great experience. Eventually, after exploring the little shop (when you walk in, you can see the kitchen in the back), we decided on a hot chocolate for me and two cookies for Chris.
The hot chocolate was a mild flavor, free of any added sugars or nonsense–perfect for keeping me warm on the walk ten blocks home. The cookies were also good, we got a regular and a gluten-free, both tasted homemade. We would love to come there when they bake them fresh!
Cheers! And as always…stay hungry and fit!
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I’m going to draw upon two cultures to make up a smart food philosophy. They can either be put together or separately, whichever you choose. I simply think it is good to keep an open mind to other cultures to see how they deal with food and use the opportunity to look at our own food habits. The two cultures I will focus on are Spanish (as in from Spain) and Japanese (as in from…Japan). Let’s look.
The Spanish have many different eating habits, including a tiny breakfast, but I’m going to focus on their lunch. The Spaniards have a time called a “siesta” around noon or a little later. This means lunch time. And lunch time is a big deal in Spain. Shops will close down for a few hours and many Spaniards will go out to restaurants for a few hours for up to three courses. I’m not saying–ditch your work for three hours and go get a five-course meal for lunch, no! You can pack a big lunch, I know that I sure do.
And this more so points to the focus around the middle of the day when our metabolism is in full gear, ripping and roaring through the food we give it. In America, most of us have our biggest meal at the end of the day, when our metabolism is starting to slow down and our body is beginning to tire. This is what I want to adopt from the Spaniards. Move the biggest meal of the day to LUNCH where your metabolism has plenty of time to break everything down rather than waiting until dinner to stuff your face and leave yourself overnight to try to digest it all. The Spanish may be wild party-ers, but they sure do know how to eat.
Another polar opposite of the typical United States eating culture, however instead of time of eating it is PORTION CONTROL AND SIZE. If you don’t know, Chris and I have a big love for the Japanese culture and plan to live in Japan for a period of time pretty soon. And that means a big love for Japanese food. Now, of course, the United States has turned small Japanese portions into all-you-can-eat sushi (opposite of portion control), and we are lovers of that too. But for everyday life, everyday eating, the Japanese set a beautiful example of eating the right nutrients in the right portion size. Why do you think the Japanese obesity percentage is so much lower than the United States’?
Protein. Vegetable. Carb. Have you heard of the bento box? Click here for an excellent blog with tons of creative bento boxes. A bento box is basically a Japanese lunch box, usually packing in rice, some kind of vegetable, and some kind of protein (usually fish or tofu). It isn’t very big, and has no high fructose corn syrup packed into it. So instead of jumping to the supersize (a beloved American meal size), let’s try the “Bento” size. It has all the nutrients we need without stuffing ourselves to the brim. And maybe we’ll just drop the obesity rate to a more reasonable number for the US.
So let’s open our minds and our mouths and try different habits from different cultures. Who knows–it could be your next favorite thing. I sure know that I’m transfixed by the bento box. I love eating, but I love eating without feeling extremely full afterwards as well. So try it out! Cheers! Salud! 万歳 !
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