Tag Archives: alcohol

No Alarm, No Problem? Not Quite.

Thank you to all who entered my giveaway for a personal wine cellar from Staples! Congrats to the winner…Heather! And remember to not forget Staples for your appliance needs…they don’t just sell paper clips!


Ever since I started going out more frequently on weekends, and staying out later when I do so, I’ve been fighting that little voice in my head telling me I “shouldn’t” be doing it. I figured/told myself that once temperatures started descending the summer nights would disappear and so would my desire to go out. However, this hasn’t been the case. I’ve got the energy to fight the cold, get dolled up, and hit the dance floor after dinner.

Rooftop 120 chocolate martini shots!

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The Alcohol Calorie Struggle

I mentioned briefly in Monday’s MIMM weekend recap that some portions of the weekend brought on anxiety and emotional struggles for me. Not surprisingly, these were ED-related…specifically to my feelings before and after drinking alcohol.

One of this past weekend's day drinks - Yellow Tail Sparkling Rose in Lilly Pulitzer glasses (of course).

One of this past weekend’s day drinks – Yellow Tail Sparkling Rose in Lilly Pulitzer acrylic wine glasses (of course).

Since I entered recovery, my relationship with alcohol and its “empty calories” has improved. To this day the number “seven” still sticks out in my head – as in the number of calories per gram of alcohol. I see this number in my mind each time I have a drink. The difference between me now and me two years ago is now I can actually take a sip of a drink, as in I can actually perform the action. I used to be crippled by such fear of empty alcohol calories, and my belief that they’d just pile up on my stomach in the form of fat, that I rarely ever drank. If I did, I had to be STARVING first to do so. My senior year of college, I’d barely eat all day long so that I could go out to the bars at night and drink rum and Diet Coke (gross).

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Beer Tasting – Yes, This is Still Caitlin

I’m having a great day so far! I woke up at 5:30am for no reason, feeling ready to go, so I had time to hit the gym for a workout, something I often don’t get a chance to do on Thursdays since I have class after work (and refuse to get up at 5:30am to work out unless it happens on its own). Did not bother to put in my contacts, though.

Rocking my ALA Stair Climb shirt for a stair-climbing workout of course!

I did 20 minutes of HIIT on the StepMill and the following bicep and tricep workout from Heather. Ended with some oblique #PlankADay, of course!

Heather continued to make my day by notifying me that I won her Naturebox giveaway! They send out a monthly box of new snacks – it’s like Birchbox for food! I don’t know how I didn’t know about it. I can’t wait to get my box of snacks and share my thoughts with you all 🙂

I also enjoyed about 15 minutes of sun time before clouds rolled in during my lunch break (I’ll take what I can get) with a new book that is super-weird, but also super-interesting. Has anyone read it?

The coffee is a new flavor from a local cafe, Almond Joy! Another day-brightener.

Let’s move on to the surprising part of this post – I hosted a beer tasting at my house during our Easter party. Yes, me, as in I, as in Caitlin. Just had to clarify that. I’m not shy about the fact that I’m not a big fan of beer. I know many of my readers, particularly the runners, feel differently. I find that so many runners I meet just love their beer! My mom is no exception. But I’m also an adventurarian, so I went to the best possible source for beer advice and suggestions, Elliot of Sonoma Wines & Spirits.

He helped me pick out the above selection of seven different beers (at Sonoma, if you buy six you get 10% off!) – the Sierra Nevada holder (is there a proper name for those?) is just what they had on hand. I was “sitting on them” for about a month, and decided the Easter party was the perfect time to do a tasting because plenty of people could join in! I wanted to try them all at once but needed enough other people around to help me finish them.

The beer tasters (well, not all of these youngsters had beer).

We all tried different beers at different times, I didn’t bother trying to keep any “order” to it. My sister was kind enough to pick up a bunch of cups at the store the day of the party.

I’d already heard of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but since I’m so carbonation-averse, I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy it. It was better than I thought it’d be though. I can see myself getting used to it. My friend Stacy’s dad LOVES this beer – he wasn’t even gonna participate in the tasting until he saw this was involved. Then his eyes got very wide and he asked for a cup!

This Smuttynose Robust Porter was more my style for sure! Less carbonated, though not TOO heavy. Think of it as a lighter Guinness. I was one of the few who enjoyed it, probably because I’m one of the few who doesn’t care for carbonation – or most beers in the first place.

The Konig Ludwig Weissbier was a crowd favorite! Seriously, no one disliked it. I think everyone was doubly impressed as well because no one had ever heard of it before. I’d call it a nice middle-ground beer. Just a medium body, not too hoppy, not too heavy either.

Elliot referred to the New England Brewing Co. Elm City Lager as a much-classier “college beer”. What those New England preppy frat boys drink, ya know? Too light and hoppy and Bud Light-like for me – and many who tasted it. Though it was thought of as a good beer for a boat ride on a hot day. Of course, I don’t know when my next boat ride on a hot day will be. I wish I did! Anyone know?

A lot of those who sampled the Boddington’s Pub Ale had already heard of and/or tried it, so it was not received as warmly as some of the other selections. More of a “meh, this is fine”.

The Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA was definitely the hoppiest – and rarest – of the beers in this tasting. However, I think I can definitely appreciate its high quality because despite the fact that it was very hoppy and, as Andrea called it, “intense”, I enjoyed it more than the other pale ale I tried from Sierra Nevada. You’d think I’d go for less bubbles, but this beer was just quite cool! Who knows, maybe its “rare-ness” went to my head, but I don’t think so!

I saved the one I was most excited to try, and knew I’d like the most, for last in this discussion. The first beer I asked Elliot to recommend to me was the best chocolate beer he knew of, and this was the one he mentioned without a second’s hesitation – Southern Tier Imperial Chocklat Stout (FYI I next wanna do a tasting with ALL the beers on that page – YUM). It was so good!!! I even had half a cup with my chocolate cake for dessert. I was one of the few who liked this beer. All the other tasters were fairly regular to very seasoned beer drinkers and since this tasted least like beer, they liked it the least. More for me?! What’s also cool is that you don’t have to worry about finishing this guy in one sitting (it’s a bigger bottle) because it actually keeps pretty well in the fridge for a few days after opening if you stop it up with a wine cork!

Nice, Mollie.

Thanks to my beer tasting companions – and observers – for joining me on my quest to become more adventurous with my alcohol! Because that’s SUCH a necessity, right? 😉

Are you a beer drinker? Have you ever tried any of these beers, and/or attended a beer tasting?

FitFluential Holiday Balance: 5 Tips!

I’m so glad you guys enjoyed yesterday’s post about the goodies I received in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! Make sure you check it out if you haven’t had a chance to do so yet 🙂 Can’t wait to see the official link round-up post tomorrow of every single recipe involved!

As a Fitfluential Ambassador, I am always looking to both give and receive tips on achieving balance. FitFluential’s key areas for balance are Eat, Sleep, Move, and Enjoy. I have to say that I certainly agree that balance in those areas is important, but since CMO Danielle Liss has assigned Ambassadors a writing prompt on five tips for achieving holiday balance, I am going to provide my own fifth area so that I can keep things Even-Steven and concentrate on one area per tip.

1. Eat: Focus on what makes you feel good, both physically and mentally.

Let me elaborate. There’s the food that makes you feel good physically. “Clean eats”, some call them. It’s different for everyone, and can often depend on what your body is used to. Some people feel best as vegans, some feel best as raging carnivores. Some feel best eating like Snooki:

Before Christmas dinner last year. Yes, my Christmas dinner came from a Jewish deli. And yes, I'm sunburnt.

For me, some of the foods that make me feel good don’t have too much sugar, are often in their most natural form (whole fruits, fresh veggies, local breads and meats, etc), and aren’t fried (which makes me veeeery sleepy). Those are just some examples.

Chowing down on fried alligator in DC.

But other foods are fun to eat and try, even if they aren’t those foods mentioned above that typically make me feel my best. And every now and then, I try to tell myself that it’s OK to eat those foods and experience them. Just because they don’t leave me feeling my best, doesn’t mean I don’t like to eat them. Fried food is YUMMY! A lot of heavier or sweeter foods tend to pop up during the holidays. Most emphasis is put on avoiding them at all costs, but I don’ t that’s entirely realistic or mentally healthy.

Grease-laden fries sure do TASTE good.

This area of FitFluential balance is, undoubtedly, the area I have the hardest time in. It’s very difficult for me to allow myself to eat the foods that aren’t on my list of foods I typically consume on a daily basis. In other words, I have a tough time breaking the mold. In fact, at this point in this post, I’d like to ask you all for tips! How do you allow yourself to indulge every now and then in some of those special holiday foods, like Christmas cookies or that random relative’s cheesy traditional side dish?

2. Sleep: Get enough of it.

I love my sleep. There isn’t much I will sacrifice it for. Blessed sleep is the reason I refuse to make myself wake up for a workout earlier than 7am, and why I rarely will commit to plans that may potentially have me out past 10pm.

Behold, my college sheets.

One might think this leads me to lead a boring life, but I think my life is anything but that. Getting to bed at a reasonable hour on Friday and Saturday nights means I’m ready to go bright and early during my valuable Saturdays and Sundays. I have enough time to sweat, spend time at my favorite cafes, blog, do my homework, run errands, hang out with friends, you name it. Going to bed earlier than 12am doesn’t mean I have less free time on weekends – it just shifts my free time to earlier hours, which is fine by me.

Sometimes holiday parties start on the later side, at 8 or 9pm. If it’s not too far away, there’s still always time to drop by. You can make a decision about how late you want to stay once you arrive! If you’re having a blast, by all means, stay and enjoy. If you’re like me, and on a steady sleeping schedule, your eyes will start getting droopy and you’ll be out of there by 10:30 (aka last Friday night for me). It’s easy in these instances to suffer from a classic case of FOMA (Fear of Missing Out), but then again, I often find myself suffering from FOMA in regards to the morning and early afternoon hangouts, group fitness classes, and blogging sessions I will miss if I hit the hay too late and end up sleeping in.

3. Move: Do so when you can, but don’t skip a special event for a workout. Or better yet, combine the event and the workout!

I like how FitFluential goes with the verb “move”, not “exercise”, because there are many forms of movement that your typical athlete might not consider “counting” toward physical activity. I know I myself am guilty of this. But the dancing you do at that holiday party? That’s movement! So is the pole dancing Groupon you might use with a few girlfriends for a girl’s night out precursor to a festive cookie exchange party, or the hike you may take after a Christmas brunch.

Greek dancing, anyone?

I always say, when you have time to move, make sure you take advantage. If you have a free afternoon or evening, going to the gym may be the last thing on your mind. But it won’t even be present in your mind at ALL the morning after a festive shindig that didn’t send you home until about 3am. So if you have the time, get that movement in so that when the busy holiday season leaves no space in  your calendar, it’ll be no biggie.

Speaking of calendar, scheduling movement is a big help to me as well, especially with my love for group fitness classes. Since those run on a schedule, I can prepare for when they occur in advance and fit them into my schedule!

4. Enjoy: Not just the obvious “fun” things (parties, presents, etc), but also the food you eat, the rest you get, the moving you do, and the drinks you drink.

No one can follow any of the tips in this post, on any Twitter feed, in any fitness magazine, etc if he or she isn’t at least somewhat enjoying life at the same time. It’s human nature not to stick with something that we dislike doing. So for each area of FitFluential balance, try to figure out what you enjoy most.

Had to have one holiday photo in here, right?

It may take trial and error. You may try a thousand group fitness classes before you find one that works up a sweat AND makes the time go by at a reasonable pace (I’m not going to say makes the time fly by – I know that’s not realistic for most). You may go through twenty “healthified” holiday cookie recipes before you find one that doesn’t taste like cardboard. But don’t give up! There is a way out there to lead a balanced, healthy life of enjoyment. You just might not have found it yet!

5. Drink (my own addition): Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – but also, one or two glasses of wine don’t hurt!

First of all, I cannot stress the importance of water. Drink it as often as you can. Drink a ton of it! I always have water on me, no matter where I go. I recommend using it to pace yourself during holiday parties and dinners as well. After you clear your plate, try finishing your glass of water, then see if you still want seconds. Alternate each run for finger foods with a glass of water.

Not exactly a holiday photo, but I'll drink sangria year round!

Water can also be used to help you enjoy alcohol in moderation. Firstly, it’s another pacer – always make sure you order a glass of water at the same time as each drink. Make sure you finish it before you consider ordering another. Secondly, water will help to ward off the dehydrating effects of alcohol. There’s no guarantee against a headache the next morning (I usually get one no matter how much water I drink!) but taking every “precaution” is smart.

If you don’t drink, that’s your choice, just like the foods that make you feel good are your choice! Don’t let that make you nervous about attending any holiday gatherings where you know most people will be drinking. There’s always substitutes you can fill your glass with – seltzer water is a good option, or diet soda. Everyone will assume there’s something “intoxicating” in there, trust me!

As for choices of what beverages to partake in, if you do wish to do so (I know I sometimes do), I recommend something that you can sip on and savor. Spring for a wine that you know you will enjoy, even if it’s not the cheapest. It will satisfy you more! Many banquet halls and even party hosts are now offering “skinny” or “natural” cocktail options for those that dislike wine.

I hope you all enjoyed my 5 tips to achieve FitFluential Holiday Balance! 

Which of these five areas is it hardest for you to achieve balance in? Is there anything you think I left out, or anything I said that you disagree with? Do you have any tips for me on how to achieve balance in the area of Eat?