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Archive for May 17th, 2012

TGIAF!

I’ve been on a fast track since I left work today, as I have to get purty for a party and quick!

The party is hosted by the UVA Club, of which I’m a proud Chapter member, and this event will be a serious flashback to the good ole’ college days:

The New Easters” Spring Party

“Don your pastel best and break out your Spring madras and seersucker duds! We’re featuring a rooftop terrace, an open bar and live music by “Only in America.””

Pretty groovy, huh?! I definitely can’t (and wouldn’t want to) rage like I used to, but it’s still fun to relive a bit of the madness every once in a while.

I didn’t say I was cooler then.

Before I head out, I want to quickly share a super-neato website that my friend/coworker Anne-Marie found!

This morning, Anne-Marie was deciding between watermelon chunks or grapes to order from Seamless Web. She likes them equally, so she figured she would just order whichever is healthiest (smut gul)!

The Contenders:

V.

Naturally, Anne-Marie turned to Google, your omniscient big brother source for an answer to anything and everything

And she stumbled upon…

[Click on the logo to head to the site!]

Two Foods compares the core nutritional information of one serving of search entry AND offers alternative selections in case you didn’t quite get what you were looking for!

The results of Anne-Marie’s query?

Gram for gram, grapes have over 2x the amount of sugar and carbohydrates than watermelon.  However, I’d argue that neither one is  “healthier” than the other–they’re both health foods with fantastic benefits, but they do have a high (natural) sugar content.

Enjoy them both in moderation!

Not only is this website plain FUN to mess around with, but I could see it being particularly useful for people who travel/are on the road a lot. I’ve found that when it comes to fast food, things aren’t always what they seem. For example–filling up at Arby’s? You’re much better off getting an original roast beef sandwich than one of their touted healthy “Market Fresh” sandwiches. If you’re counting cals, the roast beef is significantly lower, but more importantly, it contains MUCH less sodium and other weird additives!

Two Foods includes the major fast food joints in its database, and using it to scope out a few options before ordering might yield unexpected and beneficial results.

Here’s one surprising comparison I discovered:

McDonald’s McFlurries: M&M vs. Oreo

I looove M&M mini McFlurries! My best friend Kim and I used to get them all the time in high school–unwavering M&M dedication on my part, and Kim was diehard Oreo. I didn’t think about the nutritional content at the time, but If I’d had to wager a guess, I would have assumed that Oreo was more of a nutrition bomb (maybe cuz of the cream filling?).

Whelp, I woulda been wrong! The M&M McFlurry has over 100 cals, almost 20 g of carbs and a handful of fat grams on the Oreo.

Who knew! At the end of the day though, if I’m gettin’ a McFlurry, I’m gettin’ the one I want!

Ok guys, I’m off to put my face on for this shindig! Have a fantastic night :).

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Happy What I Ate Wednesday!

[Click on the WIAW logo to read more about it!]

For the first time since I began participating in WIAW, I was able to complete an entire post ON the appropriate day! Small victories :).

I wish I were presenting a never-before-seen smorgasbord of new and exciting eats, but the truth is I am quite a creature of habit, and I promised myself before beginning this blog that I wouldn’t change anything about my habits for the purpose of entertainment.

So here goes!

Whole wheat English muffin with Justin’s Maple Almond Butter! Plain Chobani with Splenda, cinnamon and bloobs

Anyone else squish their English muffin halves together so you get thicker, doughier bites? Or do you eat yours half by half?

1/2 Coconut Cherry Pie Larabar...again unpictured. These are honestly so flippin’ good. I’m almost done with the batch and can’t wait to try a making a new flavor!

Sandwich Queen strikes again with Tuna Salad on Toasted Rye. Unpictured bowl of Veggies and balsamic!

Square o’ this amazing chocolate bar. Chewy banana bits mmm.

Mixed fruit fix–this is yesterday’s pic, but today was a Fraternal Tweat 🙂

PB and Happy Herberts Oatbran Pretzels. Always does the trick.

Peanut Butter? I don’t hate it.

Absolutely unreal dinner; toasted Great Harvest 9-grain bread, two fried eggs, Healthy Alfredo Sauce used as a spread; Gruyere cheese melted on top. Start me up I’ll never stop.

Wanna catch that melting Gruyere on my tongue like a raindrop.

Sida steamed veggies drizzled in tomato-basil dressing and hot pepper flakes

Leftover Chocolate 1-2-3 Cake with frozen banana chunks and Justin’s Chocolate-Hazelnut butttteerrrr

Phew! Great day of deliciousness.

So, now that you’ve seen what’s in my belly, let’s take a look at what’s goin’ on in my mind!

I recently finished  Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay, a book-turned-movie that I picked up upon recommendation from The Book Thief crew.

Synopsis:

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

[Preface: I recognize that I am somewhat of a harsh critic, and that I am going against the grain with this review. Gotta shoot ya straight though! I would say that I enjoy and am entertained by most books that I read, but I rarely love a book and imagine myself reading it again one day.]

I actually have been fighting myself a bit regarding this review, but I think the plain and simple answer is that have mixed feelings about the book.

Judging this book in the wake of The Book Thief, I can’t help but compare the two. In my opinion, The Book Thief is written with an honesty and a depth of exploration into its characters that I rarely come across in novels. I think this is due in large part to the choice of Death as narrator, which is not only a difficult trope that the author nails, but it allows for a roundness of perspective that I did not find in Sarah’s Key.

Reading  The Book Thief, I was well aware that even the “good” characters struggled with “bad” thoughts and choices–the grayness of their humanity was evident. In Sarah’s Key, the characters are far more one-dimensional. Both Sarah and Julia are true to and essentially unwavering with their goals from beginning to end–they’re fighters, heroines. I accepted this easily enough for Sarah, with her childhood innocence and clear, righteous purpose to return to her brother. Yet with Julia, I’m not sure I even agree with her insistence on informing Sarah’s family of the “truth”–letting them know that the Tezac family never forgot Sarah’s suffering.

I found myself thinking Julia’s efforts a little selfish; a way to absolve some guilt that she had taken on for acts committed by her husband’s family. I kept thinking, “it’s really not your business–how do you know you’re doing them a favor by dredging up a painful past?” I’m embarrassed to admit, I nodded along when Julia’s sister-in-law spoke:

“What Julia did was pathetic. Bringing back the past is never a good idea, especially whatever happened during the war. No one wants to be reminded of that, nobody wants to think about that.”

Ultimately, I just didn’t see enough internal struggle in Julia about her weighty decisions to make her/them credible.

For the most part, I found the rest of the characters predictable and boring.  You know from the first few pages that Bertrand is a rogue–a playboy who doesn’t get her, doesn’t treat her right , and that they will end up splitting before the book is through. Zoe is consistently the elfin, wise-beyond-her-years daughter that parallels Sarah and guides Julia with her youthful clarity. Bertrand is stoic and noble on the surface, a teddy bear beneath.

However; despite my issues with the characters in Julia’s ribbon of the novel, I was impressed by the gut-wrenching story of Sarah’s experience. Many of the questions that Sarah raises are simple but profound.

“Why was this happening to her? What has she done, or her parents done, to deserve this? Why was being Jewish so dreadful? Why were Jews being treated like this?”

I think having characters (especially young ones) ask series’ of hypothetical questions can be a very powerful literary tool, and I found it poignant and effective in this novel.

I also appreciated how graphic De Rosnay is in her description of the round-up and the concentration camp. This is not a topic to sugar coat, and I was gripped by the rawness of her words. The callous truth? It made for a better novel.

Overall, I was engrossed and entertained by Sarah’s Key, but it did not leave a lasting impression. I would recommend it as an easy page-turner, but I wouldn’t suggest trying to look for much below the surface.

Have you read Sarah’s Key? What are your thoughts?

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