Hey guys. I can't believe it's been two days since I blogged. That's the longest I've been away since I started!
On Friday, one of my coworkers who is getting married in March brought me some of her bridal magazines. I flipped through them in the afternoon while snacking on a square of cheesecake. I'm not lazy at work; it was just 4 pm on a Friday, and I finished my tasks. I still answered all of the phone calls!
I'm not usually a very big cheesecake person (chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory in the US is a big exception, though), but this one was very satisfying. It tasted like it had pumpkin pie spice in it.
After work, I met Al and his work friends at the Hilton Hotel
. This place is often mixed up with the actual Hilton (from the international Hilton hotel chain) in the city. The Hilton pub and restaurant that we went to on Friday is near where we work, and it's in a small suburb called Hilton. Interestingly enough, if you leave the Hilton Hotel in Hilton and head directly east through the city, you will find the other, fancier Hilton on the same street. I know, it's confusing.
It was Al's last day of work, which was very bittersweet. He has a great new job, but he worked with some amzing people. We still plan on seeing them a lot!
While there, we snacked on a bunch of appetizers and called them "dinner".
Pictured: Risotto balls served with house relish and sour cream
Assorted cheese plate with water crackers, crustinis, strawberries, apples, raisins, sugared figs and three delicious cheeses. We never got a description of them (the menu says "three cheeses"), but I'm thinking they were brie, a fancy cheddar and something resembling blue cheese.
Not pictured: potato wedges with house relish and sour cream.
It was a lot of food, but that didn't stop us from getting pies and sausage rolls from the 24-hour Norwood Bakery. Oops.
I also want to share that I watched the Glee version of Rocky Horror Picture Show last night. I immediately downloaded the soundtrack (Glee version) and then decided that I just had to watch the original. I LOVED IT!! How is it that I'm a self-confessed musical theater freak, but I've never seen that movie?
Anyway, that's how I celebrated my Halloween. I also ate chocolate. Here's a fact: Australian's don't really celebrate Halloween. It's sad news for such an awesome country. Everybody knows about it, though. There are some costume parties and trick-or-treaters, but it's not the norm.
Here are some more fun pictures from Friday night. I get distracted a lot when I'm out having fun, and I usually forget to take pictures. However, I managed to get one with me and Shona.
After our midnight snack at the bakery, we came home. Al went to sleep, and I stayed up so that I could arrange Al's going-away presents from his coworkers into picture-ific poses. They knew how much Al loves chocolate, so four bars of Cadbury chocolate was necessary.
Other things I arranged and photographed included instant noodles, a gigantic card and a bottle of wine from the Barossa. My fingers in the bottom corners were not part of the gift.
They also got him a mini jar of vegemite and about 100,000 different objects with the company logo on it including a hat, paper weight, stress ball and a tape measure.
My favorite part was a generous voucher to Guacho's, which is an Argentinian steakhouse in the city. It's one of the most popular eateries in Adelaide, and it's expensive! Al loves good steak, so he'll be very happy with this place. It was also my idea :)
Now, Al has one week off before he starts his new job. We should have booked a trip to Bali!!!
I ran today! I didn't go very far, but I was able to run for 30 minutes nonstop (minus one quick walking break). My leg isn't cured, but it's a lot better. I still have a dull ache when I run, but at least it doesn't hurt afterwards. I think that's a very big improvement. It looks like the physio and the resting- and possibly the accpuncture- helped a bunch. It looks like the Little Jogger is back!
I changed into my exercise clothes at the gym, and I ran along the river. You'll never guess who I ran into! I found my signficant other running towards me on the path. It was planned, though. We both knew that we'd be running along the river, but we weren't sure where we would meet up. It was cute.
Since my muscles still aren't back to normal, I have to keep up my hip flexor stretches (a bit like a runner's lunge) 3 times a day, and I'm supposed to roll on a tennis ball twice a week. It's very awkward, as you can imagine! Barb the Marathon Runner
told me a few weeks ago about a foam roller from Trigger Point
. She also pulled or strained her IT band while training for the marathon, and she swears that this product fixed her hip. She ran 26 miles without any pain! When I got home from my run today, I ordered one for myself.
If you can make out the price, you can see that it costs about $70 (plus $10 shipping). It's only about $35 in the US! The Australian and the US dollars are also very similar right now, so it doesn't even make a difference that they're listed in different currencies.
Here's a fact about Australia: many things are more expensive compared to the US. Of course, there are other factors. For one thing, sales tax (GST) is automatically factored into the price. If you see a shirt that says $45.50 on the tag, that's exactly how much it's going to cost. So, prices can appear higher than than they really are. Australians also don't tip, so consumers have one less thing to pay.
Regardless of those factors, however, I still notice that certain things are pricier here. For instance, my new running shoes cost me twice as much as they would have cost at home. But the US has a stronger currency (or at least used to be stronger), and it wouldn't cost Americans as much to import them from China (the birthplace of my shoes). Also, Australians are paid well. Many people can afford the higher price of living. The minimum wage is $21/hour once you turn 21. Everything is relative!
For those of you who don't live in Australia, don't you dare let the higher prices scare you away from visiting this wonderful country. Just think about the fact that you don't have to tip. Ever. There are also plenty of places where you can eat and buy clothes cheaply. If you ever need advice, just ask me. I live with an accountant now, so I have no choice but to be frugal. Really.
I'll talk to you guys on Saturday! I probably can't write anything tomorrow, because we're going out after Al's last day of work. The last time I said that, though, I turned out two posts. I guess we'll just see....
Glee is releasing a Christmas album! I had to express my excitement there. I really like Glee, even though it annoys me sometimes. Regardless, I download all of the songs on iTunes. I've always been a showtunes freak, so those are the ones I tend to listen to over and over again on repeat (not as much the rock/pop stuff).
If there is music that I love as much as showtunes, it's Christmas music. I can't spend my season without it. I'm used to some of the Chicago radio stations changing over their music to exclusive Xmas music, and that doesn't happen in Adelaide. I hardly heard any of that last year! Hopefully, Glee will bring me some Christmas cheer. The download date can't come fast enough!
Now, please take the time to read about what I ate for lunch today. As I have mentioned in my "about" section, healthy eating and exercise is an essential part of who I am. I am only 5 feet tall, so if I eat whatever I want and sit around, I will inflate into a balloon. Plus, a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone! So, with that said, I will make an effort to share healthy and delicous foods that I come acoss in my day-to-day life.
I forgot to put together stuff for lunch today, so I bought a sandwich from the snack shop down the street. Remember the snack shops I told you about yesterday
? Same idea. I just didn't get a chicken schnitzel pack today.
My sandwich was made with multigrain bread. In the middle, I had turkey, sliced hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts and avocado spread on both pieces of bread. It was delicious and filling. I had a mango afterwards (not pictured), but I didn't even need it.
It was so delicious. I'm even thinking about getting another one tomorrow. It goes to show that you can get a healthy sandwich that tastes good. Here are some things to keep in mind when ordering one:
- Choose bread with caution. Multigrain or whole wheat is better than white bread. End of story. Go for darker breads (not stark white), especially ones with seeds. See all of the seedy goodness on my bread? Also, when buying bread at the supermarket, go with breads that are high in fiber. 2 is good; 3 is better.
- Veggies, veggies, veggies. You really can't OD on fresh veggies, so pile as many on as you like. It will only add more flavors and texture to your sandwich.
- Many spreads=calories and extra fat. When I ordered my lunch today, they asked me if I wanted butter spread on my bread. I was trying to make a healthy lunch, so I said no. I also no longer get mayo, and I don't miss it. I ate it in the past, but it's extra fat that I don't need! My new favorite spread is avocado. I cut an avocado in half, and I spread the contents onto my bread. I've also used mustard a lot, but I swear that it's not popular here. You can buy it, though.
These tips may be common sense to most people, but little things like this have really helped me in the past when I wanted to lose weight.
It's Wednesday, so enjoy this silly commericial!
The Brainiac (my fiance Al) finished his first exam today, and he was famished afterwards. I wanted to go for a long walk when we got home, so we compromised. We went on a long walk, and we picked up dinner on the way home.
I kept it healthy with a turkey sub from Subway. I had them load the veggies on, and I got a few squirts of honey mustard sauce. It's really quite remarkable that I walk into a Subway halfway around the world, yet it tastes exactly like any other store back home. Everything, down to the last chocolate chip in a cookie, is the same. How do they do that?
Sorry guys, I'm really tying to take better pictures. I used a real camera this time, but I don't think it's very good. I tried a few with and without a flash, and this was the best one I could get. I really have a lot to learn when it comes to taking pictures for my blog.
Smarty Pants, however, chose to go in a different direction with dinner. He picked his up from the local chicken shop. There are chicken shops, or snack shops, all over the place. You can get salads or sandwiches, but they specialize in anything and everything deep fried.
Tonight, Al ordered a chicken schnitzel pack. It consists of one fried chicken patty covered in hot chips (translation: French fries) and topped off with steaming gravy. Whether or not you think this sounds mouth-watering or downright disgusting (I usually think the latter), it's another popular Aussie treat. Actually, the only reason that I think it's slightly gross is because I hate soggy fries. They are hot and crispy when they come out of the fryer, but the combination of the gravy and being packaged in a closed box usually changes the texture.
Since we were home about five minutes after Al got his food, however, they were still crispy. I actually muched on a few gravy-covered hot chips when I finished my Subway. I gotta admit, they taste good. Salty, but good. I could see myself getting one of these in the wee hours of the morning after a long night out. It would certainly hit the spot.
I hope I answered my own question about why we love chicken schnitzel packs. With enough greasy goodness in one box, it's sometimes hard to be disappointed! I should also add that there are beef schnitzel packs as well.
Before I go, I want to say that hot chips, or fries, are spectacular here. Aussies usually use seasoning on their chips called chicken salt.. I might have to bring some the next time I go home so that you all can try it! And for those of you who live in Australia- how good is this stuff?!?!
A few ingredients include salt, sugar, wheat starch and dehydrated vegetables. It adds so much flavor that you don't even need ketchup!
By the way, in case you were wondering, the McDonald's fries here also taste the same. Again, remarkable.
Summer is well on its way in Australia, so what does that mean? Summer fruit, of course! Now, for all of your Northern-Hemisphere-ers, I am not looking to rub it in. I also love winter fruit. For now, though, I'm going to focus on the warm-weather goods.
I fell in love with mangoes in college, thanks to my roommate who lived with me for all four years. Her parents would drive down for the day to visit us, and they would literally stock our fridge with all sorts of fruits, grilled veggies, chicken, turkey and veggie burgers...I could go on and on. I wish they could be here to stock my fridge now. Anyway, they almost always brought us mangoes. When they weren't in season,they brought us frozen mango slices from Trader Joes (OMG I MISS THAT SHOP SO MUCH!!!!). Thanks to them, my fridge in Australia almost always contains a mango in the summer.
I bought at least one mango per week last summer, and then I almost cried when they stopped stocking them for winter. Really, it was a big deal. I'm sure you can imagine my excitement when I found them a few weeks ago!
I've been incorporating them into my lunches. I made a salad today with lettuce, chickpeas and one fresh mango.
If you ever make a salad with mangoes, make sure that you don't cut it up until you want to eat it. They get s-l-i-m-y otherwise. I learned the hard way a few weeks ago when I wanted to save time by making my salad at night. It was as if Jabba the Hut was living and drooling in my tupperware overnight. Not good.
It's a mango dome!
The Brainiac has his first exam tomorrow (he has two this week), so I'm going to be helpful by typing up his index for him. He admires my typing skils that I learned from my touch keyboarding class in sixth grade.
Goodnight, friends. Peace, love and MANGOES!
This morning, I tackled a Wagon Wheel. A Wagon Wheel is a "choc-coated marshmallow and jam snack". Basically, it tastes good. I'll consume almost anything with marshmallow.
There is no excuse for my phone camera and the lighting in my apartment. Unfortunately, my other cameras don't take very good pictures, either! Hopefully, you have an idea of what a Wagon Wheel looks like from this.
Below is a Wagon Wheel cross-section. Apparently, you can also find these in Canada, the UK and Ireland. If you ever find yourself in any of these four countries, make sure you give it a shot. It's a fun snack.
True story: I opened it up at 9 am to see how it would taste melted in my oatmeal. Oatmeal-loving food bloggers put all sorts of crazy things in their hot cereal, so I thought I'd experiment with a Wagon Wheel. The outcome? I wasted one healthy WW and 3/4 cups of oatmeal. The moral of the story? If you ever get your hands on a Wagon Wheel, eat it straight out of the package. Don't mix it with your breakfast.
After a much better breakfast, I walked into town. I forgot about the Sunday Rundle Street Market. I'm pretty sure that they have it every week. Vendors come in from all over the place and sell anything from clothes and handmade jewellery to kettle corn and deep fried potato sticks. I love it, because they block off the eastern section of the road to car traffic. The footpaths (translation: sidewalks) get crowded there all the time, because many cafes and restaurants put tables out there. So it's nice to have the freedom to walk on the streets. As I've also said before, it's my favorite part of the city.
I took pictures while waiting to cross the street.
I didn't have time to stop and take pictures of the vendors up close, unfortunately. I only snapped a few while walking through.
I made it back to my beloved river.
Hello, Duckies and Swans.
I passed some pelicans hanging out with some fishing guys. Evidently, they were hoping for a treat.
The guys caught a fish! This guy look excited.
This one is jumping out of the water to get free fish.
Thse birds are such goofballs. Sadly, only one got the fish.
I later met up with Al after his study session at the library. We got some Gellatissimo. As usual, I got my hazelnut gelato in a cup. As usual, I ate it all.The pink wafer was from a little donation to support breast cancer research. What a great way to spend the afternoon!
I think I'm obsessed with my walks along the river. I never get sick of these big goofy birds...
or baby ducklings...
These guys love the attention.
And there is less than a week until Al takes the next two sections of his CPA exams. Then, I'll get him all to myself. We'll also have a lot more time for my manual driving lessons.
AND there are now Christmas decorations in the city. Unless I'm mistaken, don't Americans wait until after Thanksgiving for ours? There's a big Christmas parade coming up in the next few weeks, though. I'll be there!
I can't WAIT for Christmas this year. More on that later :)
Ta ta for now
It's hard to work inside when the weather is gorgeous. Today, it crawled up to a more-than-comfortable 28 degrees (82.4 degrees fahrenheit). Most days, I love eating lunch in our kitchen. We have a plasma flat screen TV with all of the regular channels on it, and I enjoy watching Seinfeld, Ellen, The View, The Hills, etc while slurping on my soup or muching on my salad. Today, however, I only watched 30 minutes of TV. I decided to spend the rest of my lunch hour outside. While walking around, I took pictures of the plants that I liked.
Al picked me up after work, and then I had a cut/color hair appointment from 6 till about 8:30. I can't believe how long my appointments take. I love my hair dresser, though. She looks a little like Pink. We also got engaged at the same time. Sorry, no pictures.
I picked up a chicken teriyaki sandwich from Subway on the way home, along with three double chocolate cookies (for $2) for my roommate. What can I say, I'm a good girlfriend.
Guys, make sure that you look at my weather widget when you read my blog. It not only shows the weather in Chicago and Adelaide, but you can see the time differences as well. It's a great tool.
Hey guys. I wasn't going to write today, because I have a headache the size of Alaska. I also didn't take any pictures to pretty my site. I realized, though, that my desire to tell you about my day is greater than my desire to curl up in bed and sleep. I'll have time for sleeping later!
I had my appointment with the physio today, and it went really well. My leg is much better, and he told me that I can start running up to two days a week. I don't have to see him next week (or ever again) unless the pain comes back. As soon as he finished telling me the good news, he did exactly what I mentioned last week: acupuncture.
It didn't cost me anything extra, so why not? He made sure that I looked away while he stuck the needles in my leg. This is because those needles are long. However, I couldn't even feel them going in. They stayed in for about five minutes, and he turned them while he talked to me about The West Wing. It felt a little sore when he did that, but that was the only pain I felt. I couldn't even feel anything when he pulled them out. I have zero bruising or marks or anything. Apparently, turning the needles in my leg have a same or similar effect to him massaging my leg.
He did mention, though, that I could get very fatigued in a few hours. He was right. I felt like I was going to fall asleep by the end of the work day. Maybe that's what triggered my headache? I took a quick nap when I got home, but I don't feel much better.
Dry needling and acupuncture are the same thing, if you were wondering about my title. According to my physio, "dry needling" is the Western name for "acupuncture".
I didn't take any pictures today, so here's a vintage one for all of you.
Goda, Alastair, me, Andi at University of Illinois. That was before Al and I even knew each other for one month! I realize that I still have to talk about how Al and I met. I'll get there.
Annnnnd it's Hump Day, so here is my funny commercial.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had some recapping to do, so this is my recap on Kangaroo Island. I went there in March with my parents when they were visiting me.
Kangaroo Island is right off the shores of South Australia. It's approximately 155 km long and is home to about 4,000 people. You go there to see the pristine nature and ocean views. Also, kangaroos live there.
I had never been there before, and I really wanted to take my parents there. If you ever come to Adelaide, locals will tell you that you would be crazy to skip KI. My mom and dad were only in Adelaide for six days (we spent the rest of the time in Sydney), and we knew that the only way to do it was a daytrip. We could have spent a night there, but that would give us less time to do local South Australian sightseeing and spend time with Al's family.
It was a long day! We got picked up from my parent's hotel at 6:15 in the morning, and we arrived back at around 10:30 pm. In between, we spent a lot of time on a bus. The ride from Adelaide to the ferry dock was about two hours. After a 45-minute ferry ride, we got on another bus that took us to the other side of the island. By the time we reached our first destination, the morning was almost over.
We went to Seal Bay, which is a big open beach with seals. Sounds about right, right? It was very picturesque. We couldn't get very close to the seals, but we got some good pictures.
We then got back on the bus to see a show at the Birds of Prey
. This was one of my favorite parts of the day. We saw all different kinds of exotic birds up close, such as owls and falcons.
I didn't take any pictures of this, but a lot of people from our tour group walked up to the front and got to hold the birds up on their arm. These birds are trained very well.
The owl walked around on people's laps.
After lunch, we headed to Flinders Chase National Park where there are some gorgeous natural sites. We stopped at the Remarkable Rocks, which I've seen a gazillion times in pictures. The formations came from millions of years of waves hitting against them, and they are unlike anything I've ever seen in my life.
The weather then drastically made a turn for the worse. The picture below is of the Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse. I love the way it looks. It's a beautiful photo with the lighthouse and the ocean behind it, but it also looks like the backdrop of a horror movie.
We got off the bus by the lighthouse to walk down a bunch of stairs to the Admiral's Arch. There were a lot of seals on the rocks below.
The view at the bottom was well worth getting a little wet and cold. I loved seeing all of the seals veging out.
My dad was glad that he walked to the bottom, too.
On the way back to the bus, our tour guide pointed out a (I think) brown snake. It's one of the most poisonous snakes in the world! Australia has a lot of poisonous snakes, by the way.
I had a good time, and I think my dad enjoyed Kangaroo Island. I can't say the same thing about my mom, though. Let's put it this way. She doesn't like buses. She doesn't like tour groups. She doesn't like sitting for long periods of time. Since our day consisted of all of that, she was like a whiny and crabby kindergardener by the end of the day. She was also baffled that we went to Kangaroo Island but didn't see any kangaroos. As I mentioned before, though, the best time to see them is dawn and dusk. We were only there during the daylight.
We had to do the whole return journey in reverse, by the way. Another bus ride, ferry ride, bus ride. I was also slightly crabby by the end.
All in all, I highly recommend Kangaroo Island. I suggest, though, that you stay overnight and make more use of your time. A day trip is very exhausting, and you can't spend a lot of time at the sites. For day and overnight tours to KI, take a look at Sealink.
I am NOT looking forward to work tomorrow. Our water is getting turned off from 9am-3pm. We can't use the toilets!!!! I also have my physio appointment at 12. Hopefully, they have a bathroom there!