Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Velvet Crew - Reunited

Something you may not know about me is that I am really good snowboarder. Maybe that sounds cocky, but I'm proud to say it. :) It's a sport I actually am really good at!

Julie and I at the top of Sundance.
I have a picture of the whole Velvet Crew, but it's packed away.
I will post it when we unpack.

When I moved to Utah at the age of 5 my mom taught all us kids how to ski. I loved skiing - being outside with my family was so much fun. Those are some of the best childhood memories I have. When my brothers got a little older they decided it was cooler to snowboard and I followed soon after. Snowboarding is hard as a beginner. You fall down a lot and really feel it the next day. I was so sore after my first day of snowboarding that I had to stay home from church. I literally couldn't move.

But thanks to my brothers' persistence and dedication I kept going. It was always a family thing until I my Senior year in High School when I met Julie Herger and Aly Dame. They both loved snowboarding too so we started to go together ALL THE TIME. Since we were in school all week we dedicated every Saturday from mid-October thru April to snowboarding at Brighton Ski Resort (in my opinion the best resort in the world). We would hit the powder, the park, the rails, the jumps and loved it all!

We learned from each other and got really good really fast. We had a blast together. There aren't many girls on the slopes especially girls who ride with just girls. We thought we were pretty cool so we named ourselves "The Velvet Crew." The name came from the women-specific goggle brand Velvet that we all wore. (Seriously the best goggles I have ever worn.) 


We thought we were pretty hardcore and would try to impress the guys with our style. Yet, to no avail. But really, who wants a park-rat-junky snowboarder dude anyways?! 

After high school we went our seperate ways to college but tried to keep up the snowboarding. I would skied the Beav in college. I had school 3 days a week and would hit the slopes the other 2 and on weekends. Again,  I was pretty hardcore.


We didn't get many opportunities to go together as The Velvet Crew as we continued to live life - I went on a mission, Julie got married and had kids and Aly moved to Ohio. But just recently Julie and I hit the slopes after almost 5 years of not boarding together. We had a blast! It was just like old times, pushing each other to do better and go faster, hoopin' and hollerin' through the powder! It was great.

Still rockin' the Velvets.

Julie went off a jump and there was a younger guy watching that said, "Whoa! Nice!" and I was laughing to myself because little did he know that Julie is a mother of 2! Yeah, we still got it!

Okay, quick funny story: The first time Julie and I went boarding this year at Sundance we took a break in the hotel check-in room. Obviously, not a place for skiers to take a pit-stop. Nevertheless, we shamelessly welcomed ourselves, helped oursleves to hot chocolate and tea and warmed our feet by the fire. (I was a little worried, but Julie proceeded confidently so I just followed her.) Julie's feet were so cold even though she had them by the fire. I told her to put them closer to really warm them up. Well, she did and all of the sudden pulled her foot off yelling, "I just burned my sock!" And sure enough her sock had melted onto the glass on the fireplace leaving her footprint! We were laughing so hard and it started to smell like burnt...um...sock. We went back the next time and her footprint was still there! Haha. It was so funny and a great moment to share!

The burnt sock.

Warming by the fire.

Best Buds!

I also have to give credit to my brother Mark. Although not a member of The Velvet Crew, he has been a huge inspiration and motivation to me in becoming the snowboarder that I am. He has taught me more than anyone else on the slopes. Thanks, Mark!

Do you ski or snowboard? Or heck, are you a professional sledder? I just went cross-country skiing and loved that too! I do not understand how people can live in a place like Utah and not enjoy a winter sport. That's a long winter...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Throwback: Valentine's Boxes

Happy Valentine's Day (almost). Here are some ideas to help you get ready for the special (or not-so-special for some) day.

Every week for work one of us has to come up with an activity to start our Tuesday Meeting. Our lovely, Type 1 Emily came up with the great idea to make Valentine's Boxes and pass out Valentines to each other! I was so excited! I love creating, crafting and project-ing. We had one week to get it ready, soI decided not to think about it too much but just do what popped into my head first, which was: remake my 6th Grade Valentine's Box. So I went with it, but this time instead of a blond girl, I went with Brunette and made it me!


The box was inspired by this cut out picture which was
on the bottom of every Valentine.

A sampling of my homemade Valentines I passed out!
All very "me!"


I thought I would win one of the categories (funniest, most creative, most true to Type) for sure! But when the other boxes started arriving I was less and less sure! I was amazed by the creativity and time spent on each box!!! I didn't end up winning a prize. My competitive side started to take over and Tanner reminded me it was just a silly box...yeah, right. Easy to say when you win...

Here are the amazing Valentine's Boxes!!! I hope you can get some fun ideas for your own (or your kid's) V-Day box.

Lauri (Type 1)
Customer Support

You know who this belongs to...

Jimmy (Type 2)
Chris' Assistant
It's the Half-Time Show at the SuperBowl

Megan (Type 4)
Store Manager
Her cute daughter "saved the day" by lending her mom this box.

Emily (Type 1)
Hair Stylist
Um...I thought you said box! She won "Most True to Type"

Kalista (Type 4)
Shipping Manager

Yours Truly

Nicole (Type 4)
Hair Stylist

Mandi (Type 4)
Customer Support

Chris (Type 2)
CEO

He won Funniest - you push the button and it says, "Why would anyone want to give me a Valentine? I'm just a plain old box. Poor me." Haha! Totally a Type 2 Box.

Sarah (Type 3)
Beauty Expert
Won Most Creative

Tanner (Type 3)
President
He put Hand Warmers behind the paper, so the box was really HOT!

Jon (Type 2)
CFO

Well, you can tell we all had a lot of fun making our Valentine's Boxes! Like I said, I was BLOWN AWAY by the caliber of these boxes! It's obvious we are very passionate and dedicated people (in whatever we do)! I'm so grateful for the work team we have! 

Do you have a creative idea for a Valentine's Box? Let's hear it!

Valentine's = Sugar - here are some healthier options...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

2010 - Books in Review

If you have been reading my blog you probably have noticed my Reading List on the sidebar. Last year I made a resolution, and knowing my tendency to be a little over zealous with goals I made only 1 resolution.

It was to read one book every month and join a Book Club. I did them both! Hooray! I am not a reader by nature. I usually choose to do projects in my free time, so making a resolution and being accountable (book club) helped me to reach my goal.

I have loved reading more often and enjoyed all the books I read!

Here is a list of the books I read over the year 2010:


Here is my list of favorite book to least favorite book:

The Help
The Hiding Place
The Guersney Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Boy in Striped in the Striped Pajamas
In Defense of Food
The Ladies Auxiliary
Stargirl
My Life in France
The Color of Water
Charms for the Easy Life
Green Smoothies Diet
Three Cups of Tea
The River Between Us

I have realized that some of my favorite book topics are WWII, or novels that have to do with the Jewish Culture - historical fiction, I guess. Any suggestions?

I hope you can take a few home to read yourself! Have you read any of these? What are your favorite books to read?

PS - I got all these books from the library. If you don't have a library card - GET ONE! I check all of mine out online and then go pick them up when they are ready! 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Green Smoothie Detox - Follow-Up

It's been a few weeks since my last update about my Green Smoothie Detox. I'm sure you can guess what happened. Well, if not - I stopped.

I did full on Raw for 5 1/2 days and then had cooked veggies and slowly introduced my regular diet.

As you can tell from my previous detox posts (here and here), it wasn't easy. I lost 7 pounds in 5 days!!! (I was only a little bit excited about that - I was literally withering away!) But all in all, I did learn some good things.... I still have a Green Smoothie every morning (I have been doing this since last June), but on top of that I usually eat a nice, big, raw salad for lunch! My favorite is when it has some Quinoa and raw, sprouted almonds thrown in.

I am also trying to eat less gluten. (My mom is gluten intolerant, so I have been getting into that more.) Anyone have some excellent Gluten-Free recipes?!

Well, there it is, the detox is over. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

UnbeLIEvable!

Just in the past 2 weeks I have seen/heard/learned of some pretty disturbing things in the food world. If you read my blog, you know that I have a great interest in food and have made it a hobby of eating healthy and learning how to eat even healthier. I find it fascinating all the wonderful things GOOD, WHOLE foods can do for our bodies and, on the other hand, what can happen when we eat a lot of crappy food.

So let me start with the first unbeLIEvable item....

I was watching TV one day when it went to commercials and on came a very bright, fresh, and lively ad - a women happily walking through corn fields as the narrator explained confidently that Corn Sugar is a wonderful thing and should be consumed just like regular sugar. I was baffled, was this a SNL commercial spoof? Did this really just happen? I then went to YouTube to find out if there were more like it, and yes indeed there are a whole bunch of commercials promoting that High Fructose Corn Syrup is good for you. And the FDA has now given the go-ahead to label this artificial, genetically modified syrup as "natural." Why do this anger me so?


Because they are lying to you and me!

Here is one of the commercials:



Okay, so why is this commercial out of line in my mind? Because HFCS really is bad for you. Well, first of all I think it is funny that they are comparing it to cane sugar (white sugar). Because, guess what - the refined cane sugar (that most people use) is also not good for you either. But HFCS is worse - read this article.

Both HFCS and the typical white cane sugar have been modified and processed from their natural state making them un-whole and un-natural foods. And I believe anything that has been modified from it's original state is not good for a NATURAL body - our bodies aren't built to process that kind of stuff. That is why they are trying to change the name to "corn sugar" - so it sounds more natural - and natural is so in right now.

I found this mock-ad on YouTube that exposes "What they say about it..."



And they mention "in moderation." Well, let's see...HFCS is in EVERYTHING that most Americans eat...

Cereals
Candy Bars
Chocolate
Ice Cream
Fast food
Lunch meats
Ketchup and condiments (the worst thing you can feed your kids!!!)
Soda (and if it's diet soda, then you are drinking Aspartame, which is probably even worse...)
Candy
Yogurts
Bread
Cookies
Breakfast bars

...Basically anything that is processed foods (almost any food that comes in a wrapper or container)

I have read some articles about HFCS and I will share what they say. But even without those facts, it seems pretty simple to me - you put the 2 and 2 together - people who eat a lot of food with HFCS (and table sugar) in it are overweight and unhealthy. So it would be best to avoid those. Rats know it's bad.

HFCS is also very addictive - our bodies will want more and more of it and turn off it's desire for natural sweets and other healthy foods.

So, what are good replacements for HFCS and table sugar? Well, I have never seen HFCS for sale at the store, so obviously I'm not putting it in my food - so the best replacement is to avoid foods that have HFCS in it (i.e. processed/packaged foods). In my own cooking and baking I use whole sugars (and usually minimal amounts - I don't like things too sweet). Good whole sugars include: Sucanat, raw honey, agave nectar, ripe bananas, stevia, and palm sugar. These sweetners are natural and whole and your body will process them easily. Find out more about natural sweetners here.

So there you have it...this is where I stand with HFCS. I can't say I don't EVER eat things with HFCS in it - I did have some Red Vines over the Holidays...but I can say that I do more often than not choose not to eat it. I would encourage you to educate yourself on this topic and choose what is right for you. After all, omitting HFCS from your diet will only result in added health to your body!