Waffles and Dinges

Ever heard of a Dinge? Me neither. Here’s a description of a dinge.

Did that help? Me neither.

Waffles and Dinges are incredible food carts/trucks that are located in a few different spots around Manhattan, but almost always can be found at the south end of Central Park. The first time I tried them I couldn’t believe how scrumptious these waffles were. They are baked to perfection with a slightly crispy coating (of what I guess is syrup) lightly coating them. They are then topped with powdered sugar and either fruit or ice cream.

Not only are the waffles really warm and tasty, but also are served by very friendly guys who are smiling and listening to jazz and swing style music. The cooks are so friendly that they even gave me a free “wafleini” after Belle knocked mine out of my hands.

 

Oh, what’s that? You’ve never heard of a wafelini? Well let me explain. A Wafelini is a mini waffle on a stick surrounded by pieces of banana and strawberries and topped with powdered sugar.

 

Hungry for more? A “Brussels Waffle” is a large light and crispy waffle. It is “the mother of all waffles” and first came to New York for the 1964 World Fair.

Then, there’s the WMD. This Waffle of Massive Deliciousness is a waffle topped with basically any toppings you desire: ice cream, walnuts, bananas, nutella, strawberries, chocolate fudge, maple syrup, and much more.

This food truck isn’t exactly a healthy snack, but trust me, it’s worth the extra calories. Plus, you can just take a nice jog through the park after. No? A walk maybe? Well, there are always other modes of transportation conveniently waiting next to the Waffles and Dinges cart.

 

 

Cheers!

Yoga in the Park

NYC offers a lot of free activities during the summer. There are movies played on big screens in the park, puppet shows, dance shows, theatre shows, and numerous classes. The majority of these events take place in the big city parks. I had planned on taking advantage of all these free events this summer, but I did not consider the fact that I was going to be out of town over half of the summer.

All of a sudden it’s the end of July and another school year is creeping up on me. ( I swear that summer vacation is much more fun as an adult….although, they also fly by much faster.) Today, I decided to take advantage of the summer in the city before it’s gone and time to break out my Autumn wardrobe. My first venture into free park-classes was a yoga class at Bryant Park. The only thing I knew about this class is that it starts at 6pm, it’s free, and yoga mats are provided. I was worried that either a) no one would be there and I’d be stuck in a one-on-one instruction with a yogi, or b)  that a million people would be there and I wouldn’t have space or a mat. I decided to get there a half hour early to check out the scene.

When I arrived, there were about 50 people spread out among a couple hundred mats. Lucky for me, there was an empty mat in the very front row and center. I sat down next to a middle-age woman who was also trying the class for the first time. She was actually on vacation, and it turns out she works out every day no matter what, and especially on vacation. I told her she was crazy, but I admired her dedication.

Class began when a petite guy with a ponytail picked up a microphone and began telling us how beautiful it is to being doing yoga on the grass in the middle of the city. “Open your ears to the sounds of the city while connecting your body to the Earth and show your love for both.” This guy was a really good yoga teacher, but used a little too much “yoga-ese” for my taste.

My serious face

I love yoga because it makes me feel relaxed, happy, and like I’m doing something really wise and mature, but often I wish it was silent yoga. The corny phrases are just so ridiculous that I often laugh out loud. I’ll look around expecting others to give me that “I know right?! Who talks like that!”  glance, but instead I get the “What the hell are you laughing at?” glare.

Some of my favorite phrase used today were… “Soften your skin”, “Melt your bones into the Earth”, and “Spread the wings of your heart.”

I mean…seriously, that’s funny. Right?

About halfway through yoga…somewhere between downward dog and chair pose… I glanced around the park and realized there were about 400 people in the yoga class! In front of me, there were hundreds of people taking pictures, or just sitting in the park chairs watching. Who could blame them? The whole thing looked pretty impressive and bizarre. It would be impossible for any tourist or local to walk by the park and not notice hundreds of people chanting and moving in sync.

By the time we bowed our heads and said “namaste”, I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. It’s rare that I feel calm any given day, but to be laying in the grass at 6 pm, one block away from Time Square, eyes shut, and have nothing but positive thoughts running through my mind is an incredibly unique experience. I’m positive I’ll try this again, and hopefully some other classes too. Maybe tai chi? Painting in the park? Or Kub!?!?!

I mentioned in a Hilton Head post  that our family LOVES to play a Swedish game called Kub. Much to our surprise, Kub classes and games are offered right in the middle of Bryant Park! NYC is constantly surprising me with the many adventures it has to offer.

No one can ever complain about being bored in this town. Money or not, there is ALWAYS something to do.

Cheers and Namaste!

Tales of a Skinny Girl

Happy in my own skin.

Skinny. Fat. Healthy. Strong. Obese. Chubby. Thin. Fit. Plump. Scrawny. Anorexic.

Strong words. Fighting words. Dangerous even.

I’ve thought about writing on this topic for a while now, but every time I begin to brainstorm something scares me away. Mostly, it’s the fear of being judged. Also, it’s the fear of offending. Weight and health is such a sensitive issue, and it’s frightening to share my opinions with the world, but after last night I finally feel motivated enough to jump in and cast fear to the side.

I am not a doctor, psychologist, nutritionist, or personal trainer so obviously nothing I say here is a FACT, so please do not get upset if say something wrong, I do not intend to offend.

I am very fortunate in that I come from a family of thin people. I am naturally thin, and growing up I could eat whatever the hell I wanted and still get called “a beanpole”, “skinny as rail”, “anorexic”, and constantly heard “that girl needs to eat something”, “put some meat on those bones”, and “just wait until you hit puberty, you won’t always be able to eat like that!”.

As a child, I became really insecure about being too skinny. All my friends constantly pointed out my boney frame, and boys certainly paid no attention to my flat chest and tiny body. In middle school I decided to gain weight. I ate like a beast. Bacon, cheeseburgers, nachos, hotdogs, fries, and chips were all a big part of my diet. I would even eat a large snack after school, dinner at my best friend’s house, dinner at my own house, and dessert.

I never gained an ounce.

In high school, I completely did a 180. I began obsessing over models, celebrities, and fitness magazines. I thought if I couldn’t be curvy, I’d be toned. This became an obsession, and not a healthy one.

I was young and stupid, but this was a typical day and diet for me during my junior year in high school:

Breakfast: a half cup of Special K (measured out) no milk, 16oz of water, coffee

10am: half of a granola bar, 16oz of water

Lunch: an orange, a few nuts, and maybe a whole-wheat roll. If I was feeling extra heavy, or an event was coming up (like prom), I would just eat an orange, 16oz of water

2pm: other half of granola bar, 16 oz of water

3pm: dance team practice, water

4-6pm: dance classes at studio, more water

6-9pm: work at grocery store, REALLY have to pee

Dinner: 1 cup of salad with less than a tablespoon of vinaigrette dressing…force feed self another bottle of water

9pm: homework and study, hate water

11pm: 100 crunches, and 50 push-ups, one more glass of water and one more bathroom break

By the time spring came, I was VERY thin, and people began to notice. Mostly I received lots of compliments on how skinny I looked, and how I’m so lucky. I liked the way I looked, and I loved the jealousy over my skinny frame.

But, I hated how I felt. Everything I put in my mouth made me feel guilty. I weighed myself constantly. I was exhausted and unhappy, yet thrilled when a size zero was too big. Gaining half a pound was the end of the world. Worst of all, I became very judgmental of people heavier than me. (Although, secretly jealous of the curvier girls who were happy…why can’t I be happy with how I look???) Typing this now makes me sick…

Miraculously, I was able to wise up in college. I had become so obsessed with being fit that eventually all the fitness books and magazines I was reading made me realize that starving myself was really unhealthy and stupid…two things I refused to be.

My family may be “thin” but they are not healthy. Heart disease runs very high in my family, and soon my obsession to be skinny, became an obsession with working out and eating healthy. No need to go into detail here, except to say that after getting rid of a boyfriend who was really bad for myself self-esteem, confiding in my best friends and a doctor, and being honest with myself (admitting anxiety and obsessive problems…blah blah blah), I found happiness.

Being happy makes it really easy to eat without feeling guilty. I still eat healthy and work out almost daily, but I am no longer obsessive, and allow myself french fries and tacos without worrying about the scale. In fact, I NEVER weight myself anymore.

My story is not so dramatic or life changing, which is why I have always debated sharing it, but I need you to understand my history before reading this next part.

Last night I came across this article. Yahoo news posted a story about a popular young blogger who is pro-anorexic and spends her time writing tips about staying skinny; how to be the skinniest out of all your co-workers and friends, measuring your thighs daily, and pointing out all the celebs who have gained weight….any amount of weight.  Her most recent and debatable post is over Kate Upton, who she finds repulsive

I found this so odd…Kate Upton is beautiful, sure she’s not super skinny, but who has the nerve to call her a “fatty” and a “piggie”?! I was intrigued…and spent the next two hours reading her blog:  “Skinny Gossip”.  I HAD to find out what this website was all about…

Well, turns out that “Skinny Girl” has decided to make some changes to her blog, due to the fury she faced after her Kate Upton post went viral. She explained that she has always felt pressure being naturally thin, that she is really upset and disgusted at our nation’s obesity epidemic, and that her blog is “intentionally outrageous” and meant to “provoke controversy”.

K. I get that. As previously stated, I, too, was affected when being called “too skinny”. I, too, take a little offense when people say things like “guys prefer curves”…a) I’ll likely never have curves, and b) I want to be considered sexy and voluptuous too!

Yet, still…something did not feel right. I continued to read her posts and forums to get a better idea of what this blog was all about. I have to say; I found it uncomfortable and very negative.

There were SO many articles about “fat” people who are called lots of cruel and hurtful names.

It’s bullying. It’s not nice. It’s hurtful. It’s a dangerous place for my 16-year old self. Thank God, this didn’t exist when I was younger. I am positive I would have spent hours studying the pages and dwelling over the fact that no matter how much I starved myself I would still never be as tall or clear-faced as these models!

The absolute worst part to me is that plus-size models/people are considered fat or ugly, and unhealthy on this blog.

Being a fitness, nutrition, health freak, and a former aerobics teacher I can tell you that we are not all made to be stick-skinny. NOTHING is wrong with being naturally thin or skinny. But, I know some plus-size women who workout like fiends, eat healthy, run marathons, and are basically kick-ass people but are NOT skinny. That’s just how God made their beautiful bodies, and that is OKAY, in fact it’s BEAUTIFUL.

Beauty looks different to everyone, thank God. There are people who find curves sexy, people who find bony sexy, and people who find anything with boobs sexy.

I, too, am concerned with the obesity epidemic. I get incensed when I see parents giving their toddler chocolate bars and cookies all day, and fail to introduce fruits and veggies. However, bullying is not the answer. Bullying is never the answer. Calling people names, posting their pics online, and announcing how much weight they’ve gained is going to cause hurt feelings, pain, and self-esteem issues.

I do not intend to call out this blogger, or for anyone to send her any hate mail. (Hopefully the harsh comments will stop with her new changes.) I just felt compelled to share my opinions on this very touchy topic. Really, I should thank her for giving me the courage to finally share my own story.

Now, a little older, more mature, wiser, I strive to be healthy, toned, positive, less-judgmental of others, and be MORE supportive, compassionate, understanding, and helpful.

Now, go for a jog, eat a healthy meal, take a look in the mirror at your body, curves, bones, bumps, scars, zits, big noses, and stretch marks and say, “Damn, I’m hot!” Then, remind yourself to be kind to others, even if they do not look like you.

Cheers!

Side Effects

Trying to prevent some paint fume side effects...

Because I am a panic-attack having hypochondriac I try very hard to not listen to people when they discuss illnesses, symptoms, ailments, medications, pains, etc., etc. This is not always possible though. Every once in a while I am cornered by the casual acquaintance who I do not know well enough to ask them to politely “shut up”, yet know too well to just walk away and ignore them.

When these situations arise, I do everything in my power to keep eye contact with the person telling me their horrific story while singing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” in my head to tune out whatever it is they’re saying. I think I need a new song though, because this technique rarely works.

Even though I am well aware that their sickly stories will have a negative affect on me, my ears perk up, and I subconsciously listen for any symptom I may have that relates to their story. It’s a sickness! So, after I listen to the scary tale of the person who had a twitching eye that turned out to be a rare virus that ate their brain, my eye starts immediately twitching. Awesome!

I have been mulling over this predicament to try to find a solution, which I haven’t, but instead discovered an optimistic observation. SOMETIMES, people’s stories have a positive influence over my obsessive behavior. (Keyword: sometimes)

A few examples:

– In high school, while working at the local grocery store as a cashier, I was reading one of the trashy magazines in the checkout aisle as I waited for customers. In this particular magazine was an article about heart disease. It runs in my family, and I was curious about it so I hid behind the candy display so I could read it without being disturbed.

At the juvenile age of 16 I was not as wise and mature as I am now, and did not know better than to read about terrifying things like heart disease. WELL, this article suggests a healthy diet of almonds, salmon, spinach, sweet potatoes, whole wheat, and more to ward off heart disease.

Instantly, I became one of the healthiest eating high schoolers you’d ever meet, and it has stuck with me.

– Not too long after I changed my diet, I visited a gym with a friend and happened to glance at a brochure that listed benefits of exercising regularly. You know what these benefits include???? Supposedly it decreases your risk of basically every disease there is. Working out everyday is like adding years to your life, your healthy, happy life. At least that’s what this brochure said. And, you know who still works out at least 5 times a week? That’s right, this girl! (Insert two thumbs here.)

– About twice a year, I decide to give up coffee. This is usually when I find myself drinking 6 cups a day. Fiance tells me have a problem. I says I can stop drinking coffee any time I want! He then says, “uh, that’s exactly what an addict would say.” This all ends with me promising to quit drinking coffee… and failing.

A few months ago, I was considering giving up coffee again. I am not oblivious to the fact that coffee can make someone more anxious, and I was considering giving it up to see if it would improve my anxiety levels. About one day later, Zoey mentioned in conversation that she recently read in article about coffee:

“Did you know drinking coffee every day can lower your risk of cancer?”

I did not know that Zoey. Now is a perfect opportunity to formally thank you for giving me an excuse to NEVER stop drinking coffee. Words cannot express my gratitude.

– Zoey has actually helped me out twice… One habit that I’ve been trying to form is flossing everyday. I HATE flossing, and flossing every night is equivalent to trying to give up coffee. I mentioned this to Zoey one night at the movies, and she said that a friend of hers, who is related to a dentist or something, said that not flossing can lead to brain damage! I have no clue if this has any truth to it. (I’m too scared to look it up), but I have flossed every night since. Thanks again, Zoey!

– Lastly, I work with a guy at who is eccentric, charismatic, and awesome in so many ways. He’s a lot like the annoying, yet sweet, brother I never had. One thing this “guy” does daily is drink a “magic juice”. It’s actually an organic woodroot tonic, but I prefer to call it “magic juice”. He told me once that if you drink a shot of it every morning, you’d never get sick. (He NEVER gets sick.) I tasted it, it was terrible, and told him I’d rather take a shot of whisky every morning.

Within a month of trying it, I got a cold, a sinus infection, and TWO rounds of strep throat. After the second bout of strep I went to him and said I wanted a bottle of his “magic juice” stat! I was willing to try ANYTHING. You know what? I haven’t been sick since I’ve started drinking it! I may become the new tonic Jehovah witness girl.

Hate being sick? This does the trick!

To sum this up, I am extremely impressionable. Basically, if you want me to do anything just tell me it will cure all cancers.

Soooo if someone could inform me that spending half of every paycheck at Sephora will make me invincible that would be great.

Thanks,

Hil