Monday, May 21, 2012

Greetings from Germany!

[I wrote this post yesterday morning when I was on the train from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Rheine, Germany and am just now with reliable internet to share with you now.  Hope your week starts off well!]

My love affair with Europe began the moment I got on the plane to head to Florence, Italy in the spring of 2007.  I was about to begin my study abroad semester and had never traveled out of the country, nonetheless for such an extended period of time.  I didn’t have any close friends going to Florence with me and I had no idea what to expect, yet, as soon as the flight attendant on Air France came by with the drink cart and I realized that wine was free in-flight, and I, as a 20 year old was eligible to drink on this international flight – I was sold!

Underage drinking aside, those 6 months in Florence and the opportunities I had to explore other bits of Italy and Europe throughout that time planted a seed in me and I’ve been hooked on Europe ever since.

This week I’m back in Europe, in northern Germany for a work trip and a few personal days where I will south and return to a city I became quite familiar with a couple years ago, Munich.  I will hopefully share some of my culinary adventures of the trip here, but I also want to link over to a post I wrote years ago on a blog I used to author anonymously called “Figuring It Out.”  I wrote in this blog throughout my senior year of college and my first days of being in the “real world.” 

Although I still haven’t “figured it out” I have evolved in my blogging to publishing under my fully disclosed identity. I love this old blog though because it was such an exciting and dynamic time in my life.  I also wrote very honestly on this blog – something that I think the anonymity allowed me to do.   As I’ve recently written, I try my best to keep this space positive and uplifting, which sometimes means that I am not being fully honest in my writing as to the insecurities, fears, and anxieties I may be going through at a particular point in time.

Anyways, that is neither here nor there as I’m currently on a train, riding through small towns and the countryside of northern Germany.  Greenery, people on bicycles, solar panels on rooftops, and all-around quaint-ness surrounds me.  The foggy morning is starting to burn off and the sun is peaking its rays out.  I’ve got fresh apples to munch on and my all-time favorite artist’s new album pumping into my body through my white iPod ear buds.  I’m so happy to be here and so happy to work for an international company that provides me opportunities such as this to travel and work internationally.  It is truly a passion of mine that I only see continuing to grow and be harvested throughout the years.

Friday, May 18, 2012

How I got here: the CDPHP workforce team challenge (part 1)

Yesterday was the CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge in Albany.  A run that I've now participated in for the 3rd time.  It is a particularly memorable and meaningful race for me now because 2 years ago this was the first race that I ran in and the reason I began running in my adult life!

I want to share the story of how I got into running at all and a little bit about my journey thus far.  I don't have the time this AM to post that but I just wanted to say congratulations to all of the runners yesterday!  It is an overcrowded and DENSE race for the entire 3.5 mile course, but the energy is always great and I love the mix of people that it brings out to run.  This year was the largest race yet with more than 9,300 runners from 450 different organizations!

Read more and check out a video on the Channel 6 page.  Do you see the crowds???  You barely get to move until 1.5 miles into the race it is so packed.  The people in purple are from my company.

Hope everyone had a great time yesterday at the run!

WRGB-TV Channel 6 News :: News - Top Stories - Record crowd for annual Workforce Team Challenge

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lazy dinner.

I love to cook.  That's not a secret.  But I don't like to cook EVERY night.  Because sometimes I'm lazy and sometimes I'm tired.  And on those nights, I like someone else to do the work for me.

One of my favorite busy-night meals requires about 1% preparation on my part and 99% preparation by the grocery store.  A quick, delicious, and healthy option for busy nights I find to be steamed vegetable dumplings from the grocery store.  I love a variety from Price-Rite that is a spinach dumpling filled with spinach, tofu, and additional vegetables.  They come steamed and ready to serve, sometimes I just heat them up in the microwave, but my favorite way to eat them is to toast them over the stove in a fry pan just sprayed with some Pam: Olive Oil.

Another grocery store favorite of mine is broccoli cole slaw.  It is shaved broccoli and carrots and I find it to be perfectly crunchy and delicious.  Combined together, this is a meal made in lazy people heaven.  To prep this super easy meal, all you must do is:

1.  Open container of steamed dumplings and put 6 in a fry pan, sprayed with Pam, over medium heat.
2.  Open bag of broccoli slaw and pour onto a plate
3.  Keep turning the dumplings in the pan so they are lightly browned and toasted on all sides
4.  Put dumplings on top of slaw
5.  Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil and low sodium soy sauce.
Total prep time: 5 minutes.


Does anybody know how to rotate these images??

It didn't take long for that plate to look like this...

Probably not long enough.  I should work on eating slower...

Anyways, next time you are having a busy weeknight I recommend you pick up a bag of broccoli slaw and some grocery store steamed dumplings.  Healthy, super fast, and delicious.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Capturing Katelyn: Is the blog real?

The post I put up this morning left me thinking.  Does this blog really represent me as a person and how I am feeling at any particular time?  

This morning my friend Kristen and I started a conversation about people who write sad or emo-esque messages on Facebook and Twitter.  I admitted to her that I am often tempted to write “woe is me” messages on Facebook when I am feeling down or struggling to stay positive.  Just last night, I was having a particularly rough night working late, struggling to fight off the urge to binge eat, and feeling down in general about life and dating.  The question I was asking myself and was tempted to post to my friends on Facebook was, “When does it get easier??”  But I resisted, as I often do, and did not put this “downer” and complaining thought out into the universe.  For the blog, and on Facebook and Twitter, as much as possible, I choose to only share positivity.

HOWEVER, I am not always feeling positive and not always a beaming life of happy energy (shocking, right?)  So, does that make my Facebook News Feed and my blog an inaccurate display of who I am?  And does that matter? Kristen asked me if there was a reason why I chose to only share the positive sides of myself online and as I struggled to put an answer into words, I also got a message from one of my college roommates, Kim.

Kim let me know she had just seen my blog entry on Tulipfest, thought I looked really great and that the outfit I posted was really cute.  I thanked her, obviously, but then, as she is one of my best friends, I felt the need to give her some background on the "real story" behind that outfit.  The "real story" is that I, in fact, actually had a mini breakdown on Saturday about that outfit.  

The outfit was a little bit of a risk in terms of being outside of the norm [read: shorter and tighter!] of what I normally wear.  It was also a bit of a risk for me to even do an “outfit photo” on my blog.  The reason I even had that photo on my phone was because sent it to a couple friends asking their opinions on the outfit before leaving the house (one of the downfalls of living alone is not having anyone for outfit advice – thank you digital communications!!)  As I mentioned earlier, I have been struggling a bit lately to maintain my weight and I haven’t been feeling extremely confident lately with my appearance.

After taking and looking at a particular picture of myself on Saturday (NOT posted), I started to feel extremely self-conscious of how I looked.  I actually had a mini breakdown, partially due to other reasons that I’m not comfortable sharing here, but partially due to feeling really uncomfortable and silly that I had attempted to wear this outfit out in public!  

My friends from college and I have always joked with one another about having “body dysmorphic disorder” and not having realistic images of what we look like.  I felt like I had had a BDD moment when getting dressed that morning and accidentally worn something that someone of my size should NOT have been wearing.  We’ve all seen people out in public (often at Wal-Mart) and thought to ourselves, “Wow, that person should NOT be wearing that!” and that is exactly how I imagined everyone must have been thinking about me.  And I ended up changing into the emergency pair of jeans I had brought with me to the BBQ.

Yet anybody who say my post from this morning wouldn't know any of that and would have just thought that I was happy and confident in my outfit choice.  So these questions have been rolling around in my head all day.  Should people know that I ended up getting self conscious and changing my clothes?  Why did I post something that didn’t tell the whole story?  What is the underlying reason why I make these decisions to hold back my own emo-esque thoughts and posts? Does telling this “whole story” matter?

I realized through writing this post and thinking about these things that part of it comes from a disconnect with the person I want to be and the person I am.  In continuing with what has been a very honest blog post so far, I will go ahead and say, I am not an extremely confident person.  I doubt and second guess myself all time.  But I WANT to be a person who puts together great outfits, blogs them and feels confident with themself.  I want to be someone who is happy-go-lucky and has an always-positive attitude.  I guess the reason why I choose not to post my negative thoughts or feelings or not "tell the whole story" is because in the virtual world, I am trying to project an image of the person I am trying to be in the real world.  It isn't necessarily being dishonest, it is painting a picture of who I am at times, and who I want to be all the time.

That being said, I am going to make an effort to be more honest on my blog.  I think that in itself can be very therapeutic.  In fact, I feel a lot better having written this post.  See people?  This is why I LOVE writing!  And if you've made it this far in the entry, let me just say, thanks for reading :)

Happy Tuesday, hope you're all having a great week.

Tulipfest 2012

This past weekend was Tulipfest in Albany, which is usually one of the most fun weekends of the year.  We got especially lucky this year with one of the most BEAUTIFUL days of the year.  It was perfect for grilling, drinking beers, hanging out outside and catching up with friends.  We started the day early, around 1:00 p.m. and the burgers, beers, and laughs kept going throughout the night.

Unfortunately the warm-then-cold-then-warm weather we've had this spring wasn't the best for the tulips and they were past their prime for the actual Tulipfest this year, but we didn't let that stop the party.  And oh yeah, remember how I talked about having an insatiable appetite lately?  Well, I don't think I stopped eating the entire day on Saturday.  Every time a new person stopped by the cookout (hosted by my incredible friend and grillmaster, Dave) they replenished the spread of snack table that consisted throughout the day of kettle corn, potato chips, cookies, brownies, rice crispies treates, watermelon, Doritos, and 7-layer dip.  Not to mention the burgers, hot dogs, sausage, marinated chicken, sweet potatoes and veggie kebabs coming off the grill.  And as if that wasn't enough, somehow, as many nights of drinking on Lark Street do, the night also included a slice of pizza from SoHo!

All in all it was a great Saturday in Albany and perfect way to kick off the summer.  Next weekend starts a small leg of traveling for me so it was nice to be able to see so many good friends before being away for the next few weekends.

Outfit post: (H&M dress, Gap vest, Haviana flip-flops straight from ICT in Brazil!)
Miss Jenna and I
Myself and Ernest
Being silly with Jeff
And again. Thumbs up for Tulipfest!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Upstate New York Bucket List revisited and revised!

About a year ago I put together my "Upstate New York Bucket List" that ended up getting a bit more attention than my usual ho-hum post (thank you All Over Albany!)  I had put the list together as a motivator when I was thinking that I was going to be moving out of the area in the next year.  Well, as I've mentioned before, I took a new job, and it is right here in the Capital Region, so sorry to disappoint, but I am not going anywhere any time soon :)

With that in mind, I wanted to revisit my Bucket List, see what I've checked off in the last year, what I have left to do, and see what I can add to this list.  If you want to see the original list you can check it out in my old post from May 2011.  First, let's take a look at what I checked off in the last year:
Maid of the Mist proof!

I guess I got busy, huh?  Three is sort of a disappointing number for an entire year!  Oh well, with those items checked off the list, here is what I have left to accomplish:
  • See the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown
  • Eat at Cheesecake Machismo 
  • Hike Plotter's Kill to see the waterfalls 
  • Drink a birthday boot of beer at Wolff's Biergarten
  • Spend an afternoon at Thatcher Park
  • Ride the Hudson/Mohawk bike trail
  • Take a stab at one of the high peaks in the Adirondacks
  • Learn the history of Albany on the Albany Duck Tours
  • Cross the border and explore Montreal
  • Eat at the River Street Cafe (Miss Albany Diner was on the list, but it closed!)
And some new items for the list, from your comments and from what I've picked up over the past year. Some of these I have already checked (as you can tell) but I wanted to include them in the overall list in case anybody else is following along and so if later in my life, I look back or want to make a suggestion to someone, everything is listed here!
  • Eat at Ala Shanghai in Latham
  • Eat at Ferrari's in Schenectady
  • Run the Boilermaker (will have to wait until 2013 as it is full!)
  • Visit the U.S.S. Slater
  • Attend a River Rats Game - Check.
  • Attend a Tri-City Valley Cats game - Check.
  • Spend a day in Burlington, VT and visit the Ben & Jerry's Factory
  • See the firework display at Empire State Plaza - Check.
  • Try mini hot dogs from Gus's in Watervilet
  • Try wings from the Ale House
  • Walk through Congress Park in Saratoga
  • Visit the Troy Farmer's Market
  • See the waterski show at Jumping Jack's
  • Visit the Victoria Pool in Saratoga
  • See a show at Northern Lights in Clifton Park
Feel free to add, I am always looking for fun and new things to do.  Would love to keep this going and make it more comprehens

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Eat everything in sight.

A few weeks ago I was doing some research into the analytics of this site and I learned a fun little fact about the small piece of the Internet that I have created.  When browsing through the search terms that drive traffic to my site I learned that the number one search term in Google that directs people to The Hungry Twenties is "eat everything in sight."   Yes, that is correct, if you go to Google and search "eat everything in sight" -- the #1 result that pops up is my blog.  Don't believe me?  Try it for yourself.

So let's put this into perspective.  Pretty much, if someone is sitting around at their computer and is wondering about people who eat everything in sight or are curious about the topic of eating everything in sight, Google lets them know -- "You should know Katelyn.  Go visit her website."  And you know what I have to say about that?  That yep, that sounds about right.

The past few days weeks have been particularly rough.  I don't know if it is stress, increased exercise, or what, but my appetite has been insatiable.  I seem to have lost that little bit of will power I had mustered over the past few years and have been indulging in unhealthy foods to my hearts content.  I have put a little bit of weight back on and I have been struggling to control myself from going on small binges of junk food whenever and however it becomes available.  It has caused me to become a bit stressed and upset with myself, and as a stress eater, well -- that just creates a terrible cycle.  And as we all know, I am not the first person to have this problem.

So what do you all do out there when you get into this habit or rhythm or just have an off-week (or few weeks...) of eating healthy?  Does anybody have any advice or suggestions for getting back on track?  Most of my fellow food and eating bloggers out there in internet world are gearing up for bathing suit season with stricter-than-usual diets and extra time at the gym.  Yet, I'm over-indulging in far too many frozen yogurts (covered in candy toppings), Sam Summers, and extra-large portions.  

I've heard from my many people over the past year and a half that have told me that I've been inspiring to them in trying to get healthy, but now is my turn to call out to you all and get some help in the form of inspiration.  Would love to hear from you all out there :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Don't worry -- I am still alive!

Hello my faithful readers-- if you are still out there!!

I need to apologize for my neglect of this space lately.  I am not sure if I ever mentioned it here, but I began a new job on March 5th.  I'm now a big settled in with 2 months on the job, but man is it time consuming!  I've been working really hard to get settled into the role and I blame a lot of my blog neglect on that position.  I hope as we get into the summer months I will be able to spend more time with you because it is something that you know I love so much :)

Before I try to return to a regular rhythm I've got some short updates that I wanted to include in this blog.   After today's entry, I'll do my best to be back to regular programming as usual.  Here goes it:

- Running update.  As I mentioned in my goals for the year, I wanted to focus this year on running faster.  I achieved some success in running in the falling, PRing in a 5K with a time of 30:08.  I'd been working to break that time and throughout the winter, running indoors on the treadmill, put myself through some sprint workouts hoping to be able to up my speed.  I wasn't sure how I would do returning to the roads and timed races (I had run outside a few times this season but never tracked my speed/time.)  Last Sunday I ran my first 5K this season -- Sean's Run in Chatham, NY with a goal of breaking 30 minutes.  Well, I completely and utterly shocked myself -- finishing the race in a time of 26:30.  Can you believe that?  26:30!!!  Literally people, a year ago, I was running a 5K in 35 minutes at 12-ish minute miles.  Now I am at around 8:45 minute miles.  It literally blows my mind.

- Travel updates.  I am lucky enough to have some really exciting travel plans in my future and recent past.  Just a couple weeks ago I was in Dallas, Texas for a week.  I was able to try some delicious Texas steak, TexMex food, and had my first ballpark hot dog in years.  In the coming weeks I will be in Germany and then Atlanta, Georgia, and a few short months after that I will be on vacation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!  How lucky am I?  I feel pretty lucky right now to tell you the truth.  I plan to do a much more thorough job of documenting these trips and culinary adventures over the next few weeks so please be on the lookout.

- Cooking updates.  Although I haven't been sharing them with you, I have been cooking!  I have had lots of roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes on my menu, stuffed peppers, risotto, macaroni salad, stir fry, brussels sprouts, and many, many other yummy dishes I have been preparing for myself.  These are lots of "ol' faithfuls" though and am looking for some new, healthy favorites to break up my routine.  Hopefully I will have some exciting things to share with you soon!

- Final surprise update to come.  Since I have started this blog I have had one small goal that I haven't really vocalized to many people.  Over the past few weeks of e-mail traffic, it now finally seems that this one small goal is going to be coming true and I am BEYOND excited.  I cannot wait to share this with you and tell you more all about it in the future.  But trust me, it's delicious.