Fighting an Addiction

Anyone who spends time with me knows that I am addicted to sugar. Checkout this post from my birthday, when I was showered with lots of goodies. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say I am addicted to junk food. On any given day, I consume a Venti Peppermint Hot Chocolate and chocolate croissant from Starbucks, cookies and chips with lunch and for an afternoon snack, and plenty of ice-cream after dinner. The other night I ate a whole container of Ben & Jerry’s Cookies and Milk ice-cream and felt so disgusted with myself, I decided to go sugar-free and see what happened.

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Here’s something about me: I’m game for anything. I signed up for a marathon on a whim. I like traveling and exploring new things. I enjoy supporting friends in their creative pursuits. I don’t mind eating out or having a drink by myself. I spent the night, away from my tour group, with the Maasai tribe in Kenya. They offered me a cup of cow blood to drink and I said no. You gotta draw the line somewhere!

I’ve read research indicating that one of the best things you can do for your health is to refrain from eating sugar. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try.

Today is day 8 of going sugar-free. I can’t say I feel any healthier, but it is nice to think of weekend plans that don’t revolve around dessert. I will say that so much of my diet is allocated to sugar and fat, that the first couple days I was practically starving. Entrees alone weren’t cutting it because I usually added dessert to every meal, resulting in me feeling faint by the end of the day. I’ve had to eat a lot of heavier items, like pasta and fried rice. I told myself I’d give it a go for a week and see what happens. At this point, I can go for another week.

Even though I am not trying to aggressively lose weight, I’ve lost 2 pounds in the past week. I gained 35 pounds with my pregnancy and figured if it took me 9 months to pack it on, I could give myself 9 months to lose it. It’s been 15 weeks since I gave birth and I now have 8 pounds left to go.

Going sugar-free for life is not an option for me. I love ice-cream too much. But curious how long I’ll stay down this path. Anyone want to tempt me with alfajores or red velvet cheesecake?

Would love to hear from anyone who has tried going sugar-free or who limits their sugar intake in the comments.

I Was Not Born to Be a Mom

I don’t identify with the cliche “I was born to be a mom.” I thought once I’d given birth, I would feel differently, but I don’t. I was born to work: read, research, analyze, communicate, report, present, troubleshoot, manage, consult.

I’ll be the first to admit that the first 3 months of mothering have been tough. Clearly being a mother is extremely rewarding, but spending every hour of every day trying to figure out how to soothe your crying baby (with very limited help from family or sitters or nannies) was excruciating.

It’s worth noting that one time when we hired a night nanny, Franco cried the whole time, even though the night nanny said she had a solid record of babies never crying around her. After that, Dean and I agreed we would no longer hire help with the exception of the full-time nanny who is caring for Franco now that I’m back at work. The point is that even so-called baby whisperers don’t always have the answers. Sometimes it really is mom and dad who know best.

And what’s best for this mommy is working full-time.

A lot of women told me to take as much time off work as possible. I took 13 weeks off post-partum. In retrospect, I should have returned to the office sooner. I prefer the adult interaction. I am energized by being productive career-wise. I thrive on the consistent schedule—even if it means less sleep. Plus I feel lost without the paper version of the Wall Street Journal!

I feel, obviously, like an outlier as I have never heard anyone say, “I was not born to be a mom.” Or “I was born to be a worker!” It’s scary to admit that I would rather spend the majority of my day in the office rather than with my child, but it’s also liberating. I’m sure there must be other mothers out there who feel the way I do. Isn’t that all we want? To hear from others who can relate to our own experiences? Wouldn’t it have been helpful for our beloved San Francisco comedian Robin Williams to know that many of us struggle from depression or whatever demons that we have, and that no one should feel alone in this zig-zagged journey of life?

There’s no shame in being/feeling different as there is much to learn from our collective and diverse stories.

Just because I wasn’t born to be a mom, doesn’t mean I won’t be a good mother. I have no doubt I will be, mainly because I myself was raised by a great mother. But also because I’m doing what I need to do to be my best self.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Here are some things I’ve been obsessing over lately.

harmless harvestHarmless Harvest 100% raw coconut water. It’s so refreshing and tasty. Omigoodness, I can guzzle this stuff like it’s going out of style. It must come straight from the fountain of youth. It’s expensive, but worth it. I get it delivered from Amazon Fresh. $2.09 for 8 ounces. You can also find it at Whole Paycheck. I mean, Whole Foods. Must try.

game of thrones seriesAren’t we all sad that Game of Thrones Season 4 has come to an end? I figured since I was an English major and not a Film major, I might as well dig into the books. I bought the whole series (5 books) and I’m currently making my way through book 1. It’s a great way to multi-task while breastfeeding! I should clarify that I bought hard copies of the books. I still haven’t made the switch to e-reading. I just can’t do it.

dr. bronner's soapIf you haven’t tried Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, you have to check it out. It makes your skin tingle! When was the last time your skin tingled? The first time Dean used it, he said he felt like he was in a spa. You gotta be careful with your private parts, though. It’s less tingle and more pants on fire. Also, there’s all this random text on the label. It’s kinda like looking at the wrapping around your In-n-Out burger to see what bible verse you got.

If I were rich, I would get a thai massage every day. I got one today. It was like the best workout ever, especially since I haven’t exercised in…shit…almost a year? For those of you who are in the Bay Area, I went to Balance Thai Massage in the Mission. All their services are 20% for their grand opening, plus I bought their Yelp Deal. All in all, I paid $45 for a 60-minute combination thai massage. I got stretched and prodded. It hurts so good!

hotel tonightHere’s an app where I spend several minutes every day dreaming about a staycation. Hotel Tonight. Have you tried it? Every morning at 9am, hotels release rooms at discounted rates. I could stare at pictures of swimming pools and spas all day long. MAMA NEEDS A VACAY!

What have you been obsessing over lately?

At Your Fingertips: Services that Make Life Easier

pointI wonder whether it’s easier to be a parent now than it was a generation ago. When my mom looks at all the baby-related items around the house, she laughs, “We didn’t have any of this when I had you.” We’re talking: woombies, hooded towels, a shusher, a diaper genie, a UPF 50+ sun protection car seat shade, night vision video monitor. I mean, our diapers even tell you at-a-glance whether or not your baby has peed. Before I was a parent, I used to shake my head at all the crap babies accumulated even before they were born. I thought the average registry was excessive. But I’ve changed my tune. Every single item has made our life easier someway, somehow.

Another integral aspect of day-to-day living now versus then is the internet! As long as I have access to the interweb, I can live in a bubble and have everything delivered on-demand. I find it hard to believe how easy life is these days. Here are the services that I use.

Amazon Prime

Who doesn’t have an Amazon Prime account these days? Books, vitamins, baby registry gifts, diapers, toiletries delivered to your doorstep in 2 days. Has anyone tried the new Prime Music included in the membership? Lots of good popular tunes. I added a bunch of lullabies for the baby.

Cost: $99/year

Amazon Fresh

Same-day or next-day delivery of groceries (with minimum $35 purchase), currently serving Seattle and California. If Amazon Fresh comes to your city, take advantage of the free 30 day promo. I’m in love with it. Well worth the cost. Mainly, you don’t have to waste your time going to the grocery store, finding parking, and standing in line to pay. Because time is money! I don’t even think the groceries are marked up that much. My litmus is a box of Lean Cuisines which are $2 on Amazon Fresh. I used to buy Lean Cuisines by the cart full when they were on sale at Safeway for $2 or $2.50.

Cost: $299/year (includes Amazon Prime)

Caviar

This service serves all the major metropolitan cities. It delivers from a whole bevy of restaurants such as Barbacco, Cha Cha Cha, La Mediterranee, and Ramen Underground in SF.

Cost: Delivery charge

Instacart

I think Instacart is more wide-spread geographically, serving SF, NYC, Chicago, Boston, Austin, etc. You select items from various grocers (i.e., Costco, Whole Foods, Safeway) and you’re charged a delivery fee. I used to be a huge fan of Instacart when they partnered with Trader Joe’s, but now they don’t. Insert big sad face here.

Munchery

I know there are a bunch of food-delivery sites, but this one is probably the most popular here in SF. You choose items from a daily menu of dishes made fresh that day (sides, salads, entrees, desserts, kids stuff, desserts, fresh-pressed juices, coffee, wine), then schedule the delivery for that evening. There are instructions labeled on each item on how to warm it up (usually a couple minutes in the microwave or oven).

Cost: There’s a delivery cost, but I opted for $39/year for free delivery and no minimum order, which means I can buy one of their chocolate chip cookies and they’ll deliver it to me that evening.

TaskRabbit

Post any task (i.e., cleaning, moving, handyman, personal assistance) online and errand-runners (i.e., TaskRabbits) will bid for the job. Choose based on price, qualifications, or reviews.

Task: I’ve gotten so many hand-me-down clothes for the baby. I was stressed just looking at all these boxes in the nursery. I posted for someone to sort through and organize the clothes. I chose someone who is a professional organizer. She came and sorted all the newborn and 0-3 month clothes into a dresser, then organized the rest of the clothes into batches based on age. It was such a relief to have that one task done.

I LOVE TASK RABBIT!

Cost: TaskRabbits will bid for the task and indicate their hourly rate.

Wondersitter

There are lots of child care sites in the Bay Area, including BananaberryCare, SittercityUrbansitter. I’ve only used Wondersitter, though. I like how their sitters are heavily vetted, and they are the only agency that uses Trustline, the background check service mandated by California. Book a babysitter and they’ll come to you. I’ve only used this service once and the sitter was excellent. Franco was so at ease with her.

Cost: $15 booking fee to the vendor, then an hourly rate paid to the sitter.

Alright, what sites/services am I missing?

Have you tried any of these?

Independence!

tim howard“I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!”

Who’s got World Cup fever? Even though the USA got knocked out of the Round of 16, you know what? We are all winners. Happy Independence Day to the greatest nation in the world! I’m so proud to live in America, and not repressive Iran or economically unstable Greece or even England with their monarchical system based on the divine right of kings.

A couple stats I’ve heard flying around:

  • - More Americans are watching the World Cup than the Superbowl.
  • - More Americans purchased tickets to the World Cup games than any other country, with the exception of the host country Brazil.

My husband and I are clashing when it comes to which countries we are rooting for. His heritage is British and Italian, so he is rooting for all the European countries. I love Central and South America, having traveled to Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, so clearly I am rooting for the countries on the Western Hemisphere!

Here are some awesome videos:

The American fans going wild in Brazil when Will Ferrell shows up.

I can’t get enough of this hilarious video of Jason Sudeikis as an English soccer coach.

And lastly, unless you don’t recognize him up above signing autographs. That’s a picture of the amazing USA goal keeper Tim Howard who plays for Everton. We saw him when Everton came into town and hosted an event for their fans at Buca di Beppo. Dean is a huge fan!

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