Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Olympics Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony featured Russian ballet, something the country is famous for and is closely connected to figure skating. The next summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro in two years and the next winter Olympics will be in South Korea. Russia won the most medals, followed by Team USA and Norway.

This year was the first year that the U.S. women’s bobsleighs got medals at the Olympics, very proud that three were African-American!
Elana Meyers (Silver), Lauryn Williams (Silver), and Aja Evans (Bronze)

Elana is the first American woman with two bobsled medals. She graduated from George Washington University with a BS in Exercise Science and a Master's degree in Sports Management in 2011. While at GW she played for the softball team. Her teammate Lauryn only started bobsledding 6 months ago! She is the fifth Olympian to medal in different events at the Summer and Winter Games and the first woman to win medals at both! She is a three-time Olympian in track and field. In track she won a gold medal at the 2012 London Games and a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Games.

In their first training run together at Sochi they crashed into a wall at the end of the track and severely damaged their sled, but luckily they were able to fix it overnight. Aja Evans is the sister of Fred Evans who plays for the Minnesota Vikings football team.

Did you see the huge nesting doll on the slopestyle course? Otherwise known as a Matryoshka or babushka doll. I thought it was pretty cool!

I bought the doll below when I went to Russia back in high school. It's a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. I opened mine up to see how many there were and was surprised to see there was a completely different nesting doll inside! I must have bartered it with someone else. lol I remember I picked this design because I thought the gold looked very modern and elegant instead of the typical doll that is painted in traditional Russian folkloric dress.








There’s one guy with a really interesting story! Prince Hubertus of Hohenlohe-Langenburg was born in Mexico to European nobility but later moving back to Europe as a child. Since he kept his Mexican passport he’s able to compete as a Mexican alpine skier since he also founded the Mexican ski federation. At 55 years old, he has competed in six Olympics yet has never won a medal. He said that the “only reason he continues to participate is because it seems that the "exotic skiers" (those from countries without a tradition in winter sports) are disappearing, and that he wants to keep that tradition alive.” He also said that, “if you can’t win, at least by stylish.” And this year his costume was amazing! He dressed up as a Mariachi! 

Going with tradition, Kellogg’s has honored winning Olympians by putting them on the cover of their limited edition cereal box. This year was the first year of the Freestyle skiing slopestyle competition and the three medal winners were all American. Pictured here are Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper. Team USA members only get the silver jacket when they win a medal. 
Figure Skater Ashley Wagner posted this pic on her Instagram page of her ombre nails with a flag accent nail.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Lentil Cashew Cakes


I found this amazing veggie burger recipe that has now become my new protein rich breakfast! It freezes great too so I make a batch for the whole week. I used Trader Joe's Steamed and Ready to Eat Lentils and TJs Just Cashew Meal which is just ground up cashews. The nutritional yeast is what gives this recipe flavor plus it's high in protein, B-12 and amino acids. This was a super easy recipe of just mixing things since the ingredients in the cakes are already cooked, you just crisp the outsides on a frying pan to warm the cakes.


Lentil Cashew Cakes
makes 5 cakes

Ingredients:
1½ cups cooked lentils
1 cup cashew meal
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ onion, diced
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt (optional)

Directions:

1. Empty the lentils into a large mixing bowl and mash them. I used a meat pounder.
2. In another bowl mix the cashews meal, nutritional yeast and spices. I do this in a separate bowl to make sure the spices are evenly distributed. Then combine both bowls.
3. Chop and fry the onion, then fold into the mixture.
4. Form the mixture into cakes, about three inches wide and a quarter to a half inch thick. Add the cakes to the hot pan and cook 2 minutes on each side.
5. Remove cakes from skillet and allow to cool slightly (to help the cakes bind a bit) before serving.
6. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt on top.

Nutritional Analysis 
5 servings
246 calories, 13g of protein,  7g of fiber

Recipe credit: Lunchboxbunch 
                                                                                             

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Rihanna Effect!

 

Look who's on the cover of Vogue magazine for the third time! Rihanna also released a new song with Shakira and just celebrated her birthday in Aspen. I've noticed that my blog has had a ton of visitors lately checking out my posts on Rihanna. Just look at my top 5 blog posts on the right side bar. So I thought I should discuss her new magazine article, here are some interesting quotes from it. She's left LA and lives in New York full time now and even walks the streets.
Rihanna has had as many number-one singles (thirteen) as Michael Jackson in Billboard's Hot 100. It took Michael Jackson nearly 23 years. It's taken Rihanna seven. She's sold 50 million albums and 180 million single, and won six Grammys.
In the fashion world she has inspired a very, very loose mix of random items. Her style is oversized mens jackets which she says is the backbone of her wardrobe. She says "You will never be stylish if you don't take risks." Then the classic Rihanna combination is sweatpants and heels which she got from dance rehearsal.
Rihanna is about 5'8 tall but she's wearing four inch pointy-heeled Saint Laurent black suede booties with leather ties wrapped around her ankles. She says, "It's not about pain. It's about the commitment. I say to myself, 'I want to look like this,' and worry about the pain later."
 "If I'm wearing a top, I don't wear a bar," she says. "If I'm wearing a bra, I just wear a bra."


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hockey at the Olympics

Oddly enough I've been watching a lot of Ice Hockey during lunch at work. Either in the gym when I walk on the treadmill or yesterday when we had a group lunch in the conference room to watch. Did you know that the ice rink in Olympics Hockey is larger than the NHL? I guess the NHL doesn’t want to have to remove prime seating to make for a longer rink. Pretty much your team is as good as your goalie.

I have to say it’s pretty neat to see the helmets with ponytails! The women’s team has won five national championships but even during those seasons they were getting maybe 500 people in the arena unlike the men who had a huge following. So it's really only during the Olympics that they get a big spotlight. The woman's ice hockey team won a Silver at the Olympics but you should have seen the look of disappointment and tears on their faces, you would have thought they were attending someone's funeral. I played on my school's middle school basketball team for like a minute, so I can't say I understand their team's mentality over this silver medal. They're such fantastic athletes yet they feel that winning silver means they lost.
 "We didn't train as hard as we could for second place," U.S. women's hockey captain Meghan Duggan.


In the Men's Hockey Canada won the Gold and Switzerland won the Bronze. The Russians haven't won a hockey medal at the last three Olympics. Russian President Putin said if they don't win a gold medal this time the $50 billion he spent on the Olympics would be wasted. This is a man who not only sports a six-pack abs but presently plays hockey several times a month. "Some even think the men's ice hockey defeat is one of the biggest Olympic disasters in Russia's history." But the Russians won the most medals in Figure Skating.



Alex Ovechkin, captain of the Washington Capitals Hockey Team (where he's played for the past 10 years) played for the Russian team in the Olympics for the second time. He scored only one goal in the during the Olympics, none in the final four games. When the USA Mens' team played the Russian ice hockey, the USA won 3-2. In case you’re wondering the NHL season is on a brief hiatus for the Olympics. If you’re a video gamer, you should know that he’s the cover athlete of 2K Sports hockey simulation video game NHL 2K10, as well as the cover athlete of EA Sports NHL 07. Ovechkin comes from an athletic family, his father was a professional hockey player in Russia and his mother won two Olympic gold medals while competing for the Soviet women's basketball team at two summer Olympics. Unfortunately his father underwent emergency heart surgery this week in Sochi but his family didn’t tell Alex for 3 days until after Russia had been eliminated from the Olympic tournament.



  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Even More Olympics Figure Skating!

I've been obsessed with watching the figure skating! This week staying up late to watch all the coverage. The Today show took us backstage to show the manicure station and they were giving family members American flag designs on their nails which looked pretty neat! Wednesday night I saw that Gracie Gold (on left) also had an accent flag nail during her performance.

I  liked the bold yellow choice Ashley Wagner went with which she's worn for competitions before.



My favorite costume this week was Korea's Yuma Kim's beautiful olive green dress, you don't see that color very often. She's one's the richest athletes in the world but donates to natural disasters in Asia. She personally petitioned for the next Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea.






 One thing I've wondered about is why Russian skater Yulia Lipnitskaya  has a regular ear rub from her coach every time before she goes on the ice. Apparently it's a common technique used in Russia to hit pressure points and reduce stress.








I noticed that the American skaters are so competitive, anything less than the top 3 places the look on their face was disappointment. But when the French skater Mae Berenice Meite below got 8th place both her and her coach were ecstatic!
 
 Check out the look on  Yuma Kim, not happy to be "only" Silver.

 




Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentine’s Healthy Breakfast


This year Valentine's Day ended up on a Friday and on a 3-day weekend, score! Over the weekend I made this Blueberry French Toast Casserole. It's so delicious! It's very important what bread you use. You want to use a low calorie, low sugar, healthy bread. Normally I like my french toast with French Brioche which I would go special to a bakery to get, but not for this recipe. Unsweetened almond milk has less sugar, less calories, less carbs, less fat, and more fiber than cows milk.This recipe freezes great too so you can save some for next weekend.

Clean Eating Blueberry French Toast Casserole
(Makes 6 servings)

Ingredients:
6 cups cubed, whole grain bread
8 egg whites (I use Abbotsford cage free liquid egg whites)
1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
¼  cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. almond extract (adds a nice flavor to it)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh blueberries

Directions:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, almond milk, honey, extracts and cinnamon. Whisk well.
  2. Oil a baking dish (about 9 x 13), and fill it with the bread.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture over the bread and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes, mixing once or twice to be sure all parts of the bread are moistened.
  4. Mix in the blueberries.
  5. Bake the casserole at 350 F. for about 45 minutes or until there is no longer any liquid between the bread.
  6. Cool 5 minutes then serve.

Recipe credit: Gracious Pantry  


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

I wanted to show you how I celebrated Valentine's Day this year.

I'm big on themed dish towels and change mine throughout the year according to the season. So this month I'm using my new Valentine themed dish towels. I bought two sets because I only liked one towel from each set. For the two that I didn't like, one towel has red coffee mugs and says "love you latte" and the other one has the word love all over it. If anyone wants them let me know.

I made my sweetie a coupon book for things we can do together.


I got a nude colored kimono because I'm not a fuchsia kind of girl, love my soft beigey light pinks.


I painted a gold heart on my nails. It's taken me awhile to find the perfect red shade for my skin tone. I know everyone loves OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress but it never looked good on me. For my hands I'm wearing Rekha and on my toes I wear a brighter color Sooki.

I changed the message on my chalkboard to this:

I saw Kevin Hart's new movie About Last Night. If you look at my Popular Posts list on the right sidebar, my post about Kevin's last movie is one of my top 5 posts. This movie was about dating in Chicago and follows two couples throughout the year. It co-stars Michael Ealy (pictured below) who seems to be in every Black movie these days. lol It's a funny movie and great for a Valentine's Day date.


Tosca Reno wrote a wonderful post for Valentine's Day:
Eating Clean is a lifestyle, a journey! Embarking on this lifestyle change includes everyone around you: your family, your friends, even your acquaintances. Seeing as its Valentine's Day, I want to focus on the relationship between Eating Clean and your partner. This lifestyle choice can prove to be quite a challenge for couples who don't see eye-to-eye about healthy food and a healthy limit of activity. For other couples this can be the foundation of their relationship; a choice that truly bonds them together; a union of love for Clean food, sweat and iron! Either way there are always ups and downs in every relationship – healthy or not.
I made her recipe for Pomegranate Fizz – 2 oz. Pomegranate juice, 1/2 to 1 oz. Triple sec or other orange liqueur, 5 oz. Chilled champagne, squeeze of fresh lemon juice, 6-8 pomegranate seeds with grated lemon rind (zest).


This year I didn't bake my usual Valentine's Day cookies or make chocolate covered strawberries because I didn't want the day focused on sugar. The only dessert we had was a couple heart shaped macarons because I love their pillowy deliciousness and aren't too bad calorie wise. We went out to a new Italian restaurant that doesn't serve table bread and I ordered a half serving of pasta that came with edible flowers on top!

I also just received my shipment of the new Shakeology flavor and that has been the best part of this month, how much I'm loving Strawberry Shakeology!




Thursday, February 13, 2014

Winter Palette - Nude Makeup Look

Winter Palette



I'm all about nude color - nude nail polish and nude lipstick. One of my favorite blushes pictured here is MAC Harmony. Zoya came out with a beautiful set called the Naturel Collection. I'm loving the colors Rue and Bridgette. Urban Decay is having a sale this week, so this is your chance to get their famous Naked Palette which I got for my birthday! It's 20% off (excludes Naked3) with code FFSPRING14, ends 2/14.




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Figure Skating at the Olympics


The winter Olympics are my favorite because I love figure skating! The art, the skill, the music, the fashion! I try to go ice-skating once a year but this year I'm thinking about taking lessons. I took ballet lessons as a child and figure skating is the art of the same movement on ice.

The winners for the Ladies Short Program were:

First Place - Yulia Lipnitskaya - Russia

She's only 15 years old and as you see in this picture she's more flexible than I am in yoga class! lol With her leg up like that she turned and twisted many times, I so impressed! Her style of skating was just beautiful and flowy. The following day at the Team Free Dance competition she also took the Gold Medal.
For the next event her costume was the little girl with the red coat from Schindler's List, it's a popular piece of music to skate to. You can watch the video here, you'll be impressed by how beautifully she skates!

Second Place - Carolina Kostner - Italy

This was her third time at the Olympics, the other two she was scored at the bottom and debated whether or not she she bother to come back a third time. Goes to show you should never give up! I loved her sequin sleeves.

Third Place - Mao Asada - Japan

After doing a triple axel jump, she felt flat on the ground, but still she got third place! And she had the most beautiful costume on! On the back was a sequin panel.

Winning the Silver in the Pairs Skating event was Germany to the music of the Pink Panther, talk about an electrifying costume! I googled Robin to see what his ethnic background was. Turns out his German mother met his Tanzanian father in college in Germany, but Robin didn't meet his father until a couple years ago. Someone was telling me there's a whole generation of bi-racial babies in Russia from similar situations.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter Olympics

1,300 of these medals will be awarded!
I went to St. Petersburg, Russia as a class trip in high school so I've really enjoyed watching all the coverage of Sochi. If you've been following all the news coverage about Sochi you might have heard about the hilarious and horrendous conditions there. Did you know that Canada brought its own beer dispensing vending machine? lol All you have to do is swipe your Canadian passport and you get a free beer!The funniest part of the Opening Ceremony was the Russian Police Choir singing Da Punk's Get Lucky. video 

Last Friday I went to an Olympic Opening Ceremony party and had so much fun! Here are some pics from the event, that line of parked cars was people waiting to drop off with the valet! lol


s'mores for outdoor fire

ice sculpture
The Jamaican bobsledders (remember the movie Cool Runnings) had a quite a hurdle to reach Sochi this year as they didn't have enough money to attend, specifically the $80,000 to pay for training and equipment which they had used their personal funds to buy. The Jamaica Olympic Association only covers their air and hotel so the International Olympic Committee did step in to offer to pay their costs. But instead the bobsledders set up a last minute internet campaign and surpassed their goal. Then their flights from New York to Sochi lost their equipment and luggage! It did eventually arrived but the TSA had opened up their protein powder containers in their luggage and not properly sealed them closed so their suitcase with full of powder. One said,"In my helmet today I had protein powder going into my eyes."
The hand knit sweaters Team USA worn for the opening ceremony drew some criticism since they resembled Christmas sweaters! lol Unlike at the London games, theses sweaters were made in the USA by Ralph Lauren whose website is already sold out them which retailed for $600.
There's already been a waldrobe malfunction. A Russian Speedskater unskipped her costume after her race not realizing she had nothing on underneath. photo

I enjoyed watching a new event this year at the Olympics called Slopestyle which is snowboarding with the goal of performing the most difficult tricks while getting the highest amplitude off of jumps. Basically its aerial acrobatics flipping around upside town 3 times in one jump.  One funny moment was watching the coach for Finland knitting at the top of the slope. lol Here's a picture of the Gold Winner Sage Kotsenburg from America:


One of the competitors trained on a dry slope, which is an artificial ski slope used for practice and training.

Did you know that women aren't allowed to ski jump in the Olympics, even though they've been petitioning for years?

The Dutch won the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in Speed Skating which is a sport I had never heard of until my co-worker told me her 10 year old son does it. But did you know the American team has a black speed skater? Shani Davis. He grew up with a single mom on the south side of Chicago, no ice rings near him, but he won Gold at the last two Winter Olympics. He's the first African-American to win a solo medal at a Winter Olympic game. If you saw the movie the Incredibles,  Frozone, the black superhero with ice powers was inspired by Shani Davis. In 2002 he inspired DC Inner City Excellence, which is located at the Fort Dupont Ice Arena in DC which encourages exposure to the ice to children of all ethnic backgrounds.

The award for most colorful costume goes to the Norwegian curling team. Steve Harvey had the US Ladies Team teach him how to play and it's not easy!





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