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Saturday, March 30, 2013

43. Her Higher Learning



The woman shall immerse herself in projects, classes, and activities that enhance her intelligence, increase her intellectual curiosity, and provide access to an elevated level of thinking and decision-making. 

For me, school ended at the last degree almost 10 years ago.  After wrapping up grad school at Boston University, I was just tired of books, papers, assignments, tests, and the ever-endearing series of finals.  I've not been enrolled in a class (well, except the short-lived Italian course while I lived in Torino) since graduating, and I was pretty pleased to leave it at that.

My good friend Angela in DC has recently inspired an academic self-indulgence for me.  Even though she's miles away, Angela is making moves to earn her doctoral degree, and at the same time she's ignited a precious motivation within me to get my brain fired up again.  While I don't think I'm ready to be a full-timer again, I am collecting ideas on how to re-engage in learning in a fun and exciting way. 

Here are a few things I'm considering, looking forward to your thoughts!
  1. Language CD's.  I'd picked up some Italian, but I'm afraid it's become quite broken over the past few years.  With the next paycheck, I'll pick up some language CD's and groove to learning Italiano on my daily commute.
  2. Conference Groupie.  I love conferences, and I've got to make more investments in these knowledge exhanges.  I'll check around the Hartford and Boston areas for cool 2-3 day crash sessions.
  3. Certifications.  It's incredible to earn awards and accolades!  It marks an amazing accomplishment, and whether it's for Zumba or CPR, becoming certified in something new keeps your curiosity fresh and your intelligence sharp.
Keep the books open, ladies!



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

42. Sexy Smoothies





The woman shall periodically experiment with the vegetable, fruit, and herbal blends that delight her smoothie palette.

For years, I've blended frozen fruit and orange juice every morning.  I love that it usually takes 2 minutes, due in part to my colorfully and nutritionally well-stocked refrigerator.  I've since experimented with new blends, and it's a fantastic way to get a good portion of nutritional value under my belt for the day. 

Also, I'm not huge on cooking full meals daily (it's tough for a single working gal!), but my smoothies ensure that I get my leafy green treats every day.

Here are a few ideas on smoothie prep - if you have any, send 'em my way!

1.  Switch up the juice base - I used to use orange juice, and then I saw how much sugar I was consuming!  I switched to using V8 blends (usually the Light version).  That always offers some variety in taste, and I feel less guilty.
2.  Adjust the color - Usually my smoothies are a pretty orange, but I 've decided to totally vegetize my smoothies lately.  I'm making blends of spinach, kale, pineapple, and mint (thanks to Jamie from Winnipeg!), which results in a dark green concoction.
3.  Freeze smoothie ingredients immediately - Fresh vegetables are always arranged for family-size consumption, and while I guess I could go through an entire bundle of kale in two days, chances are I won't.  So, as soon as I buy fresh greens, I wash, cut, and freeze half of the portion.  That way, they'll be smoothie-ready!  I also use fresh pineapple and papaya, and I do the exact same thing.  Sidebar - to prevent the chunks from sticking together in the freezer (like cement sometimes!!!!), I re-use freezer bags and pack the fruit so that the bags are very flat.  That makes the fruit much easier to separate when you're ready to make your smoothie.
4.  Don't go nuts on spending - I've got a $150 juicer sitting in the box; I'll use it someday - I promise!  I found that it was simply too complicated to use and clean daily. I use the $10 individual smoothie maker that I bought at a neighborhood drugstore.  It's perfect because it makes just what I need for my single smoothie, and I can remove it from its base and take it with me to enjoy during the morning commute.


Hope these are helpful!

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