Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Cookie Party

First off let me say that the cookie exchange party with my friends last night was a mega huge success. We had so much fun and ate some really amazing food. So this blog isnt necessarily about any kind of advice or nutritional information other than the fact that in order to stay sane and happy... you have to be blessed with friends like I have.

Here is a picture montage of the night..

Christel, Kacey and Rachel slaving away

Kacey made puppy chow!

Rachels mini Red Velvet Cupcakes..mmm

This sugar cookie decorating station

Me and my old roomie Rach

I made peanut butter/butterscotch cookies

Before they baked

The food, conversation and music were spectacular. These were the shots that I took with my DroidX Camera (which I am disappointed isnt better) but my lovely friend Rachel Tokarski (As pictured above) is an absolutely amazing photographer in the PIttsburgh area and she took her much better camera and took some really awesome shots of all of us.

Here are some of her shots from the party.. She does headshots, portraits, weddings, engagements, sports and anything else..and she does amazing work : ) If you need pictures seriously look her up! She is a blogger too so if you want to see some of her work or get in contact with here CLICK HERE

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Party Survival (round 1)

Happy holidays everyone!

Everyone knows that this week is the week of holiday parties if you work the office life as I do. This week is filled with 5.. count them 5 different holiday parties. This blog is just to talk about the first 3 because the last 2 are going to be the real doozies.

Now dont get me wrong.. I absolutely looove Christmas parties, its a time where everyone just gets to hang out and talk as people and not as coworkers. That doesnt get to happen often. On Monday, we did our annual card signing party in which everyone in our office sits down and hand signs about 150 cards that go to various people around the University. Its always a good time and by the end of it your messages of "happy holidays! Love, Mackenzie Farone" widdle down to "M. Farone" because you just get sick of writing it over and over again.. but of course what holiday signing party would be complete without food? So, there was a huge box of assorted cookies from Einsteins.
Imagine these two cookies plus 10 more
Tuesday, landed me smack dab into my first real Christmas party for our Arts and Sciences department which they had catered with some beautiful Italian/ Pittsburgh inspired foods. Now if you arent from pittsburgh let me tell you what "Pittsburgh staples" are when it comes to food.. You've got perogies and italian sausage sandwiches. Luckily I am not a huge fan of either of them so that was an easy choice. I kept mainly to the small portions of Rigatoni, vegetable platters and cheese and crackers. Their dessert tray sucked me in because they offered small cookies. You shouldnt deny yourself something you really want so I went for a tiny cookie and enjoyed every minute of its mapley goodness.

Here is the group talking and having lunch.. Great group of people!

 Wednesday was our "Staff and Faculty Appreciation Party" which was in the grand ballroom here on campus. I remembered it from last year.. its for everyone in the entire University and they go all out for it. There are multiple stations with appetizers like crab cakes, spinach artichoke dip, Buffalo chicken dip,etc to a dessert table with a chocolate fountain and everything you could ever imagine to dip in it plus all sorts of other desserts. I kept everything small and tried to pick high protein choices.. pasta reared its head again though and I had to try out the chocolate fountain!!
This is just the center table in one room.. there were about 6 other tables and another room full
This was the 2nd room and my attempt to get a shot of the choc fountain.. way too many people
Me, Jordan and Pam from my office.. I look like Im squinting!
The president gave a speech about how appreciative he was for all the work we had done. Its a very nice affair and full of nutritional pitfalls thats for sure. There wasnt much there at all in the way of healthy options that I liked.. cold asparagus, tiny little wraps ( I dont like wraps the consistency grosses me out) and some fruit.

Tonight is a cookie/dessert party with some of my amazing girlfriends which I am really looking forward to! and tomorrow is our actual office christmas party which is at Bucca di Beppo and is a lot of italian food all served family style. I have survived the first half of the week by keeping portions small and exercising every day.. Its all you can do. Dont deprive yourself of something you want but dont overindulge either I guess will be my motto for the rest of the week.

More pictures to come!..

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Using drugs that fight cocaine addiction for weight loss?

Happy blustery cold morning my lovely blog readers,

I was outside today for a whopping 3 minutes between getting into my car and walking from the car to the shuttle and let me tell you.. That was quite enough time. If you arent reading from the Pittsburgh area, let it be known that as I was getting ready for work this morning I was watching the local news and 370 schools have already been closed or delayed today due to extreme snow and cold temperatures. We have a windchill of -7 and its supposed to reach a high of 20 degrees today.. a HIGH of 20 degrees? Gross.


but anyway, onto the topic of todays blog post. I know that I have blogged before about the dangers of diet pills and some supplements. I believe that it was one of my older blogs on the Http://www/ site. Diet pills have back in the news lately because the FDA just recently approved a diet drug for the morbidly obese. It had rejected two earlier in the year by the names of lorcaserin and QNexa.. the reason? The side effects of these drugs can be heart attacks, heart weakening and major links to cancer! I'm sorry but isn't the point of a diet drug to aid in making you healthier not give you more health problems to worry about?

So what makes this new FDA approved drug so different? The new drug that has been approved is called Contrave and it is actually a combination of two drugs that were already on the market. Now for the crazy part.. the two drugs that are mixed to create this new "miracle diet pill" are nalterxone and bupropion which are used to treat what? Naltrexone is used to treat those with COCAINE addiction and bupropion is used as an anti depressant. Why? because they are assuming that everyone that is obese is addicted to food and depressed. Also, weight loss pills have a high risk of increasing suicidal thoughts. So basically the pills help to make you happy and motivated while blocking the pleasure receptors in the brain that are associated with food.

Now, call me a realist or maybe just a romantic dreamer but why are we wasting money even researching these things? I understand that people who are morbidly obese may have to take off weight quickly to save their health and may not even be able to move to exercise because it may cause serious physical harm.. but how about being proactive instead of reactive? How about giving people the tools to naturally lead a healthy lifestyle that will prevent them from becoming obese instead of treating the problem afterwards? How about fining companies and restaurants that use preservatives and addictive additives in their food (McDonalds.. cough cough.. Burger King..cough cough) ? How about supporting the youth nutrition bills currently in the Senate? (which Obama signed this morning by the way!! yay!) What about giving tax breaks or incentives to companies that offer mid day exercise breaks? or healthy vending machines?

We are already in a major deficit and an economy that is struggling every day to rebuild itself. Why are we spending money researching drugs like this when there are diseases that arent preventable that need the attention of top scientists? Cancer, MS, and other major diseases deserve the funding.

We need to teach America not to be lazy and think of the amount of money we would save? I am not saying that I dont take my weekends sometimes to just relax but if you're spending your life "just relaxing" than thats an issue. People need to stop waiting for the next miracle drug or surgery to come out, put down the cheeseburger and get outside.