Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Football, Booze, and a dusting of Snow

Last weekend was a doozy!

Friday, I had the day all to myself. Since I worked the weekend before, I gave myself a nice little treat to look forward to--a 3-day weekend! It was fantastic.

Thursday night, Sean and I tried out a "new" restaurant nearby--it used to be called Fins, but a new owner took over and changed the atmosphere. We didn't eat so I can't comment on the menu, but my drink(s) were STRONG and I was ready for bed by 11pm!

Friday, I slept in (which now means 8 am these days--my college self would be disgusted) and then went shopping and bought myself a big old burrito at Chipotle. Then, when Sean got home from work, we had a nice little happy hour at home, and then headed to one of our favorite places for drinks with another couple. When we left the bar around midnight, it was snowing. The white powder was gorgeous and made the two of us want to cozy up in our sweatpants, so we headed home and called it an early (snowy!!!) night.

View from our front window:

On Saturday, I slept in until 11am (!!!!) and awoke to the boy making coffee. Both our tummies were rumbling, and the snow had pretty much melted (it turned to rain overnight), so we headed a mile down the street to Nacho Mama's, a Baltimore landmark that also happens to be one of our personal favorites. We both were indulgent and had some quesadillas. Chicken for Sean, and Spinach and Mushroom for me :-)

Sunday, we awoke for THE BIG GAME. In case you didn't know, I live in Baltimore and grew up here and am therefore a BALTIMORE RAVENS fan. Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Patriots was a nailbiter! Sean and I decided to go early (or what we thought would be early enough) to Fell's Point to a bar we love called Alexander's. We got there an hour before game time, and there was nowhere to sit or stand--yikes! After browsing a couple different bars, we finally settled on Dogwatch Tavern. Neither of us had been before, and although it was also super crowded, we LOVED the atmosphere and knew it was our game spot. We ended up doing some of this with some college frat boys (hey, you only live once, right?):

aaaand we kicked their butts, just sayin'.

After our glorious pong win, we obviously needed some grub:

(hummus tray for me...it was decent, but not incredible)

(burger for the boy with a generous portion of fries, some of which I snagged)

...and of course PLENTY of beer was consumed.

After the Ravens lost, we were sad, so we came home, relaxed, and called it an early night.


Now I am back to the daily grind. My first 5-day work week in awhile, but luckily it has flown by--so far. Only 1.5 days until the weekend!

Tomorrow I'll be posting another Coffee Cutback update, so stay tuned!

How was your weekend? Was it as indulgent and lazy as mine? What are your plans for the upcoming weekend?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Coffee Cutback: Day 1

So, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I am trying to be more aware of how much coffee I am drinking day-to-day, and what factors surround it.

I'm proud to say that today, I only have ONE 8-ounce cup of coffee--and it was Breakfast Blend, which is lighter/less caffeinated than my usual Jet Fuel.

I may end up drinking a pick-me-up beverage later this afternoon (it is 3:00 now), but I am hoping to avoid it!

Yay me.

As for my emotions, I think the reason such a small amount of coffee was consumed today was because my workday was a lot less hectic than Fridays normally are for me. So, I guess less stress = less coffee cravings.

I'll update you more as the days go on. Tomorrow and Sunday I work half-days (4-hour shifts from noon-4pm), so I might indulge and grab a latte on my way. Hey, I am sacrificing watching the Ravens kick some Texas booty on Sunday in the Playoff game, so the least I can do is give myself some caffeine ;-)

What are your weekend plans? Like I said, I am working two half-days, but I think I'll manage in some fun tonight and tomorrow night. I also have Monday off for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday. I haven't decided what to do that day yet--perhaps use some of my Christmas gift cards!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cutting Back on Coffee

The name of my blog is Hot Coco(a). The tagline is "sipping through life". Clearly, I like my hot beverages, including none other than COFFEE. I can't start my morning without my daily dose of Joe.

But recently, since it's a new year and all, I've been thinking about my coffee habit and trying to analyze it (yes, I am a psychologist, could you tell?). Am I drinking coffee because I physically need it, or is it a habit that I simply do along with brushing my teeth, checking my facebook, and washing my hair (not necessarily in that order, though)?

Recently, as a Christmas gift to the staff, the head doctors here pitched in and bought my department a brand new, shiny Keurig maker. It's in the conference room every morning calling out my name--especially since they keep it well-stocked with a collection of coffees, teas, and hot cocoas.

Now, my morning routines vary from day to day--on my early days of work (aka at my desk by 7:30), I usually wait until I am at work to make a cup. But on my late days (aka don't get in until 10:30), I sometimes find myself drinking an ENTIRE POT of coffee all by myself--before I even leave my house (or my couch, for that matter).

Then, depending on the time I have in my day, my stress and energy level, and even my emotional state, I find myself turning to coffee. Much like my patients turn to drugs (and technically, caffeine is a drug, but that's a post for another day). Much like I used to turn to my eating disorder. Hmmm....the therapist wheels of my mind started turning, and here's what I am discovering:

I don't think I really NEED coffee. I honestly believe that I could function perfectly well without it. (Or, ok, with a lot less of it.) Last week, I was really busy at work, and realized that each day, I only had enough for one 8-ounce cup of coffee. And it was the perfect amount to fuel my morning.

So, I began to think "Hmm...maybe I should try to cut back on my coffee intake, even just a liiiittle".

So, here is my "plan":

I am going to attempt to monitor my coffee intake over the next few weeks. Before I change the behavior, I need to determine the factors behind it. So, I am going to try to record how much coffee I drink each day, and when, and the emotional state I am in when it occurs, including how much work I have and how much stress I have.

I am approaching the subject clinically, while still keeping in mind the importance of my emotional and mental state when it comes to my coffee consumption.

Then, I will go from there. I don't want to cut out coffee completely, because I think it tastes good and helps me start my day. My goal is simply to become more cognizant of my consumption and determine what it means.

What are your thoughts? Are you a coffee drinker? If so, how many cups (or pots--eek!) do you drink per day?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How do I write a New Year's post that isn't cliche...

...I've come to the conclusion that it just isn't possible. So, bear with me (or just skip this post if you're sick of New Year's posts).

I am not necessarily a huge fan of "New Year's Resolutions", per se. My personal opinion is: if you want something, go for it NOW, whether it's January or July!

However, there is something about the reality of time passing each year that makes us more aware of what is going on in our lives--what our goals were last year and how we did, and what our goals are for the year ahead.

Here is where I was last year and how I've measured up:

2011 Goals


Remember: I am my #1 priority. (This is still a work in progress.)
Practice saying “No” when appropriate. (YES. I have made lots of progress on this one!)
Accept myself as I am without trying to change. (I actually want to revoke this--I think change is good...haha)
Be confident in my intelligence, beauty, and ability as a human being whether I am in a relationship or not.
(I did a great job with this one by dating around and being single for awhile, and finally found a great guy once I was comfortable on my own.)
Set aside 15 minutes per day to do something completely calming for myself, like journaling, taking a bubble bath, or reading for pleasure.
(I am working on this one--it's tough with a full-time job though!)
Read at least 1 book per month (12 per year).
(Maybe not one per month--some months I read barely at all, other months I read a book a week. But all in all, I have done really well with this one. Thanks to my nook I received in May, it has been even easier!)
Do something social at least once a week (drinks, lunch, coffee, etc.).
(I am absolutely on top of this one!)


Maintain a healthy weight for my body & a positive relationship with food (food is fuel, & it is meant to be savored & enjoyed in moderation).
(This one is up and down, as usual, but the weight is definitely steady.)
Run a 5k or 10k for a good cause (TNT?).
(Noooope. Maybe this year?)
Breast Cancer Walk (Washington, D.C. in May?).
NEDA walk (look into this).
(Another big, fat NO.)
Yoga at least twice per week (Saturday 9am class w/ Mom, video podcasts/DVDs on my own).
(I am just starting to get into my practice again at home...)
Wear sunscreen/moisturizer EVERY DAY! (Proudly, YES! Skin cancer ain't no joke, folks!)

Get a steady job, preferably in my field.
(Yes, thank goodness!)
Put at least 20% of my paycheck each month towards an apartment fund.
(Now about 50% of my paycheck goes towards rent. Bills aren't cheap, friends.)
Save $20 per month to put towards retirement/savings.
(Proudly, I have surpassed this, both with my company's 403(b) Savings Program and my own thriftiness :-) )
Give $10 per month to a charity (NEDA?).
(Ashamed to say, I have NOT done this. I must start doing this more, though!
Learn to manage my money & budget (and time!).
(Still learning, but yes.)
Move into my own apartment by January 2012
(I moved into my own place in March 2011, so I was wayyy ahead on this one--woohoo! P.S. Remember how excited I was?!)

So, as you can see, I failed in some areas (ahem fitness) and rocked in others (career/financial). And you know what? I am totally ok with that. I am at a great place in my life right now with a stable job, a loving boyfriend, a roof over my head, and even some extra money each month for fun things like date nights and the occasional pair of shoes. So what if I haven't achieved all the lofty goals I laid out for myself over a year ago?

This year, I am nixing the "resolutions" and instead I vow to do three simple things: be kind to myself, be kind to others...and call my grandma more often. :-)

Happy New Year!

What is your opinion on New Year's Resolutions--love 'em or hate 'em?

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